"As a man thinks in his heart so is he." Prov. 23:7. Therefore it is imperative to receive good instruction in the Word so that we may have our hearts transformed to think like God thinks. The Bible tells us, "be not conformed to this world, but be transformed!" It then tells us how; "by the renewing of our minds." Rom 12:2. Our job is to get the Word in us, and then the Word will do the work. But this happens only when we understand it correctly! That is why the Lord gave us gifted and anointed teachers in the body of Christ; To effectively sow His Word into us. Though the world throws it’s problems at us, the Word of God teaches us how to face each and every situation of life and to do so victoriously and with Joy. The Lord did not say that we just have to put up with the problems in the world. He said that "We are to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us!" Rom. 8:37 As we hear the Word through anointed teaching, it comes alive inside of us and begins the transformation process. Hallelujah! Good teaching brings life! Good teaching will set you free! Come sit under the teaching at Agathos, and you can be assured to see more victory and more joy in every aspect of your life!

Ministry From Identity

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Workers need a job description. Sons minister out of a set of core values. Job description never produces what identity produces. When people don’t have an identity you need to give them a job description so they do the right sorts of things … but when have the core values - when we have identity - it produces a whole different set of results. 

God is saying “receive your identity and then you will be allowed to work.” Jesus did no miracles until He came out of the desert … and He didn’t go into the desert until He had His identity. What was at stake in the desert was His identity and then He came out in the power of the Holy Spirit because He had held onto His identity.
We tend to think of ministry as a “what” not realizing ministry is Someone to be with. John 15 is clear - if you abide in the vine, you will produce fruit. We keep trying to do ministry as though it were some sort of job description … as though it was something “out here to go do” not realizing that if we would abide in Him we would naturally produce fruit.
If I read the Bible academically I will minister the Bible to people. If I read the Bible relationally I will minister my Savior to people. Paul’s gospel was not in words but in power. He was aware who He was carrying - Who was walking with Him. 
Jesus represented the Father. That’s what His job was. men! John 14:9  “… He who has seen Me has seen the Father …”  Similarly, in Matthew 11:27 Jesus said  “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Father revealed to me  +  Me (a son) revealed to the World  =   Ministry!
The glory (in the prayer closet) + the anointing (stepping out in public) = Ministry!
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Our vision is to have a church with no ministries - just ministers. So how do you step into that place of ministry?

All empowerment comes from personal, one-on-one intimacy with the Lord. This series is going to be called “primary source ministry.” All ministry is going to come from getting connected to the primary source! I know that we all have A connection with God, I’m saying “how current is our connection with God?” That’s the source of all ministry confidence.  I’m saying we are going to be a church of ministers, but I am not telling you to “prepare for ministry.” I’m telling you to “connect for ministry.” 
We tend to consider ministry more like “we’ve got to go do something.” Whereas God’s thinking more like “no, it’s about Who you are with!” Follow Me (be with Me) and I will make you fishers of men (ministers)!
If ministry is something you need to go do, instead of Someone you need to be with - it’s a very different thing. And if ministry is the goal for believers and it is something you have to do not someone you have to be with you now have a new God. Because the pinnacle of what you are reaching for is an action instead of a Person. 
It’s time to make a trade! Ministry is not “what you do” it’s “Who you are with.” That’s a new definition of ministry - a new facet of understanding what ministry is. If you are with Him, you are a MINISTER on fire! You will do more through being with Him, joined at the hip, yoked with Him, identified with Him, connected with Him, the branch in the Vine! Apart from that you can actually do nothing. Ministry is not something to do; it’s Someone to be connected to. 
I’m not trying to engage you in some ministry here. I am wanting to connect you to the Vine and you will bear fruit! Declare this: “If I’m connected to Him I will bear fruit and my joy is going to be full!”
From Brad Ettore: Jesus is our Example. So, looking at our Lord, how did He operate? You can read through the New Testament and watch this pattern: Jesus went from a place of prayer to a place of ministry. From a place of prayer to a place of ministry. He would minister and He would leave and go up on the mountain. He would come down and minister and he would leave and go up on the mountain. He kept doing that. Oftentimes when it was dark, Jesus would go pray and be there all night long and then He would come down the mountain, grab His disciples and go and minister. Then He would leave them and go back up on the mountain.
It was that connection. That’s what Jesus was ministering from. He studied the word. He knew it inside and out. He knew it better than the Pharisees. He knew the Word, but He didn’t rely on that for His ministry. He said “I want to watch the Father move. He moves in My heart and He’s moving Me over here now …” Jesus was moved by the Father and ministered from that which was inside through His study, but the Father would move Him. When Jesus would minister and heal the sick you will often see this phrase “and being moved with compassion” He would heal the sick. That was the Father moving in Jesus saying “go minister to this person.”
Just look at Our Lord. A place of prayer to a place of ministry. A place of prayer to a place of ministry. We have to constantly keep going back and connecting to the Vine and getting filled up and then it is easy. Ministry becomes even beyond easy - it’s a joy. When you are ministering strictly from you, it’s exhausting. It’s difficult. It’s hard. When you are ministering from what you’ve received from Him you are like “I just want to share this with somebody!” It’s a joy! Amen!
- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

