Our guest today is a CP Catalyst with E3 Partners. He was born in Oklahoma City, OK and grew up in a Southern Baptist family but didn’t surrender to Christ and His mission until he was 20 years old. Now, at 26, he’s attended both Southwestern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminaries.
I do want to mention that we're using a pen name for our guest today because, even though he's in the U.S., he's not sure where God might call him next.
What we Talked About
Getting to know CJ
What is a CP Catalyst?
CJ's goal is to come into a city, find where God's spirit is moving, train believers in best practices for evangelism, discipleship, church planting and leadership multiplication. In short, sharing Jesus and training others to share Jesus too. And praying that God would start a Church planting movement.
What led CJ to the ministry he's now in?
He was working as a Youth Associate Pastor at a Church in Texas. His pastor asked him to change positions with the goal of reach the Hindu and Muslims in their community. The Church had been in place for 8 years and hadn't yet been successful in reaching them.
He was overwhelmed; Church planting and discipleship among Hindu and Muslims was foreign to him. But three days later, someone gave him the book, T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution and he went on an “expedition” with e3 Partners, which included training on how to share the Gospel, engage the lost, start discipleship groups that lead to healthy churches, and how to multiply leaders.
Then the trainer, Jeff Sundell, said “Go!” Go do it.
On the first day out they met a Muslim man and shared the Gospel with him. After a two hour conversation he repented and believed. And about two weeks later they had a household full of Muslim Background Believers, who they were discipling towards healthy Church.
After about two months, CJ reported back to his pastor that they had planted a Church of Muslim Background Believers but he didn't like that. He didn't believe it wasn't a Church and had a number of questions about Church structure and discipline.
You can't be a member of two different Churches at the same time.
Because of that, they parted ways peacefully and CJ joined up with e3 Partners.
How did you connect with your (now) wife?
CJ was in Oklahoma City, working part time with a Church that wanted to bring some of the Church Planting Movement (CPM) practices online. Last April, God aligned their paths. Two of their common friends were trying to get them to go on a blind date, though neither friend knew the other was trying to do that.
When they met, they really hit it off. CJ saw that she had a passion for Christ that would push him forward so they started dating. And very quickly knew that they were going to get together.
They would minister together at Mosques. And she shared the Gospel over 100 times in her job at the hospital. Doing that, she saw a few people come to Christ.
Was it scary the first time you shared the Gospel at a Mosque?
But after a couple of experiences, he discovered that he often felt more welcomed and loved walking into a Mosque than walking into a Church. They treated him like a guest and even the Imams would take the time to greet them.
Of course, many times, they just wanted to convert him.
Often, while the Muslims were in their prayer line, CJ would sit in the back and pray some pretty specific, targeted prayers.
If we're going to expect great things from God, we need to attempt great things for God. (William Carey)
Meaningful quote and Scripture
You find where the Spirit of God is working and then you pray for it, you encourage it, and you serve it. – Troy Cooper
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
What challenges have you faced
Back in 2009, he wasn't following Christ and his path had led him to attempted suicide. God rescued him and he was told in ICU that he should have died. Then God set him on a trajectory he never would have chosen.
But as soon as he surrendered his life to Christ, he felt the call to enter full-time ministry.
Engaging Missions Leadership Minute
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About CJ's ministry
What got you to Florida?
Honestly, God wrestled him into that position. Getting married, he didn't want to continue in a support-based ministry. He was looking for a full-time position to do the kind of ministry he's doing now. And there were several positions open, complete with benefits.
But as he was taking with Troy Cooper and hearing the vision for what it would look like to minister alongside him, God spoke to him clearly. As he was going to pick up his fiance (now wife), he heard God direct him to move to Florida. Almost audibly.
So he knew that he needed to stay with e3 Partners and work with Troy.
What do the different “soils” mean?
First, the person of peace concept is revolutionary. We see it in the ministry of Christ. And, by using the Gospel, asking spiritual questions, and listening to see whether God is moving. If they seem open, they may be close to relationship with Christ.
If not, maybe we should invest our time elsewhere.
But if God does seem to be moving, maybe we should invest in them.
In a nutshell, we're looking for a God-prepared person or an open door.
But once we've invested in them, that doesn't mean that it's a done deal. Some people accept the Gospel but have no depth while others allow the cares of life to choke out the Gospel.
