A truly cooperative spirit supporting the mountains

Ken and Merrel

As I drove east from Bowling Green toward Manchester on Saturday, the sky opened and rain steadily began to fall. This was far from ideal as I was on my way to help KBC-assisted church planter John “Boo” Smith in helping replace mailboxes in and around the flood ravaged town of Manchester

The previous week, this area had seen the worst regional flooding in anyone’s memory. After I arrived and got in Boo’s Jeep, we connected with church members from Manchester Baptist Church and their pastor, Ken Bolin. Bro. Ken had put out a Facebook request for people to send new mailboxes, as many people lost theirs in the flooding. Boo said, “not only do they need to get their mail, but emergency workers need to know where addresses are so they can help people. Sometimes mailboxes are the only thing that have a house number on them.”

While we drove, the devastation of homes, property, and livelihoods were tremendous! Homes were flooded, moved from their foundations, and still in the process of being mudded out and repaired. I saw complete layers of asphalt removed from the road and moved into ditches and creek beds. A semi-truck was picked up, moved with the water, and destroyed. As we drove, I could see places where the road had been completely rebuilt with loads and loads of gravel and where bulldozers had moved load after load of dirt and mud that had come rushing down the mountain side.

Layer of asphalt moved

The truly amazing thing to witness was the spirit of cooperation and unity of not only the community, but of those from across the United States. In the steady rain, we were in traffic jam after traffic jam of people on their way to help! Groups were busy assessing the damage, mudding out homes, and going door to door making sure people had food and water. Several teams and groups were set up at Oneida Baptist Institute providing food, clothing, and other assistance. I met people from North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania volunteering to help. People came to help from everywhere!

Mountain traffic jam

As our little team of Manchester Baptist and church plant Cross Mountain Fellowship worked to replace mailboxes, we got to listen to the stories of those who survived the flood, provide love through a donated mailbox, and share the hope that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus. At one home, I listened to a 4-year-old show me his creek, mud puddle, and new pencil stash as Pastor Ken faithfully shared the gospel with his mother. At another home as we fought the muddy gravel with a post hole digger, the homeowner came out to express her thankfulness and love of her community.

Toby and Ken

I left Manchester that day praising the Lord for Pastors Ken and Boo and their churches for ministering to their community by organizing and replacing mailboxes and hearing their stories of doing mud-outs and ministering to those in need. What a wonderful example of churches partnering together to meet both physical and spiritual needs! If you or your church would like to help with the Eastern Kentucky flood relief, please go to https://www.kybaptist.org/flood/.

This article can also be found here.

Residencies and Internships: Brainstorming Toward Reproducing the Next Generation of Leaders

I see this sign everywhere I go and so do you!

Every now and then I tease my wife and say, “I suppose each of us could go get a couple part-time jobs and help the economy out a little bit more!” To which she replies, “Let’s just keep the one’s we have and not make the problem any worse.”

While I have yet to see a literal “help wanted” sign on a church building door, there might as well be. I speak to leaders each week who say they are looking for a pastor, youth leader, music minister, next generation pastor, or discipleship pastor. Churches need more ministers, leaders, counselors, and staff. The market is not flooded with leaders!

As I dialogue with local pastors and leaders, I often hear the same questions; “Why aren’t our Bible colleges and seminaries sending out more leaders? Why do our young men and women go off to school and never come back?” I have a few theories, but the ones that rise to the top answer the above questions.

  1. Our colleges and seminaries ARE sending out those we send them. The schools serve the church, not the other way around. To answer this question, I ask another one: What is your church doing to encourage, call out, and physically/spiritually/theologically train the next generation? Does your church encourage local, contextual training coupled with the theological education that a Bible college or seminary can offer? You can easily utilize free (or free with convention partnerships as found at CCBBC) training found at CCBBC, MBTS, and SEBTS as a few examples. Have you thought about starting a cohort, internship, or residency?
  2. Often our future ministers go off to our schools and do not come back because they didn’t see the need (or were not told about the opportunities to serve at home) to return to their context to minister. Does our next generation feel wanted, valued, and see the need to serve within their own context? It’s interesting that we can see missions and ministry opportunities across the state, in the large city, or on one of the coasts, but often have a hard time seeing them at home. I’ve done this, and probably you have too!

