– Well, welcome everyone to the first ever Virtual Disciple-making Forum, sponsored by the Disciple Making Ministries and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. We’re so thankful for them partnering with us to do this. As you probably know, this was supposed to be an actual gathering, the first ever Disciple Making conference for the State of Alabama Baptist, and we were very excited about it. My name is Robert Mullins, and I am the lead pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Elmore, Alabama. I’m also one on the lead team that had a little part of putting all this together, and I’m so thankful for all the folks that worked so hard to do this, and I’m very thankful for you today in gathering for this. And whether it’s in person or online, the great thing is the Holy Spirit’s here with us. We’ve got great things that are gonna be happening today, here at one o’clock, today at three o’clock and then tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., and hope that you’ll join us for all of those things. And the first session here, will feature Daniel Im from Edmonton, Canada, and Mark Gainey will be the host for that from First Baptist Fultondale, or Fultondale’s First Baptist, and we’re so glad that you have decided to join us today. Before we do anything else, let’s go to the Father and just ask for His blessings on all of our time together. Let’s pray together. Father God, thank you so much for this. Lord, we come to you with open hands, and God we know that all these crazy days have not taken you one moment by surprise. As a matter of fact, before we were even born, You knew all this was gonna happen, and God we trust You with every bit of it. As a matter of fact, we want to learn how to better make disciples in the midst of it. And we ask that in these two days, that You would not only bless us, but You teach us and show us, Lord, how we can be disciples that make disciples. We love You, and we thank You for this time together. I pray blessings on these men and women that are watching right now, God speak through Daniel, speak through Ken, speak through Scott, in the next few days. And Lord, just let us be refreshed, let it refresh our soul, like that deer that’s panting for water that you talk about in Your Word. Lord, we trust You and love You. In Jesus’ name, amen. Mark, I’m gonna turn it over to You.
– All right, all right. Well, we are certainly thrilled that you are here, I’ll echo all of Robert’s comments. And a couple of things, as the host, to get out of the way first. First of all, if you’re in the chat, you’ve seen this already, but we have two different avenues to interact. One is the chatroom, and that’s just if you want to put a comment out there for everybody to see, say hello, all that, we encourage you to do that in the chat. But the other one, is the Q & A. So, there’s another function, another button, kind of at the bottom of your screen that’s Q & A. So, that’s where we’re gonna collect questions for our speakers for every event. So, for Daniel, who I’m gonna introduce in just a minute, if you have a question for him, he’s gonna speak for a few minutes, and then we’re gonna have a Q & A time. So if you have a question you’d like to submit, put that in the Q & A section. And the panelists will see that, and I will tell you, it may be we can’t get to all the questions, there may be some great questions we don’t get to, but we want you to submit your questions there, because we want to get to as many as we can during our time together. So, you don’t really wanna hear from us, you wanna hear from Daniel Im, that’s why you’re here. So, Daniel is quickly becoming a good friend of ours here in this state, and Daniel is the Senior Associate Pastor at Beulah Alliance Church. And that is a multiplying, multi-site church, and I love their mission. They’re focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Jesus, and I love that. And so, you probably know him by some of his books as well, he’s authored a couple of books. He’s written “No Silver Bullets”, which has transformed my thinking and ministry, and he’s recently released his newest book which is “You Are What You Do: “And Six Other Lies about Work, Life and Love”, and he’s gonna talk a little bit about that today. He’s also the co-host of a couple podcasts, the New Churches Q&A Podcast, and he co-hosts a podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting, called the Imbetween Podcast, love the play on words there, and he has served and pastored in church plants and multi-site churches from 100 people all the way to 50000 people, and he served at LifeWay, led the multiplication initiative for LifeWay until he just recently moved back to Edmonton. So, that’s a long introduction, but I’ll tell you this, he is an expert and disciple maker and that’s why he is here, and that’s why we wanna hear from him. So, Daniel, take it away, bro. We’re glad you’re here.
