Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apprenticeship: Week Two (1)

One aspect of the Apprenticeship is that each cohort has an online discussion group. In this context, the members of the cohort interact with the learning assignments, ask questions and share what they are learning. I thought I would share with you some of the posts from this week. Very encouraging to see what God is doing in only the second week!


I'm checking in today as excited. I think I'm finally starting to get this listening thing... Tuesday I felt the Lord urging me to get up in the mornings to spend intentional time with Him; so that's what I did Wednesday morning. Wednesday around noon I found myself responding to some frustrations differently... more Christ-like.

...if you would have told me a year ago that I'd be able to literally quote what God was saying to me, I would have said you were nuts (or that I went nuts).

I had a revelational conversation with someone earlier this week, and it really opened my eyes to the ideas this group is trying to teach - having an "intimate conversational relationship" with the Holy Spirit. I have been viewing scripture through the lenses that I was given growing up, and it is amazing what you can see when you are given new lenses.

I feel like this is the first time in my life where I actually turn to God first when I need Him and it has brought a great amount of peace to me as I do. It's really been an amazing experience amongst the turmoil in my life.

This journey is definitely something I have needed to be a part of. Especially right now in my life I am experiencing lots of distractions just with how busy things have recently gotten. Having some type of structure and a CO2 partner like this will help me to seek God's heart in clearer ways and a more disciplined way.

I too have learned to appreciate Scripture much more since learning to hear directly from the Lord. I would also add that Scripture means more to me now that I'm regularly checking in with my own heart. Scripture was always meant to interact with the real-life struggles, fears, and joys of the heart of the believer. Divorced from interactions with the real workings and condition of the heart, Scripture becomes a lifeless book of rules.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apprenticeship Week One

I'll be reporting from time to time on how the Apprenticeship is going. In the video below, Tim Pynes tell about the first week with his cohort.

Each week there are learning assignments. The first week's assignments focused on learning about and then implementing the "church of two" (CO2). Each individual reports in their Discussion Forum what they are learning/experiencing. See below for a quote from one of the guys in Tim's cohort.

P.S. The Ning site that Tim mentions in the video is not


My wife and I have been doing C02 together over the past week. It has been awesome to have a daily check-in where we focus on our relationship with the Lord together. It's so easy to get busy around the house, cleaning up after the kids, and collapsing on the bed in exhaustion without making a focused effort to encounter Father together. It's been great. I'm thankful for the dynamic of doing C02 with my spouse.

The most surprising thing I encountered by using the SASHET method was an awareness of the state of my heart. I am a very driven, task-oriented person. It's easy for me to ignore the posture of my heart.

By using SASHET, it forced me to slow down and recognize how I am feeling. I like how John says that intimacy is the result of mutual self-disclosure. (JW: Actually, this is Kent Smith's quote!) As I recognize my intimate heart-posture and share that with my wife and with Father, I feel a deeper level of intimacy developing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The 10:2b Virus (3)

Here's the story of how the 10:2b virus got started. (Of course, it really got started with Jesus a long time ago. But, this is the story of how two simple guys rediscovered this simple concept.)

It was October 2, 2002. My friend Kenny Moore and I were having breakfast. (At the time, Kenny was the Director of Church Planting for the Southern Baptists in Colorado.) We were discussing saturation church planting in Colorado. That is, what would it take to see a vibrant family of Jesus (ie, a church) within easy reach of every person, culturally and geographically, in the state of Colorado.

We had both been around long enough that we were pretty burned out with the typical programs or campaigns that Christians come up with to "fulfill the Great Commission". We found ourselves drawn to Luke 10. What would happen, we wondered, if we were to take seriously Jesus' instructions in the second half of verse two to "beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest"? How different that seemed from the usual man made strategies! Being great men of faith (!), we decided to give this a try for seven days. We agreed that we would pray this prayer for Colorado with each other on the phone every day for a week.

Well, that small step was the beginning of Kenny and me praying that prayer almost every day for six years. During that time, we saw many answers and learned many lessons from the Holy Spirit. (Who knew there was so much to learn about a half a verse!) One insight was that "beseech" was an imperative verb (ie, a command) and that this was something that Jesus wanted all of his followers to do. We began teaching people about this command. (We called this "infecting them with the 10:2b virus".)

