Nuggets from the Wired! Mine  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I'm in Atlanta at a conference on small groups and discipleship. Good stuff. It's still on the fire hydrant mode of delivery, but I thought I'd share some kernels, nuggets, wafers and other terms of small morsels of ideas with you to chew on:

  • Witty: "impression without expression results in depression...Spiritual Input without transformational output results in spiritual obesity." (meaning, if you impress an idea or information into a person that is not lived out)

  • Distinctive of Christianity among faith systems is that the "holier" you get, the more you should love and be in the midst of messy community, versus withdrawing as a least that's what Christ modeled.

  • Nothing in life is linear, everything is seasonal, wave-like, cyclical. Growth rates are not consistent, spurts are more natural. Constant linear growth curves suggest swelling not actual growth.

  • People typically join a group for the anticipated content, but stay for the relationships

  • Spiritual maturity is not about immitation but inhabitation

  • People don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect

  • It is possible to do ministry in such a way and at such a pace tha tyour work FOR God can destroy the work OF God in you

  • Want to move fast, go alone. Want to move far, go together. Community is needed.

See what you think. What reaction do they evoke in you?

Flourescent Bulbs of Hope  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I'm cheap. Well, I prefer to say frugal, financially efficient, dollar-smart, and other more complimentary terms. Last year I swapped out 90% of the old fashioned light bulbs in my house for those spiral-coil looking "high efficiency flourescent" because it would save me something like 20% in related energy costs over the next 5 years. This past weekend I sold my Mazda6 and bought a used Civic off of Craigslist because I'd save 50% in fuel costs (which is some real $$ these days). Ask my wife or any of my close friends and they'll tell you I can be an efficiency geek sometimes.

(Okay, now that I'm done confessing my personal oddities)

Efficiency is an alluring concept. The basic premise is that being optimally effective is accomplished by eliminating drain, drag and distraction. In bulbs its minimizing the flow of watts needed to generate light. For cars its how to maximize the combustion of fuel. Swimmers and runners will tell you breathing is about rhythm, depth and how you exhale. It's not just doing more with less, but doing less of what is not critical so you can do more that is mission critical.

As Christians we need to apply this truth principle beyond just the life of commercial expenses and busyness - into our spiritual and relational existence. Cut to the chase, avoid the snare of purposeless pursuits, free yourself from the chains and sins that "so easily ensnare us."

With that, I thought Pastor Jeff's recent devotional ( was powerful. There are some 1 liners in this short posting that warrant pause and consideration:

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. (NASB)

Warrior Poet*,
The ebb and flow of everyday provides ample opportunity
for aggravation and provocation. The emotional energy and fruitless
spiritual wattage wasted on empty conversations or churning over petty
irritations can sap you of your kingdom effectiveness, so guard your
heart. There are those who critique and those who tease, as well as the
jaded and hopeless who are sarcastic and cynical. Your soul must be
guarded by the setting of your mind on the things above and by choosing to
identify the trivial and distracting from the main. Do not let the agenda
of fools drain you of your focus, joy and effectiveness. The world is full
of jesters to amuse and distract—remain vigilant and guard your heart.

A Discipleship Blueprint (by John Walters)  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

The following was drafted up by John Walters...what do you think?

Essentials for healthy discipleship

· Heart for God and others…motivated by love
· Desire that others know God and experience life abundant
· An ability to connect with those who desire to know God better
o Relationship skills
o Time to build relationships with the disciple
· Evaluation of where the disciple is in their walk with Christ
o One on one time with disciple
o Intentional questions
· An agreement of where you want to take the disciple and where the disciple desires to go.
o Type of discipleship…new believer, leader etc.
o Envision where they could go and who they could be (God-sized)
o Encourage and motivate
· Strategy of how to get there.
o Books to read
o Ministry to participate in together
o Bible study and discussion
o Scripture memory
o Teaching about leadership
o Leading ministry
· Execution of the strategy.
o Accountability
o Prayer
o Ministry together
o Handing off ministry

Intersection of Leaderhip and Discipleship  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

What do you think the relationship between leadership and discipleship is?

What do you think about the ratio of our emphasis on one or the other?


the word "lead" appears 3 times in the Bible
the word "disciple" appears 29 times
the word "follow" appears 86 times

Just something I'm mulling over...what do you think it means for a group of people seeking to be a "missional church"?