The goal of this message is to continue (from the previous message on 10/7/18) to share some of the prophecies made concerning us in order to begin to empower each member of our church with the prophetic charge that I believe has been given to Agathos so that we can start to do the work of exploring what this new wineskin might look like.

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary
1 Timothy 1:18 says “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare …”
Our church has been charged with a charge. There is a charge on Agathos. “This charge I commit to you Agathos.” What’s the charge? The charge is “according to the prophecies previously made concerning you (concerning our church).” 


The goal of this message is to share some of the prophecies made concerning us in order to begin to charge you with the charge that I believe our church has been charged with so that as we start as we start to do the work of exploring what it looks like to walk that charge out that you may wage the good warfare to do that work. 

He's a Rewarder

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

We can have strongholds IN THE LORD. He after all is our refuge and strong tower! He is the lover of your soul and there is not a moment that He doesn’t want to be with you. That’s also why He promises emphatically that if you will draw near to Him He WILL draw near to you. 

So let’s settle that at the outset. If you want to be more connected to God, He wants to be connected to you even more than you want to be connected! But what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him?
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
So what if we don’t even want to draw near to Him? Well Hebrews 11:6 says that he who comes to God MUST (1) believe that He is & believe (2) that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!
If you are not currently in the place of hunger to draw near to God, who are you believing that He is? Secondly, do you think He is a rewarder - or not? “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits …” (Ps. 103:2)
Maybe you’ve met a Christian that says they don’t seek God for anything … they just seek Him for Him! Well, scripturally, we are supposed to seek Him knowing that He’s the rewarder! That sort of no-reward approach to Christianity will not last. He wants to be your provision. He wants to be your supply - and He wants that to motivate you! 
Without faith, it is impossible to please Him! Faith is not an a la carte item in the Christian life; it is the main dish! The righteous shall live by faith! Not have faith sometimes; we will actually LIVE by faith!
Faith is ALWAYS an invitation to greater relationship with God. Every ounce of His grace is an invitation to relationship. Every new facet or perspective on His provision, sufficiency, and supply, is actually an invitation to closer relationship. 
God is a rewarder. The first point is that you cannot please God apart from faith. The second point is that God is a rewarder.…” Look at the father’s response to his older son in Lk. 15:31 “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Do you notice the 2 priorities of the father? Intimacy (you’re always with me) and provision (all that I have is yours). Religion is trying to do for God what you’ve not yet allowed Him to do for you. The Father is not against your service, He just wants it to be out of His provision and out of intimacy with Him … and not in order to either earn intimacy with Him or to earn provision. 
Mark Crawford says the kingdom of God is not about you changing; the kingdom of God is about exchange. Everything in the kingdom is about exchange! He became sin who knew no sin in order that I might become the righteousness of God in Him! Religion is about change. Change yourself. Change yourself. Will power. Change yourself. Check yourself. If you are a little depressed … not really wanting to seek God …. are you operating in “change” or “exchange?” 
What about us doing for God? This is a “chicken or egg” question. God knows that when we receive from Him we will become like Him! We will lay down our life because He laid down His!
David slayed Goliath for God and the Israelites but remember … God had slayed a lion and a bear for David! Matthew 10:8 says “freely you have received, freely give.” Do not minister what you’ve not freely received. If you didn’t freely receive it, it means it’s not from grace which means it won’t have the power of God upon it. This is, I believe, the biggest problem in all of ministry - trying to give away something that you have not yet received from God. 
The Lord spoke to me early this summer and then I started reading the Psalms like this for a month or two - looking for everything in the Psalms that said who God is to me! My relationship with God grew and this became a stronghold for me in Him. Here’s the phrase God gave me:
"All of who I AM is who I want to be for you!"
Faith is spelled R-E-C-E-I-V-E. The only way to please the Father is to receive. Said shortly: 
Receive to Please
Go ahead and start building this stronghold in your life! Read the Psalms looking for who God is and therefore who He wants to be for you!

