Mentoring Stories: Tim Kayser

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The following mentoring story is from my good friend, Tim Kayser, who followed me as the lead pastor of Risen King Community Church after Jill and left staff to become missionaries with CRM (Church Resource Ministries). Tim is a very gifted communicator of the good news of Jesus, and one of the smartest people I know. He served the church with excellence as my executive pastor for many years. I counted on him big time in many of the huge transitions in the life of our church, especially in our move to our new facility on 50 acres in Redding, CA. Now, as the lead pastor of Risen King, Tim is leading and shaping other future leaders as I had the privilege of doing with him. May there be a mentoring movement across the body of Christ for the sake of the Kingdom!

From Tim Kayser:

I recently was asked who has had the greatest positive influence on my life and why.  Along with a couple of other mentors, I talked about Bill Randall.

Sixteen years ago, Bill hired me to work as a pastor at Risen King Community Church in Redding, CA.  This was my first pastoral job, and I learned so much from Bill about what it means to be a pastor.  I learned the importance of keeping one’s own spiritual walk vital; I learned the importance of vulnerability and authenticity, even for those in primary leadership roles; and I learned that it is possible to lead a church staff as friends.  Bill walked me through my first funerals and weddings and gave me feedback on my preaching.  He really helped me learn how to “do the stuff” of pastoring.

From Bill I gained a greater passion for seeing the Kingdom of God come.  In Bill, I found someone who was able to clearly articulate what I intuitively felt should be the case: that we can be passionate and committed to the truth of God’s Word, and be eager to experience the tangible presence and power of God’s Spirit.

I can honestly say that no one person has had a greater positive influence in shaping me for ministry than Bill, and I am so grateful for that.

To learn more about Risen King, check out their website at: www.risenking.org.

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Mentoring Stories: Don Hunter

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

2 Timothy 2:2

Over the next few months I will feature the stories of some of the leaders I have had the privilege to work with as their mentor, coach and friend. Equipping and encouraging leaders on the front lines of ministry has been the passion of my life ever since I can remember, and God has been gracious and the fruit has been good. Thank you Jesus.

This first mentoring story comes from my friend and Kingdom comrade, Don Hunter. Don and I have developed a rich friendship over the years. I respect him a lot and am proud of the life and ministry he leads. Here is Don describing our mentoring relationship:

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Don Hunter, Awakening Alliance Church

I first met Bill Randall in March 2010.  At the time, he was the Senior Pastor at Risen King Community Church in Redding, California, and was one of the featured speakers at Risen King’s first annual “Kingdom Come’ conference.  Bill was both an excellent speaker – deep but not over our heads, practical but not formulaic – and a wonderful host pastor for the conference.  Although I had very little personal contact with Bill at that conference, his ministry impacted my ministry and I decided that I had to return to Redding the following year for the next conference.

In 2011, my family came to Redding with me, and I got to meet Bill on a personal level for the first time.  We had lunch together with our wives, and that lunch was the beginning of a relationship that has continued to deepen both personally and professionally.   Since that lunch, Bill and Jill have had a major impact on my own walk with God, my family, the leadership in our church, our congregation as a whole, other pastors and congregations in my district in Western Pennsylvania, and many other communities as well through those who received ministry from Bill and Jill in our church and then moved on to other ministry opportunities outside of our local area, our state, and even our side of the country.

Since 2011, I have been blessed by Bill’s leadership personally in a number of different ways:

  • As a local church pastor, I was able to attend Bill & Jill’s Life Equipping Center in Redding through online classes, Skype conference calls with other students, and an on-site spiritual formation retreat and an on-site Kingdom Conference in Redding. This was one of the best investments of my time and money as far as growing both my personal walk with the Lord and my spiritual leadership for my staff and my church.
  • As an individual who is concerned about my spiritual health, and as a leader of both a church and a church staff, I have also experienced significant growth through regular coaching by Bill over the past several years. Bill has coached me via phone calls, Skype calls, and whenever it has been possible, through face-to-face meetings.  We’ve covered a significant range of topics, from things like hiring and leading staff, to personal spiritual formation skills, to communicating and preaching, to leading a governing board, and many other subjects that have equipped me to be a better steward of my time, talents, and relationships.
  • As a husband and a father, I have benefited from Bill’s coaching, advice, and years of experience.
  • As a local church pastor, I have been blessed to have Bill and Jill minister in our church over the past several years in several different capacities. During their various trips to our church, they have:
    • Spoken in our services;
    • Been keynote speakers in our conferences;
    • Led our church staff and leadership team through a spiritual formation retreat;
    • Led our church staff and leadership team through vision development retreat;
    • Led our church staff through leadership development training;
    • Trained Ministry Team members to pray for people with diverse needs;
    • Trained Prophetic Encouragement Team Members to hear God’s voice and encourage others by sharing what they hear; and
    • Trained our entire congregation to take risks by praying for people with needs at home, at work, and wherever they encounter them.

