What are You Doing at 2:42 every Afternoon?

Clocks

Do you have a cell phone? If you do, and you probably do, you also have an alarm feature on your phone. I’d like to make a suggestion regarding that alarm. Set it for 2:42 p.m. every day.

Acts 2:42 reads, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

We all understand that this process describes the beginning of the Church on Jerusalem. We may also understand that the four activities listed there (teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer) are essential items for the exponential growth of the early church. And by inference, the growth of our own churches today.

The phrase “continually devoting themselves” is actually one word in Greek (proskartereō) and found only here and in Acts 1:14. Both include prayer as a primary activity people were devoted to.

Finding time to pray can be difficult with our busy schedules. We often feel like we need 30 minutes of dedicated time to pray. But what if we took just four minutes and 20 seconds to pray at 2:42 pm?

Many working people may be ready for a coffee break around 2:42 pm. Maybe a little before or a little after. I would suggest that you use less than five minutes of your time to pray daily, even on the weekends. The time might vary slightly based on your activities, but using your cell phone alarm (probably a silent vibration alarm at work!) can help you develop a disciple of daily prayer.

What should you pray about at 2:42 pm? First, I would suggest praying about the other three items mentioned in Acts 2:42 – things that you have recently learned (teaching), friendships (fellowship), and your community (breaking bread).

What you have learned may come from a personal devotion that day, or a sermon; the sky’s the limit. Friendships include family members, co-workers, neighbors, whomever. Community can include your city, government leaders, and the non-Christians you are making friends with.

Secondly, sometimes I simply pray about what’s going on at the very moment my alarm goes off. We have no specific information about what the Acts 1 & 2 Communities were praying about, just that they were praying.

How about joining me? Set your cell phone alarm for 2:42 pm daily and let’s start praying daily. If you do set that alarm, drop a comment in the comment link below (a link not a box). I’d love to know who’s praying with me!

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Photo by Andrey Grushnikov from Pexels

Immediate Ministry Need

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In a week, I will fly to Chicago for a special seminar on ministry to “emerging adults.” This is a relatively new term for people between the age of 19 and 30. It includes both Millennials and the oldest of Generation Z.

From there I will fly to Nashville for a second conference simply called Q (described as a place for church and industry leaders to thoughtfully navigate today’s culture).

From there I will fly to Indianapolis to meet with Nav20s staff and local leaders as we further develop the Nav20s ministry there.

It will be a very busy ten days of ministry and I need your help with the costs. The cost will include two conference registrations, five hotel nights in two cities, rental cars in three cities, and 21 personal meals (for a total of 31 different expenses). So, I am asking that you consider donating toward one of these 31 items.

Here’s the specifics:

Twenty-one meals at an average cost                                   $    10.50  ($220.50 total)

Flight to Chicago Midway on Southwest                              $  245.17

Rental car in Chicago                                                               $  130.99

Conference cost in Chicago                                                     $    40.00

Hotel stay in Chicago                                                                $  133.54

Flight to Nashville on Southwest                                            $  190.87

Rental car in Nashville                                                             $  199.96

Conference cost in Nashville                                                   $  409.00

Hotel stay in Nashville                                                              $  151.92

Flight to Indianapolis on Southwest                                       $  146.51

Rental car in Indianapolis                                                         $  132.95

Flight home to San Antonio on Southwest                             $  162.33

Total cost of this ten-day trip                                                           $2,163.74

Since this is an immediate need, please consider giving any of the indicated amounts (or another amount as God leads) in this next week (today would be great). It may take a few days for your support gift to process and I will need to declare all my expenses after I return to San Antonio.

The link to give electronically is: http://tinyurl.com/BruceStopher (this will take you to a secure webpage). You will receive a receipt for your gift from The Navigators.

You may be interested in why I am attending the two conferences. The Chicago conference is back-to-back talks from men and women in direct ministry to emerging adults. The focus here will be from “top Evangelical scholars presenting on what we know about the exodus of the younger generations from the church and how we can recapture a theology and lifestyle which draws them back into a relationship with God AND his church.”