Believing that "He is"

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

You can create Godly strongholds in your life. The Lord has developed a new stronghold (or perhaps just a new facet of an old stronghold) in my life over the past few months. I want to share about that over the next couple sermons.

There is no fruit apart from connection with God. In ministry you don’t want to get eaten alive. So, you better bear fruit so that they don’t eat the branch. How do you bear fruit? Connect yourself to the vine! 
One way I can tell you how to get connected to the vine is by saying “be in the Word and be in prayer. Don’t forsake fellowship.” When you are in the Word and in prayer, it will produce connection with God. So there is a place for me to just tell you plainly like that “be in the Word and be in prayer” and I would do well to tell you that. Nevertheless, I recognize that sometimes we struggle to even get to that point.
Does God have Dry Seasons for You? In John 4:14, Jesus said “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This does not sound like a dry season. 
James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will raw near to you.”  Jesus died to have connection with you! So the first thing I want to highlight about abiding - if we believe that sometimes He will draw near to us and sometimes He will not draw near to us, we will be very inconsistent in our approach to our relationship with God - not realizing that He said “if you draw near to Me, I WILL draw near to you.” It’s a promise.
So how do you get to a place of abiding in God? If you are a branch that is not currently consistently connected to the vine, what do you need to do? You need to draw near to the Vine! Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. The biggest mark of Christian maturity (in my experience) is how long of a season of disconnection you will tolerate. 
So if you are not abiding in the Lord, you have to draw near. And God has promised that He will ALWAYS draw near to you; He does not have seasons of disconnection for you. But what causes a believer to draw near to God? If we knew what causes a believer to want to draw near, then we could govern our own hearts to stay in the place of choosing to draw near and thereby choosing to abide in the Lord!
Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6. This is the scripture that these two sermons are going to based on. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
What causes us to draw near to God? Hebrews 11:6 has an explicit answer! “… for he who comes to God must …” For he who draws near to God must … (1) believe that He is, and that (2) He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This scripture gives 2 characteristics of folks that draw near to God … and they must have these two characteristics in order to draw near to God. 
Next time, we are going to talk about those 2 characteristics: that He is a rewarder, and that He is. What does that mean that “He is.” The new stronghold that the Lord has been developing in my life is learning to recognize who He is! The God that you acknowledge is the One that will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6). So who is He?!?

Sunday Service

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Using the New Testament scriptures that seem to speak most directly to Sunday service, we asked ourselves "what can we conclude scripturally about Sunday service?" We saw many themes - some suprising or perhaps different than we normally think of Sunday service (listen to the recording for more). After that group discussion we asked ourselves "what do these scriptures reveal about our Father?" In addition to "humble" and "community-focused," it was clear how empowering our Father is! If you listen to this sermon, I would encourage you to do the same study we did with the following scriptures:

  • Acts 2:42
  • Acts 2:46
  • Eph. 4:11-16
  • Heb. 10:24-25
  • Acts 20:7


Trying a New Church Space

- Peter DeWitt

Not One Member, but Many

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42) There is no relative importance given to this list of 4 activities of the early church. They seem to each be an equal part of the mixture. 

