Overcoming Critical Voices – Voice #2, Humiliation

This week I am sharing some excerpts from my new book, Pulse. These excerpts are taken from chapter 2, Courage in which David is making his way to fighting Goliath. Before Goliath draws a sword, David is assaulted with words. Personally, I know no one who has ever been attacked by a sword, but all of us are well acquainted with the cutting sting of words. How do we overcome those inevitable, critical voices? In the next few posts, I want to share with you how to overcome three critical voices that will try to crush your vision, Insinuation, Humiliation, and Intimidation. 

Critic #2: Saul, the Voice of Humiliation

Upon learning that David was ready to fight Goliath, King Saul immediately called David’s lack of size and experience into question.

1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”

How humiliating was that? Basically, the king told David that he was too small and too young and that Goliath was an experienced champion of war who’d been fighting longer than David had been alive. Goliath was too big for a kid like David.

When people humiliate us, it’s often tempting to belittle them and magnify ourselves. But David did neither. Instead, he magnified his God. His response is instructive for us when we hear the voice of humiliation.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

When we are humiliated by others, it provokes our pride. When belittled, our natural reaction is to take it personally. But David’s heart was in a different place. He was concerned primarily about the honor and glory of God. Saul’s words were directed at him, but he knew well that this situation was not ultimately about him. The battle with Goliath belonged to the Lord. David’s size was not his problem or Saul’s problem. David’s size was God’s problem, and David trusted that God could overcome it.

In fact, David rightly discerned that Saul’s statement revealed more about what Saul thought about the Lord than what Saul thought about him; it revealed a lack of faith in Saul’s heart more than a concern about the relative sizes of David and Goliath.

Wisdom, Motivation, Devotion – get all 3 for $30

But David had not been the king in waiting; he had been the king out working. Out in the fields protecting the sheep, David had already encountered many life-threatening beasts, namely, lions and bears. Goliath wasn’t the first giant he’d faced; he was merely the next one. David had already seen what God could do in bringing brutal foes to nothing. As a result of seeing God’s power, he knew God’s power. He wasn’t concerned with being short when his God was the mightiest of all warriors.

Too many people wait to be named the starter before they decide to get started. Too many people stall and hold out until what they think should happen actually happens. But waiting leads to watching—watching your best opportunities pass by. You can’t wait to be named the starter before you start getting better!

No matter what anyone may say, champions aren’t lucky; they’re good. If you can tangle with bears and grab lions by the beard, then nine-foot giants are much less intimidating. David became “big” because of his experiences, not because of his entitlements. He knew from experience that if God wanted him in the fight, he couldn’t lose. He knew he had a purpose and a calling, so he fearlessly trusted God whether he was fighting a bear, a lion, or a giant.

Don’t wait around for someone to give you some entitlement you might feel you deserve. That’s a waste of time. Instead, step out and experience the power of God in your life. Get started now.

But keep in mind, when you get started, you will likely face the critic of humiliation. Some may humiliate you as a way of making sure you always seem smaller than them. Saul surely wanted to keep David in his place by calling his size into question. But isn’t it ironic that even though Saul was the tallest man in Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), when he was confronted by Goliath, he was too small to fight?

The best way to deal with critics who humiliate you is to keep moving on. Recognize that they are most likely humiliating you because of some issue with their own heart and let it go. You’ve got more important issues to deal with.

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Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post, voice #2, Humiliation. For more information about Pulse or how to get your copy, click here.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pulse, subscribe to my website and I will immediately give you access to a digital copy of Chapter 1, Commitment.


 

How do you deal with critical voices in your life?

Pulse by Brian Branam

The Release of Pulse!

My latest book, Pulse, was released TODAY!

Men are giving up on marriage, parenting, and work. At a staggering rate, men are giving up on life. Pulse is an examination of David whom the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart.”

David was royal, but awful. He was raw, but redeemed. David was a success and a failure. David’s heart and life were constantly out of rhythm, but His pursuit of God would bring him back again and again.

Pulse is a walk through David’s story written in a way that will resonate with men. Using examples from sports and drawing practical applications to life, Pulse encourages men not to lose heart and shows them some simple choices they can make to get life back into rhythm.

To purchase Pulse, visit my online bookstore here. Printed copies are not due to arrive until Nov. 19 – 21. Once they arrive I will ship it to you. Copies will be available at Liberty Baptist Church beginning Sunday, Dec. 2.