Below are some examples of churches/networks who are currently discipling the next generation of leaders through internships and/or residencies. I’ve included several examples for different areas of ministry, styles of church, and methods of funding and philosophy of training leaders. Please remember that not all of these examples are of “your tribe” and I have not vetted each of their theological stances. They are simply examples for you to learn from and to gain principles for developing a leadership pipeline using an internship/residency model.

I’ll highlight each of the interesting things I learned from each in the bullet points below. If you’d like to share your experience, please let me know! Also, if you’d like to brainstorm about starting either or both at your church, reach out to me and I’d be glad to talk to you. It’s my conviction that each church can be a training and sending church for gospel ministers. We need more proclaiming the Good News of the gospel and our churches can train and send them!

  • Southland Church
    • Available Ministry Areas I really like their diversity! This is evidence that they have thought through their process and see a need to train many in varying areas.
      • Worship and production ministry
      • Children’s ministry and student ministries
      • Groups and guest experience ministries
      • Creative video and communications
      • Biblically based justice ministry
      • Multi-site strategy and campus pasturing
      • Church planting
  • Southeast Christian Church
  • Family Church Network
  • Immanuel Baptist Church
    • IBC Residency Program Here is an example in my state. IBCLex is a large church who sees the need to train the next generation to serve within their own church and others.
      • College ministry resident
      • Worship ministry resident
      • Student ministry resident
      • Communications resident
  • Redeemer Church Network
    • Church Planting Residency I love their philosophy of partnering with those who have experience and are currently planting.
      • Residents are placed with planters who are 3+ years ahead
      • They are taught to plant churches who plant churches
      • Two-year process with 3 phases
  • Crossway Network
    • Interesting ways to fund a resident: Awesome funding structure! Inventive and helpful.
      • 1/3 from the local church
      • 1/3 from Crossway Network (max $2k a month)
      • 1/3 from fundraising/bivo-covo work
  • Pinelake-Learn+Live+Lead
    • Using NAMB’s SEND materials, the resident is fully immersed into the pre-launch stages of vision refinement, leadership competencies, core group development, funding strategies, and systems creation.
    • Here is a partial list of responsibilities. Here’s an example of learning and doing. NAMB’s SEND material is great for planters!
      • Live in humble submission to Christ, learning from the Word and from others.
      • Develop a working understanding of ecclesiology, missiology, and theology in regard to the church plant.
      • Development of a prayer support ministry for the new church plant.
      • Research, define, and develop a comprehensive launch plan for the new church plant.
      • Actively recruit, enlist, and equip core launch team.
      • Develop and execute a strategy for donor support.
      • Visit other church plants to assess, learn, and strengthen personal leadership.
      • Involvement in selected activities with the Pinelake Missions Team.
      • Other responsibilities as assigned.
  • Veritas Church
    • Focuses on recently graduated college students. Are you a student who is not sure what to do after graduation? Serve at your church as a resident!
  • Perimeter Church
    • Interesting 10-week summer internship w/ job descriptions. Super helpful to use as a template.
  • Grace Church KS
    • Cool training philosophy idea and graphic
      • 70% of learning is doing the work
      • 20% of learning is being coached by supervisors
      • 10% of learning is formal training
    • Cool pics of students near the Union Station in KCMO. 😊
  • Calvary Church CO
    • They have a residency program for replanting and revitalization as well as church planting
    • They also have two cohort tracks. They are worship ministry and missions.
  • Parkview Christian Church
    • They feature a model for funding residence that includes a stipend of $650 per month in the first year and $750 per month in the second year. They also award scholarships to residents who carry student loan debt up to $3500.
  • Living Hope Baptist Church
    • https://livehopeful.com/ministries/mit/
    • LH has two tracks; church ministry and vocational training.
      • LH has a great idea in creating a cohort for those who are in a vocation, but desire more training to be more equipped to reach people in their work context.