Sometimes church is so highly structured that I feel like I was with people the entire time but truth be told I only talked to other people for a grand total of 3 minutes. You cannot change people’s lives outside of the church if you cannot talk with people in the church. 
“When the pastor stops talking now I have to be intimate with other people. And there is a great danger in that potentially because they might know me - and they could reject me.” But you are accepted in the Beloved! And if there was ever a place for you to be accepted it’s in church! 
If I notice that I am in a situation where I am not relationally comfortable … if I am meeting a famous person and I notice that there is a twinge of discomfort in me … do you know what I do? I take that to the Lord because there doesn’t need to be any! He paid for my acceptance in Him that I would know that so well that it wouldn’t even enter my mind to feel insecure in a social setting!  If you are in an environment and you feel insecure, that means your security is in the wrong place. If your security is in the Lord, then He’s the same always.
You may think “what’s that have to do with possibly being uncomfortable with talking in small groups at church in the park?” The point I am making is this: In that moment of discomfort you have 2 tracks that you can take: (1) you can either hate that I am asking you to talk with someone else or (2) you can see it as an opportunity for an upgrade.
We have an amazing opportunity as a church to do something that’s quite unique. One of the things that has been happening is we started house church 3 years ago. The million dollar question that house church asks and answers is “can church be church if it’s not in a church building?” I now believe this “ekklesia” thing is starting another new phase in something.
Erin then shared a testimony about a God-directed prayer time in house church. In 1 Cor. 12:14-15 “or in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?”  There were people sitting in our house church that morning that didn’t feel like they had anything to give to what the Lord was doing. They looked to others, expecting them to bring it! But God designed it to be THIS WAY - when the body comes together and does the work of the Kingdom AS A BODY - that is when the full power of God is released.
It’s not about your leader. It’s not about the person who seems to have the most obvious gifting. Some of the most powerful prayers that were prayed that morning were by new believers who thought they had nothing to give!  Every part of the body has a role to play - is bringing something when we come together! 

What Makes a Good Disciple? (part 3)

Audio Written Summary

A good discipler first of all has a vibrant connection with God - everything flows out of that. He’s the vine, we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do noting - that includes ministering. 

A lot of people make to-do lists before they get in the Word. If we commit our work to the Lord, He will establish our thoughts … He will put them in order. Then, you operate in your to-do list out of a place of peace! The Lord says in Isaiah that He makes our task-master (the one managing our tasks … our to-do list) peace. So He establishes our thoughts early in the day and His peace leads us throughout the day. 
The other 6 characteristics of a good discipler are:
Characteristic #2 of a Good DiscipleR: Demonstrates Results
Characteristic #3 of a Good DiscipleR: Share Process & Thought Process
Characteristic #4 of a Good DiscipleR: Intentionally Relational
Characteristic #5 of a Good DiscipleR: Patient
Characteristic #6 of a Good DiscipleR: Has a Vision for the Disciple
Characteristic #7 of a Good DiscipleR: Directs the Disciple to the Lord!
When we think about being a good discipler we tend to think of #7 pretty much being it. Characteristics #1-6 are actually all the things that set the table for the meal! Without you having a vibrant relationship with the Lord, having testimonies, having patience and vision for them … all of those things set the table for the actual meal, which is being in the Word, prayer, and hearing from the Lord. 
I know many of you are probably feeling inadequate. “I can’t disciple somebody. I don’t have all of this stuff going. Consider John 6:3-12 … did they have enough food in the natural to feed all those people? Not even close! But like the 5 barley loaves, you DO HAVE SOMETHING! The Word of God is in you. It is in your mouth. And He wants you to give it away. If you bring it to Him and say “God this is all I have” He will give thanks for what you DO HAVE and give it back to you … and as you give it to others it WILL multiply!
Do you know what happens after that? After you minister you get a whole basketful back! You get more than you even had to begin with. If you feel like you have just a little bit. Give it to God. He’s going to thank the Father for it and He’s going to give it back to you. You are going to give it away and it will be multiplied back to you!

What Makes a Good Disciple? (part 2)

Audio Written Summary

Jesus said He would build His ekklesia. Jesus said He would build His ruling, legislative body who governs the Kingdom on this earth. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Who knows how to accomplish that?!? No amount of white-boarding ideas is going to figure out how to do that! Good thing Jesus said He would be the One to build the ekklesia - to build that level of influence in every sphere of society! He did not say He would disciple nations. That part is ours. This is the thesis of the whole series. We disciple nations. He builds His ekklesia. 