The Nashville conference focuses more directly on the shifts that are occurring in our culture. They offer help me to “be equipped for the difficult conversations and extraordinary opportunities that lie ahead.”

As you can see, both these conferences will help me learn more about the people I seek to reach as non-Christians and influence (disciple/mentor/coach) as Christians. I also hope to be able to bring key concepts home to the staff I supervise in Indianapolis, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

Again the link to provide any amount of support is: http://tinyurl.com/BruceStopher

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Photographer: Salvatore Ventura

April Book Recommendations

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I would suggest the following Kindle electronic books that are on sale during April 2019. If you do not have a Kindle device, you can read these books on your laptop by going here.

Note: Each link below will take you to a corresponding Amazon page. When you purchase the book through that link, I will receive a 2% commission. Since almost every book is on sale for under $3.00, I would never earn more than six cents on your purchase.

Addition note: Books marked with an asterisk (*) are highly recommended by me.

Growing in Christ

Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ (by Trent Hunter)

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition (by Gordon Fee)

Know How We Got Our Bible (by Ryan Reeves)

Jesus Among Secular Gods: The Countercultural Claims of Christ (by Ravi Zacharias)

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (by Phillip Yancey)

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible (by Scot McKnight)

The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances (by Alister Begg)

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited (by Scot McKnight)

Transforming Presence: How the Holy Spirit Changes Everything – From the Inside Out (by Daniel Henderson)

* Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God (by Rankin Wilbourne)

Excellence at Work

101 Secrets for Your Twenties (by Paul Angone) – A secular book worth the sale price

Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment (by Gary Chapman)

Missional Living

A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazareth for Believers and Skeptics (John Dickson)

* Shaped by the Gospel: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City (by Tim Keller)

Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids (by Jack Klumpenhower)

Questions of Life (by Nicky Gumbel)

Personal Development

Facing Your Giants: God Still Does the Impossible (by Max Lucado) – Focus on giants – you stumble; focus on God – your giants tumble.

For Better or for Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House (by Ruth and Patrick Schwenk)

Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously (by David Green) – The life of giving as a life of adventure. But it’s a life that pays the best rewards personally, offers a powerful legacy to your family, and changes those you touch.

Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance (by Bob Buford)

Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership (by John Dickson)

Love Talk: Speak Each Other’s Language Like You Never Have Before (by Les and Leslie Parrott)

* One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart (by Gary Chapman)

Our Mothers, Ourselves: How Understanding Your Mother’s Influence Can Set You on a Path to a Better Life (by Henry Cloud)

Strong Women, Soft Hearts: A Woman’s Guide to Cultivating a Wise Heart and a Passionate Life (by Stacie Rinehart)

The Mom Factor: Dealing with the Mother You Had, Didn’t Have, or Still Contend With (by Henry Cloud)

Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts (by Ann Graham Lotz)

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Photo by özgür uzun from Pexels

Mileage Reimbursement

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As Navigator staff with a ministry expense account, we can be reimbursed for the mileage put on our personal vehicles when we are using it for a ministry activity. Ministry activities include driving to man-to-man meeting, Bible studies, staff meetings, conferences,[1] and similar events.

Current reimbursement for mileage is 58 cents per mile (an amount established by the IRS for 2019). That means over a month’s time you might put 200 miles on your car for ministry activities and can be reimbursed $116 (200 x 0.58) for using your personal car in ministry.

Many Nav staff just take that full reimbursement amount and add it to their checking account to be spent on whatever come up. I suggest another method based on the following:

A CompanyMileage analysis found that gas prices are only 30 percent of the overall cost of operating your vehicle. They analyzed costs based on an economy model, a mid-sized sedan, and an SUV, and consistently got a 30% gasoline cost. Car insurance accounted for 12 percent; licenses, registration, and taxes for 7 percent; and tires and maintenance 3 percent. A whopping 45 percent of the overall cost went toward vehicle depreciation.

Based on ComanyMileage’s statistics, I leave 30% of my ministry mileage reimbursement in my checking account for future gas purchase (or to pay toward my gasoline credit card). The other 7 percent of the reimbursement goes into a “vehicle operation” savings account (VOSA – not VISA!).