Techno Milestone  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Weak as it may sound, I'm very excited that I finally conquered the world of Blogger Widgets and can now offer an email subscription function. Check out the "Stay Tuned" widget on the right menu, enter your email and enjoy regular updates about the discussion that takes place on this site.

it's the little victories sometimes.

The Work of the Unqualified  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

At multiple junctures in my life I've been reminded of just how much God enjoys using the "unqualified" to do His great work. As Paul recognized from his own life, "in my weakness You are strong." It's an important thing for us to remember, because God tends to push and put us in situations where we are acutely aware of our inadequacy...which is the point. How will we respond when pushed into a position of dependency and self-insufficiency?

Here's a fairly good commentary on that very subject by means of a quick survey of Biblical characters who wrestled with similar anxieties:

(be sure to click the "read more" hyperlink under the first 2 paragraphs of sample text)

Good...but definitely not Safe  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

As we think about how we live as both disciples of Jesus and of discipleship recruiters for His Kingdom, I like this tongue-in-cheek blog posting from

#77. Offering a safe approach to life.
Erwin McManus, an author and minister at Mosaic in California, has this theory that second generation Christians leave the church because they're offered a boring faith. The life their parents offer them with God is dull and monotonous and vanilla. Whereas the world is seen as fun and wild and an adventure. I think he's right. Somewhere along the way Christianity turned into the "safe approach" to life. What was once wild and free and raw in the Bible became kind of domesticated. Look at the biggest Christian radio station in Atlanta. Their motto is "Safe for the whole family." They don't focus on the quality of the music or the enjoyment you'll get from listening to the station. They just tell you that if you listen, everything will be safe. I don't want my faith to be that way and I don't think God does either. Love is a dangerous idea. Grace is a dangerous idea. Forgiveness is the kind of idea that will mess your life up, for the better, but there's nothing safe about loving your enemy. That's what I want for my life. Let's not be safe. Let's be real and raw and alive.

Does the Church Do Discipleship or do Disciples Become the Church?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Alan Hirsch emphasized recently that:

Christ followers need to reestablish their core task as making
disciples--discipleship. Discipleship, training others to follow Jesus, is such
a core task that we should not envision the church as having a mission of
discipleship, rather we should see the mission of discipleship as having a
church to support it.

Discipleship is important for several reasons:
1. discipleship determines the quality of spiritual movements
2. whatever substitutes for discipleship is what the church looks like (in
America, for instance, consumerism commonly gets substituted for discipleship so
instead of making disciples, we work to satisfy consumers)
3. leadership is an extension of discipleship; the type of leaders you have
is determined by the disciples you are making.

In summary, Alan said we need missionally responsive, culturally adaptive, organizationally agile, and multiplication minded disciple makers. These types of disciple makers will create a movement that was characteristic of the first century church as well as the church in China in contemporary times. Although many say there are no widespread examples of this type of movement in North America, some small group networks at least have potential to morph into a widespread disciple making movements. Do you see this happening anywhere? And, if not, why?

Interesting idea...When Jesus was commissioning His rag tag gang of followers, He used what in Greek is called an "aorist tense verb" for "Go" meaning that "While you are, as you are going" do these things. Make disciples. Baptize them - and teach them about Me! Everything else is gravy.

Human DOings - the Discipleship Blunder  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I was listening to Bill Loveless (of Christ is Life Ministries) address a group of ministers today about what it means to experience Christ doing His work IN and then THROUGH us. He referenced saying that fit his point: there's a reason we're called human BEings and not human DOings, but all we seem inclined to is to tell people what to DO and rarely how to BE. He then went on to comically say, "that kind of discipleship results in a lot of do-do-doing and ends up looking and smelling about the way it sounds!"

In many ways, that hits pretty close to the mark of what can cripple effective discipleship. We translate a life on the Vine, an abiding in Him, a drinking from a well that never runs dry and a daily Resurrection experience into a task list. Not that the "do" things won't play a part and be characteristic of a disciple of Yeshua - but the activity does not equate to relationship.

How have you, as a discipler, communicated and guided a young believer in the "being" of following Christ? Do you have some success stories? Share them!