One thing about “new initiatives” is that many people have learned to just “weather the storm … you know it will be gone in a year. I’m not going to let this one go by the wayside. I don’t know what we are doing exactly but I am pregnant with this vision and I believe I received it from the Lord over a period of time and it keeps getting stronger and stronger in me. So our church is going to be a church of influencers that spread Kingdom influence to their sphere of society. You are going to find out that every single one of you is an influencer and every single one of you does have a sphere. 
When Megan met me she was already 2 years into college and at that point in time she wasn’t having a thriving relationship with the Lord. She wasn’t fellowshipping with others and didn’t have the leadership roles with others that she was used to having while in High School. She wasn’t having input from the Lord (-1), she wasn’t having regular fellowship with peers in the Lord (0), and she wasn’t playing a mentoring role (+1) where she was giving out a lot and discipling people. As a result of all of these things, Megan wasn’t growing in the Lord and was kind of coasting on fumes when she met me. When she met me she could tell the Lord was drawing me. The Lord gave her a vision for me. She started praying for me. I didn’t know the Lord at that point so she started praying for me. That rejuvenated her prayer life with the Lord. She was talking to the Lord again (about someone else) and that gave her an opportunity to approach the Lord again. Additionally, I was so hungry because I was so needy (REALLY needy) that it made her hungry again.
When you’ve been in the Lord for a long time, it is harder to be hungry because you already have a foundation, you know how things go, and you can kind of coast in life. If you don’t have something new going on it can be easy to coast. Having a hungry, needy baby around changes all of that. They have needs that need met (which demands something new of you) and it helps remind you of all the Lord has done for you!
Babies don’t choose hunger, they just are hungry. The mature must choose hunger. The mature must choose progress which causes hunger. If you are seasoned in the Lord, stagnation becomes very easy - because you actually need to put yourself in positions where the Holy Spirit needs to be your comforter again in order to grow again into greater things in the Lord. You may think “why did I grow faster when I was new in the Lord?” I often say “if you think you’ve arrived, you’re right.” I’m consistently coaching myself. “Lord, help me start again. Help me start afresh. Help me take some new ground.” I thrive on having some external challenges that cause me to step in again with hunger.
When you are ministering to someone else, they will draw on you. When Megan and I felt the grace for me to step into the lead pastor role I asked Brad “how do you structure your week?” Brad said something to me that I took and ran with (remember that one of the characteristics of a good disciple is faithfulness … which LOOKS LIKE follow-through!) Brad told me that 90% of my effectiveness is going to come from my time in prayer and time in the Word. I thought to myself “I have my marching orders!” I had this thing on me “you need to make a DECISION - that you are going to hold your time in the Word and in prayer sacrosanct.” 
We were up at my Megan’s family’s lake house. The kids were taking a nap. I was on my face in the living room, praying, and reading the Word. The Lord speaks this to me: “never give up the golden goose … only give golden eggs” and He directs me to John 15:4-8. You can take this set of verses to the bank! 90% of your ministry effectiveness is right here in these verses.  John 15:4-8 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 
What’s the amount of fruit you can bear apart from Jesus? ZERO. If you would like to have fruit to disciple someone with, where should you get it? I know it sounds silly but the average pastor who quits the pastorate spends less than 30 minutes a week in the Word and in prayer TOTAL. I am NOT being critical. That is not why they got into the pastorate. Here’s the progression:
When you are a branch in the vine, you bear fruit naturally and so you show yourself to be a disciple and bring glory to God. If you get disconnected from the vine, you wither. When you wither, do you bear fruit? Nope. But if you are ministering, people still come to you for ….  FRUIT!
I had fruit they were eating and I wasn’t working for that fruit. I was just abiding in Christ and I had fruit. People come up and say “can I eat your fruit?” I am thinking “that’s fine, freely I’ve received. Freely I give. More will come where it came from because I am connected to the vine.” 
Now if I get disconnected from the vine (God-forbid) now I am on the ground sort of withered and with no fruit. Now people come up to me and say “can I have some fruit?” Out of pride I may respond “go ahead because I get my identity and value from having fruit for you so I won’t be honest and tell you that I am actually ALL OUT OF FRESH FRUIT!” Don’t do that! They think “I don’t see any fruit but I’ll eat the branch.” So now they are not eating fruit, they are eating wood! Yuck. And the wood they are eating is YOU!
That is what is called BURN-OUT scripturally. You’ve been eaten alive by those whom you were supposed to feed naturally and without any effort through a connection you happen to have. Instead, now you are in a disconnected place, you don’t have the fruit, but they will still eat you. 
If you feel like you are in a place of disconnection right now, there is no condemnation in it. Listen to this sermon (particularly the 2nd half of it) for many powerful tips to re-establishing your day-to-day connection with God!