– Awesome. Hey, it’s so good to be with you guys here online, not in person, but hopefully we’ll be together in person soon. So, just to kick our time off together, I’d love for you to think about three different things and try to guess what these things have in common, right. So think about cauliflower, podcasting and Amazon Prime. So, what do these three things have in common? And as a disciple maker, as a Christian, and as a pastor and a leader, what does this have to do with any of that? So, we’ll start with the first question and then get to the second one later. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but cauliflower seems to be everywhere. I mean, pretty much everyone in the world hasn’t gone to a restaurant recently, but if you go, or if you remember the last time you’ve been, you probably remember seeing cauliflower on the menu, right. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower buffalo wings, cauliflower tots. It just seems to be not only in restaurants, but also at Costco and in our grocery stores as well. And just think about this, right. In a short span of three years, Green Giant has gone from harvesting five to 30 acres of cauliflower every week. Just think about that, that’s 100000 heads of cauliflower every single day, and it’s a similar thing that’s happened with podcasting. I mean, the question used to be, hHave you heard of podcasts? Now, it seems to be, which podcast do you listen to? And then Amazon Prime, right? I mean, in America alone, more than half of all American households are subscribers. So, the reason I’m wanting to just quickly bring up cauliflower, podcasting and Amazon Prime, is because these three things are just a few examples of how fast and quickly things have shifted and are changing in our society today. So, with these trends kinda going up and down, how do we tell the difference, as leaders and as disciple makers, between fads and fundamentals, right? Between fidget spinners and artificial intelligence? Now, when I moved to Nashville in 2014, and that was with my wife and my three children, we noticed something that we didn’t, honestly, we didn’t think it was much of a trend, or we didn’t necessarily realize how quickly it was gonna impact everyday life for the rapid rate at which it was growing, but we began noticing, this was in 2014, how it seemed like everyone had a side hustle or a gig. Did any of you notice this? Okay, maybe not everyone, right? But close to half the people we met, seemed to have a side hustle and maybe they did it to save up for a vacation, or have some extra cash, or pay down debt, or what not. But it just seemed like it was becoming more and more normal. It kinda, honestly, felt like cauliflower, podcasting and Amazon Prime. No matter where you went, it was hard to miss. Even I was a part of this, with all of my side hustles that I was doing. I was full-time at LifeWay, I was also a teaching pastor at my church, I was writing and podcasting, and there are a few other things as well. So, honestly, when I first encountered this or came across it, I thought it was an American thing, since I had just moved to the States, but after talking to friends in Canada, reflecting on the time my wife and I lived in Korea and doing some research, I quickly realized just how much of a global trend it was becoming. Maybe you’ve noticed it too, perhaps you yourself are working a side hustle. In fact, I think you can do this. If you hit Participants, you can hit Raise Hand and why don’t you just really quickly, I’d love to see, why don’t you just raise your hand, if you have a side hustle, or you’ve noticed this trend as well. Let’s see how many hands come up. All right, perfect, man it’s, I mean, . It’s coming up. At least, half right now. I mean, it’s crazy, right? I mean, perhaps, you’ve sold something on Facebook, right. So, even here, right. Even here, about half of you put your hands up. So, perhaps it’s selling things on Facebook Marketplace, or driving for Uber, or Lyft, or freelancing, or delivering food, or renting out your place. I mean, not just for you, but this seems to be, it seems to be one of those things that have just become more and more normalized. Perhaps, those in your congregation. I mean, how many of you know people who have done that? Or maybe, you even know people who have quit their full-time job, not just doing this on the side, right, but quit their full-time job, with guaranteed salary, benefits and medical care, to start their own thing. Well, friends, this is called the gig economy. That’s what I wanna talk about today, the gig economy, and I want to particularly share how the gig economy has become the new normal, and how it’s affecting the way that we make disciples, and how it’s affecting the way that we do evangelism and lead in the church. So, just super quickly, the gig economy. Here’s the definition. The gig economy is made up of individuals who are self-employed, right, they’re self-employed in a part-time or a full-time capacity, getting paid for their time, skills, possessions or expertise. So, because that’s an important definition, I’m just gonna put that in the chat, right here. Just so that you guys have that. Now, this is an important definition to understand, because it’s both self-employed, it’s self-employed, both in part-time or full-time, and it’s four things, right. They’re getting paid for their time, their skills, their possessions or their expertise. So, in 2019, just get this, 35% of the American workforce was a part of this. 35%, okay. That means 57 million Americans were, here’s the definition, right. Self-employed in a part-time or full-time capacity, getting paid for their time, skills, possessions or expertise. To give you some perspective, I mean, that’s more than the entire populations of Canada, Liberia, Greece, and Puerto Rico, combined. That’s how many people were a part of the gig economy this past year. And what’s so surprising about it all, is just how rapidly the gig economy has grown, and in light of Covid-19 and this pandemic, how important the gig economy right now is for those who have lost their jobs, or for those who trying to navigate, trying to find this in between. I mean, even Amazon, and you ordering food, because you can’t go to restaurants. I mean, all that stuff is being funded and fueled by the gig economy. So, it’s gonna be interesting to see just how rapidly this spikes next year when the research is done. So, just think about this, right. In the last five years, right, about 35% of the American workforce was a part of this. In the last five years, 68% of all gig workers surveyed, joined the gig economy. In the last five years, 68%! So, you see similar trends in the U.S., well, we’ve been talking about the U.S., in Canada, in the U.K., in Australia. In fact, if you look up gig economy in Google trends, which if you are a preacher or a teacher, Trends.Google.com needs to be your best friend, ’cause it’s actually the biggest data set on human