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I am excited to support Bill & Jill financially because I have personally been encouraged and equipped by them in an ongoing way.  I have seen – and continue to see – the Lord work through them in my personal life, in my family, and in my congregation.  For me, it’s good stewardship to invest in a proven ministry like that of the Randalls – a ministry that has widespread impact and ongoing fruit.

I hope you’ll strongly consider doing the same.

Sincerely,

Rev. Don Hunter
Senior Pastor
Awakening Alliance Church
Ridgway, PA

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Breaking Free of the Status Quo!

goldfish jumping off to new fishtank

“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”       
– Acts 11:19-21

This text describes such a critical turning point in the missional narrative of Acts. Even after the believers were scattered, most kept their ministry confined to the Jews. Yet there was “some of them” who were wired and inspired differently for a different impact. This is the point in church history when the focus turns externally to the unreached majority of the world. From this point on, God’s redemptive story in the book of Acts is largely focused on a mission to reach Greco-Roman cities and nations.

I wonder who these courageous people were who broke out of the norm—who broke “the rules” in  order to connect the gospel with those who were the furthest from God? Would they have seemed like rebels to the establishment? I wonder if they had been frustrated by the “Jewish only” mission to that point? I wonder if they had been accused of being critical of the status quo?

Whoever they were, and whatever they were like—praise God for the “some of them.” Every generation needs a fresh batch of creative and anointed “some of them” to bravely pioneer new Kingdom works in new God directed ways.

This is the type of person I love to spend time with and help shape for the sake of launching new Kingdom outposts and expressions of the church: churches that will functionally prioritize the making of more and better disciples of Jesus and the advance of God’s Kingdom; churches that will emphasize outward focused multiplication rather than inward focused addition; and will prioritize sacrificial giving rather than just receiving as a way of life.

I’m incredibly grateful that my role with CRM/ChurchNEXT as Director of Pioneering Initiatives has positioned me to serve full time to this end. I am passionate about discovering, developing and deploying a new generation of radical apostolic men and women who are crazy in love with Jesus and resolutely committed to his mission. If you happen to be reading this and your heart has been aching to break from the status quo of the typical institutional approach to mission and church planting, get in touch with me! I’m convinced it takes a new kind of leader to lead new kinds of ministries—ministries that are desperately needed to connect Jesus with the majority of our unreached world today. Please join me in praying for a fresh unleashing of the “some of them” who are willing to break free of the status quo for the sake of the gospel.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment!

 

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Thinking About a More Robust Missional Ecclesiology

CRM

My new role with CRM (Church Resource Ministries) feels like a fit. I will be directing a new initiative focused on discovering and developing a new breed of apostolic leaders who are committed to launching and leading movements of the gospel that prioritize making and multiplying disciples who are equipped to do the same and leave new expressions of “church” in their quake. One of the challenges we will have to tackle is the current popular understanding of “church” and its mission.

The word “ecclesia” (what has been wrongly translated “church” in most of our bibles) was a common Greek term that described an assembly called out for an explicit purpose. In light of this, when the New Testament writers used the word “ecclesia” they were describing an assembly called out to fulfill Christ’s mission.

We learn from the pages of Scripture that Christ’s ecclesia has three primary responsibilities: 1) To worship God. 2) To love one another. 3) To live out God’s mission in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The biblical concept of ecclesia is expressed in two ways: The ecclesia universal is made up of all people from all time who are in Christ by God’s grace. A local ecclesia is a geographic (therefore “local”) expression of the body of Christ living out the purposes of ecclesia in order to advance God’s Kingdom in their neighborhood and beyond.

What I have observed is that how a “church” begins hugely determines what their mission will be. It is exhaustingly popular today to hear and read about the need for a “missional church” as opposed to the common inward focused institutions that create “sit and split” consumer Christians rather than courageous missionaries who live to make more and better disciples of Jesus and advance his Kingdom. Ingrown, consumeristic, institutional churches often have robust missional slogans and adjunct missional outings, but sorely lack a functional, missional DNA. And is it any wonder when most church plants launch with the priority and passion to begin as soon as possible with a more “relevant” gathering that will woo other already placed Christians to “come” and be blessed by their new venue experience?

This disordered ecclesiology that begins with a GATHERING, then moves to preaching the GOSPEL, is done in the hopes that the strategy will one day make DISCIPLES. The sad truth is that after the vast majority of the budget, calendar space and energy is spent up front on the GATHERING, little if anything is functionally left for the actual mission Jesus commanded us to carry on.