What Makes a Good Disciple? (part 1)

Audio Written Summary

Ekklesia was the Greek and Roman legislative / democratic body that governed all the issues of society. Ekklesia implies “you are going to govern the world and you are going to pray like this ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’” Ekklesia operates as Jesus said … it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. We have been given the keys of the Kingdom. What we bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and what we lose on earth will be loosed in Heaven. That’s ekklesia.

The ekklesia - the governance body of the Kingdom on earth is inherently called to disciple nations. The commission screams “disciple nations! Influence every sphere of society!” The model I am proposing for our church is that instead of church being what it is often been thought of which is “yeast in a yeast jar.” … I’m proposing taking the lid off of the yeast jar so that the yeast can be in the dough. 
How do you disciple nations? You disciple people … and you keep those people that you disciple in their sphere of influence so that once they are discipled they bring the Kingdom into that sphere that they have authority over! 
Hear that again. How do you disciple nations? You disciple people and you keep them in their sphere of influence instead stealing them for the church … so that they will exercise Kingdom authority in every sphere of influence of society until the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God! “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The huge vision of discipling nations boils down to discipling people and equipping them to bring the Kingdom into their sphere of influence. That’s what this sermon series is about. 
The core of discipleship is love. If we could just get the simple things and do them, we would rock the world. We don’t need more knowledge, we just need more action. We will get more knowledge when we need it as we act more. The satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. There are two sides of the learning process. The first side of the learning process is getting the input of information / knowledge / understanding … this is the same as eating. The second side of the learning process is doing the work … which causes you to get hungry again. Many believers are loathing the sweetest of words because they haven’t worked enough to develop their appetite again. 
Spiritual employment is key to spiritual health. It accomplishes the other half of the learning cycle. There is the input side (which is like lecture) and the output side (which is like lab where you go use the knowledge and “do the stuff”).
The breakthrough in Nehemiah happened in chapter 3 when the PEOPLE started to build! They build in 52 days (if I recall) what had not been accomplished in decades! Nehemiah gave the vision (that’s what I’m doing here). Jesus commissioned us to disciple people and promised He would build His ekklesia, His ruling body. We are not responsible for producing that governmental level impact in every sphere of society; we are responsible for discipling people and keeping them in their sphere of influence that they might bring the Kingdom THERE! The victory here will not be me having the vision, it will be you all doing the work!
You never step out of the place of being a disciple. You always want to be a disciple. This sermon is an invitation to those believers who have been orphans to experience the blessing of having a mother or father in the Lord -  to build them up. So many in the body of Christ have never experienced what it is like to have someone in their life who speaks the truth to them in love … someone they can just receive from and develop them - and who isn’t looking for anything from them. The tone and the tenor of this message is about how you can position yourself so that you can receive.
The 7 Characteristics of a Good Disciple discussed in this sermon are:
Characteristic #1: A Good Disciple is Hungry
Characteristic #2: A Good Disciple is Humble
Characteristic #3: A Good Disciple is Available
Characteristic #4: A Good Disciple is Faithful
Characteristic #5: A Good Disciple Teaches Others
Characteristic #6: A Good Disciple Is Known
Characteristic #7: A Good Disciple ALL IN
When Megan and I counsel marriages we say “you can’t work on a marriage … all you can do is work on the individual people.” I can seek the Lord and Megan can seek the Lord and as we both seek the Lord and are transformed by Him, our marriage is simply going to get better! 
Likewise people are asking “how is this discipleship going to work? How do you do discipleship?” This is why we are going through the characteristics of a good disciple - and then the characteristics of a good discipler. The disciple can work on being a disciple and the discipler can work on being a discipler … and then you have a good discipling relationship!
If you ask someone “how do you do the discipleship? How does that happen?” What happens is you try to come up with a formula. But it’s not about formula. It’s about a relationship! May we be good disciples and good disciplers!

Discipling and Being Discipled (part 2)

- Kenton Kauffman
Audio Written Summary

Your -1’s are your disciples, your mentees. Your neutrals are your peers. Your +1’s are the more seasoned players - the disciplers. If you don’t have an inlet (+1’s in your life) you dry up. Likewise if you don’t have an outlet (-1’s) you become the dead sea. The dead sea cannot support life. The river needs to keep FLOWING through you. 