behavior and the way, literally Google has become the new god, and questions that people will ask Google, they used to ask maybe their trusted friends or others, but they’re not doing that as much anymore, because Google seems to be anonymous. And when you look at that, right, when you look at that from, if you just kind of look, just search gig economy and Google trends anyway, hey, how rapidly has this increased? Literally, since July 2015, it spikes like this. It spikes, and that’s not just in the countries I’ve named. Singapore actually tops the list. All right, so if the gig economy has become the new normal, and if the gig economy has changed everyday life, here is the thing that we need to understand, you don’t actually have to be working in it for it to affect you. Okay, so if 35%, right, so if 35% of the American workforce is a part of the gig economy, if 35% are a part of it, you don’t have to be a part of it, you don’t have to be working in it for it to affect you. Because when’s the last time you bought something off of Ebay? When’s the last time you bought something off of Facebook Marketplace? Or rode in an Uber? Or ordered food? Or slept at an Airbnb? I mean, all of that. If you have done any of that, or even here’s this, or even without an app, when’s the last time you got a, I mean, I know we’re not getting haircuts right now, but the last time you got a haircut from a barber or a salon? I mean, you are funding the gig economy. If you ever hired a babysitter, or a contractor, or had your lawn mowed, you are funding the gig economy. So, here’s the thing, maybe you have a side hustle, maybe you don’t, but when you look at those you are discipling and those in your church, everyone is being affected by this. So, what is the challenge that this presents to us as disciple makers? What challenge does this present to us as leaders and pastors in the church? Here’s what it is. The gig economy promises a life of freedom and flexibility. That’s the challenge. And when you look at how quickly this has grown, ’cause it’s crazy how fast this has grown and how widespread it is, the core lie that’s actually fueled the gig economy to increase is this, is it promises a life of freedom and flexibility. Or, to put it another way, a life of control. Does this seem like maybe, the lie from the Garden of Eden? I mean, this is nothing new, yet this is actually what the gig economy is riding off of. Just think about this, this is what the gig economy promises, or maybe tries to promise. Hey, you have unlimited earning potential, so if you wanna go on a trip, just gig for a few hours. You want that new outfit? Just sell a few things that are lying around the house. Want that latest phone, or that new computer, or that new whatever? I mean, just hustle for it. Everyone has time that they waste, free time that they waste, so just use that time to earn some extra cash, be productive, right. Why are you sitting on your couch watching Netflix, or Disney Plus? Go and make some money. You’re in control. Just get it done. How many of you have heard this, have thought this, or have seen this? Now, while I was researching on the gig economy, about the gig economy, and the unintended consequences that it presented, not just for work but for relationships and all this. I actually noticed this loose thread, kinda like you notice a loose thread on your sweater, and you kinda ignore it at first, but it just kinda keeps on catching your eye, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s just probably, whatever,” and you just kinda try to pull it, and if you’ve done that before, where you just kinda pull it a little bit, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s actually, it wasn’t just loose that I could just pull it out,” your sweater actually started unraveling a little bit and a little bit at a time, and honestly, that’s how I felt, and what I thought, and how I experienced, as I continued to research and participate in the gig economy. And stitch after stitch loosened, and fell apart until I was eventually left with these lies. You are what you do. You are what you experienced. You are who you know. You are what you know. You are what you own. You are who you raise, and you weren’t able to write that down. Underneath the allure of the freedom and the flexibility, and the life of control that the gig economy promises, are these very seven lies that are actually trying to change the way that we view ourselves, and change the way that we approach work, life and love. Friends, no wonder these lies have become the new way to view ourselves, ’cause they’re means to an end, since believing in them, or trying to live our lives according to them, is apparently the promised path to this core lie of the gig economy, right. This life of freedom and flexibility. Now, here’s a reason it’s so easy though to fall into the traps of these lies, is ’cause they’re actually half-truths, right. At the surface, they don’t seem too bad. Right, they don’t seem evil. They don’t seem unjust. They don’t seem necessarily right, but they don’t seem evil, right. And that’s because these lies are actually half-truths, right . It’s fake news. And it has a subtle and deliberate intent to deceive. So, let me walk through these seven lies so that you can hear the half-truth underneath of them all. And just to give you a point of reference, these seven lies and all that I’m talking about, it’s from my newest book, “You Are What You Do: “And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love”, and I devote a chapter to each of these lies and what the truth is on the other side. So, here’s the first one, you are what you do. As children, what are we asked? “What do you wanna be?”, right, “what do you wanna be, when you grow up?” Isn’t that interesting? We ask our kids, “What do you wanna be, when you grow up?”, and then how do they respond? By what they do, right? I mean, it’s crazy how, as children, we are conditioned to believe this lie, and then as adults, we’re asked what we do for work, and we’re measured by that, and then at the end of our lives, we’re measured by what we’ve done. So, it’s not surprising that we believe this lie, and especially in the West, and especially in the U.S., this seems to be such a core lie. That we are what we do, and we measure our self-worth off of that. But the truth on the other side, is there’s no end to a life of doing. Doing never results in done, because it just adds to, and it leads to more doing. In fact, there’s no badge of honor, there’s no check mark. There’s none of that in a life of doing, there’s only exhaustion and despair. Here’s the second lie, you are what you experience. Experiences have become the new currency. In fact, amassing stuff and getting things don’t seem to be as valuable anymore, and people who only buy those things are often buying them for the experiences that they’ll help create. Experiences, right. So, Mother’s Day is coming up, and for all you guys out there, hopefully, you’re