By setting aside this large chuck on money into savings each month, I slowly develop a fund that I can use later to pay other vehicle expenses. When my car registration come due, I use money from my VOSA. When I was hit by a teenage girl on a pick-up truck, I used the VOSA to pay the $500 deductible for repairs (and replaced the $500 when my insurance company recovered that amount from the girl’s insurance company). And when it’s time to buy a new car, I will have a hefty amount already saved to pay for the next car.

Associate Staff with a ministry expense account have the ability to submit monthly expense reports and be reimbursed for ministry mileage on their personal vehicles. This ability helps prevent using your own income to do ministry (robbing Peter to pay Paul). And done right, it helps you cover car expenses when they come up.

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Photo by Elizabeth Kier on Unsplash

[1] When driving long distances, staff should consider whether a rental car would be a better (and cheaper) option. If a trip is 300 miles, you would be reimbursed $174.00 (300 x 0.58) for using your personal vehicle. On the other hand, you could get a rental car for less then $50 per day and a tank of gas, perhaps $30. The rental car and the gas are both ministry expenses, rather than claiming the mileage on your personal car. You may often spend less on the rental car AND not add another 300 miles on your car. Be a wise steward of the financial support others provide for you!

Say Yes to Jesus

Couple with Bible

Over the past month, I have heard the phrase “Say Yes to Jesus” in four situations. Each time I heard it, a certain level of concern arose in my soul over how the term was being used. So first, let’s talk about ho wit seems to be most commonly used, and then how I have heard it used recently.

If you google the phrase Say Yes to Jesus you will get back a long list of Christian web pages that are primarily targeting non-Christians with an encouragement to Say Yes to Jesus. For example, the first result in my search was for a church in San Diego, California that stated, “Saying YES makes Jesus Christ more than a religious icon; it makes Him your personal Savior!”[1]

The second search result was for Zion Convent Church with an article that includes, “To SAY YES is to believe that Jesus is Lord, that he died for the sins of the world, and that he defeated death and offers you new life?”[2]

Many of the websites that address saying yes to Jesus are targeting non-Christians who are grappling with letting Jesus Christ become their savior. There are a few results that target Christians. In that case saying yes to Jesus concerns matters of lordship; giving Him full reign over certain areas of a Christian’s life.

But there seems to be a third use of the term which is how I have heard it used lately, and results in this blog. Here’s an example:

A college campus church leader (this is a church planted on a college campus, not a para-local-church campus ministry) said that when he was a college student the campus leader would invite students to a summer training program near Estes Park, Colorado. Each invitation included the phrase, “Say yes to Jesus.”

As soon as I heard that trouble began to bubble up inside of me. And the church leader I was talking to agreed with me reaction. It was being implied that Jesus was directly inviting the student to attend the summer training program. The complication arises that if the students declines the invitation, he’s actually saying “No” to Jesus.

Since that first conversation, I’ve heard this phrase three more times. Since I’m writing this during the school Spring Break timeframe, there are probably plenty of invitations beginning in anticipation of a training program that will begin in two-to-three months.

Summer training programs are useful. Participants learn spiritual disciplines and develop in community in ways that may not easily occur on campus. Campus ministry leaders put a lot of time and energy into developing these programs, and they desire as much participation as they can raise. However, conflict arises when the desires of the campus leader is different than the student’s. Some college students deeply desire to work as an intern during the summer. This gives them something significant to put on their resumé and, potentially, get hired by that company after graduation.

The conflict is over the word “significant.” To the student, wages to pay college costs and a job after college are significant. To the campus leader, attendance at the training program and potential spiritual development is significant. Leaders can attempt to resolve this conflict by using a trump card – “Say yes to Jesus.”

And if one trump card is good, two must be even better! I attended a wedding that was the direct result of a training program. While dating is frowned upon during a training program, this couple began to date immediately after a training program that they both attended.

The guy originally did not want to go since he just graduated and felt the need to get a job. But the first trump card (say yes to Jesus) was successful, and then the campus leader used the second trump card – if the graduate had not said yes to Jesus, the couple would not have met and gotten married. That leader will probably be able to use that second trump card for several years on other students.