Jesus modeled discipleship when He drew 12 to Himself. Effective, generational discipleship grows the Kingdom exponentially.
For +1’s, discipleship is breaking off a piece of your life and sharing it with someone. As a -1 discipleship looks like in humility coming into the sphere of influence and covering of someone who has more favor than you and receiving that impartation of life. 
Moses was called to lead the nation of Israel from slavery into the promised land. In Exodus 24:13 Moses takes his assistant, Joshua and goes up the mountain to receive the Law, the 10 Commandments, and the instructions on the temple. Moses had Joshua up there with him! Joshua was someone he could trust, someone he could impart life to. Joshua was the only person to go up the mountain with Moses to meet with God face-to-face. Joshua was getting an inside view of what was going on - of how God spoke to Moses face-to-face.
Elijah was a prophet, was walking along, sees Elisha plowing a field with a whole bunch of oxen, takes off his mantle and tosses it on Elisha. Elisha says goodbye to his parents and then becomes Elijah’s servant (1 Kings 19:21). That word for “servant” is actually the same word that was used for Joshua as Moses’ “assistant.” It means “minister.” 
If you are a -1, seek out +1’s with something you might need help with - like a breakthrough that you are looking for. What kind of favor does this +1 walk in / possess that I am going for?
If you are a +1, believe that you have something to give - because you do. You absolutely do. You might have just received the Lord last week and had a conversion experience - but there are a lot of people that haven’t had that conversion experience. “Let me show you how this works because God is REAL!” Pray for your -1’s. Cover them in prayer and favor. See your -1’s through a prophetic lens - speaking to them about their destiny and reminding them of who they are supposed to be after the Spirit. Assume that it is the heart of the Father that our -1’s outgrow us. John 14:12 shows that Jesus modeled exactly this expectation. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”  It doesn’t always happen that the -1’s outgrew the +1’s. You can’t control that, but it is still the heart of the Father … that our ceiling becomes their floor.
Our body is overflowing with talents, gifts, and influence in the arts, business, education, parenting, et cetera. Kenton thinks it is really time to prepare ourselves to extend our influence through discipleship. 

Fostering Discipleship

- Peter DeWitt
Audio Written Summary

Mentorship is breaking off a piece of your life and handing it to someone else. It is pulling someone to a higher place. It is taking what we have (our knowledge, wisdom of experience, favor, etc.) and offering it to someone in need of it. We can be a +1 for someone else! When you only have +1’s and no -1’s, you become a Dead Sea. Both inputs and outputs are needed for a health body. Find your +1’s and humbly receive from them, engage with your neutrals, and have the courage to reach out to your -1’s.

All of discipleship is on the foundation of prayer for the person you are discipling. If you want to start discipling someone, start praying for them! God will show you when / how to help them in person (listen to the message for more detail) but you can always help them through prayer for them!
Shame steals discipleship. Lack of shame comes from a knowledge of the Father’s acceptance of you.  When you know the Father’s acceptance towards you, when you know that His face lights up when He sees you, then you don’t have shame.
Proverbs 11:2 is a really important verse about shame “When pride comes, then comes shame.” That’s the root of shame. This is really helpful. If you are struggling with shame, you have a problem with pride. Shame is self-imposed relational separation. 
Pride is finding identity apart from God. Humility is “identity in God.” It’s that simple. In other words, pride is identity through separation (relational separation). What’s shame? Self-imposed relational separation. 
This sabotages discipleship. We’ve learned to operate in relational hiddenness instead of relational connection. When you operate in relational connection it provides an opportunity for discipleship. 
Discipleship can only be carried out in relationship. 
We live in a culture that says “if I am afraid of connection relationally, don’t worry, I will learn it on my own and after learning it on my own I will come back to you.” The Word of God is saying, don’t do that. It’s connection; it’s relationship. It’s connection; it’s relationship. Don’t let shame sabotage that relationship!

Discipling and Being Discipled (part 1)

- Kenton Kauffman

In this church in the park "talk" Kenton shares about a simple discipleship ministry that he set up at a missionary high school / middle school when he was a senior in high school. Nearly 20 years later that ministry is still thriving! Discipleship is about humility. It is about being willing to learn from others. Humility is the precurosor to grace. God wants to pour His grace out upon your life in greater measure. Every believier can both disciple and be discipled. We all need mentors, peers, and those we are mentoring.