Pulse contains discussion questions for personal devotion or group study. Pulse is ideal for a men’s Bible study or personal devotional.

Pulse is also available on Amazon.

If you enjoy BrianBranam.com, please subscribe for the latest content!

Pulse by Brian Branam

Pulse, Life in Rhythm – Publication Date Announcement Coming Soon

THIS WEEK I will be announcing the publication date of my new book, Pulse, Life in Rhythm.

Men are giving up on family, work, and at a staggering rate; men are giving up on life. Pulse tells the story of David, whom the Bible calls a man after God’s own heart.

David was raw, but redeemed. He was a success and a failure. He was royal and awful. David had plenty of reasons to give up, but he was able to tap into deeper truths that helped him regain rhythm and grab hold of the destiny God had for him.

Pulse has been a two year journey for me through some of the most meaningful and difficult times in my own life; the loss of my dad, a 1-9 football season, leadership challenges – each step and trial along the way God used to work out the rhythm of my own heart and bring me more in tune with His. I can’t wait for you to read it. Please check back for the big announcement! Thanks for all of your support!

If you enjoy BrianBranam.com, please subscribe for the latest content!

 

Death by Devotional

I am about to sell you something that will kill you. I stand at the head of the line of a long list of professionals that should also admit the same. Alongside of me should come Mr. Mayfield ice cream man, the guy who sold you your car, the cashier at your favorite sporting goods store, and a vast number of servers, cooks, and clerks at your favorite restaurants and leisure spots; each of us a testament to the adage “too much of a good thing.”

Ice cream, good. A gallon a day, bad.

Your car, good. Your car going too fast, bad.

All the stuff you can buy and do at the sporting goods store, fun. Any of it crashing upside your head, concussion.

Food and fun, always good. Living only for food and fun, always bad.

So what is it that I am selling you to death? A devotional!  

A devotional?  

On my website, I have listed the Grace, Hope, and Love Daily Devotional. I think it is a fantastic collection of Scripture and applicable stories that would be a blessing to anyone who reads it, but I am warning you not to misuse it. Too many people misunderstand the intent of a devotional book. For them, something that was written to help their spiritual walk has become spiritually crippling.  

So that your devotional reading can be a blessing and not a curse, here is a list of cautions and encouragements when it comes to using devotionals.

A devotional book is not a devoted life.

The word devotion in Scripture is a powerful one. In the New Testament it is often translated from a word that entails three concepts; to beware, to believe, and to apply. This should be a daily expectation of the disciple seeking counsel from God’s Word. We need God’s Word to reveal, redeem, and repair areas of life of which we need to beware and/or be aware. We need our faith informed so we may more strongly believe. We need God’s Word applied so we may obey.  

A devotional book is purposed to help you with this endeavor in a daily, structured way. But devotional reading is not a devoted life. The word devotion in its strictest sense speaks of what you give yourself to. Devotion is not a something you read, it is something you do. We do not need a Bible reading plan as much as we need a Bible doing plan. Just because you are reading a devotional book does not mean you are giving yourself to the Lord in a devotional life.

A devotional book is a start not a stop.

Many great pastors and Christian thinkers have written devotional material to help shepherd and feed God’s people. There are many notable ones in churchdom, but one of classics is Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening. The title reflects a constant theme in Scripture. In the creation week, there was evening and morning.  David called for those who were truly devoted to God’s Word to meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1). Morning and evening, evening and morning is the rhythm of creation set in motion by God.

Many people purchase devotional books that they use either first thing in the morning to get them going, or perhaps they use them at night as they seek to still the busy mind. I find no fault with either.  Yet the concept of morning and evening as devotional reading is not meant as a discipline of consideration – as in to make sure you do it daily, but as a discipline of meditation to make sure it guides your thoughts throughout the ENTIRE day; as in starting with the morning and keeping you throughout the evening.

Devotional books are quick reads to get you going, but the deeper call of God is for Bible intake, memorization, and study. I like to use material written by Warren Wiersbe as part of my devotional reading. He is about as meat and potatoes of a Christian author as they come. But he is not my stop, as in, I read it and now I have fulfilled the discipline. Rather, a Wiersbe’s book alongside God’s Word is my start, as in I will ingest it in a way so that I DO NOT stop thinking about it throughout the day – morning and evening!

A devotional book is text, not context.

Devotional books will often give you a verse or a chapter of Scripture to read and give you an immediate application of that passage to life. Awesome idea! In that sense, a devotional provides you a text. Where a devotional fails is that it does not provide you the context.