But what about us; people who are committed to discipling, mentoring, and coaching others. Often in our discipling, we have an objective, a place to where we want to see someone arrive. We earnestly desire that best for each person we meet with. What happens when they don’t “take the bait.” Do we go for a trump card? Some catchy saying or story that makes it harder to decline our suggestions?

We need to make sure that if we’re asking or advising someone to “say yes to Jesus” that it’s actually Jesus wanting the “yes” and not us. If there is a Scripture verse that clearly advises compliance, we should be free to point that out. I just don’t know of any passages that invite people to attend activities, no matter how well-planned they may be.

Say “no” that un-due pressure and marketing tactics that do not actually reflect the way of Jesus.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

[1] Wave Church. “Say Yes to Jesus” Accessed on 14 March 2019 at: http://wavechurchsd.com/say-yes-to-jesus/

[2] Zion Covenant Church. “Say Yes to Jesus” Accessed on 14 March 2019 at: https://www.zioncovenant.org/say-yes-to-jesus

How to Approach a Potential Discipling Relationship

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While leading a small group at a disciple-making conference, there were a lot of questions about how to begin a discipling relationship. Most of the men in this group had been to this same conference for three to five years. They had yet to find a fellow to begin to disciple, although they definitely had the desire.

Talking with a couple of them individually, I found that their approach was a problem that they had not considered. They seemed to consider starting a discipling relationship to be similar to starting a business transaction. Most of them met a fellow they were interested in and asked them if they would like to be discipled. When they did this, they got turned down, and frustrated.

I shared some ideas with them and thought I would flesh things out here (since a couple of them asked for more information to be posted).

We all know that Jesus spent a night in prayer before choosing his twelve disciples (Luke 6:12). However, a simple search of the chapter previous to Luke 6, shows us that Jesus was calling men to follow him even before he prayed the entire night. Luke 6:13 indicates that the twelve disciples were chosen from a larger group of disciples.

Here’s what we get from a deeper look beyond Luke 5 and 6: Jesus was building relationships with men before he ever called them. While we may assume that Jesus just “randomly” walked up to Simon and Andrew and asked them to follow him (Mark 1:16-17), most biblical scholars agree that each of the disciples answering his call had probably had several encounters with him before getting called to follow.

Here’s my point: Beginning a discipling relationship works best by beginning a relationship with a man you would like to disciple. Instead of a “forward assault” that we might use in military tactics, you’ll have must better results by asking someone to meet with you for coffee. And giving the relationship time to develop.

I went on a church camping trip several years back and one young married fellow peaked my interest. I looked for a couple opportunities to chat lightly with “Steve” (yep, one of those fictitious names for a real person!). The next week at church, I looked for Steve to say hello and catch up on a couple things we had talked about previously.

On the third week, I asked if Steve might be available to meet for lunch. I also offered to meet him near his work to make it easy on him. He said his work schedule wouldn’t permit it; he brought a lunch everyday and ate while he worked. About once a month, I continued to offer to meet for lunch. And finally, about six months after we first met, Steve said he could carve out 30 minutes at a fast food place near his work.

In the next six months, Steve continued to carve out 30 minutes, once a month, but we enjoyed the time getting to know one another. At each meeting, I shared a thought I had gotten from my quiet time and encouraged him to try to carve out some time in the word during his day.

It was at the one-year mark, at the end of our 30-minute lunch that Steve looked at me and said, “We’re going to meet like this every week, right?” That question came out of the blue. I had not mentioned meeting weekly, although I learned later that Steve talked with a couple other guys from church who I was meeting with weekly.

Steve started our discipling relationship when he was ready. He got a glimpse of the benefits other guys mentioned and enjoyed the relationship we had been building. It took a year, but it was well worth it. Steve has become one of my strongest disciple-makers; reproducing in others what I have reproduced in him.

If you are having trouble finding a man to disciple, strike up a friendship with another man at church. In all likelihood, you will have something to invest in him once your relationship grows. You will also teach him the best way to fish for men is to use bait that draws fish closer rather than scares them off.

When Good Men Bring Good Things

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A few days ago, we were discussing Matthew 12:35 and 36, which says, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (all verses are from the NASB).

