How to Engage in Spiritually Reproductive Behaviors

Most Christians can probably quote the command of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations.  Yet, how many actually know what it means or how to obey it?

In this episode, Ed Waken, a dad, husband, pastor, and disciplemaker shares his thoughts on how you and I can experience the joy of helping people follow Christ.

Ed is a practitioner.  I have known Ed for 7 years and in that time he has become a trusted friend and mentor.  Everything you hear in this episode comes straight from Scripture and his experience.  You will be blessed if you listen to this episode and you will likely want to listen to it again.

Here are some notes from our conversation:

Q: How would you define disciplemaking?

Nudging people toward Christ. Helping them surrender to Christ and helping Christ be formed in them.

Q:  So,if preaching and small groups don’t make disciples, what does?

  • Only disciples can make disciples.
  • It is difficult. It can be heartbreaking.
  • Get heart to heart with people to urge them to pursue Christ.
  • In small groups it is important to experience…
    • Saturation of the word together
    • Authenticity: confessing sins to one another
    • Together being sent out into the world to make disciples
  • Remember the rewards to come. Seek to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Q: Why is disciplemaking seen as optional?

  • Seen as church leaders job
  • We have reduced it to being trained to walk people through a curriculum
  • We tie discipleship to baptism which is usually reserved for ordained clergy
  • Pastors need to do a better job of showing that this is for everyone
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to make disciples
  • You don’t have to wait to share Jesus
  • The Spirit of God intuitively places in us a desire to pass on what we have gained
  • Over time we need to rekindle that fire

Q:  How do we get started?

  • Get desperate.
  • Find other people that are desperate.
  • Form Life Transformation Groups (for more on LTGs visit
  • Gather around the ‘one anothers’ of Scripture
  • Focus on multiplication, sending people out
  • Realize what the Lord has given you.
  • You have everything you need to go and make disciples
  • He has given you the desire and the ability to obey him.
  • Churches should coax out what is already in the believer!
  • Don’t wait until “you are ready.”
  • Jesus sent people out “before they were ready.” (ex. Woman at the Well, Gerasenes Demoniac)
  • When we will start believing that Jesus has the power to make disciples through us.

Q:  We’re busy people. How do we fit this in our schedules?

  • Create margins in your life. Create space to spend time with people.
  • Find the time even if it is late at night or early in the morning.
  • We find time for many things in this life but neglect meeting with other people who need Jesus.

Q:  What adjustments should traditional churches make to move toward becoming disciplemaking churches?

  • Spend time with people outside your normal spiritual group.
  • Incorporate prayer and listening into your hanging out times.
  • Ask Jesus to open your eyes to what is really going on around you.
  • Develop true community beyond the formalities.
  • Ask the Lord to show you who you could be investing your time into to see Christ formed in them.
  • Church is a family but we often operate like a school.

To connect with Ed you can follow him on Twitter, @EdWaken or visit his website at

If you found this episode helpful, please pass it along to someone you think might benefit.  Post it on your Facebook page, send the link to this post, or text the link from iTunes.

The goal of this podcast is to share encouraging stories and insights from people putting their faith into action so that together we might see Christ glorified.


How to create dependancy

From Toxic Charity by Bob Lupton,

Give once and you elicit appreciation;

Give twice and you create anticipation;

Give three times and you create expectation;

Give four times and it becomes entitlement;

Give five times and you establish dependency.

The Commandments of Ebola


Here is an update from our friend and servant of Christ, Jessy Togbadoya, who has bravely returned to Liberia to help protect his village from Ebola…

Hello Friends,
I arrived Monrovia last night and doing well. It took me three days to travel from Atlanta to Monrovia. The flight was routed through Washington Dulles, Brussels, Casablanca to Monrovia.

The BDA team in Monrovia greeted me with the basic commandments of Ebola:
1. Do not shake hands;
2. Do not hug;
3. Do not eat food with someone from the same bowl;
4. Do not play doctor when someone is sick…

These commandments may sound easy for someone from the west to implement, but is very challenging for Liberian people who are “touchy feely” and accustom to communial way of life. Please pray for God to give us the grace to implement these commandments. Amen.



West African Pastors Say Stop Giving $

“Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people.”  Bob Lupton, Toxic Charity

When you see a physical need, what is the first thing you think you have to offer?

I learned a great lesson a few years back about how sometimes our desire to help actually ends up hurting (to cite a great book titled “When Helping Hurts“).

It was a dark night in the village.  We had just finished a delicious meal of chicken and rice.

Now, we sat in a circle, talking and passing around a common shot glass of some sort of tea.

I couldn’t really see their faces because the only light came from the embers keeping the tea hot in the small kettle.

