Have you ever wondered whether the principles of disciple-making and church planting could work in a church in the United States? If you have, you’ll want to listen to this week’s guest, Gary Stump.
He’s the pastor of Onward Church in Fishers, IN. His church was planted using Training for Trainers (T4T) principles. Those are the same principles that have led to exponential church growth on the mission field and he’s seen how making disciples leads to multiplication.
He is a vibrant, passionate follower of Christ who has a heart to impact his community and the world for the Kingdom. In our time together, he shared some amazing stories of God’s faithfulness.
[00:15] – Getting to Know Gary Stump
[01:15] – How breakfast with a businessman changed everything
Gary grew up in church but everything was still about him in his life. But one day he was having breakfast with another businessman and, though he was annoyed by the conversation, he grew started to wonder if there was something he didn’t know.
[03:15] – How Gary’s life has been different
Gary had a great disciple and began to ground himself in the word of God. He began to look the Bible to learn about what God had to say about marriage and raising children. And he began to apply it to his life.
The more I learned about the Lord and applied His word to my life, the more blessed my life became.
Then, in 1988, everything changed on the way home from a birthday celebration. That brought him to a place of really trusting in God.
Do you really trust me? Or do you just say that you trust me?
[06:20] – How people helped Gary and his family through that time
[07:23] – Foundational Scripture
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy [3:16]-17)
[08:17] – How Gary applies that to his life
Gary reminds us that Job says, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job [23:12]b)
It’s almost like breathing in and out. God talks to Gary through the Bible and Gary talks to God through prayer.
- God is # 1
- Gary’s wife is # 2
- Gary’s kids are # 3
- Gary’s job and ministry are # 4
Keeping these in perspective and balance has been key.
[10:11] – How to keep our priorities right
First, the man who discipled Gary taught him what the priorities were. That means that we should walk with, learn from, and be encouraged and trained by God. And we do that by being sure that we spend time with God.
Not just once a day. Throughout the day.
Then, making sure that the people closest to us think the most of us. Instead of trying to get the people who are not close to us thinking the most of us.
[13:05] – How Gary introduces himself after the births of his grandchildren
[15:12] – Engaging Missions Leadership Minute
Scott McClelland of FX Missions shares about how the “great man syndrome” is contrary to leadership in the Kingdom of God.
If you have a question about leadership that you’d like to have answered on the show, email it to email@example.com.
[17:15] – Focus on ministry
[17:40] – What was the catalyst to apply T4T principles to a church in the U.S?
Gary had planted and had been serving in a church. They’d grown to a few hundred. They had baptized 1,000 people and planted 2 churches in a 10-year period.
But as he looked at what was happening globally, Ying Kai saw a movement begin, where 1.7 million people were baptized and 158,000 churches were planted in the same time period. When Gary saw that, it “destroyed him.”
I’m too old to play church.
He commented that we are losing our cities because not enough believers are actively involved in making disciples.
[21:00] – How to approach disciple-making in a larger church
First, they model the Three Thirds – the process for T4T.
Divide time into thirds
- The first third is worship, pastoral care, and accountability
- The second third is the new lesson and how to use it
- The final third is practice and setting goals
My goal is that we worship on Sunday by learning how to obey the Great Commission.
And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. (Philemon 1:6 NLT)
[30:25] – Challenges in keeping T4T as part of the church’s DNA
Gary said that there are always challenges and a tendency to drift from the mission. In fact, there are books written about mission drift – the natural gravity to turn inward at some point.
One key is that they recognize that they are not the church for everyone in the area. So they feel free to focus on being the kind of church God has called them to be.
We will be a church that makes disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
[32:49] – Challenges with this church structure
They want to plant churches in neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and third places, such as coffee shops – with and among lost people. But, in the US, it’s nearly impossible to call those “churches.” People will be fully engaged in the life of the body and performing all the functions of the local church. But they can’t say “yes” when asked if it’s their church.
The better question they discovered is: WHO is your church?
The 9 things that a church should do, have, and be:
- Teach God’s Word
- Pray together
- Worship together
- Care for one another
- Give to meet needs
- The Lord’s Supper
- Engaged in making disciples that make disciples
- Have caring and qualified leaders
[37:32] – What fuels Gary’s passion?
When God walked Gary through the loss of his first life, Gary emerged with a deep passion for people to know his Jesus. And then, after a traumatic brain injury to his son in July 2010, God proved Himself faithful again!
[44:31] – Focus on YOU, the listener
[44:43] – What’s a resource for people in the marketplace who want to step up their games?
Gary mentioned a resource that his church put together based on Ying Kai’s work. It’s contextualized to suburban United States and is available for download on their website, along with a number of other resources.
- Teach the Why, How, and to Whom of sharing the Gospel
- Teach them how to pray
- Teach them how to study the Bible
- Teach them how to be a part of the Church
- Teach them how to follow the Father
- Teach them how to get “on mission” and actually have a ministry in their spheres of influence.
Lesson 7 is the Bible – it never ends.
[48:08] – Is it only 6 lessons? How do you keep it fresh?
There are the initial 6 lessons that every new believer goes through. Then lesson 7 – the Bible – they go through the Gospel of Mark, Romans, how to apply God’s Word to their lives, how to know God’s will, how to forgive and experience God’s forgiveness.
[49:46] – Books and Resources
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[52:51] – Parting Advice
Gary said that some of the best advice he received was to trust the process. To stay at the Three Thirds process, which is at the heart of the T4T concepts. And in that process, they trained everyone and the doers quickly emerged.
If you'd have any comments or questions, you can always leave a comment in the show notes or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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