In 2005, Jim Montgomery, the founder of DAWN Ministries wrote in more detail about the beginnings of this "virus". You can read about it here:

In the video below, Jim Mellon tells more about the current spread of the "virus".


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The 10:2b Virus (2)

The Luke Ten Community is defined by seven core practices. Anyone who is seeking to live out these practices qualifies to be part of this Community. These practices are spelled out in The LK10 Invitation which you can read here:

Here's Practice #4: Praying Lk 10:2b

In LK. 10:2, Jesus made a startling statement. In front of Him were 84 (12 + 72) church planters (“sent ones”, apostles). That sounds like a lot to us, but His evaluation was that it was only a “few”. Apparently, He saw the need for many more. And, in addition to identifying that need, He gave the solution. He commanded them to engage in the practice of “beseeching the Lord of the Harvest for more workers”. In this context, workers are both people of peace and more church planters.

We engage this practice with our CO2 partner (as well as others) for the region we are called to as close to daily as possible. This relentless widow lady in LK. 18 is our model for this kind of tenacious praying.

Key quote: “The 10:2b Prayer is the leadership solution.” -Kenny Moore

In the video below, Jim Mellon tells of some amazing answers to this prayer. Notice the wide variety of harvest workers that the Lord of the harvest has sent to Jim and Kathy. Notice also how naturally mission flows from this kind of praying.

More from Jim tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The 10:2b Virus (1)

Over the next few days, I'll be sharing an interview with Jim and Kathy Mellon who are church planters in Killeen, TX. For several years they have been faithfully praying the prayer that Jesus instructed His followers to pray in Luke 10:2b...

Beseech the Lord of the Harvest to thrust out laborers into the harvest.

In addition to the video below which is the first part of my interview with Jim and Kathy, I just received the following email from Jim. As you read what Jim wrote and watch the videos over the next few days, I want you to pay attention to the idea that "God does the heavy lifting". That is, that mission isn't something we strain to do. ("We must be more missional!") Rather, it's something that flows almost effortlessly from prayer.


Email from Jim...

I am excited that we had 5 unbelievers at our HC meeting yesterday. The guy who hosted this particular meeting is a recently retired army Sargent [3 tours in Iraq and a Bronze star]. He had a poker game at his house Saturday night and invited the guys to church at his house Sunday morning. One guy brought his wife and was pretty quiet. One guy confessed that "He is the worse sinner in the room because he use to know the Lord and has been backslid for years" He rededicated his life in front of everyone and wants to be mentored. Another young solder shared that he has had a pulling towards God recently and couldn't believe he was sitting in a church meeting. The last guy sat in the kitchen while the meeting was going on. I sat with him as we had coffee and he shared that he was having trouble integrating after his recent return from Iraq. The whole group spent the afternoon eating and watching football. I look forward to what the Lord will do with this group of soldiers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

CO2: A new (old) way of discipling

CO2 is a very flexible tool. I have been doing it with one partner almost every day for three years. At other times, the Lord has told me to do it for a week or a month with someone to help them see what it was like.

This summer, Randy Haragan from San Diego contacted me in response to one of my blog posts about listening to God. (See picture of Randy with one of his kids.) As I talked to Randy on the phone, I felt the Lord directing me to offer to do a CO2 with him for 30 days. Randy accepted my offer and we had a great time being a "church of two" long distance.

I asked Randy if he would share with our blog what this experience was like for him. See what he wrote below. His comments reveal how disciplining can occur through a CO2 in a way that is natural and non-authoritarian.


I recently concluded a thirty day CO2 experiment with John White. Let me tell you about my background leading up to this and what I learned.

My wife Donna and I have been married for more than 21 years. We have five children (ages 19, 17, 12, 2, and 1) and until almost three years ago were both supported ministers in a large church in San Diego. I grew up in the restoration heritage and since 1980 have been associated with a branch of the churches of Christ known as the discipling movement. For more than 20 years I served in the full-time ministry. During my earliest experiences with discipling relationships, we drew heavily on Coleman’s "Master Plan of Evangelism" and Getz’s series, "Building Up One Another". At first these close relationships were natural, spontaneous and transformational! In time as this movement grew both in number and pride, “discipling” became an authoritarian hierarchical system. We understood our relationships as either “over or under”. What was once an expression of grace became burdensome and often harmful. With both fear and excitement I agreed to the CO2 experiment.