Use a devotional, but read the Bible. Find out where those verses are IN Scripture. A devotional may tell you that this verse came from Ephesians, but what in the world is an Ephesians? Where is it? What is it about? 

Ephesians 2:10 is wonderful. Ephesians 2:10 in context is a masterpiece. 

I am a big advocate for having a paper copy of the Bible. Learn where the books of the Bible are located in the canon of Scripture. These books form the collective story of God.  

A devotional book is a bloom in a garden. Its intent is to pluck something sweet and fragrant that will inspire you, but the greater glory is the garden from which it came. Sure, the blooms are beautiful, but if you never walk the garden you really won’t smell the roses.  

The Christian life is not meant to be lived verse by verse. We are sovereignly immersed in the story of God. Each text/verse of the Bible exists within the larger context of God’s story. Use your devotional to point you to curious places. Use your Bible to walk the garden paths.

A devotional is application, not exposition.

One of the reasons people enjoy devotionals is because they quickly get to the point. Many people find it challenging to read the Bible, understand it, and know what to do with it. Yep, me too.

Devotionals cut out the legwork. Don’t bog me down with long, arduous explanations of what passages say, just tell me what they mean.

I recently had a conversation with a doctor about feeding tubes. Odd topic, I know, but sometimes a necessary one.  

As many doctors tend to be, he is an eclectic fellow, a highly intelligent man who walks to the beat of a different drum. In demonstrating to me the ease of use of a feeding tube, he demonstrated to me how one can conveniently uncork the tube, pour in a bottle of nutrients, re-cork the tube, chunk the now empty can of nutrients into the trash and go about the day. He said, “It would save me a whole lot of time having to eat.” I assure you, he was laughing when he said it, but I also think he was somewhat serious about the prospects of installing one on himself.

Devotional books are spiritual feeding tubes. They will give you what you need, but wow, what a joy it is to chew!  Feeding tubes may be faster, but there is a flavor in food you will soon miss if you do not have to break it down in your mouth.  

Sometimes a tube is necessary, but insane if we want one merely out of convenience. God gave you a tongue, not a tube!

While it is true that what we need from God’s Word is application, there is a flavor that emerges from the hard work of exposition that helps us taste and see that the Lord is good. The Bible is not a ‘How To’ guide for life.  It is a story.  It is a poem.  It is a command. It is a revelation. It is a multi-course meal robust with the flavor of God. Don’t forget to chew!

A devotional is personal insight, not personal investment.

One of the things I like most about the Faith, Hope, and Love Devotional is that it gives you insight into God’s Word from 52 pastors, teachers, authors, and evangelists. It is an indispensable resource full of wisdom. These people have a journey with God that is curious to me and I love hearing from them.

But wouldn’t you like to hear the voice of God for yourself?

One of the great truths of Scripture is that we have a God who desires to be with His people. The Bible is filled with image-rich words that communicate the opportunity we have to be close to God. One of the words we translate as “prayer” in Scripture speaks of intimacy, not merely request.  

Prayer is not shouting aimlessly into the heavens, prayer is communing with God. Prayer is not an announcement over a megaphone, it is a conversation at the table.  

The only way to have a personal experience with God is to make a personal investment in His Word. Use a devotional book, but devote yourself to Bible study.

It is a worn-out metaphor for many things, but the Christian life is not a microwave, it is a crock-pot way of living. We would like to think that a few convenient seconds is all we need to be like Christ. Devotional books ARE NOT intended to be the Bible nuked for you!

There is NO devotional author worth their salt who would ever advocate his or her book as a replacement for the Bible. Their intent, my intent, is not to replace Biblical reading or meditation. Our intent is to inspire you to start somewhere and to help keep you there daily.  

At some point, the devotional book should be a gateway into something greater, not an end in itself. We have to simmer on Scripture if we are ever to truly appreciate the flavors of God that are there. There is no shortcut to the good stuff! 

So let me ask? What is your routine? Do you read the Bible in the morning or at night? Do you use a devotional to help you in devotion? Do you read other Christian books or commentaries? Which ones? Please share with the rest of us.   

Charles Finney

When God is pleased with a leader’s life, his divine presence is unmistakable.  Charles G. Finney was a nineteenth-century evangelist whose life demonstrated the obvious presence of God.

During a visit to New York Mills in 1826, he visited a cotton manufacturing plant where his brother-in-law was superintendent.  As Finney passed through a spacious room in which many women were working at looms and spinning jennies, he noticed several young women watching him and speaking among themselves.