Here are some more resources/ideas you might think about with your team:

  • Begin praying with your leadership about starting an internship or residency. Use some the examples above to show the benefits of raising up our own leaders. Take some time to search scripture and learn about biblical residencies (Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Timothy, Paul and Titus, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark…). Ask the Lord to reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and to show you where your church can make an impact with this ministry.
  • https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/components-church-residency-program
  • https://www.newchurches.com/resource/resources-for-residencies/
  • “How to Start a Residency” https://www.churchplantingpodcast.org/new-city-network/dhati-amp-clint-how-to-start-a-residency
  • Use the internship/residency with undergraduate and graduate students: pay their tuition (partial or full) and set up a customized track or cohort.
  • https://leadershippathway.org/churches sort of a residency clearing house.
  • Begin with a summer internship and work toward developing a strategy for a residency. Your local association/network may have some resources/examples to help you. State and national agencies may be able to offer examples, stipends, and other tools as well.
  • Set up a budget line item focused solely on internships/residencies. Develop a plan, set a yearly budget, and ask members to give to this ministry. Celebrate wins, promote those who are personally benefiting from the program, and make sure there are tracks for men and women.
  • Work with a small group of local churches/pastors to start a cohort of learners in your community. Share the workload!
  • When the internship/residency has been completed for the year, do some evaluations. Sit down with your leadership and reflect upon what you have learned, what you would like to do better, and what you would never do again. Create an exit survey for the interns/residents. Getting their feedback will help future generations have a great experience.
  • Get a short list of churches/leaders in your area or state who are currently using a residency as part of their discipleship ministry. Ask questions that lend to you learning about transferable principles, land mines to avoid, and other tips that will help make your first year or semester a success.

A church plant success story: ‘The Lord’s hand is all over Boo’

Submitted to KentuckyToday.com 5-17-22

Tucked into the community of Manchester in Clay Co. is Cross Mountain Fellowship, a KBC assisted church plant led by Pastor John “Boo” Smith. Boo, as he is affectionately called, formerly pastored Gray Fork Baptist Church in Manchester. While he was pastoring, he began Impact Outdoors, a ministry designed to introduce kids and young adults to the outdoors. Boo used his love of outdoor sports such as archery, hunting and fishing, bike riding, and camping to engage local youth with the Good News of the Gospel.

Church Planting and Development Associate Toby DeHay visited Boo in Manchester early in the spring of 2022 and was blown away by how the Lord has blessed Boo, Impact Outdoors, and Cross Mountain Fellowship. “The Lord’s hand is all over Boo, his church, partnering churches/association, and the ministry. The first time Boo took me up the mountain I was amazed! I saw a campground with 25+ sites (RV and tent camping with or without electric and water www.campspot.com/park/cross-mountain-campground ), a children’s play area, bike trail with a repair station, archery range, ax throwing area, open pavilion, Koi pond, and storage cabins for their camping and fishing gear. They also teach drug education and prevention along with the outdoor ministry. I’ve never seen a ministry like it in my life. It was absolutely amazing!”

Impact Outdoors sits on 183 acres on a beautifully wooded mountainside. This outdoor passion turned ministry opportunity began to change the way Boo and his wife began to think about their area. I need a quote on how this changed him toward planting a church. Boo began to see young couples coming to Bible studies as a result of the mountain ministry and immediately saw the need for a new church in Clay County. AMS Frank Peters said, “We are excited for this new church to join our association and working with them through the Cooperative Program and missions.”  Living Water Community Church of Mt Sterling is Cross Mountain Church’s sending church. Pastor Grant Cannoy loves what Boo is doing in Clay County and is happy the Lord is giving them the opportunity to partner with Cross Mountain.

While the Impact Outdoors Ministry is located 1.5 miles outside of Manchester, the church is currently located in the city of Manchester and is sharing space with another church who hosts a recovery ministry in the same building. Boo says, “This location has been such a blessing for us. A partnering church has allowed us to use this space on Sundays and has been very gracious about us creating our own worship area. We partner with Operation UNITE, the Clay County Tourism Commission, as well as private donors and churches to make all this happen. We currently have around 60-75 in attendance weekly and have been blessed with people joining, being saved, and baptized!”

Pastor Boo and a team from the Purchase Area Association in Benton Ky have recently made plans to learn how area churches from the west can partner with Boo and Cross Mountain Fellowship. AMS Dennis Manley said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our churches to potentially partner with a new church in the east. They are reaching people in a way that relates to our folks. Hunting and fishing is in our blood too! We want to be a blessing to planters like Boo while encouraging our people to be on mission in Kentucky.” Toby DeHay said, “I love that pastors and AMS’s throughout Kentucky are excited to partner with their KBC assisted planters. Boo’s story is an awesome example of how healthy partnerships bless both parties.” If your church or association would like to learn more about your KBC assisted church planters, please visit https://www.planterportal.com/user/viewprofilelist?org=idu9rekuwisp.

https://www.kentuckytoday.com/baptist_life/a-church-plant-success-story-the-lord-s-hand-is-all-over-boo/article_6eb142b6-d613-11ec-a0d7-b39b39d6d2d0.html

Learn about the Good News of the Gospel here.

