Tracking Harvest Engagements

The more time we spend out in the harvest, the more important it is that we work hard to track the hard work we’ve done. We never want to let any of the fruit the Lord provides slip through the cracks, so we need a system.

This is a simple tool for tracking weekly harvest engagement that I got from Josh Reed (NPL RDU). It’s the size of a business card.

The blanks refer to the following:

  • Homes/people engaged
  • Received prayer
  • Gospel shares
  • Red lights
  • Yellow lights
  • Green lights
  • Christians
  • Discovery Bible Studies

The back is for recording follow ups and location information.

I love how simple this is.

From Campus to Community

I’ve only recently discovered that I’m more of a “Church Planting Movements” guy than I am a strictly “Collegiate” guy. When I look at a college student, I don’t see their year in school, their major, or their age. I see a potential church planter and movement catalyst.

Today was a special day that reminded me of something important. In the center of the picture above is one of our guys who is graduating in just a few short weeks. He has spent this last school year with us, leaning in from the very beginning. Every time we would go out into the harvest, Jordan was with us. He’s quiet, huble, and committed. Over the course of this year, he has been faithfully (and quietly) reproducing our training and practices in his home church in Ronda, NC (pop. 417). Today, he had arranged for a small group of us to come down the mountain to model Entry Strategy for them.

A wide-angle of this picture would reveal that in this group are his pastor, his parents, one of his Timothys (a disciple he is intentionally mentoring), and his Timothy’s grandfather, among others. As a young man not even out of college yet, Jordan is helping to lead his legacy church into the harvest to make disciples.

If we raise the bar and set higher expectations for our students, they will turn the world upside down. We will still coach him and connect with him from a distance, but he is a great example of one way God can use college students post-college to spark movement beyond their campus for the gospel and the kingdom of God.

Storming Sin Hill

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From way up here you can see University Highlands across the highway, Caldwell Community college across the town, and Grandfather Mountain across the county. Some students refer to this community as Sin Hill. 

“Nothing good happens up there,” they say.

“You’re in the wrong place for this.”

“Good luck up here.”

There’s nowhere else I would rather be.

Every week I’ve been spending time in this neighborhood going door to door offering to care for people by praying for needs they have and offering to share the gospel in a simple picture. It is good for me to have a consistent time to be out in the harvest engaging people and sharing the gospel, but it is an excellent time to train trainers while doing it.

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This team came out with me tonight. The two guys are alums from the last 5 years of our ministry. The gal lives in the neighborhood – we found her a month and a half ago. She was new in her faith but ready to be trained and join us in Jesus’ adventure! All 3 of these people are really new to this whole process and strategy, but they are getting after it with me. I’ve taken each of them with me individually to model this for them and have them help me. When they are confident and competent, I can release them to take others with them.

 God is breaking up hard ground as we continue to share the gospel with broken people and he is raising up laborers as we identify and train them along the way. It is an amazing thing to be a part of. 

Baptism Celebration

Today I had the pleasure of joining with my extended family to celebrate the new life in Jesus of John! A couple of our freshmen students (one is a new believer herself) shared the gospel with John on campus, led him to Christ, and baptized him! When we raise the bar of discipleship for Christians, so many will meet that bar.


These students (college freshmen) are disciple makers and church planters. This is fruit of their obedience and the natural outcome we expect. When they asked John what is next after this moment, he simply said, “Obeying Jesus and sharing the gospel.”

Thank you, Jesus, for letting us be a part of your work! This is one step closer to accomplishing the #NoPlaceLeft vision!

Two Kinds of Goals We Set at BCM

Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.

–Jesus (Mark 1:17)

Setting goals is a great way to move yourself or your ministry (or both) forward. As a part of a part of a 4-Day 4 Fields training I attended last summer, I was challenged set 90-day goals for my ministry to help me work toward accomplishing a much greater 3-year plan. Over the last few years I’ve made a practice of setting ministry goals each semester, but what helped me tremendously was refocusing my goal setting on the 2 highest value activities in a movement, sharing the gospel and training disciple makers. We would usually set goals in keeping with the vision and focal points of our ministry, but we would set too many goals, and often they would be about keeping the machine running smoothly – but we weren’t really making disciples.

As I rediscovered this simple little verse in the opening chapter of Mark’s gospel, I saw the profound simplicity of two major domains for goal setting as it relates to ministry and leadership.

  1. FOLLOW Jesus (Abide)
  2. FISH for Men (Make disciples)

Follow Jesus
In John 15 we are commanded to abide in Jesus and the expectation is that without abiding in him, we will lack fruit and be lopped off. That’s pretty high stakes.

Make Disciples
We are all aware of Jesus’ command to make disciples.

Because these are such critical areas, we would be wise to set goals around them. For us, each week in our meetings we are setting new goals for the coming week about how we are going to Follow Jesus and Fish for Men and we’re holding one another accountable for following through on those goals. This is critical for moving forward in both areas.

How One Question Changed my Perspective on Ministry

We are hard at work trying to catalyze movement at Appalachian State and graduate movement catalysts for the rest of the world. ASU is the flagship university of Northwestern NC and one of the top-tier schools in the state. It’s our primary context for making disciples, but it is only one of 14 campuses across this corner of the state. The 18,000+ students of ASU are just one segment of the 83,000+ students in our region. We are realizing that what we do at ASU isn’t very likely to translate well to the wildly different campus cultures in our region.

  • Appalachian State University
  • Lees McRae College
  • Lenoir Rhyne University
  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Caldwell Community College, Watauga
  • Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Hudson
  • Wilkes Community College, Wilkes
  • Wilkes Community College, Alleghany
  • Wilkes Community College, Ashe
  • Mayland Community College, Spruce Pine
  • Mayland Community College, Newland
  • Mayland Community College, Burnsville
  • McDowell Tech Community College
  • Western Piedmont Community College

If you were counting, 11 of the 14 campuses in our region are Community Colleges, and a number of them are satellite branches of lesser-known Community Colleges. The No Campus Left team has reported that roughly 80% of the 1.2 million college students in North Carolina are Community College students – 80% of our campuses in the list above are Community Colleges.