Here are some valuable lessons I learned. From the first to the last I was struck with John’s humility. Though John was the expert, I never felt talked down to. His humility and vulnerability were endearing. With genuine curiosity, John would usually reply to my questions with his own questions that drew forth my sense of God’s leading. John demonstrated both flexibility and consistency in our commitment to connect daily. I primarily learned by John’s example.

We would practice SASHET and then share with each other what we were hearing (or in my case attempting to hear) from the Lord. This would naturally lead into other areas about life, our pasts, marriage, church, and occasional academic discussions of early church history. John would share about what he was hearing and offer helpful suggestions to help me hear. During the month that we were CO2ing I made progress in listening to and expressing my own heart and even experienced a few times in which I really believe I heard the Lord….even as I write this I sense my own tentativeness. I loved doing SASHET and now practice it with others in my life. I am continuing to practice stillness so that I can hear the Lord more clearly.

Prior to and during this time with John, my family and I have been meeting with some other families in a home church. John was always willing to share ideas that we might find helpful in the house church. We are excited about what God is doing here in San Diego and believe that in some small way we are getting to be a part of it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CO2 in Australia (3)

Today is the last segment of my interview with Maree Watson from Australia. Here are some things that strike me in this video (see below)...

*Mission flows spontaneously from listening. No one told Maree that she "should" reach out to her friends. She very naturally saw that her shop (she's a hairdresser) is her place of ministry. And, she understands that most of her clients would never set foot in a church building but they enjoy coming into her shop.

*Maree has a sense from the Lord that it's time to begin to focus outward and she has been praying for a "person of peace" (The 10:2b Prayer). (Note: When you pray this prayer daily, it changes your "vision". You begin to watch expectantly for God's answers.) In the video, Maree tells about a "divine encounter" with a woman who may be an answer.

*Maree's story also illustrates the idea that a "person of peace" has already been prepared by God to hear the message even though they might not yet be a follower of Jesus. Reaching out to unbelievers in this way is not about mastering the subject of apologetics. Instead, it's about being alert to those in whom God has been working preveniently.

Lord of the Harvest, we join with Maree today in beseeching you to thrust out many people of peace and many church planters in Australia and connect them with Maree. We pray that her life and her shop will be full of your presence to such a degree that people will come from miles around to get some of what she's got. May many become passionate followers of You and listeners to You as a result of her teaching. May many vibrant families of Jesus be birthed from her ministry.


Friday, September 17, 2010

CO2 in Australia (2)

In part two of my interview with Maree, she describes her experience with "two way" journaling. Her journal has become her "treasured possession" because it's her way of remembering all that the Lord has been teaching her. She observes that the "guilt thing" ("I haven't read my Bible in four days!") is completely gone because she so enjoys her conversations with the Lord now.

Her conclusion? "CO2 has brought me from being a servant of the Lord to being His friend."

Listen to Maree in her own words in the video below.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

CO2 in Australia (1)

Every CO2 story is unique and carries with it important lessons that we all can learn from. In the first part of my interview below with Maree Watson from Australia, I was impressed with several things.

First, we can see that the simple CO2 "virus" is easy to catch. Maree didn't even catch it from another person but from our website. She read the instructions and began doing it on her own. (See the CO2 resources in the right column of this blog. There is a video, an eBook and a brochure explaining how a "church of two" works.)

The second thing I see is that the Lord had prepared her by creating a spiritual hunger. She was "earnestly wanting to hear God's voice". Then, the Lord prepared a partner for her who responded eagerly when she heard about the CO2 concept. This reminds us that our job is not to try to talk anyone into a CO2 but to look for those whom the Lord has prepared.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CO2 and 10 2b - Going Viral

At the National House Church Conference, I had the opportunity to interview Tony Dale who is one of the founders and leaders of House2House Ministries. Tony and his wife, Felicity, had just returned from a trip to the Philippines and to Australia. Tony had remarked to me that he was hearing talk of CO2s and of the 10:2b Prayer in both places. See the video below for his comments.

Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point explains that some ideas, if they are "sticky" enough, can spread like viruses. These ideas are said to be "sneeze-able". They spread easily and rapidly from one person to the next. I believe that this is part of the explanation for the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first few centuries. And, I believe that this is at the heart of the current house church movement. It's not about huge organizations and massive marketing campaigns. Rather, God is using simple but powerful ideas spreading from person to person to bring deep and lasting impact.