Gospel Tracts I Have Produced

Sometime around 2014, I was asked by Charles Brock to produce a tract version of his Good News for You! booklet. I began to pray, which led me to begin brainstorming, which led me to the first tract I produced. I added matt419.net to the mix as an evangelistic site and included the text to the Good News tract. A cowboy church pastor friend of mine in AZ shares this site every week with his church as a way to share the gospel!

Good News For You

GNFY! has been through at least four revisions and includes the English version above, Spanish, Mardi Gras English, and Korean. Good News begins with the bad news first. All have sinned. It then moves toward more bad news and shares the punishment we deserve and will receive, and then shares even more bad news in that there is nothing we can do on our own to be made right with God. The Good News is that Jesus took the punishment for us! We repent, confess our sins, and receive Him as our Savior. We are born again as children of His!

GNFY Old Inside
Cover and Back of Tract
Dirty and rejected Mardi Gras Tract
Korean GNFY

I’ve partnered with the Gospel to Every Home effort with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and produced a Good News tract in KJV that is a quad-fold and allows for a little more space for QR codes and a sample gospel prayer. I really like the quad-fold tract. It will be the one I base my future GNFY tracts on as I like the layout and room for QR codes.

GTEH KJV

2020 was an interesting year to say the least! One morning I was reading the Bible, praying, and asking the Lord how I could serve Him evangelistically during that tough season. He gave me the idea to produce the “What is Truth?” tract in English and Spanish. I’m extremely grateful for Pastor Jamie Masso who has translated several tracts into Spanish for me. What is Truth? is based on Pontius Pilate’s question of Jesus in John 18:38. Throughout the tract I used quotes from famous people (actors, musicians, and politicians) and end with Pilate’s quote as I share the gospel. Here is a gospel presentation I like to share.

Truth English
Truth Spanish

In 2022 I would like to produce a couple more GNFY tracts. My goal is to have a black and orange one (like the GTEH example in NKJV or ESV) for the fall season and a red and green one for Christmas. Each fall I get asked by friends if I know of a good tract for Halloween. I get mine at LivingWaters, but thought I mind provide some GNFY this year! The same is true for Christmas. Check out the picture of the tracts with little candy canes Concord Baptist did in 2016 and 2017 below! In 2023 my goals are to produce spring and summer themed tracts to have on hand.

GNFY Candy Canes

If you’d like a sample, please let me know. I’ll be happy to send you a few at no charge. I do not sell these, but occasionally people ask for more than a sample. I simply ask for you to donate money toward producing more (I can let you know what one costs me per tract plus shipping). Our KBC Evangelism Team has a few of these to share with churches as well. Over the past 8 years I believe I’ve ordered about 60k tracts; the majority of which have been shared by believers in Kentucky as they engage their friends, neighbors, and daily connections with the gospel. Blessings my friends!

Why aren’t Leaders Intentionally Discipling and Raising up New Leaders?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the faith: 1 Tim 1:1–2. NKJV

In the past I’ve found myself asking this question: Why aren’t leaders intentionally discipling and raising up new leaders? If you are like me, your mind wanders to reasons that may not the the best. We sometimes assume the worst, which is not fair, nor gracious. As I thought more about it I began to think of several reasons that may actually keep a leader away from actively discipling others. While these are neither exhaustive nor valid for a lifetime of ministry, they are explanations why many are not intentional in this area for a time.

1. They are following the pattern of those who discipled them

Sometimes following a pattern is good. This winter my wife bought me a houseplant puzzle. Yup. A puzzle. A houseplant one. I love plants! If we didn’t have the picture on the front of the package, we’d still be putting that puzzle together! Other times following a pattern doesn’t turn out too well: i.e. every time I buy a new grill and use the instructions that are written in poorly translated English with a myriad of bolts that are only a fraction of an inch in difference. I always have to put it together at least two or three times to get it right! The same is true of our discipleship pattern, or how we’ve initially learned to disciple someone. The pattern wasn’t wrong, it just could have been better.