I believe it is indeed possible to reinvent a missionless church and move it to become an authentic, outwardly focused and mobilized movement of the gospel. Yet this would require the resurrection power of Jesus coming upon a tribe of extra-ordinary, courageous leaders who are willing to stay the course as the costly reality of such change becomes evident. And I am certain it would require the tangible assistance of an apostolic voice in the mix to help shape and sustain the transformation.

So what is the alternative to launching new works from the common practice exercised today that is seriously failing if measured by a Kingdom scorecard? The current and common practice is to activate the following sequence:

  • Launch a gathering
  • Preach the gospel
  • Hopefully make disciples

Rather than this typical approach to church planting embraced by the majority of western denominations, I believe that truly effective new expressions of ecclesia are launched as current members of the body of Christ:

  • Share the gospel in their sphere of influence
  • Make obedient disciples of Jesus
  • Train emerging leaders
  • Multiply gatherings that covenant to gather to grow and scatter to serve

The only way this vision of ecclesia can get and stay on track is when the pastoral and apostolically gifted leaders learn to strategically work together. It obviously also requires that the prophetic, evangelistic and teaching gifts are rightly appreciated and utilized. No doubt it requires the five-fold ministry profile (as described in Ephesians 4:11ff.) is activated in God’s mission to successfully make more disciples and advance God’s Kingdom.

Yet the greatest issue that challenges the forward motion of a robust gospel movement is the disconnect between the local/pastoral instinct and that of the trans-local/apostolic instinct resident in the body of Christ.

This challenge is both my personal experience and long standing observation of the Christian movement. I must give more attention to this in the last years of my life and live courageously into the challenge. Lord help me!

Finally, I want to encourage you to read the New Testament specifically exchanging the word “church” with the better translation of ecclesia as “an assembly called out for Christ’s mission.” It will help you rediscover the bible as an inspired document that serves as a radical missional roadmap.

Please let me know what you think. Hit the reply and bring it!!

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New Roles with Church Resource Ministries

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Fun and strategic time with Gary & Margaret Mayes!

Recently Jill and I spent a few days with our friends Gary and Margaret Mayes. Gary is the Executive Director of ChurchNEXT, the division of CRM through which Jill and I serve. To make a long story short, after a lot of debriefing and dreaming about what “could be,” Gary dropped an idea bomb that has become (after much prayer and processing) our new role and ministry as missionaries with CRM. While there are numerous facets to our new roles where we will offer strategic leadership together to the whole of ChurchNEXT, I will be assuming a new position in our movement entitled, Director of Pioneering Initiatives. Simply put, I will be working to help identify and equip apostolically gifted leaders who will launch new expressions of missional church across the world. Directing these kinds of leaders who are doing this kind of ministry feels like a God-appointed fit for me. I’m grateful and excited!

            Jill will assume leadership of a new team in ChurchNEXT that will give attention to helping the different generations represented in our movement relate and serve together well and with honor. Her title at this point is, Director of Intergenerational Collaboration. This role will include facilitating training seminars for CRM teams as well as in churches along with a lot of coaching. Like my new role, this feels like a natural/supernatural fit for Jill.

            An implication of all this means that we will not continue facilitating the Life Equipping Community as we have been doing over the past five years. While this was a difficult decision full of mixed emotions, we are confident that with this new arrangement we will be able to multiply our impact with even more emerging leaders. And we are excited to finish this season strong with our 9 outstanding LEC interns. Our time together culminates with a missions trip to Glasgow, Scotland in May. 

What do you think? We would love to hear from you, so please leave a reply!

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Our Life Equipping Community interns. These peeps have dedicated their lives to making disciples of Jesus and transforming communities through gospel movements. Kingdom come!

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The Church as a Movement of God

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An LEC intern praying for a wounded homeless man in San Francisco. Kingdom Come!

I’m frustrated but not without hope with regard to the shape of the Church in my generation. God is clearly moving across the world with fresh expressions of Church and the mission of God that is actually producing obedient disciples of Jesus who love God and the advance of the Kingdom more than their own comfort. But an incessant problem must be addressed.

Believers have not been called to mark time on the planet till the Second Coming. No—we have been called to co-labor with God in the power of the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom by saying what Jesus wants said and doing what Jesus wants done. This is the mandate of the Great Commission for every believer—everywhere—all of the time. The Church that Jesus commissioned is not a building or a collection of religious programs (that primarily take place on Sunday). The Church that Jesus commissioned is the Body of Christ carrying on the mission of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit wherever a believer happens to be doing life. The members of this Body flesh out the feet, hands and mouth of Jesus in a broken and oppressed world. The Church is intended to be a movement of God, not a monument of programs, “right” beliefs and “correct” behaviors that tend to form a huge disconnect with a lost and broken world. Countless leaders and churchgoers have conveyed with me that they know something is desperately wrong with the “sit and split”, consumeristic form of western Christianity that is the norm for most, but few are willing to be courageously obedient to follow God’s leading through his Word or the nudges of his Spirit to recalibrate what is being done.