But, I could hear their voices.

They were pastors in West Africa.  We  traveled there to see their work, hear their vision, and discover how the kingdom was growing in this mostly Muslim country.

Each had experienced some form of persecution for their faith.  They struggled to pay their bills and feed their families.  The communities they served were what you might think of as rural African villages – straw huts, meals of rice and beans cooked over fires, dusty children with bright smiles running around everywhere.

As we talked, these pastors said something that I will never forget.

They shared about the Americans that come to Africa to help their people.  They talked about the many good things that they had seen over the years – building schools, wells, sharing the good news of the kingdom of God.

They talked about the vast amount of money that has come to Africa from America too.  And at this point, they had one emphatic wish.

“Stop sending your money to Africa!  We want your people but your money is crippling us.  Our people have become dependent. 

We are smart enough and can figure out how to make it on our own.  Please stop sending money.”

They were all in complete agreement on this point.

Our conversation continued.  I was both challenged and encouraged by their words.  It is not unusual to visit a place like this and get multiple requests to fund this or that project, to see this or that need and take it back to our church in America.

But, these pastors had a different vision.  They saw the damage that good and generous intentions can cause.

Americans are generous.  They want to help meet needs.  But, in doing so, we have often underestimated the creative and entrepreneurial potential of the poor – both at home and around the world.

Now their point was not to discourage generosity, but simply to suggest we start with relationship instead of finances.  Don’t lead with money.

Whether rich or poor, all are created in the image of God with capacity for good, meaningful, productive work and solutions to their own problems.  Our value is in who God made us to be not what we possess, can pay for, or even provide.

For the relative wealthy, though, sometimes the most valuable thing we think we have to offer someone in need is money.   We see a need, let’s give money to meet it.  So, we fund projects and pay for short term solutions.  And we feel good about our actions, like we are ‘changing the world.’

But, according to these men, what is really needed is something more than money.  They wanted relationship.  They wanted to learn from us but also teach us something.

They taught me an important lesson that night. They, in fact, increased my capacity to understand and serve well.  I was not just a rich American to them.

Sometimes there is a feeling of division between the giver and the receiver, between the helper and the one being helped.  But, in reality, I was not above or below them.  We were equals.  We were brothers in God’s family.

And the sooner we can begin to see all people that way – regardless of status – the sooner we can get on with doing what is truly good for each other.

How To NOT Get A Ministry Funded

photo credit: HowardLake via photopin cc

Churches get approached for funding of projects and ministries all the time.  It seems like everyone has their hand out these days.

And just about all of the requests are good ones.  They come from fruitful and effective ministries doing good work.

But, a little advice if you are looking to get some funding from a church.

1.  Give them a simple target to hit.  Don’t give the whole ticket price for your ministry or project and hope they give you whatever they decide.  I get tired of ministries needing thousands of dollars when in reality I know we will only give a fraction of that at best.  Break up the ministry or project into smaller bites.  It makes me more likely to consider helping if the funding target is manageable, clear, and realistic.

Have a fundraising plan.  If it just seems like you are calling down a list of churches, calling in favors from old friends, or just asking money from churches period, then you need to rethink your fundraising strategy.  Go beyond church.  There are a lot more opportunities out there than you might think.

3.  Think outside the box.  What is your cause?  Helping children? Hunger? Homelessness? Making disciples?  Then, is there a foundation or even a business that might also care about the same cause?  More and more businesses are getting involved in charitable work.  Do you really care where the money comes from for your computer lab or food pantry?  Does it have to be a church?

4.  Don’t give stuff away for free.  I am more likely to consider a ministry if they tell me they don’t need my church’s money.  I am also more likely to consider a ministry if I see they aren’t just asking us to fund free stuff for the people they are serving.  Either ask people to pay something or give them a job in the work of your ministry in order to earn it.  We were designed to work and earn.  Stop asking the church to fund free stuff for your people all the time.  There is a place for free, but too many ministries have too low of expectations for those they serve.

5.  Tell them when to stop supporting you. That sounds harsh.  But, I am likely to consider funding if I see that you have a plan to make the ministry more sustainable.  A lifetime of support is not appealing.  That tends to create dependency.  Give an exit strategy and thank those that have supported you.

6.  COMMUNICATE!  You want our money, well tell us how the ministry is doing and BE HONEST.  Don’t fudge numbers.  Don’t make up stories.  And when we come and visit, don’t make your needs seem greater than they are in order to keep the money rolling.

This advice might sound uncaring.  But, the reality is that I’ve seen a lot of good people doing good things with bad approaches to getting support.

If you do good work and God is in it, then you will be able to talk about it and people will want to fund it.  If you do what I am suggesting, you might have better results too.