Sometimes a leader uses only one discipline or method of discipling and believes it to be complete. An example may be their preaching ministry. I’m not arguing against preaching, or that people can’t be taught through preaching. I believe in it, practice it, and share truth through it. If pressed about multiplying oneself in other leaders, and a leader says the only way they do it is through preaching, I wonder if they are effective or replicate themselves often. I’ve heard the same argument with evangelism. “I evangelize each Sunday from the pulpit. That’s the place that the Lord has called me to do it!” I believe this is not a reproducible method. Do we have a church full of preachers who are able to convince their friends, family, coworkers, and people they meet on the street to show up each Sunday they preach? Of course not!

Believers need to be careful to teach and encourage through many spiritual disciplines. We will never reproduce a healthy disciple who reproduces healthy disciples if we focus only on evangelism, or leadership principles, or preaching, or academia, or our brand of correct theology, or getting through a particular set of books. We must carefully read scripture, practice what we read, and model ourselves after our Master and those who followed Him as disciples. This includes a healthy diet of reading, prayer, practical training, watch me/go do, reading/listening/watching, and is coupled with an expectation of reproduction.

2. They are serving in a context where they feel there are no potential prospects

I’ve been here! I got some of the best advice/rebuke from a brother when I said, “There’s not a single person here who is interested in learning to reproduce themselves as a follower of His!” Really! Not a single person. First of all, I was honestly sharing what I thought was my reality and truly felt this way as I asked each faithful man, “Would you like to meet each week and read God’s Word and grow together?” The rebuke from this brother was, “Have you prayed about it? Have you asked God to send you someone?” NOPE! I thought the situation was too helpless even for God. How incredibly sinful of me! Not only had I not brought the situation to the Lord in prayer, I didn’t even think He would do something in my midst with those He’d already sent me to lead.

I began to pray and the Lord began to send. He sent people from outside the church and from within the church. He sent other leaders to encourage me and from whom I could both learn from and pour into. He showed me how nothing is impossible with Him. I truly believe that those who have a desire to pour into other leaders will be able to do so with the Lord’s help and direction.

3. They are trying to keep their head above water

Sometimes the situation is so bad, the last thing you want to worry about is why you aren’t reproducing yourself in other people.

Need another reason to feel guilty about your own leadership, here you go! Come up for air every now and then and just hope to keep going!

Leader/friend, you don’t need another reason to feel guilty. Simply keeping your head above water is not the place the Lord desires for you each week. There’s a reason leaders feel this way at times. If this is you, ask yourself: is my personal spiritual life healthy, is my family healthy, do I feel adequate to lead, what is hindering me from leading the way I need to, have I cried out to the Lord, have I sought godly counsel from others, am I open to listen to godly counsel, when I recall my responses to the advice of other leaders, do I find myself providing excuses or do I listen quietly and try to apply some of the biblical help and advice?

We are not going to reproduce ourselves when we are overwhelmed. (Or…if we are overwhelmed and are reproducing ourselves, we may inadvertently train others that it’s normal and expected to be overwhelmed all the time. The busier you are, the more spiritual you must be!)

4. They may be experiencing depression, feel dejected, or be experiencing symptoms of burn out

The above are signs that something is wrong. Leader, if these describe you and you have not reached out to a family member, friend, or another leader you trust, please connect with me. I’ve experienced times when I felt any one of these (and more than one time I’ve dealt with all at once). Most people feel depressed or have symptoms of burn out at times.

Leaders may feel depressed after a bad Sunday, when they re-live their sermon in their mind on Sunday night, or after an incredibly difficult meeting or family situation. Maybe it’s more than one Sunday, bad meeting, or family situation. You feel depressed often. Leader, this is the time to talk to someone. Focus on the Family has a pastoral care line that is available if you’d like to talk to someone anonymously (1-877-233-4455). Connect with me and I’d love to help you out as well.

Other signs that something is wrong is a feeling of burn-out. One of the best resources I’ve read on this topic is Wayne Cordeiro’s Leading on Empty. Ministry burn-out can happen to anyone; young, old, established church, church plant, bivo, covo, or fully supported. Regular Sabbath rest, vacations, and healthy boundaries are some ways to combat burn out.