These schools are as different from the “flagship” state school as they can be. We cannot simply port over what we do at ASU to the rest of these schools. We engage heavily in the dorms at ASU. Not only do most of these schools have no dorms, the majority also lack a student union or some other on-campus gathering space. One other key thing Community Colleges often lack is community. They are in, of, and for their local community, but they have no community of their own. The key connection points we leverage on a state school campus are non-existent on most Community College campuses.

When we made the shift from ASU BCM to BCM of the High Country, we recognized that these campuses would never have a gospel presence pop up without someone targeting them specifically. Why shouldn’t we adjust our vision and mission to include them? At first, I assumed that we would raise up a full time, (or part-time if necessary) staff to lead the new work at each new campus. While that works just fine at the state school level, it makes a lot less sense at a smaller or mid-sized Community College.

To help me get my head around more than one campus, I needed to be able to see where the unengaged campus fields were. I created a simple Google Map of all the campuses in our region, where there was little or no gospel engagement happening. A list is one thing; a map is another thing. The start icons represent the 3 residential schools and the rest are Community Colleges.

“What is it going to take to engage every campus on this map with the gospel so that there’s #NoCampusLeft without a reproducing gospel presence in our region?”

I’ve addressed this question as it relates to ASU – my primary campus. This question forced me to recalibrate my expectations of what gospel engagement and the reproducing gospel presence would look like when I broadened it to all the campuses in our region. This is the beginning of our journey on this mission. The broadening of our vision is forcing me to get outside of my perspective as a campus minister and start thinking more like a missiologist and a movement catalyst.

What would it take for you to engage other campuses around your primary target?

Leading Leaders

In a recent post I shared about importance of training trainers. When we train people, we are transmitting skills. That’s the first priority. We are also training trainers. Because I had my team training with me, I was reproducing myself. They are both new to this process of training, but as they trained with me, they nailed it. We practiced together before we trained together. Had I been sick, or for some other reason unable to attend the training, they could have facilitated it without me.

Training trainers isn’t just about building a bigger training team. It is about multiplying myself and my impact. I spent an extra couple of hours with my team preparing for this training, but after we finished the training, they were even more capable of facilitating trainings and leading training teams than they were before.

It has been a paradigm shift to start thinking about what a Church Planting Movement is and how to spark movement in my context. I’ve been learning that multiplying movements require multiplying leaders at every level. That’s one of the key roles I need to fulfill. As I’ve been trying to shift from being a leader to leading leaders, one of my friends in ministry, Robby Christmas, developed this excellent and simple tool to keep up our progress in developing leaders.

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MAWL, as the image shows, stands for Model, Assist, Watch, Launch. This particular version is filled in with the tools we use locally. You could replace them if they don’t fit in your ministry process. On the left, you can fill in the Planter’s name and you’ll check off the boxes as you go through the process of “MAWLing” them on each of the tools listed. By the time you have checked each box, you have a leader who is ready to be launched to restart the process themselves. Robby has included a basic outline for a 90min weekly MAWL meeting. The link above the image includes both pages.

Whether you use this particular tool or not, I would encourage you to think about your process for identifying, developing, releasing, and leading leaders. It is easy to overlook, but so critical.

Family From Mission

Family From Mission

The last 2 years have been difficult. We came realized that BCM wasn’t making disciples and it broke our hearts. Week in and week out I would teach from the scriptures and press our students and our ministry toward missionary engagement with the campus. All the while we were meeting for baptist services in a baptist church. None of our meetings were taking place on campus. We had no intentional or consistent pathway for making disciples. We hadn’t seen a single person decide to turn and follow Jesus in 5 years or more. We were sending fewer students on overseas missions each year. Our ministry was shrinking.

This fall, we turned the corner. We are deeply engaged as missionaries on our campus. We go out into the harvest consistently and often. It is more natural for someone in our ministry to share the gospel than not. It isn’t even unexpected when we hear of another student deciding to turn and follow Jesus because two of our students had shared the gospel with them and were discipling them towards Jesus.

We have just celebrated our annual Thanksgiving Feast as a BCM family. It is an exciting and encouraging event because our family gathers around the table and we enjoy one another and what God has done to bring us together. This year, we experienced something different and beautiful. We had to go around the room and introduce ourselves and share how we got connected with this group. What we experienced was a living generational map (or “gen map” for short). There were 4 new believers in the room with us, each with the person who led them to Christ standing next to them. As we listened to each person share how they were connected, we heard stories like this:

“She shared the gospel with me out on Sanford Mall and we’ve been meeting ever since.”

“I was sick in some girl’s bed and he shared the gospel with me, and we’ve been meeting ever since.”

“I was found on a House of Peace Search in my dorm.”

It was a powerful moment for me. I got to meet new believers our students have led to Christ. I’m not “the guy” for any of these people. But we are family nonetheless. We often try to build family first and then go out on mission together. Tonight, it was clear that we went out on mission together, and God turned us into a family.

Aggression

A few days ago, Scott and I were out on a House of Peace Search on campus. We engaged a couple of guys who were talking. One allowed us to pray for him, but the other threw his hands up in the air and launched into a diatribe about how he was sick of us religious people being so "aggressive" with our faith.

"If they are interested in your religion, they'll come to you."

Clearly, he has a storied past with religion of some kind or another.

We have to be OK with accusations of aggression when in reality all we are doing is offering to care for people by praying for them and sharing the gospel.