The discussion centered on the idea of careless words, which is definitely something that Jesus warned us about. However, I wanted to send a little more time of the idea of “bringing.” It might be easy to remember that we should watch our language, but there is an absolute that we were ignoring.

What does it mean to “bring out what is good” or “bring out what is evil?” The key is in the word “bring.” At first glance, it seems that this is just something that comes along with us. Something like saying, “I’ll bring the donuts.”

But the Greek word for bring is actually a much strong word than we realize. Matthew chooses to use the word ἐκβάλλω (ekballō, Strong’s G1544) and Matthew uses that word 28 times in his Gospel (82 times in the whole New Testament). While Matthew uses ekballō twice in verse 35, we can begin to understand the strength of the word better in another verse where he uses the word twice again in the same chapter (v. 27).

Verse 27 reads, “If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?” (NASB). What that? You don’t even see the word “bring?” No you don’t, because in verse 27 it is translated as “cast out,” not “bring.” And that’s how we begin to understand the strength of this word Jesus used when he said that good men bring good things out of their good treasure.

What Jesus is saying is that there’s actually some work involved in bringing out good or evil from what we treasure in our hearts; as much work as casting out demons! As a mater of fact, this word ekballō is translated as “cast out” more than half the time it appears in the New Testament. But you may also see it in Matthew 7:5, “first take (ekballō) the log out of your own eye” and in Matthew 9:38, “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out (ekballō) workers into His harvest.”

Here’s my point, while we might focus on avoiding careless words we may totally miss the idea of purposefully, intentionally, even forcefully bringing good things out of our treasure store. These good things simply will not ooze out of us. Work is necessary.

Watching for careless words is important, but Jesus refers to the person who is actively bringing out good things as a “good man.” The other two options are a careless man or an evil man. Let’s strive to be producers of good!

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Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Emerging Adults – A Classic Example

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I am often asked to describe the people to whom I minister; people in their 20s who have a variety of descriptions. However, I classically use one term to define the 20-somethings that we target the most – Emerging Adults.

After using this term for the past year, I am very aware that many people have never heard of the term, and I spend a good deal of time describing this target group to people who have a classic understanding of life stages. Those life stages come from psychologists and sociologists, and they often refer to one of the most famous psychologists of all, Erik Erikson. Erikson defined eight stages of psycho-social development, and called the sixth stage “Intimacy versus Isolation” which included people ages 18 to 40 years, also known as “young adults.”

Decades ago, adolescents completed high school and, within a year of graduation, had a stable job and left their parent’s home, lived on their own under their own financial support (there were exceptions). Today, it is expected that most high schoolers move on to college, choosing a major based on a career pathway, and some immediately begin graduate school before entering the work world. That means many people are not leaving home and establishing independence until the ages of 24 to 27 years old.

Psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, PhD, coined the term “emerging adult” in 1995 after interviewing 300 people between the ages of 18 and 29. Take note that the people who were interviewed were NOT from the Millennial Generation, the oldest of whom would have only been 14 years old in 1995. These were people from Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980![1]

Arnett defined Emerging Adults with five “ages:” the age of identity exploration, instability, self-focus, felling in-between, and possibilities.[2] The greatest identifying factor was people who were being classified as Young Adults but did not yet feel like they had reached that mark (that in-between feeling). Today, we can often see them self-identify by using a familiar term on social media: #adulting.

This afternoon, I met with a college senior who will graduate in a few months. It was the first time I had seen Stephen (yep, one of those factious names to protect someone’s true identity) since we met at a college retreat almost 18 months ago.

Stephen expressed frustration with his place in life. At 24, most of his peers had already finished college, had full-time jobs, were in committed relationships moving toward marriage, and were living on their own (or least out of their parents’ home and with a roommate in an apartment).

Stephen will be graduating with a degree in electrical engineering at the end of the current term, but he has no job prospects yet and isn’t sure that he even wants to work in the engineering field. A short-term mission trip to Europe made living aboard in a lengthier capacity an attractive idea , or at least to live in another state (possibilities).