Why aren’t leaders intentionally pouring into others at times? The above are pretty good reasons. If you are experiencing any of these, take some time to get healthy. One of the best things I did in my doctoral studies was to begin a monthly pastor’s cohort. We read a book together, encouraged one another, and watched for signs of depression and burn-out among one another. If there’s not one in your area, try starting one (connect with me and I’ll be glad to share some tips on getting started).

5. They don’t feel equipped or adequate to pour into another person

I hear this reason from time to time. When I do, I think of Ephesians 4:11–12 (NKJV): And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Leaders who don’t feel adequate/equipped may simply need encouragement from another leader, some hands-on training, or some extended time in prayer; asking the Holy Spirit to give them the confidence they need to disciple another believer. Our state has a particular pastor who devotes time each month to younger pastors. I’ve had several of these young men tell me how grateful they are for this mature brother encouraging them in their own leadership. Does this happen in your area already? Ask to join the group! If not, ask someone who is multiplying themselves to let you watch. Ask them questions. Model them as they model Christ. (Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Cor 11:1 NKJV).

6. There may be unrepentant sins or some sin from the past that is causing guilt

Sin brings death and destruction. The entire earth suffered under the disobedience of the first man and woman. Why wouldn’t we think we would suffer when we are in unrepentant sin? Sin disrupts our relationship with God. When we are unrepentant, we are being prideful, disobedient, dishonoring, and are giving the devil a foothold for more damage. Due to our pride, sin tends to drive us away from the Lord. We know we are in sin, don’t want to confront it, and “hide” from God.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Gen 3:8 NKJV

Friends, this is unhealthy behavior: spiritually, physically, and mentally. When I sin, often the first discipline to go is evangelism. “Why would I tell someone about the love and forgiveness of Christ when I just sinned against my Lord?” Satan uses thoughts like these to keep you from seeking forgiveness and walking in the love of the Lord. An author I read said something like, “God can use a utensil that is straight, bent, or twisted; but not dirty!”

Unrepentant sin and guilt over past sins can spiritually cripple us to a point where we aren’t simply doing nothing for the Kingdom, but are actually hurting it.

7. They don’t know any better

We have all been here! I remember when I learned that the biblical disciplines of evangelism and disciplemaking went hand in hand. HOW DID I MISS THIS!! I’d heard it preached, I read it in the scriptures, and had people pour into me. Yet I still did not know what I was supposed to do! “Oh, but ignorance is bliss! When we aren’t aware, there’s no urgency. No need to have a cause for concern. We can simply live a blessed life as a believer with no care or worry that we have a biblical responsibility to share the hope we have in Christ with others, or help them to grow in the Lord. Ignorance is bliss!” Is it though? Here’s the poem from where we get this phrase:

To each his Suff’rings: all are Men,
Condemn’d alike to groan,
The Tender for another’s Pain;
Th’ Unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! Why should they know their Fate?
Since Sorrow never comes too late,
And Happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more; where Ignorance is Bliss,
’Tis Folly to be wise.

Thomas Gray (1716-1771) in An Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (London: printed for R. Dodsley and sold by M. Cooper, 1747)

Ignorance is not bliss in this case. When I learned of my responsibility to pour into others and begin training younger leaders, the bliss I found was in obedience to Christ and seeing the light turned on in the lives of those I was discipling. It is an absolute joy to spend time training, exhorting, encouraging, and building Kingdom partnerships with those who are or may become future leaders.

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 1 Thess. 1:6–7. NKJV

Do you recognize any of the above seven points? Like me, you’ve likely experienced one, two, or all of them at one time or another. Maybe you are experiencing one now. Take some time to pray that the Lord will give you an opportunity to have a “true son in the faith” (1 Tim 1:1-2). I’d love to share more of my experience discipling others with you. Reach out to me we can chat by video or email.

P.S. Maybe you’ve wandered upon this post and have not experienced a new birth through forgiveness in Christ. Time some time to read this page entitled Good News for You.

Witnessing Tips for the Shy Christian

“I’m super introverted, really shy, and would rather be alone than with others. Sharing my faith is hard for me!” I hear this all the time! This does not describe me, but it is close! I am comfortable in front of people, need human connection, and desire relationships with others, but…

I tend to get overwhelmed in very large groups.