preparing and thinking about that. One of the things that I do, is kinda, I help my kids figure out what they’re gonna do for my wife, and one of the things that my wife wants to do, is she wants lights, right? She kinda wants to string lights on our back porch, on our back porch. So, yesterday night, I was looking up on Costco and on Amazon and trying to figure out how are we gonna attach this to our siding, and how we get to string these lights, and how are we gonna do all this. Now, yes, I bought stuff, but the reason Christina wants that is because of the experience that it’s gonna create on our deck. The experience, right. It’s less about things, and it seems to be more and more about experiences. And in fact, it’s crazy how much data credit card companies have on us, and they’ve actually discovered that people are spending more and more money on experiences than things now. Experiences than things. Now, the problem though is experiences are temporary, right? And a life driven to get more, do more, and have more experiences, is inevitably only gonna lead you down a further path that you’re already familiar with, right? A life of comparison, right. A life of comparison that’s fueled and filled with jealousy and envy. That you are who you know is the next lie, and this lie is so destructive, because on the surface, yes, smartphones, the internet, all these Zoom calls that we’re filled with, I mean, they seem to be increasing our connection with one another, but they’re actually doing the very opposite, right. They’re kinda exacerbating the problems of disconnection, isolation and loneliness, and we are actually more disconnected than ever before. And the neat thing, right, the neat thing, the opportunity that we now have, is I did some calculations and it’s been seven weeks since my church has been doing online services rather than meeting in person. Seven weeks. First couple of weeks it was fun, it was like, “Oh, this is different.” Now, it’s kinda that grind, where you’re like, “Aw, another?” Yesterday, I was worshiping at home, and I was like, “Man, I just can’t wait “till we all get back together again.” Now here’s the thing, right now, you don’t have to convince anyone that community and connection is important. The opportunity that we have is now, in light of that, how do we then easily move people into discipling relationships, right. So, you are who you know is the next lie, and it’s crazy how much power knowledge has to shape and form our identities. Just think about this, Thomas Jefferson, Hitler and Pol Pot, all had the same view of knowledge. They all believed knowledge was power. Jefferson wanted to freely promote it . Hitler and Pol Pot, I mean, they actually wanted to control and restrict it. And yes, knowledge is valuable, but the fact is, even if you build your life on this, and you get that degree, that doctorate, or that master’s, or another doctorate, or whatever it is that you’re trying to get, for whatever. Once you get that, you’re inevitably gonna meet somebody who knows more than you, and you’re gonna be like, “Why? “It’s a terminal degree, right? “It’s a terminal degree.” But then, quickly, you’re like, “Oh, but that didn’t actually satisfy “what I was looking to fill.” You are what you own is the next lie, and it’s crazy, right? It’s actually quite shocking, but the way we spend our money surprisingly reflects what we value, who we think we are, how we want to appear to others, really more than we might be aware of or even be willing to admit. So, it’s no wonder that we believe this lie, that we are what we own, because our culture’s infused status and value into material objects. Now, I remember, this was during the winter, and it was when we used to go to gyms, right. Remember that time? So, in Edmonton, it’s winter, it’s cold. It’s cold, and it’s winter, probably five or six months out of the year. So, this is probably about December, January-ish. And I remember coming out of the gym, and I had started my car, I had a remote starter, ’cause it’s cold and you gotta warm up the car, and all that stuff. And I felt pretty good about that. But as I was walking out, it was kinda this breezeway, leave the gym, but it’s this enclosed area before you go out, and I saw this person on his phone, like this. And it looked like he was looking for, or waiting for an Uber, but I don’t know about you guys, but you usually you go like this, right? When you’re waiting for an Uber, but he was going like this, and it looked like he was kinda driving, and I didn’t really understand what he was doing. He was going like this, and going like that, and this, and that. And I saw something moving, and then, I kinda looked over his shoulder, and I was like, “Is that a Tesla driving itself?” I was like, “Surely, it can’t be a Tesla. “Wait, is he driving his Tesla on his phone? “What is happening? “I didn’t know you could do that!” And then, I walked out, went to my car, and I kinda just like a, kinda creepy, I guess. I was just kind of sitting back there and watching, and he went to the car, he didn’t get in the passenger seat, he went into the driver’s seat, and no one came out of the driver’s seat. And I was like, “What!” I felt so good about my remote car starter until I saw that. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that way? And that, it’s because we believe this lie that we are what we own. It’s crazy, it’s crazy. All right, two more. You are who you raise. On the surface, believing this lie that you are who you raise, doesn’t seem too bad, since involvement is better than neglect, as it relates to our children, right? The problem though, is underneath the surface, the lie frauds us into believing that our children’s success is our success, and their failure is our failure. But here’s the thing, here’s the truth on the other side, no matter what your children accomplish or achieve, it’ll never satisfy, right. Nothing your children ever do, will ever make you feel, whole, fixed, or content. And friends, I’m not just talking about you as leaders, I’m talking about those you’re discipling and those in your church as well. Here’s the last one, you are your past. Do you see the past in your present? Do you see how the things that you’ve done and the things that others have done to you, are still affecting you today, in your everyday life? If so, then congratulations, this lie that you are your past, has latched onto you as well. But believing this lie, will actually disable or destroy your future, if you find yourself filled with bitterness and unresolved hurt from the past. Friends, there’s truth and freedom on the other side of these lies. Not only for you, but for those you are discipling. Are you beginning to see through these lies? That they’re not the way to see yourself, because they all come up short, and that they’re all half-truths. So, if these seven lies are the challenges that the gig economy presents to disciple making and to leading, and to evangelism, what