Stephen’s father has offered to let him stay home for a year after graduation if he uses all his extra income to pay off student loans. Stephen acknowledged that that agreement was based on a presupposition that he would land a job quickly when he knows peers who took six months or more to get hired. Besides, he asked, “Isn’t time that I be out on my own?”

This is the dilemma that thousands of graduating collegiate face every year, often times complicated by a helicopter parent who doesn’t want to let go (though not Stephen’s case). They are being called “adults” by our culture, which hasn’t caught up to the idea of “emerging adults,” but they admit only feeling like an adult when they do their laundry or cook their dinner.

I have met emerging adults who did not know what a printed form at the bottom of a letter was (I had to explain that it was a check), or how to cash it. I met a fellow recently who didn’t know how to reserve a room at a hotel or check-in once he arrived. Many of these emerging adults need someone to come along and explain what older adults simply take for granted.

Add to that the struggle many Christian college students feel regarding their spiritual lives, or experience once they are finally out of their own. No local church can replicate the college campus ministry environment with its high-energy weekly meetings, small groups, Bible studies, and accountability that is all focused on other people in the exact same stage of life.

Stephen deeply desires to renew his pursuit of Christ while laying out a plan toward independence as a young adult. When I offered to meet with him regularly, tears welled up in his eyes. He had been able to talk about feel life concerns with someone who had been there and could help him see his way through.

For those of you who financially and/or prayerfully support this ministry to 20s (a.k.a., emerging adults), thank you, thank you, thank you! If you would like to provide a one-time gift or a regular monthly gift to help emerging adult Christians like Stephen, you can give securely online here.

[1] Dimock, Michael. “Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Post-Millennials Begin.” Pew Research Center. Accessed on 16 January 2019 at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/defining-generations-where-millennials-end-and-post-millennials-begin/
[2] Munsey, Christopher. “Emerging adults: The in-between age.” American Psychological Association. Accessed on 16 January 2019 at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/emerging.aspx

Indianapolis Invitation

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You are probably reading this blog article because you were invited to see it; and that would be because you identify as a Christian living in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area. We would like to take a bit of your time to cast a vision, or perhaps renew a previous vision, for your hometown.

The Indy metro area has a current estimated population of 2,004,230, making it the 34th largest metro area in the United States. The city of Indianapolis itself is the 13th largest city in the United States. It is similar in size to other cities/metro areas within a short drive, such as Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Unlike Cincinnati or Columbus, the Indy metro area has a uniquely evangelical Christian heritage. That would include you. And it’s your status as a Christian in the Indy metro area that we are most interested in.

Many young people, perhaps including you, were raised in Christian homes in Indiana. My own family migrated from Germany to Pennsylvania and eventually out to Ohio County in southeastern Indiana. Many of us can be grateful for the Christian heritage provided by our families.

Other young people may not have had much spiritual influence in their homes, but when they moved off to college they were invited to join a Christian group on campus. Many Christians who attended college can point to a time of significant flourishing in their Christian lives.

The something began to happen. It was called commencement, otherwise known as graduation day from college. The word commencement has to do with beginning something new. For most college grads, that new thing is full-time employment. We diligently search for it and find something that seems to fit our personality and desires, or at least can lead toward those.

As we dig into work life, we begin to realize that we aren’t completely prepared for this new venture. There’s so much that did not get passed on from our families and college professors. “Suddenly” we have to get up early in the morning in order to make it to work on time (no more sleeping in until mid-morning, and no more being late like we could be for class). Eating becomes a problem. We either have to get up even earlier to make a meal, go through a drive-thru to grab something, or just settle for coffee.

The eight-hour work day seems to be more like a ten-hour hour day, maybe even more when we include the commute time. We get to work and find that the majority of people we now interface with are not like our college friends who were all within a couple years of our own age. We struggle to communicate with co-workers who are twice our age and don’t use the same social media or popular movie language as we do.

We get home after battling rush-hour traffic and realize we have nothing to eat for dinner. It’s either make a quick run to a local fast food joint or grab the phone to order delivery with DoorDash or GrubHub. In the meantime, we find some comfortable clothes and sit down to catch up on Instagram or television or relax with the X-Box. The day ends with the realization that you’ve got to get to bed before midnight, so you can do it all over again tomorrow.