Praying for the spontaneous and viral spread of vibrant families of Jesus,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

White Cohort

In the past few days, I’ve introduced you to the Smith Cohort and the Pynes Cohort. Today you will meet the White Cohort. Like the Pynes Cohort, my group will function as a virtual community although many of the people know each other. We also have an international element with Noah Cremisino in New Zealand.

One element of the virtual cohorts is conversation via internet discussion forums. Tim’s group will be experimenting with a Ning site and my group will try using a private Facebook group. We’ll let you know what we discover.

At the National House Church Conference last week, I caught up with two of the CO2s that will be in my cohort. See the video below for a bit of their stories. Notice that some of the cohort members are already thinking about how to pass the learning on to others.

Your questions/comments?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Pynes Cohort

For the last several days, you’ve had an introduction to the (Kent) Smith Cohort which, as I’ve mentioned, is face to face. The (Tim) Pynes Cohort, by contrast, is virtual. With the exception of the CO2 pairs, the people in this cohort don’t know each other and will not meet in person over the 12 week Apprenticeship. So, this will be an important part of the experiment as we pay attention to how community develops and how learning occurs in this virtual context.

As I’ve mentioned before, Tim Pynes brings an important passion for coaching to the Apprenticeship. In addition to facilitating and coaching his own cohort, he will also be training/sharpening Kent, Chadd, myself and some future cohort leaders in coaching skills this fall.

In the video below, you will see one of the CO2s that will be in the Pynes Cohort. I was able to catch up with David and Les at the National House Church Conference for a short interview. Following that, Tim gives us a brief introduction to coaching.

Your comments/questions?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Smith Cohort (3)

In the video below, Dr. Kent Smith talks about the third practice, meeting together as a family of Jesus. His comments help us understand why house church is so much more than changing venues from a special “church” building to a home. It is, in fact, a “whole different animal”. Failure to understand this has resulted in some people becoming disillusioned with house church.

One of the goals of the Apprenticeship is to train followers of Jesus in how to meet in such a way that we take seriously the fact that Jesus is the Head of His church. He is no longer the “honored guest” in our gatherings. Rather, He is “the master of ceremonies”. He brings the agenda when we meet. This changes everything!

And, church becomes very simple. Listen to each other’s hearts. Listen to Jesus’ heart. Everything else flows from that.

So, watch the video below.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Listening to God: The three Ts

In today's video below, my good friend, Dr. Kent Smith (professor at the Graduate School of Theology at ACU), explains the three practices or rhythms that are the focus of the Apprenticeship for all three cohorts. (BTW, Kent's wife, Karen, is in the background.)
1. First practice. Individually spending time with Jesus as close to every day as possible. Entering into that intimate conversational relationship. This is the starting place and foundation for everything else.
2. Second practice. Connecting with one other person on the heart level as close to daily as possible. Sharing what we are hearing from God. This is the CO2 (church of two). This is the basic building block for every larger expression of church.
3. Third practice. Connecting with a spiritual family on a heart level at least once each week. Listening to God together. (called house church, simple church, etc.)
Note that Kent is introducing a new way to talk about how we listen to God which he calls the three “Ts”. Turn-tune-take.
1. Turn your attention to God. Quiet yourself. Fix your attention on God.
2. Tune into spontaneous thoughts and emotions. We believe that this is often how the Spirit communicates with us.
3. Take note of what you hear. Write it down. Two way journaling.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Smith Cohort (1)

Part of what I’ll be doing in this blog over the Fall is reporting on the LK10 Apprenticeship. During the Fall, three cohorts of around 10 people each will function as small "communities of practice". One cohort, led by Kent Smith, will be face to face. The other two, led by Tim Pynes and myself will be virtual. Our learning will focus on the first three of the seven LK10 Practices. (see below for more on this)

My sense is that the Apprenticeship will become another powerful tool (like the 10:2b Prayer and CO2s) towards the end of seeing "a vibrant family of Jesus within easy access of every region and cultural group". Our hope is to be able to offer many more cohorts in 2011.

Today, I want to introduce you to the cohort that Kent Smith (and Chadd Schroeder) will be leading. This cohort is part of the Master’s Degree program at the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University. This group was introduced to the basic rhythms of the Apprenticeship by Kent, Chadd and myself at a retreat last weekend outside of Abilene. I was very impressed by both the hearts and minds of this group of young adults. They are passionate for Jesus and hungry to learn. (And, these guys can really sing!)