is the opportunity of the gig economy? What is the opportunity? Well, whether we fully understand all the seven, or see the implications of all the seven in our everyday life, the fact is, these seven lies are a derivative of the gig economy, right? I talk about that core lie of the gig economy being a life of freedom and flexibility, or control. So, these seven lies, how it’s related to that, the gig economy and that core lie, is they’re all derivative of that core lie of control, and of pursuing a life of control. Here’s the opportunity, while these have changed the way that everyday life happens, they actually now give us an opportunity to share the gospel, and to present how Jesus is better than any of these ways. Living according to the lies of the gig economy, is like living in chains. It’s tiring, it’s a grind and hustle, to try to keep up, and it’s actually a fool’s game, ’cause you’re never gonna catch up, but following Jesus leads to freedom, right. The gig economy promises a life of freedom and flexibility, but we know that only following Jesus is the path, that’s the only path to true freedom, because following Him is a decision to follow the truth, right. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, “and no once comes to the Father, except through me.” And he also says, “Anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light.” So, it’s important that we, as disciple makers and as leaders, are preaching the gospel to ourselves, first and foremost, but we need to be sharing the gospel in this light to those that we are leading as well. Because freedom cannot be found in anyone else, or through anything else, including and especially, through these lies, ’cause it’s only through Jesus that anyone can experience true freedom. I love, I mean, I love everything Tim Keller, but there’s something that I’ve heard him say multiple times over the last few months, and he said, and it’s been a reaction to people asking him, “Hey, how have things changed, “and how do we respond, “in light of all that’s going on right now, “and this kind of post-Christian culture “that we’re living in?” and such, and I love how he explained it. He was like, “Before, the truth was out there, “but now the truth seems to be in here.” “And when the truth was out there, “the truth was out there, “when the truth was out there, “it was an objective truth,” right. And that’s why, I mean, even in university for me, I was part of Campus Crusade for Christ, and I would use the Four Spiritual Laws, and I saw people come to know Jesus, and then through that, because the four spiritual life assumed a lot, and it assumed that the truth was out there, and it was something that we agreed on and understand, but the truth has actually moved in here. So, here’s the thing, the gig economy and the life that it promises, is truth for everyone, because everyone wants a life of freedom and flexibility. Everyone wants a life of control. So, you look at these seven lies, and you’re like, “Well, for the majority of our world “and those we are discipling, “Christian or not, these seem to be truth,” ’cause we see them, we’re conditioned in them, we believe them in different ways. We may not actively say, “Oh yeah, I am my past,” but underneath the surface, deep inside, we believe them. They ring true to an extent, and that’s because the gig economy has so changed the way that everything is, in the moment, and at the moment right now. So, here’s the thing, guys. If right now we have to deal with discipling people who are wrestling with this relative truth that seems to be objective to them, but it actually isn’t, ’cause it’s very subjective, ’cause it’s in them and not out there, how do we disciple people in light of that? How do we disciple people in light of that? Well, this is why the gig economy is actually an opportunity. Because these seven lies now become opportunities for us to then say, “Hey, let’s talk about this you are who you raise. “Let’s talk about that.” And as you begin talking about it, you begin entering into a conversation with those you are discipling and also leading to Christ, and you help them understand how much they believe that, right. And now you’re not convincing them of a truth out there, you’re convincing them of the truth they believe in here. And then, what can you do? You can then respond with the truth on the other side. And this is actually what Jesus did, I love it. In the Sermon on the Mount, He beautifully said, “You’ve heard it was said, but now I tell you,” Right, you’ve heard it was said, but now I tell you. Matthew 5:21-22, right, “You have heard it was said, do not murder. “But I tell you, “everyone who is angry “is gonna be subject to judgment” Right? In Matthew 5:27-28, “You’ve heard it was said, “do not commit adultery. “But I tell you, “everyone who looks at a woman lustily “has committed adultery with her in his heart.” So, you see this pattern of how Jesus responds to the culture of His day. What if 2000 years later, we follow the ancient ways of Jesus, and taught and interacted with our culture in the same manner where we said, “Hey friend, you have heard it was said “that you are what you do. “But I say to you, you’re a Child of God.” You’ve heard it was said, you are what you experience. But I say to you, you are a new creation. You have heard it was said, you are who you know. But I say to you, you are known by our loving Savior, Jesus. You have heard it was said that you are what you own. But I say to you, you are complete in Jesus. You have heard it was said that you are who you raise. But I say to you, you are God’s masterpiece. And you’ve heard it was said, you are your past. But I say to you, you are free from all condemnation in Christ Jesus. There’s truth on the other side of these lies, and when our culture sees this and hears the truth, as we share it with gentleness and respect, as it says in 1 Peter 3:16. We’re gonna see those we are discipling, and those we are evangelizing to, move from being enslaved, to being free, moved from being workers, to being heirs, no inheritance, to full inheritance. And from being defined by all of these lies to being defined by what Jesus has done for them. Friends, this is the Gospel, and honestly, I know we started this entire time talking about, in culture, how this has shifted and what the gig economy looks like, and all this. And yes, that’s kind of the hook of the book, I didn’t mean to make that rhyme, but it’s kinda the hook to say, “Okay, yeah, this is what’s risen it to the surface, “but in the end, it was all of the chapters,” I’m moving from here’s 70% of the first front of the chapters, here’s how believe this lie, and then, the last 30% is, but here’s the truth on the other side. ‘Cause I wanted to take people along a journey for them to experience freedom through the Holy Spirit that can only come through Jesus Christ. All right, so that’s the end of, kind of my presentation. I’d love to have some Q & A time with you guys now.