Being Missional = Being Open to Surprises?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

This picture is so great from a number of perspectives. My initial thought was it captured humorously what it can look like when we become slaves to a program, process, timeline or agenda that we blindly disregard necessary deviations. We are dead-set on painting a line, or covering an aspect of discipleship, or leading towards an end that we fail to stop and move the proverbial dead tree from the way so it can truly be an excellent course. Only in hindsight does it become "obvious," and not always even then!

10 Questions for a Leader  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

borrowed from Craig Groeschel's are some good self-check questions as a Christian Leader:

Today we’ll examine some questions that surround our Relationship with Christ.

1. Is my burden for prayer growing or diminishing?
2. Does my heart break for the things that break the heart of God?
3. Have I grown accustomed to or accepted sin in my life?
4. Am I doing ministry out of an overflow of God’s work in my heart or out of my own strength? 5. Has my teaching and ministry deepened, changed, or evolved in a positive way in the last year?
6. Do I have a sincere peace that I’m living an authentic life of spiritual integrity?
7. Is my heart growing larger for people and God or is it shrinking?
8. Am I closer to God today than I was a year ago?
9. Do others comment that they can clearly see evidence of God’s work in my life?
10. What did I learn in God’s word this week?

Which of these resonate with you? What else would you ask?

A Discipleship Bloguzzles: flipping the wrong light switch?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , , , ,

The internet has rocked the way the world communicates. First we had antique-feeling dial-up to access our Juno/AOL/Netscape email. Then faster connections made email a common thing. Then chat rooms replaced coffee shop social gathering. Faster connections and familiarity gave way to instant messaging. Now it's crazy to not have 2-5 email addresses, a personal homepage, a profile on "social networks" (facebook, myspace, etc.), to share pictures and videos via the web and to communicate into the void of humanity with things like Blogs, Vlogs, Twitter or whatever comes next.

The question is always: does the medium or mode of communication get the job done. Is it truly improving our progress towards relational or general goals, or is it just adding more "stuff" we do? It's the same question we have to wrestle with as Christian leaders: do the programs and things we spend time, money, hours and mental energy on truly fulfill the commission of the Church (big C)? If not...why are we doing it?

So, my "bluzzle." It's a new term I'm copyrighting. That and it's root form, Bloguzzle. Combining "Blog" + "Puzzle." Blogs are a puzzle to me. Sometimes blogs start grassroot movements across normal borders - triggering daily "hits," countless "comments," and facilitating a dynamic discussion of ideas without the hindrances of time and location. Others become little more than a person talking to themselves, letting faint echoes register as conversation.

Which brings me to the Bloguzzle of this particular site. To date there have been about 1,400 "hits" or visits to this site. People from over 14 countries and more than 10 states have perused the content. Pretty cool, right? Sure, it sounds good. But, there are really about 5-10 people who frequently touch base and see what's happening. Yet, while there are 1,400 visits, less than 50 "comments" have been made. More than a dozen major postings, but little actual conversation. The cyber crickets are beginning to drowned out even the delusional echoes so common to blog sites.

The Bloguzzle begs a question: is a "blog" and this particular expression of a blog effective for our purpose of pursuing discipleship? Does the content truly help you in our joint cause? Does the format truly facilitate helpful exchanges of ideas? Is this addressing a need effectively...or, is it a worthwhile experiment that has failed to have results justifying its continuation?

In the Love & Respect marriage study we're doing right now at Grace Point, Dr. Eggerichs describes how "crazy" it would be for a person to stand at a wall flipping a switch up and down endlessly when the lights are obviously not coming on. He describes the lunacy of that scenario as an illustration of the craziness we often times live out in relationships and efforts - doing the same thing over and over expecting results that are obviously not coming. Is this bloguzzle a sign of the wrong light switch or just some other issue?

YOU are the litmus papers of this lab study. Pink or blue? Good or bad? Valuable or just "okay"? Let me know.

Paul says in Hebrews to loosen yourself from the "sins that so easily ensnare you" so that we can run more fully and freely towards Christ. Sometimes it's not just "sin" we have to loosen ourselves from, but less than effective investments of time and energy. It's a healthy leadership practice: to periodically run inventory on how you're stewarding the time God has given you for the purpose and life He calls you to.