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Check out podcasts 

Last Fall the Final Command team made several presentations on viral disciple making movements which were recorded and are being released as podcasts. You can access those by clicking on the following link:


2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Why Act This Way?

I want to create a dialogue about the spiritual formation of children. Realize that 35% of the world’s population falls in the ages of 4-14 years old. What if we adapted the best of chronological storying, discovery processes and obedience-based discipleship to the character development of children? What if we began to intentionally form the worldview of the children around us? What if we developed materials that others could use to shape the worldview of their children?

Most of the worldview studies I have read assume people already have a developed worldview since they are largely discussing adults. My earlier posts explored the value of using storying to reset worldview in people who grew up with something other than a Judeo-Christian one. A discovery process is critical to allow the biblical message to sink deep enough for a Kingdom of Heaven worldview to begin replacing the existing worldview. For children, the process is simpler since it is about the initial formation of the answers to the critical questions.

Kwast, "Understanding Culture"

Kwast, “Understanding Culture”

Parenting often focuses on the “Behavior–What is done?” level. We want our children to behave in ways that allow them to fit into their culture. We want them to stand out as exceptional, without standing out as “weird.” We want them to value things the way we do. We want them to believe like we do. But often we fail to consider the question of “What is real?” We assume the answers we have for such a question are self-evident, thus they will automatically be held by our children. Is such an assumption wise?

While behavior is important, the emerging values, beliefs and worldview which drive it are critical. Be sure your parenting and grand parenting goes deeper!


Hand It Over!

Next week I will return to this issue of discipling givers. But today I want to explore the matter of turning work over to the people among whom missionaries work. This has long been a troublesome topic. The team that worked in Kenya is but a microcosm of missions history.

Before we consider what has happened, let me share that my friend, and mentor, David Watson takes an extreme position on this matter. He counsels that you never start anything without a local partner, so you are raising up a leader to keep it going from day one. Since they are involved in leadership with you, it is never yours to turn over. Wrapping your brain around that counter-intuitive approach will “field dress” many of the Western pioneer mission strategies. We have to turn it over, because we do too much to begin with. We hold on too long because we want to make sure the local people will be able to do it our way when they are in control.

For some of us, that last word is the bottom line! C-O-N-T-R-O-L is the point of many struggles.

We wonder why so many Western boards have such struggles with local boards. We wonder why local leadership systems are stacked against foreign ownership. Maybe there are examples where we find ourselves in control battles because our controlling nature attracts local controllers!

I like David’s idea. But I have to confess it is a hard goal. It makes the front end very slow. It precludes our American efficiency model. It keeps us from rushing and making something happen by our drivenness, resources and/or ingenuity. But it may also save us from ourselves. Maybe we would not be seen as the brash, know-it-all Americans. Maybe we would be saved from witnessing the dead, empty carcasses of ministry ideas that were too foreign to work where we might attempt to force them to work. Maybe God will raise up locals who can be bridges into their communities.


What’s Up?

No, I did not “fall off the planet.” Yes, I have been woefully negligent of blogging.

The last three months have been challenging. My mother-in-law died. We moved our daughter and son-in-law two states away for graduate school. My mother died. With everything surrounding these three big events I have found it hard to concentrate enough to write.

Thankfully, God has been faithful. He has carried us through these challenges and continues to comfort us in His great love. We praise him that our daughter started her new job today and our son-in-law is well into his first semester of working on a PhD.

We are also making slow progress in dealing with our losses. Both our moms had hoarder tendencies, so clearing their respective abodes has taken much time. But even that has its place in processing our emotions.

Ministry opportunities are picking up steam so I plan to do some writing on here. We just kicked off a Beta test of a new missions training class–Engage!–that will combine materials from Pathways to Global Understanding and Discovery Bible Studies. I am writing the participants so the creative juices are flowing, again. Pray that I will build a healthy practice. I want to post twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Help me out by sharing your questions and/or thoughts on my posts. This flows more readily when it is a conversation, rather than a monologue.