– All right, very good. So Daniel, thank you so much, and as you’re saying all that, I’m tracking with you. So confession, I’ve had your book for about three months now, and I just finished it last night. So, true confession here. But I was tracking with you, and I’ve got a million questions, but I’m gonna ask the questions that have been submitted first. So, one good question is this, when it comes to the gig economy, Erin asked this question. When it comes to the gig economy and the mindset that comes along with it, how do we, as pastors and church leaders, navigate the waters of meeting clearly defined leadership pipelines, while also remembering that our identity is ultimately in Christ? So, how do we navigate the waters of those lies?
– Yeah, that’s interesting. Okay, so a couple things, it’s interesting how the question kind of tied gig economy to leadership pipeline, so a lot of the stuff that I was talking about on this side, was not necessarily leadership-focused, it was more discipleship-focused, it was formation-focused, and Erin, I don’t know if you’ve read my previous book, “No Silver Bullets”, but in that book, I talk a lot about the aspect of a discipleship pathway, right. And just super quickly for those who haven’t read it, if you look at the vision of your church is up here, and the strategy is all the things that you do to get to your vision, and values are how you do what you do to get to you vision. Everything you do strategy-wise, is either discipleship pathway or leadership pipeline. So, instead of seeing it as one thing, think of it as a kind of a DNA, like double helix, right, in saying discipleship pathway and leadership pipeline. They’re distinct things but they connect, they connect. So, when it comes to the gig economy and all that comes with it, we need to just be aware that the way that we develop leaders and equip these things for the work of ministry, there is a formation aspect about it, but we don’t use our leadership pipeline to disciple people. Because what we believe in one, we’ll actually assume in the other, and for churches that actually see them as one in the same thing, the problem is this, your leadership pipeline, you can actually check off and say, “Yes, I have learned this. “I am now competent in this. “I can grow in this.” And these are skills that you can learn and grow, and very clearly, it’s like, you don’t know how to build a budget, now you know how to build a budget. You don’t know how to recruit a volunteer, now you know how to recruit a volunteer, right. Knowledge, skill, experience, you check it off, and you’re good. Discipleship can’t be done the same way. I mean, it’s actually very dangerous when we measure our maturity off of all the studies that we finished, or how many years we’ve been in church, and we use these sorts of metrics. So that’s why your discipleship pathway is actually one of those things that has to be, it’s a different pathway. They align, ’cause you wouldn’t necessarily want a senior leader not exhibiting any of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit . So you want alignment, but they do actually have to be different things.
– That’s powerful, that’s good. That’s good. Okay, so a couple of questions are similar here, so I’m gonna try to just combine those, if I can. One is kind of relating to the program-driven approach that all of us in disciple making are prone to, and specifically, the gig economy, what effect does that have on that program-driven approach, and what lies do you see us, as pastors and leaders, specifically wrestling with, in terms of success in ministry and program-driven approach?
– Yeah, I think, as it relates to the program-driven approach, and as it relates to discipleship, I think what the book presents and what the gig economy presents to us, is actually, not necessarily, I don’t think it’s antithetical to that, but I think it’s a recognition of, hey, here’s how culture has shifted, how do we now disciple in light of it? And here’s the fascinating thing, there’s the discipleship side of things, but there’s also the leadership and the volunteering side of it. And what’s fascinating is, pre Covid-19, the gig economy, how it affected your church very much so on the leadership and volunteer and time side of things, is that the gig economy has shifted things to the point where now, every hour is a billable hour, right. Every hour is a billable hour. So maybe 10 years ago, you could’ve got someone to give 10, 15 hours a week, on top of a full-time job, maybe, they’re a computer programmer, and they were gonna build you a website for a free, or this side, or the other, ’cause they wanted to help out. While these days, it’s harder and harder to do that. Pre Covid-19, it was harder and harder to do that, or to find volunteer video guys, or editors, and all that stuff, because every hour is now a billable hour. So, instead of giving 15 hours for free to the church, they can give five hours, or two hours, free to the church, and then make $100 an hour for the rest of the free time that they have, right. So, that’s the interesting shift. Now, here’s the fascinating thing. Now that we are in Covid-19, I’m actually finding that people are actually time-rich, and I’m actually finding in my church that people are wanting to give more and more to the church, and wanting to serve. In fact, one of the video editors, there’s actually a few that work for a big TV station in our city, they’re actually volunteering their hours editing video for us, ’cause we’ve increased our video capacity so much. And they’re like, “Oh yeah.” I mean, they’re fine with their job, but it’s fascinating, what’s interesting, and how it’s actually been like, okay, well, I recognize everyone’s, and the church also is affected financially, so I am now time-rich, so I’m gonna give in that way. So, that’s the interesting thing on that side. As relates to your second question, Mark, about the lie that pastors and church leaders specifically wrestle with, I think, it’s a matter of saying which of the seven, or how many of the seven, do you personally wrestle with? I don’t necessarily think it’s one over the other for the vocation of pastoral ministry. I think it’s more along the lines of, some of the core lies, and even if you’re into enneagram, after I wrote the book, I was like, “Oh my gosh, so many of these lies line up “with the different enneagram numbers,” and I’m the enneagram three, which is an achiever. And I was like, “Oh, that’s why I struggle “so much with what you do, “and why losing my job in Korea “and having to move back to Canada, “was so devastating for me.” So, it’s just continuing to learn, right.