Using the Parable of the Sower (or Soils), CJ explains how only the beaten path looks different at first. The rest all look the same until we see whether there is fruit in the lives of Believers.
The true identifier of a person of peace is after they produce fruit.
What's the first thing you have a new Believer do?
As soon as someone comes to know Christ, one of the first things he does is set up the next meeting.
- When are we going to meet again? (within 48 hours)
- Where are we going to meet?
- Who are you going to bring?
Immediately, we're trying to transition from the individual to their sphere of influence.
At that time, they will begin to take the new Believer through a “Level 1” training that includes their identity in Christ, their ministry, and their message. They start in 2 Corinthians [5:17]-21. Then they make a list of people who are far from God. And, finally, they teach them the “Three Circles” method of sharing the Gospel.
The Three Circles
How do people react to stepping directly into obedience?
People react in a variety of ways. Some are quick to obey while others are on a journey of small steps towards obedience. CJ shared how his brother's journey includes both surrender and bouncing between “soils.”
As another example, the first Muslim that they led to Christ was very fearful to share the Gospel with other Muslims. But he was willing to share with and bring white people. Now, he's reaching out and sharing with Muslims.
It really is a test to see if this person is willing to obey Jesus.
What fuels your passion?
As we read Scripture, we discover that there are only two ways to live and two destinations. If we are living for King Jesus, we will spend eternity with Him. And if we don't, we will spend eternity separated from Him.
Thinking that there are people don't and never will know Jesus unless we tell them about Him. And if they don't accept Jesus, they will spend eternity separated from Him in Hell.
Many times people ask, “How could a good God send people to Hell?” But they have chosen a life without God so they are getting the eternity they chose.
That is his motivation.
There are a lot of different methods available today. But ultimately, if we are driven by the fact that there is an eternity and only two destinations, then it is every Christian's imperative to learn how God is moving most effectively today and to join that work.
Even in 1 Corinthians we see that Paul was focused not just what was good but what was great and effective. And if what God is using and blessing today is T4T and Four Fields, it has more to do with humility and submitting to how God is moving in the world now.
There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me. (1 Corinthians 16:9)
What encourages and strengthens you in times of discouragement?
CJ really finds encouragement in the teaching in John 15. Jesus tells His disciples that He is the vine and they are the branches. Apart from being connected to the Vine, we can't do anything.
The branch doesn't strain to push out fruit. It just rests and connects to the vine.
Focus on YOU, the listener
What would you share with someone called into the Marketplace who wants to level up their game?
One of the things that's changed CJ's life is having a list of lost people who he prays through. And then carving out time to pray for them.
What can we do to reach out to people from other cultures?
First, realize that not all Muslims are radical Muslims. Don't be afraid. They're people, just like us. But they're following after a way that is wrong.
Then, get the book, Any 3: Anyone, Anywhere, Any Time: Lead Muslims To Christ Now!. It follows T4T but from a Muslim context.
In light of all the resources, methods, processes, and programs, it doesn't come down to what you know about Jesus that allows you to bear fruit. It comes down to obedience.
Questions, Topics, and Times
- [00:27] – Introduction
- [01:02] – What is a CP Catalyst?
- [01:57] – What led CJ to the ministry he's now in?
- [05:58] – How did you connect with your (now) wife?
- [07:45] – Was it scary the first time you shared the Gospel at a Mosque
- [09:14] – Meaningful quote and Scripture
- [10:59] – What challenges have you faced?
- [12:15] – Engaging Missions Leadership Minute
- [15:35] – What got you to Florida?
- [18:58] – What do the different “soils” mean?
- [23:13] – What's the first thing you have a new Believer do?
- [27:52] – iTunes review
- [29:03] – How do people react to stepping directly into obedience?
- [34:41] – What fuels your passion?
- [39:00] – What encourages and strengthens you in times of discouragement?
- [43:34] – What would you share with someone called into the Marketplace who wants to level up their game?
- [47:01] – What can we do to reach out to people from other cultures?
- [48:43] – God is at work in the hearts and lives of Muslims.
- [49:50] – Recommended resource
- [51:17] – Parting Advice
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- The Three Circles
- Creation to Christ Video
- The Four Fields
- Movements that Change the World
- Troy Cooper's Interview
- Steve Addison's Interview
- David Garrison's Interview
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