As Finney approached them, they became more agitated.  When Finney was about ten feet away, one woman sank to the ground and burst into tears.  Soon others were sobbing, overcome with conviction of their sin.  This outpouring of the Spirit spread rapidly throughout the building until the entire factory was singularly aware of God’s presence.

The owner, an unbeliever, realized God was at work and temporarily closed the plant.  He asked Finney to preach to his employees and tell them how they might find peace for their souls.  Finney had not spoken to any of the laborers.  He had simply entered the factory.  God’s powerful presence in Finney’s life had been too overwhelming to ignore.

excerpt from Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby

Effective Ways for Your Church to Get Guest Information

Early last year a small group of people in our congregation came together to work through Nelson Searcy’s book Fusion.  I think everyone at Liberty had the right heart.  We want to see new people explore what God is doing in our congregation and we want them to stay and become a part of what God is doing here.  Passion has never been our problem, but execution was a real issue.  We had guests each and every week, but we noticed very few of them were returning.  We needed a plan.  Enter Fusion

One of the first principles Searcy points to is the ratio of first time guests to regular attenders.  The first week we met, someone on our team turned to me, the leader, pastor, shepherd of the church who sets the tone for everything else and said, “How many guests do we average each week?”  Every other person on the team turned to me expecting an answer.  Embarrassed I had to admit, “I don’t know.”

Before I share with you what I have learned, allow me to share with you where we are now.  In 2014, about 8 months after we started being intentional about assimilation, we are seeing our attendance increased by 50 to 100 people each week compared to our numbers from 2013.  Since October of 2013, we have averaged 18 guests per week.  This past Sunday (2/23) we had 42 registered guests.

So what made the difference in us going from passion without a plan to growth?

  1. Pay attention to what is actually happening. 

    I shouldn’t say “no one” in our church was paying attention to guest registration.  I also don’t want to convey that I was totally apathetic about it, but I was merely going through the motions.  The few guests we did register would come across my desk as letters to sign.  I would sign them and send them on. 

    For the few that saw where we were falling short and would call my attention to it, I would give them a standard answer, “Yeah, that’s something we need to do better.”  That answer is like the next breath you get on a ventilator while in a comma.  It keeps you alive but accomplishes little else.  Once I started paying attention and reading up on the subject, I could see where we needed to improve.

    As pastors we are guilty of dreaming and whining, wondering, and wailing when the dream doesn’t match reality.  Yes, I wanted guests to come and stay.  Tons of them, but it wasn’t happening.  Nothing changed until I payed attention to reality.  Hey pastor, if you want things to change, pay attention to what is actually going on instead of thinking only about what you would like to happen.

  2. Learn together.

    Our Sunday School director is the one who first introduced me to Fusion.  He discovered the book when he attended a Sunday School growth conference.  When he asked me to read it, I’ll confess, I told him I didn’t have time.  When I finally began to read it, I saw the potential.  But I’ve been down this road before.  Great book.  Great ideas.  It all vanishes in total frustration because no one else gets it.

    I learned a long time ago.  If I want things to change, I can’t be the only guy who reads the book.

    Instead of only two of us reading it, I invited several people to form a group so that several of us could learn together.  I had one of our team members create a PowerPoint presentation of the key ideas in the book.  I shared the presentation with our staff.  I asked several key leaders in the church to come together for a session on a Saturday morning and we shared the information with them.  The information was shared multiple times, even in meetings that had nothing directly to do with assimilation (ultimately it is ALL about assimilation).

    The more we shared the ideas the more they caught on.  This happened not so much because we were sharing the ideas in a way that we were telling people what to do, we were sharing them as we were learning together.  Our approach was less “let us tell you what to do” and more “let us invite you into what we are learning.” 

    Another critical takeaway from this point is pastoral honesty and humility.  Pastors, it is dishonest to take someone’s ideas and parade them around as if they are the product of your own work.  Furthermore, I have found it true that as a pastor, even for the people who love you, when you suggest change, people don’t think you know what you’re talking about.  I can’t tell you how many times I have brought someone in who will say what I would have said, but our people received it because they perceived our guest as an “expert.”  Use a book.  Tell them what Searcy said, or what whoever you glean ideas from said.  You’re just the pastor.  You can’t possibly know what you’re talking about :)!  Be humble, point them to the “book” guy!   