– That’s exactly right, at least hopefully, we continue to learn. Okay, let’s see. This is awesome, you are sending me some fantastic questions. Let’s see, Steven says, “You mention the awareness “for the need of community, “and how do you anticipate “converting the 25 to 30% of those “who have not previously been involved “in small group and discipleship, “in light of the current circumstances?” In light of Covid-19, how do you convert those?
– Perfect, perfect. So, that’s where even as we were preparing for this, I was like, “Should I still do this talk? “Or should I just talk about all the ways “that our church has actually shifted “our ministry strategy?” ’cause Mark, you, Andy and I, were talking on your podcast about some masterclass stuff that we’ve kind of put to the side, in light of everything. So, okay, back to the question. Explicitly to our discipleship pastor, there’s on the Groups column, ’cause we’ve kind of shifted our strategy to engagement, community and compassion, as three major categories, and that’s a strategy for us. We had a six week strategy from mid-March to right now, the end of April, and that was kind of, if you’re familiar with the blizzard winter, early, as little ice age, language from Andy Crouch, that’s kind of our blizzard strategy. Our winter strategy worse thing is May to August, at least. And that’s where it’s engagement, community and compassion. So, on our Community column, one of the tiers is Groups, and the Groups one has explicitly stated something like this, it’s like, okay, “Engage those who are not translated to online yet.” There’s a metric around that, and then there’s also a metric to those who are not in community. So, the way that we’re actually talking about groups and community is different now, now that we’re in Covid-19 versus before, ’cause before was very much of a, it was very much of a, life is better in community, and you’re trying to convince people of that. Right now, it’s more a matter of onboarding, and providing easy-to-launch and easy-to-onboard opportunities for new groups to form. So, we’re actually not saying to any of our existing groups, or we’re not actually even opening them up and saying, “Hey, you guys, as existing groups, you need to go be open “to us still putting people in your groups.” Now, if it’s relationally oriented and there’s multiple people in a group that someone knows, there’s that avenue, and that’s very much driven by the leaders. But from the congregational perspective, it’s very much, hey, here are classes. So, we’re actually moving it more along the lines of here are a few classes, that you can join in. And a very effective way to think about it, is the difference between painkillers and vitamins. So painkillers and vitamins, I know we all know how important gut health is these days, and taking your probiotics, and different things like that. I mean, there’s so much research right now on the importance of gut health and how that affects your immune system and all that, right. So, here’s the thing, you can talk about that as much as you want, if someone doesn’t feel like they need that, or if someone feels generally healthy, they’re gonna be like, “Okay, yeah, there’s lots of good stuff, right. “Fish oil is good, and turmeric is good. “This is vitamins, right. “Take your vitamins, take a multivitamin, “I don’t really care,” and whether they take it today, or they don’t, it doesn’t really matter to them, right? But of you have a pounding headache or a migraine, you are gonna take that painkiller, right. No one has to keep on reminding you to take the painkiller, you are just gonna do it, ’cause you feel it. Right now, people are feeling, they have the headache of the loneliness, and of, especially those in your congregation who are single, right, and we know the research around touch, and for those especially who are single, I mean, there’s so much more, there’s so much more that needs. So, what you need to do is, the pain is there. Everything right now is painkiller-driven, ’cause people feel that pain. So when you talk about new groups and when you talk about new classes, the 25 to 30% who are not in groups, or not in discipleship, how do you verbalize and talk about it so that they see it as a solution to the pain that they’re feeling?
– That is a fantastic analogy. I will steal that and use it for sure. Very good. Let’s see, a couple more here. Let’s see. One question is, “How do you identify the lies “in the life of your disciples?” John asked that question. Great question, John.
– Yeah, this might be the John Richardson that I know. Maybe if it is, then you–
– [Mark Gainey] It is, it is.
– Okay, all right. Hey, John. So, that’s a great question. Honestly, I think it’s a matter of even showing them the list, or I’ve heard of groups, and even churches, doing sermon series, or do small groups around the book. And the way that I actually wrote the book was, the first 70%, whether you’re a Christian or not, there’s actually no Bible the first 70% of each chapter, because it’s all about unpacking the lie and unpacking, okay, do you believe it, do you not? And do you have stories around that? So, that’s the idea. So, when it comes to identifying the lies, I would even say, whether you use the book or not, share the list of lies with those you are discipling and ask them what they’ve believed and have a conversation around that. That would be super simple. Or you could walk through each of the chapters because it does that. And at the end, it has the scriptural and the Gospel reflection on the reaction. So, it’s kind of like deconstruction and reconstruction.