John King


Still Learning My Way Around

Recently I was encouraged to put an index to some of my more useful blog posts, on this site. I have placed links to similar posts within posts, but I was not sure how to accomplish what was requested.

After I got on my site the next time I decided to check out the “Categories” and the “Tags” links (if you put your cursor over the words that follow either of these two, you will find they change color, meaning if you click on one you will be provided every entry that deals with a specific category, or every one that mentions the tagged topic. So the categories is sort of like a topical table of contents and the tagged words are sort of thematic indexes. This is what you get when you read the blog of a novice–I keep learning more of the features that are built into this blog format.

If you go to the top of this article you will see that just below the title, “Still Learning My Way Around,” there is a box that has “Category:” followed by several items like, “Bible Studies, Communication, Community Development, etc.” Click on any of those and you will get all of the posts I have grouped under than category.

In that same box, just below “Categories” is the option of “Tags:” which is followed by words like “Discovery Bible Studies.” If you click on that you will get the 10-11 articles that mention these.

Hopefully this is old news to most of you. But just in case you are still sort of new to this whole blogging scene (like I obviously am), I want to be sure you know how to use this feature. While I listed all the categories, I only gave you a few of the tags since there are more than 40 of them.

Let me know if any of these posts prompt questions. Some of my best writing happens when people ask good questions.


A Change on the Horizon

I am convinced God is calling me to become a full-time trainer of trainers. This is a journey He started me on in 2003. I never could have imagined an invitation to a fund-raising dinner would be how he would launch such a transition.

My tenure as the Pulpit Minister of the Stones River Church will close at the end of May. When I announced this on Sunday, March 6, several shared that they have seen it coming for a while. One even asked, “What took you so long?” It has been obvious that catalyzing the spread of the Gospel into new territory has become my passion. God has used this time to prepare me for my next phase of ministry. It has become obvious that a change is necessary.

Debra and I will continue to live here in Murfreesboro. Stones River Church will be our home congregation. But I will be travelling extensively to train others to do what God has been preparing me to do. Ten years ago, I could not have imagined this becoming my passion. Papa God planted a desire to go to Sierra Leone in my heart and then used my travels to that war-torn country to light a fire for the nations to come to know His glory.

My passion had always been local. I could not envision myself working globally. But the sweetest thing is how significant all of my ministry experiences become in this new phase. Before this change took root I had to learn the foundational importance of discipleship. This learning has to be experiential—not just abstract or theoretical. God used Sierra Leone to open me to being discipled by David Watson. Then he called me to start passing on what I was learning to others—men in jail, young adults and anyone who would listen.

While I have thought about this transition since early in 2006, I doubted my training. I have taken one missions course in all my academic work  and spent less than three months outside the United States. But God has given me some incredible experiences during the last eight years. (My lack of traditional missions training may have actually made it easier for me to think in non-traditional ways.) My focus on theology has certainly been a blessing. But most of all, God has blessed me with some great mentors.

Most of my thirty-one years of pastoral experience has been solo. Often I lamented feeling like I was attempting to “reinvent the wheel” since I did not have older preachers from whom to learn. But my training in Disciple Making Movements has come through relationships with two men–David Watson and Jerry Trousdale. It is exciting to think about what I have learned from these brothers and the opportunities that will come to work with them in the future. God is good!

Debra and I covet your prayers. We ask you to intercede for us and for the Stones River family. The last thing we want is for this transition to be damaging to this congregation. I want to see it grow and flourish. Pray for the shepherds. Pray that God will show us his plans for the future. This season should prove to be exciting and scary. We can be confident that as God leads us, there will be many blessings to come as we are faithful.

Pray that I will be successful in recruiting partners who will assist us financially. I have always been fearful of fund raising, but I reached the point where not stepping out would result in being disobedient.

Father, I praise you for giving me this passion. I claim your promise to do more than I can think or imagine. Bless me on this journey. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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