  3. Register people everywhere, all of the time, a lot of different ways, for everything.

    If there is any point in the process in which our failure was glaring, it was in getting our guests to use our registration cards.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  You’ve tried it all.  Me too!  I’ve tried passing a folder down each row for everyone to sign in.  In the past I’ve had our ushers hand cards directly to our guests.  Tear offs, pew cards, gift bags . . . if it has a perforated edge . . . I’ve used it.  It all ends at the same point of frustration.  You can’t get everyone to use it . . . whatever it is.  So we would move on to the next thing.

    That’s the problem, we move from one thing to the next.  Some people will respond to some things.  Some people will respond to others.  So don’t use just one thing, use as many as you possibly can

    We register people at the door.  We register people in our classes.  We register people as they drop off children.  We register people who respond at the end of the service.  We don’t have just one time or one way we register guests.  We are meeting people all along the way.  We even have people who carry around cards and register people when they meet them.  If they won’t fill it out, we will do it for them.  We register people all of the time, everywhere, and we use almost anything we can.  We are about to launch a church app with a module for people to register on their device.  Some dude may not use your card, but that same joker will sit there during your sermon and use his phone!  Hey, at least you may somehow entice him to be responsive to something you say. 

    If you have only one way and one time you register guests, you are making a big mistake.

    Are we batting 1.000?  Nope, but great major league hitters, Hall of Famers, bat just over 30% and I promise you we are past that.  There was a time that 30% would have been a monumental improvement.  There were several weeks last year in which I know we had guests but received 0 response.  From judging our average of 18-20 per week and knowing that we registered 42 last week, it looks like we may now be effectively registering at least half of our weekly guests.

  4. Pull it all together.

    So we started registering people everywhere, all the time, with everything.  PROBLEM.  No one was pulling it all together.  We had Sunday School registrations.  We had children’s church registrations.  We had front door registrations.  Because we were now paying attention we knew we were having guests, but we were still getting very few actual records from their visit.

    We were getting people to register, but we were not compiling the information into one central location.  In leadership meetings we would assess the day and wonder where the guest information was.  “I know so and so was here, but where is their information?”  For a short time this meant we were doing a great job getting people to share their info, but we were dying on the vine when it came to following up.  The simple solution was to create a way to pull it all together.  If you decide to register people everywhere, all of the time, and use anything you can, don’t make the mistake we made by allowing those stacks to lay around and get lost.  Designate someone, somehow to pull it together.

  5. Put a card in every hand.

    The biggest mistake we were making a year ago is that we were trying only to get registration cards in the hands of our guests.  Big mistake.  Searcy was a great help to us on this one.  Your guests don’t want to be guests!!!  No one enjoys being new – unless you just have some odd thing in your life we should probably talk about.  Your guests want to come in and leave without a lot of special attention being directed their way.  By targeting our guests we were not winning them over, we were making them feel uncomfortable

    Easy solution.  Everyone gets the same thing whoever they are and wherever they are.  If you want your guests to register their children, they should have to do so, not because they are new, but it is what everyone else does. 

    This leads to the next critical change we made.

  6. Get everyone to use a registration card every week.

    At Liberty, we call them “Connection Cards.”  These cards are not simply guest registration cards.  Our Connection Cards are for prayer needs, sermon response, and sign ups for events going on at the church.  In our service there is no special guest card.  Everyone has the same card and we use it for everything

    Again, everything you use needs to be for everybody.  The more reasons you can create to use the same card, the more likely you will be in getting the people you really want to use it.

  7. Refer to the registration card as many times as you can from the pulpit.

    We made a big mistake in trying to give cards only to our guests.  As stated previously, we were also making a big mistake in trying at only one time to get them the card.  We found that the more times you can refer to your card, whatever you call it, the more effective you will be in getting guests to use it.  This is a step that has been the biggest challenge for me.  Problem #1, I am a creature of habit.  Problem #2, I am sermon focused.  I feel your pain, pastor, in trying to add one more thing you need to talk about to the day.  But I can tell you this.  The difference in registering 15 guests and registering 42 is how many times I talk about the card

    In recalling this past Sunday, I counted 5 times we talked about our Connection Card.  The result was that it was one of the most effective days we have had registering guests.  I’m partial, but I think the most critical times were the times I asked for everyone to put their cards in front of them both at the beginning of the sermon and at the end.  I began the sermon by telling the people we were all going to use the card to respond to a specific idea from the day.  We created a real sense that you needed the card to be able to effectively listen to the sermon.  That was a game changer.  It was no longer “we want this from you”, it was rather, “you are going to need this.”