God have mercy on your Bride and help her to wake up to her true destiny to make obedient disciples of Jesus and to partner with you to transform cities through authentic movements of the gospel.

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A Mystic and a Missionary

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life.”
                                             – Psalm 143:8

Every day I need a fresh revelation of God’s love that I can fully put my trust in. I also am dependent on God revealing “the way I should go.” God’s love and God’s leadership essentially go hand in hand if I’m to live an abiding and fruitful life.

God’s love drives out any fear that can be associated with following God’s lead into whatever God-sized assignments He may have for me. And the love must be the motive and operating environment of fulfilling the directives God gives. Ministry without love is a dreadful and dangerous thing.

But I must also remain aware that God’s love does indeed tie me missionally in some measure to all that God loves. God’s love—supposedly in place and at work in a person’s life—yet without a connection to God’s mission to tangibly touch the world in expressions of the good news, is a form of love far less God-like than what is intended.

A missionary without love is a machine.
A mystic without mission is a delusion.

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With you is the fountain of life!

Waterfall

While God is always with me (cf., Mt. 28:20), I am not always awake to that reality. Yet God has given me the capacity to live and abide in this awareness. This might be described as a “with You” kind of life. While living this grace enabled “with You” quality of life, there are tangible symptoms of its reality. “For with you is the fountain of life” (Psalm 37:9). As I abide…as I live aware of God’s loving presence, I experience heavenly droplets of love, joy, peace, security, faith and hope. The boundary lines of the abiding life are not drawn in concrete, but rather are kept in the spiritual realm of discernment. If/when I wander too far from this fountain of life, I should begin to discern a lessening of the heavenly droplets. Such discernment is meant to nudge me back to God’s fountain. Yet if I continue to venture still further away, I can find myself living completely in the flesh. When in the flesh I exist without the awareness of God’s presence. I have forgotten God. In this state my instinctive desire to experience God’s heavenly droplets from his fountain of life is still fully functional, but my desires become very vulnerable to reorienting themselves to the various worldly substitutes so easily accessible outside God’s reign and rule. These pretentious droplets, once embraced, quickly become an idol and an addiction.

Thank you God that “with you is the fountain of life.” Home for me is living within reach of this shower of love. While even a single drop is precious to me, Lord, I want to live each moment soaking wet from your fountain of life!

I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment!

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Needed: Apostolic Mothers & Fathers

Our Life Equipping Community interns (minus one who arrived a week late). These young adults are committed to growing as courageous, faithful servants of Jesus. What an honor to do life with them for at least a year!

Our Life Equipping Community interns (minus one who arrived a week late). These young adults are committed to growing as courageous, faithful servants of Jesus. What an honor to do life with them for at least a year!

One of the critical roles of apostolic ministry is that of serving as a spiritual mother/father to an emerging generation of Christ followers. While this has always been the case since the founding of the Church, it seems more critical than ever in this current season. Jill and I witness the detrimental impact of a generation being “fatherless” more and more each year. Even if a young adult’s parents are still in the picture, they are often AWOL in terms of being a consistent presence and voice beckoning their children to dream big and follow Jesus courageously into their God ordained Kingdom adventures. Christian parents today tend to outsource their discipleship privilege and responsibility to their churches youth programs. And this hasn’t proven to be a good choice.

No wonder the vast majority of churched teens choose to no longer participate in a local church once their programmatic youth group days are over. What they needed (and need) is a FATHER, not a PROGRAM!

May the authentic fathers and mothers of the Kingdom life rise up and step into their apostolic role of sharing not only the gospel, but their very lives, and discover consistent ways to encourage, comfort and urge the future generation of Kingdom servants within their reach to live the life that Jesus has made possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“As apostles of Christ…we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives as well” (1 Thess. 2:6-8).

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his Kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:11,12).

“For this is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2:19,20).

Check out the LEC (Life Equipping Community website at: http://www.LifeEquipping.org

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this theme!

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The Power of Prophetic Encouragement

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Equipping the saints on our recent trip to Boston. What an awesome evening!

 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

 “But everyone who prophesies speaks to others for their
strengthening, encouragement and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3).

      God has a preferred future planned for each of us who walk with God. God has recorded it. It is called our prophetic destiny. And for what could remain a mystery, God has provided the supernatural means for it to be revealed, and that is through the ministry of prophetic encouragement. When I am prophetically encouraged by a brother or sister in Christ, I am strengthened, made courageous and comforted in the revelation of who I am, Who I belong to, and where my life is heading under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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