Last week I attended the Launch Church Multiplication Catalyst Conference in Manchester. It was one of the best conferences, if not the best conference I have attended. The vision behind the conference is a desire to see a new future for the church in Europe. With the statistical trend of decline in the church in Europe, Launch is seeking to be a catalyst for church planting and multiplication.  The quality of the speakers, worship, venue and organisation were amazing! One of the main stage speakers was a man called Jossy Chacko. I want to use this blog to try and convey some of my main takeaways from Jossy. (I plan to try and do a few blogs on my experience of Launch.)

Jossy kicked off his talk by telling a room full of church leaders and planters to RELAX! “You don’t need to build the church, He [Jesus} will do it for you! Relax.” Refreshing! I have been to  many conferences with many supposed quick fix church growth/building tools. I love how Jossy launched his message by reminding delegates that Jesus said, “I will build the church.”

“You don’t need to build the church, He [Jesus] will do it for you.” Jossy Chacko

From that simple but profound reminder, Jossy began to delve in to the Great Commission. The Great Commission is about obedience. To GO, Make Disciples and to teach obedience, not just teach knowledge but to teach obedience. It’s an incredibly simple command, Go and make disciples. Jossy explained how in a recent survey world wide Jesus is number 3 in brand awareness to McDonalds and Coca-Cola. How can this be? Why is this? Christians need to be surrendering in obedience to Jesus. ‘Let it be, whatever you say, I will do it Jesus.’  This is beautifully shown by Mary at the Wedding at Cana when they had run out of wine and she tells the servants ‘Just do whatever [Jesus] tells you.’ “Just do it! Nike stole it from Mary.” Jossy Chacko! Discipleship is obedience!

Therefore, in order to be obedient we need to realign our priorities. In heaven there are two things we won’t be able to do. Find someone to share Jesus with and help the poor and needy. If we get to do everything else  in heaven then we need to in obedience prioritise finding people to share Jesus with and helping the poor and needy while we are here on earth!

“The only reason for any Christian to exist on the earth is to fulfil The Great Commission!”

“Two things you can’t do in Heaven:

1. Find someone to share Jesus with.

2. Help the poor and needy.”

Jossy Chacko

We need to get back to the simplicity of the message of the Bible. Hear and Obey! We have often defined Christian maturity by information, how much someone knows. But maturity is measured by obedience. I wonder how do we measure success from a sermon? Is it how many pats on the back you receive at the door? What if we started to measure the fruitfulness of our preaching by how many obey God’s word.

” Obedience is not a choice, love is! To obey more, love more. The root of it all is love” Jossy Chako

But what is the root of obedience? LOVE! John 14 v 15 Obedience is not a choice, love is.

I wonder how much do you love Jesus?

Our calling as leaders is to lead people into a deeper love of Jesus. This is what the church in Europe needs if it is going to see a brighter future – a generation of radical disciples who deeply love Jesus leading to obedience. In obedience we long to see many finding and following Jesus. Dr Peter Brierley notes that where growth is occurring in Europe one the primary reasons is that those churches are planting churches. I love how Jossy ended his talk by linking church planting and obedience.

“Church planting is a result of effective discipleship. Effective discipleship is the effect of obedience. Effective obedience is the effect of love.” Jossy Chacko

Do you love him?

I really appreciate you reading this! If it has impacted you in anyway please share it with others via Facebook, Twitter or any other way so others can be impacted too. It means a lot to me. Thank you.

*This was such a good conference I am already booked in for next year! You can join me

Band of Brothers

For two years running I have attended the XCEL men’s conference at Life Church Bradford with a few guys from church. Both years the journey home for me has been really significant. After a while, one of the guys will ask the question, “What is your main challenge/takeaway from the conference?” We then go round the car each explaining in which way we have been challenged. During last year’s conference I had a real sense we need to be accountable and journey together more than just on the journey home but throughout the year. After chatting with the guys we set up, ‘Band of Brothers’.

The four of us meet every other week first thing in the morning to chat about what is happening in our lives, where we are struggling, where we are seeking guidance from God and to pray together (and to eat of course!). I look forward to Band of Brothers. Meeting up with guys who cheer me on, who I know are there for me, who together we seek God’s best for each other and our community. Guys who are like my brothers.

I am convinced that in life it is vital that we have those ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters’ we ‘do life with’. Who we know have our backs. Who we trust and can be honest with. Who will laugh together but can be serious and listen to your heart.

“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” African Proverb

I believe it is so important to have a few people who you can truly be honest with knowing they are not going to judge you but will seek to build you up, and seek to support you.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We can often point to a few friends. That’s not the same as Band of Brothers. I’m talking Proverbs 18 v 24 kind of friends. There is a clear purpose and intentionality when we meet. That we are there to talk and not just about what the football score was etc but to go deeper. We found previously we would see each other have a great time but it was rare that we would go deeper. Band of Brothers intentionally creates that space that is so needed. I personally have found it so beneficial and look forward to Band of Brothers each fortnight.

““As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Last week a friend shared this video  which I hadn’t seen for a while. It challenged me to consider not only to be the best ‘brother’ in the Band of Brothers I can be, but also how am I passing it on. I have chatted a couple of times with the Band of Brothers about having the vision to multiply the Band of Brothers. What if each one of the four of us had another few we got together with, and did the same. What kind of impact would it have?

Who are you sharing your life with? Who is cheering you on? Who are you cheering on?

I encourage you to intentionally create space for a Band of Brother or Sisters to run with you as you seek to see His Kingdom come here on earth and you seek to realise your full Kingdom potential.