  8. Create a “culture” that expects guests.

    We still do things that Liberty has done for years, but we do them with a different mindset.  One example is hand shaking time.  Most churches like ours are very friendly and view a time of shaking hands during the service as being almost as sacred as the hymns.  The time we once used for “greeting your friends” we now use for “meeting our guests.”  It is not about saying “hello” it is about making introductions.  Before we shake hands I like to call attention to that fact.  It used to be, “Turn around and shake hands with two or three people around you.”  Now, especially with 20+ guests per week, it is “If you see someone you don’t know (and you probably will) introduce yourself.”  The people at Liberty know that each of them are a critical part of our church’s growth.  They must not only bring guests, but they must meet our guests.  Everyone at Liberty is a greeter

    The biggest reason we miss our guests is the same reason you may get bit by a copperhead on a trail.  You weren’t looking for it.  Learn to look for guests.  We have people in our service, who are not designated greeters, who do nothing but look for guests so that they can introduce themselves.  And yes, they carry registration cards!

  9. Realize whatever you do will never be perfect. 

    Are we perfect in what we do?  No way, but we are doing better.  Do people still fall through the cracks at Liberty?  Yes, but it isn’t because we weren’t paying attention.  I continue to be frustrated by some of the things that we don’t do well.  But my frustration is overshadowed by the satisfaction I draw from our drastic improvement that has resulted in growth. 

Who are your guests?  How many guests are attending your church each week?  If you can’t answer these questions some attention to the problem and intentionality could change the culture of your church.

Multiply

August 11 we (www.libertybaptistchurch.ws) will begin using a valuable resource from author Francis Chan entitled Multiply.  The reason I like this book is because it is solid, simple, and short!
As a pastor you are always looking for ways to get your people grounded in the Word quickly and to bring them to a place of Spiritual health where they are bearing fruit and bringing other people to Christ.  As simple as this may sound, this is not an easy task.  
The Bible is a HUGE book.  It is not only huge, but it is old and difficult for most people to understand.  As a pastor, I need something that can help people grab on to the story quickly.  You may not understand everything you read in the Bible, but if you can grasp the basic concepts and the premise of the story you are at least heading in the right direction.  Multiply spends a great deal of time helping its readers become well acquainted with the Biblical story and its redemptive theme in Christ.  
Life is crazy.  Most of us generally use the same adjectives to describe existence; hectic, busy, demanding.  We don’t have time for a virtual, mini-seminary class at church.  Crazy life fosters short attention spans.  If you’re discipleship material is just as huge as the Bible, most people will begin with good intentions, but crash and burn quickly.  As a pastor I need something I can give my people that offers the most critical information in the shortest possible segments.  I don’t need a book that reads like molasses, I need a book full of gun powder.  Six to eight pages a week of BOOM!  In Multiply Francis Chan has not sacrificed what is necessary for the sake of brevity.  The reader will leave the book with the solid doctrinal foundation he or she needs to understand salvation, the church, and how to walk for a lifetime with Christ.
Evangelism is scary.  Years ago we turned evangelism into a propositional presentation.  Bringing people to Christ meant memorize and regurgitate.  To me it felt more like selling knives than bringing people to Christ (and, yes, I have sold knives).  As a pastor I need something that will help my people have long term conversations, make disciples, not simply win converts.  Multiply is not designed for one to simply read.  It is designed to be a conversation between people who want to follow Christ.  Most books simply pass along information.  Multiply becomes an experience between brothers and sisters in Christ; and ultimately it leads one to continue bringing others into the conversation.  
Francis Chan’s Multiply is helping me as a pastor lead my people to fulfill our call, be disciple makers.  If you haven’t picked up a copy of this book, I highly recommend it.  As you read it, you will immediately begin thinking of people to whom you would like to give a copy.  I started reading it and bought ten more to give away within a few weeks.  The great news is, if you don’t desire to purchase the book, the material is offered free online at http://www.multiplymovement.com.  The website also offers videos and other resources that will help your journey through Multiply be the most effective experience possible.  I highly recommend Multiply to every pastor, leader, and follower of Christ who wants to be and make disciples.

For those of you who will be going through Multiply with us at Liberty.  I recommend that you begin downloading the material now and go through one unit per week as a family.  I would love for us to get to Aug. 11 with several people already “down the road” in the journey.  This will be the most effective platform for leading others to Multiply.