– That’s good. And I will say, the end of that book, the end of the last chapter, and then the epilogue, man. I’m telling you, I’m still processing that after hours. It’s awesome. All right, so let’s see. Jason says, “Do you think the gig economy mindset “has had an effect on pastoral tenure?” So that mindset of you are who you pastor, or you are the church you pastor. “Is that prevalent? “Any thoughts on combating “that kind of destructive mindset?”
– Oh my goodness, Jason that’s, yes. I mean, that is the question in the West, in particular, right, where bigger seems to be better. And if you haven’t read Eugene Peterson’s memoir, I think it’s just called “Pastor”, but read it. ‘Cause he just nails it on the head, nails that on the head. And you may not agree with everything Eugene Peterson is about, or has said, or anything, but it’s incredible to read this autobiography of his and this memoir, to hear how he reacts to that. ‘Cause he definitely is kinda the anthesis to the megachurch, right, anthesis to that, you are who you pastor. So here’s the other thing, right. And I’ve had to remind this, and say it quite a bit to some of the younger staff on our team here, because I believed it myself, right. I was like, “Well, you are the size of your church right?” You are who you pastor, and if you get an assignment to go to a bigger church, or a First Baptist, or a first whatever, whatever the Historic or County Seat, whatever it is, right. Then you’re just like, well, then I’ve made it, right. Then I’ve made it. And the fact is, it’s such a fake and empty allure, because it actually , I mean, it’s such a fake and empty allure because bigger seems to better, but it isn’t, right, it isn’t. It’s like more money, more problems, you know that?
– [Mark Gainey] Yip.
– So, as it relates to that, and that’s why I really do believe that we need to, in every opportunity and every situation, it’s really a matter of, God have you called me here? It’s not a direct bigger means God’s blessing, it’s a God, have you called me here? And about a year ago, Palm Sunday last year, is when Christina and I came up to Edmonton to candidate here, to come back to Beulah to do succession here, and honestly, it’s not anything I ever wanted to do, or thought I would do, ’cause I absolutely loved Nashville, we all loved Nashville, and we loved working at LifeWay. And there was no end in sight, in terms of, what LifeWay was wanting to use me in, and ways that I could serve, and it was just kind of up into the right quote, unquote. And it wasn’t even that, I mean, I just loved our life. Right, being able to serve the Capital C Church, preaching at my church, I mean, I preached every other week as a teaching pastor at my church, and didn’t have to go to any meetings, right. I was just by vocationally, just serving in that manner, ’cause I love preaching, and they were like, “Well, we love Daniel, “having him around.” And then, our small group. Man, I mean, Christina’s still connecting with the ladies in our small group, and I’m still connecting, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not as good as my wife is in just keeping in touch with people. And then, our neighbors, right. Every single aspect of our life we loved, and we just got our green cards as Canadians. I mean, that’s like, that was a boatload of money. People were like, “Dude, you got the dream job, why would you ever leave?” And I was like, “I don’t wanna leave.” But as we began praying and we were invited into this opportunity to do succession and come back here in Edmonton, it was, all the signs on the wall were great opportunity, great opportunity, great opportunity, but we were not gonna move just for an opportunity, and that’s when last year, when we candidated on Palm Sunday weekend, God broke our hearts for Edmonton, and He broke our hearts for the church. I mean, just broke it to an extent where I felt like it was Elisha burning up the oxen and the cart, and I felt like it was God saying, “This is what it is. “You leave everything behind, “and you give the rest of your life to Edmonton “and to this church.” So, it’s just like, “Okay, who cares what other opportunity comes around,” calling is so important, and I think, that’s why we need to wrestle with our calling.
– That is powerful. I think that’s a great way to end the Q & A time. Thank you all for submitting great questions, and if we did not get to your question, I tried to rope it in on some other question, but Daniel, this has been wonderful. It’s been an encouragement to me. I know it’s been a challenge as we think through, and that’s why I love reading your books, that’s why I love interacting with you, Daniel, and I appreciate you, because you’re thinking in a kind of a meta culture, what’s really happening, and how we can interact with it. And it’s given me some things, I’ve written some notes, even after reading your book, and I’m listening and writing some notes on things we can do. So, thank you so much. I’m gonna hand it back to Robert.
– All right, thank you guys, so much. Thank you for this opportunity to be here today. Daniel, thank you for coming on. Mark, thanks for your role here. I just wanna do something real quick. He didn’t ask us to do this at all, but I wanna promote this book. I wanna tell you if you don’t have this, now’s a great time to catch up on your reading. But this book is awesome, you’ll sit down and enjoy it, but at the same time, it’ll challenge you. “You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about,” I always get it in the wrong order, “Work, Life, and Love.” So, you’ll love this. It’s great stuff. Daniel, thank you for being with us, and we look forward to seeing you in September, hopefully, that we’ll be gathering together at the end there, in Fultondale. Hope to see you very, very soon.
– [Daniel Im] Thanks everyone.