by Chuck Wood
Jeff and Angie Sundell, Troy and Rachel Long Cooper, and Deb and I recently spent some time reviewing the formation and growth of NPL over the last 10 years. One of our key takeaways was the power of Event Training. I’d like to start sharing why I think Event Training was so crucial to the world-wide vision we now call NoPlaceLeft.
1. What is an event training?
An Event Training is usually a gathering of existing believers to catalyze evangelism, disciple-making, church planting, and/or leadership development. We have facilitated Gospel Conversation Training (411), Four Field Intensives (Comprehensive Movement Strategy), Mid-Levels (Problem Solving) and Strategy Coordinator Training. Each one of these trainings are focused on levels of Competence, Confidence, and Commitment to seeing a movement of the gospel in a local/global expression of practice. The goal is to see the glory of Jesus spread to the ends of the earth until there is NoPlaceLeft.
2. Prayer is the Key
The 1st Principle of Church Planting Movements is Passionate Prayer. Our training needs to be a prayer sandwich; A big slab of prayer between two slices of prayer. Are we going to do anything of significance if the Holy Spirit isn’t in the training? Any good thing that comes out of a training is a miracle (and we’ve done enough trainings to know!) So we pray and fast before, we pray during the training, and we pray like crazy afterward so our work is not in vain.
3. The Beginning of Gospel Saturation
The 2nd Principle of Church Planting Movements is Abundant Seed Sowing. When we do a “Gospel Conversation Training” where the trainees actually go out and share the gospel, it impacts the community. I’m guessing it may even be a 500% increase in evangelism in some towns or cities! Of course, the goal is a sustainable daily evangelistic effort, but it’s a start. Every time we train a person to train someone else to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, we get one step closer to NoPlaceLeft.
4. No Gospeling, No Training
When we do a Gospel Conversation Training, we always leave time to actually go out and practice what we learned. In fact, if someone tells us, “We just want the training. We won’t be going out.” We politely suggest they try another program. Training means doing what we learned. Don’t train people to do things they are unwilling to do. It will give them a false sense of accomplishment and spirituality. And in the end, we are no closer to NoPlaceLeft or obeying Jesus.
5. Humility, Courage, Faith
When we send people out to share the gospel, we’re actually molding their character. It takes humility, courage, and faith to share the gospel and make disciples. The Lord Jesus is not only interested in what His disciples “do” but also who they “are.” It’s not just about the outer works but the inner man as well. We can’t rob the People of God of this vital development because it’s outside their “comfort zone.” Send them out! (John 17.18)
6. Obedience is Success, Results are a Blessing
There are controllables and uncontrollables in movements. Sharing the gospel is controllable, leading people to Christ is not. Teaching people how to be a healthy church is a controllable, planting a church is not. Prayer and fasting is a controllable, movement is not. If you want to start a movement, you might be sorely disappointed. But if you want to align your heart with the Father’s and if you want to love Jesus, you’ve come to the right place. Our obedience is reward enough and we leave the results to the Master.
7. Look for the Doers
In the introductory trainings (411 & Intensives) you’re looking for the people that actually put the training into practice. We call these folks the “Doers.” (James 1.22) It’s usually 1-2%. We know that number seems low but these are your 4th Soil people who will multiply. To find this kind of person you have to 1) Give them something to do and 2) Follow up to see if they did it. Otherwise, it’s like going fishing with no hook, you’re just throwing worms in the water.
8. The Real Training Happens After the Event
Rarely does a person completely capture the training on the first go. But it does pique their interest enough to get involved. Take this kind of person under your wing and begin to invest the time it will take for the new disciple to become Confident, Competent, and Committed. They need Coaching and Mentoring on a weekly basis.
9. A Catalyst is Cool but the Coach/Mentor Get Traction
We’ve seen a lot of people who have been to a catalytic training and are fired up but don’t have a clue on what to do next. We need to train in such a way that we give people “Handles” on their newfound vision as disciple-makers. Catalyst are great at casting vision but it’s the coach/mentor who is going to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.
10. New Trainers Get the Real Training
What is the best way to learn something? Teach it! This insight will dictate the focus of our training efforts. The focus is on the new trainer, not the trainees. This can be messy. But if we are primarily concerned about the people who showed up for the training, we would only have the Guru teaching. The Guru mentality does not multiply. I say that the trainees are well fed guinea pigs, it’s the new trainer I’m focused on.