The video below will give you a bit of a feel for what this cohort looks like. (I want to encourage the members of this cohort to be "story collectors". Listen to the Lord and see when there is a story in your cohort that the rest of us on the blog need to hear about. Do a short video interview and send it to me.)


For more on the Seven Practices of LK10, see

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sowing seed

There's been some confusion about the finances involved in the Apprenticeship. I want to clear that up.

But first I want you to consider two numbers: $717 and $79.

$717 is the cost per semester hour at the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University. The typical 12 hour class load for one semester comes to $8604.

$79 is the cost per 45 minute coaching session on the website of a Christian ministry we looked at.

We considered charging a fixed amount for the LK10 Apprenticeship but rejected that idea for one reason... We are committed to making listening to God the starting place for everything.

Instead, we have asked everyone in the Apprenticeship to come as close as they can to these commitments...

1. For a period of 12 weeks, set aside 10% (a tithe) of your income as belonging to the Lord in a special way. (Of course, it all belongs to Him.)

2. Invest some part of that 10% each month in the person who is facilitating/coaching your cohort. (This is the principle that Paul set forth in 1 Cor. 9:11. "If we have sowed spiritual seed in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?" The facilitator of your cohort will be investing in you in several ways including two coaching sessions each month.)

3. The amount invested in your facilitator each month comes from your listening to God. The amount could be $5/month or $500/month. Whatever God tells you.

Please understand that we are not advocating tithing as a Biblical mandate. (I could either side of that issue.) The last thing we want to do is to put someone back under legalism. Rather, we are setting this forth as a spiritual discipline (like "checking in" with your CO2 partner as close to every day as possible) for three months.

I understand that there were sometimes serious financial abuses in traditional church. However, I also believe that it's time to return to the principle that Jesus taught - "the worker is worthy of his wages" (Lk. 10:7)

The leaders of the cohorts will be investing deeply in the members of their cohorts to make this a high quality learning experience. (In fact, one of our cohorts will be made up entirely of master's level graduate students at ACU. That's how good the training will be!) We believe the Kingdom principle is a reciprocal investment (God determining the amount) into the lives of those leaders.


For more on this subject see my commentary on 1 Cor. 9:1-14 at

Sunday, September 5, 2010

House2House Conference

At this moment I'm in Dallas for the House2House National Conference. I had the privilege of facilitating the main session yesterday (Saturday) morning. Our goal was to illustrate what leadership looks like when we really take seriously the idea that Jesus is the leader. I shared with the conference this thought provoking quote from Kent Smith. "What does it mean to be a leader in a kingdom when you are not the king?" Then, we brought the whole Board of H2H Ministries up front as a panel to talk about how this worked out at our Board retreat back in March. I think it was a great picture of what this new leadership paradigm looks like.

I've also been interviewing people who are living out our LK10 Practices. Jim and Cathy Mellon (Killeen, TX) have some amazing 10:2b stories. Marie in Australia shared how CO2 has transformed her relationship with the Lord. Richard and Peg (soon to be) Hijar (Albuquerque, NM) talk about why they have joined the Apprenticeship. (And, Peg did a great job of leading two breakout sessions on women in leadership.) I'll get some more video this morning. I'll be sharing those video interviews with you in the weeks to come on this blog.

This afternoon I drive with Kent and Karen Smith to Abilene for a retreat with Kent's graduate students. These folks will form one of the three cohorts in the Apprenticeship this fall so I'm really looking forward to our next day together!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

apprenticeships (3)

I want to introduce you to Tim Pynes today.

Tim will be leading the third Apprenticeship cohort. I want to focus on Tim because he brings a strong value for coaching to the whole LK10 Community. In addition to being on the Board of Directors of LK10, he has been a leadership coach for many years.

In all three cohorts, each member will be on an individual coaching call twice a month. This flows out of our fundamental belief which is stated by Tony Stoltzfus this way, "God initiates change in our lives - He has a change agenda for us, and is always speaking and always arranging circumstances to bring it to our attention." Coaches help us pay attention to these things that God is initiating.

The Tim's cohort is almost full. If you are still considering the Apprenticeship, you should email Tim right away.

If we run out of room before you get in, we apologize. And, we want you to know that there will be another opportunity in January. In addition, I'll be reporting in this blog what we are learning in the Apprenticeships this fall.