I do not speak first in places where I’m new or unfamiliar.

I have an “on” personality and an “off” one. When I’m speaking, leading, teaching, or representing my work I’m “on.” This tends to drain me. The “off” Toby can be found alone in my car, at home, or with people that I can literally say anything without judgment. I’m filled up in this way.

Most people can describe themselves in this way (sort of!). Many times we use our personality as an excuse to not share the gospel. We talk to strangers about everything, but the one thing that really matters. We don’t have to a pastor, an evangelist, or be gifted in sharing our faith. We are all called to share! (See Matthew’s gospel and how he bookends his work with Jesus’ statements in 4:19 and 28:18-20. We are called by Him to follow and to obey Him!)

Here are 7 different methods of evangelism you might try as a shy Christian:

  1. Tract Distribution: Let’s pretend you are on a fixed income, do not leave the house very often, and are not confident in your ability to share the Gospel. Tract distribution may be the ministry for you! If you only give out 10 per week and only one person came to Christ for every 1,000 tracts you gave out, you’d have won a person to Christ every 2 years doing this ministry! The GNFY! tracts only cost around .07 each. This is a yearly cost to you of only $37. Imagine if 75 people at your local church did this. In the span of 10 years, your church would win over 750 people to Christ simply by sharing a tract. You might say, “That’s not very realistic.” You might be right, but what if I’m half/quarter/eighth correct? Still pretty good! Frank Jenner is a great example of this type of ministry!
    • Leave them at the gas pump.
    • Give them to a waiter/waitress with a generous tip.
    • Hand them to people at the doctor’s office. One of my mentors would visit the oncologists office each week to pray for the patients and hand out Good News For You! booklets. Everyone was so happy to see him and receive a book.
    • Set up a “Free, Take One” box at funeral homes, hospitals, and with friends who own shops.
    • Put them in library books as a bookmark for the next person.
    • Give them to people who knock on your door. Keep a small stash by the door and be ready! My friend Matt has an evangelism rule he calls, “The Homestead Rule.” If you step on his property, he is going to share the gospel with you.
    • Ask your cashier, “Did you receive one of these today?”
  2. Prayer Evangelism 
  • Prayer bookmarks-Use my Fisherman’s Prayer bookmark to record up to nine lost/unchurched names on one side and four evangelistic prayer points on the back.
  • Ask people, “How can I pray for you today?” As you pray for their need/request, include the gospel.
  • Invitation to pray via social media
  • Prayer/evangelistic thank you notes
  • Organize an evangelistic prayer team at church before the service
  1. One on One Discipleship/D-Groups
  • Intentionally training other believers to share their faith (you are encouraged too!)
  • Start a cohort with others-read a book together (one chapter a month with a different person leading) You might choose theology, missions, evangelism, leadership, or any other topic. I’ve used Brock’s Good News For You! seven-week Bible study and have done this one-on-one and in groups of 5-10.
  1. Booth Evangelism-Set up a table and offer free gospel materials at: (Okay, maybe this one pushes the limit for you, but maybe not! Set up a table, provide materials, take a seat and smile.)
  • Set up at your local mall.
  • Outside gas stations and Dollar Stores (My friend Ryan got permission to set up outside a Wal-Mart and was able to share the gospel freely!)
  • Community events such as festivals, health screenings, or parade
  1. Social media evangelism 
  • Post your testimony and ask those interested to PM you for more information.
  • Share evangelistic videos produced by others.
  • Share evangelistic Bible verses.
  1. Neighbor Evangelism
    • Most of us don’t know our neighbors very well. Use www.blesseveryhome.com to pray for five different neighbors everyday. As you pray for them, you can use their platform to help you keep track of those you’ve prayed, shared, and discipled.
    • Use the major holidays throughout the year to drop off a gift, ask for prayer requests, or share the hope you have in Christ.
    • Pay attention to special events in the lives of your neighbors: births, graduations, new movers, etc. Congratulate your neighbor, offer help, and use a Pocket Testament League Gospel of John to share the hope you have in Christ.
  2. Online Platforms
    • NeedHim.org provides a great way for you to share your faith by text, chat, or if you are feeling saucy; by phone! It takes about an hour or so to sign up and you can chat for an hour in the evening, before work, or take 30 minutes on your lunch break to practice sharing with people from all over the world.