The weekend is prime time for us! Finally, Friday night with friends, and Saturday, too! Exhausted, we sleep in on Sunday to catch up on much needed sleep. We roll out of bed just before noon and realize we didn’t make it to church again this week. (Remember how you never missed during college, even before mid-terms and end-of-semester exams?)

But church doesn’t really work for you. In college, there were churches very close to campus that catered to your needs (okay, desires). You loved the music, all your friends were there, the message was uplifting and relevant.

You tried a couple churches, even the mega-church, when you landed the new job, but there are so many old people. The music just isn’t up to par. And why does the pastor talk so much about things of interest to “old people.” You just can’t find something that clicks with you, so you tend to stay home, or use Sunday as a second Saturday. Besides, you need to do laundry by the end of the day, and maybe try some meal prep, and all those other things that we now refer to as #adulting.

Okay you’ve read this far, and maybe some of the paragraphs were dead ringers for you, and others were totally off. But the gist is this, your life has significantly changed and so has your Christian walk. It’s time to get your act together (how rude to imply that your act itself together; that’s not very nice and doesn’t lead toward co-existing).

We are in the groundswell of the #adulting movement and want to help Christians in their 20s maintain their spiritual lives—not just to endure but flourish—and grow in workplace success. You see, we believe that in order to reach the non-believers that represent a full half of the Indy metro area, you need help in your spiritual life and work life.

This is NOT an invitation to attend a specific church. Nope. Stay in the church where you are, and we can help you begin to influence that congregation and neighborhood. Be the kind of worker that co-workers watch and wonder what’s different about you, and THEY will initiate conversations that can bring them a step closer to Christ.

See your neighborhood and your workplace as a mission field to which God has sent you—even that woman who is old enough to be your grandmother!

We are the Indy20s, a group of 20s and early-30s who are interested in being disciples of Jesus Christ where we live, work and play, and helping others be disciples of Jesus where they live, work and play. We meet on a monthly basis as a large group for fellowship, encouragement, and a little push toward what we already know we should be doing (but maybe haven’t figured out how). We also spend time one-on-one, life-on-life, mentoring, coaching, and discipling toward a vibrant Christian walk that reaches the people whom God has placed in our paths.

Would you consider getting onboard? Send a message below:

Reality Checks

Daniel and Michael R

This morning I had a great visit with Michael, a spiritual son who was once stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio but now lives on the Minneapolis side of the Twin Cities. Over the past four years, Michael successfully completed a nursing program at Metro State University and has now begun working at a major hospital in Minneapolis. As we caught up on life over the past year, Michael talked about not being ready for marriage because he felt like there were spiritual things that he felt the need to address.

Our conversation moved into Michael’s time in the Word, which has been minimal (I can completely understand the high cost of nursing school on “optional” activities). I thought through ways that could be helpful for Michael to begin to get back into the Word, other than hearing a sermon every other week (his nursing schedule requires working every other weekend).

As we explored our options, I learned that Michael spends about 30 minutes every morning driving to work. So we started to explore how he could better use that time by listening to God’s Word through a Bible app or a Christian podcast on his cellphone.

We talked about determining a specific goal for his Christian walk, rather than a broad, more vague goal of “being a better Christian.” Instead, we talked about beginning to get a better grasp on God’s Word by taking “baby steps” (a term popularized by financial advisor Dave Ramsey). Since Michael has been athletic in the past (we both used to run together in 5-kilometer events in the Twin Cities), he understood that a goal to run one mile was much more doable, and was also on the way to a longer-range goal of running ten miles.

I asked Michael to take three or four days to think through a reasonable objective to begin developing in his time in God’s Word and one or two activities that he could do over the next three months. If I don’t hear from him within five days, I’ll call him to remind him of the commitment we made together.

Discipling men must be done in small chucks in order to help them feel successful. If the goal is too broad or too far out, they can easily get frustrated and feel like a failure. Simple goals that are achievable are what we need to focus on as we help others become disciples of Jesus who can also disciple others.

For a simple illustration on ways to get into God’s Word see the Hand Illustration here.