South Asia Team Is Back!

Many of you have asked me about the the team that went to S. Asia over the break to do a CP training. I look forward to seeing them in person to hear the incredible stories of how God used them to equip the local believers there. Until then, I thoroughly enjoyed this detailed update from my friend Jon Dorris, who accompanied the team as a wonderful “Spiritual Father” & guide. I trust the testimonies will encourage you also…

REMINDER: the unique thing about this team & this trip is that God spoke directly to each person involved. They believed BIG things from the Lord, and had great faith to pursue what they sensed Him speaking to them. They arranged and organized this trip entirely on their own. (Yes, a group of twenty somethings!) From raising over $25,000, to hosting info sessions, making travel arrangements, & conducting a Church Planting Training for 41 locals they have proven that everyday believers CAN hear God’s voice, step out in faith, and see incredible Kingdom Growth as a result. We truly believe this trip has sent a message to other young people throughout the country that you don’t need a big “missions organization”, huge budget, already established presence, etc. to see unreached peoples come to Christ!

Update from Jon: (edited for the protection of the locals in the closed country)

North INDIA Mission Trip
REPORT

December 27, 2010 – January 15, 2011

Greetings Family & Friends 1-18-11,

The MISSION
For the last time, before starting the long journey back to America, I stood on the roof of the place where we had been staying, peering across the border which lay less than 10 feet in front of me. While looking into this nation that I had been praying for over the last 8 years, I was thanking God (again) for the incredible privilege that our Team had in spending the last 9 days training the 41 young leaders. They would now go back into their country, armed and envisioned with specific God-given plans to powerfully and lovingly make disciples for Jesus Christ resulting in the creation of church planting movements. Ironically, even though this nation now stood just 10 feet away, God has yet to give me permission to enter it. (To protect these 41 on fire young leaders we will leave this nation undisclosed.)
A few days earlier one of the 41 saw a vision that so appropriately describes what is going to happen (God-willing). She saw the young people bringing revival to her nation, in the form of multiplying candles on a cake spreading the fire of intimacy with God.

The TEAM
Like a proud Papa, I marveled at how well our team of 6 college students conducted this mission. They were the primary ones to lead and conduct this CPx Training (Church Planting experience). All I did was simply fill in the gaps and help them navigate their way through the vast country. They did such a wonderful job of imparting to the 41 all that they had learned and experienced in their church planting and disciple-making experiences at the University of Texas. Highlights of their impartations: The loving Father heart of God; Hearing God’s voice; Experiencing the Presence of God through creative prophetic worship; Team building; Treasure hunting – prophetic – healing Evangelism; Disciple-making, Church planting; and much more.
Our Team wonderfully maintained the John 17 love and unity, which powerfully facilitates the Presence of God. Our daily Team worship times astounded all of us. The Presence of God uniquely flowed among us each day during the Team worship times. Many times one or more members of the Team began getting various respiratory ailments, mainly due to the nasty air pollution, BUT very quickly God’s healing would usually manifest. I wish I could say it was every time, but some symptoms persisted a few days.  Once, during our Team worship times, while we were all praying for another Team member I got instantly healed of a several hour old soar throat. These healings became so common among us on a daily basis, that we lived in this awesome state of joy constantly. Laughter was commonplace. We then would take all this into the larger morning worship times with the 41 trainees. To God be all the glory. He is the Healer, not us.

TESTIMONIES from the 41
1. One of the 41, which we will call “The great Dancer”, during a corporate worship time started crying after a sister laid hands on him and prayed, resulting in him experiencing the Presence of God for the first time in his life. He then went into a vision (for the 1st time) and saw a Light, then saw Jesus with His outstretched arms beckoning him to come to Him (Jesus). He then felt Jesus hug him.
2. One of the 41 laid his hand on his tumor on his chest during a corporate creative worship time, and felt the tumor continue to shrink during the entire worship time. This radically revolutionized his relationship with Jesus Christ.
(After forming the 41 into small home church groups for the training, ironically one day we forgot to assign one of them to lead worship like we normally did. That day spontaneous creative and prophetic worship broke out among us, with no one leading it (except for the Holy Spirit). It turned out to be the most powerful worship time of the training. During those 2 hours many of the 41 and us experienced God’s loving ministry in wonderful and powerful transforming ways.)
3. At least 3 testified that they came with bitterness in their heart which was blocking them from receiving from God, until the Holy Spirit sovereignly melted it away during corporate worship times. They stayed free and flowing with God from that time on.
4. The great Dancer saw another vision. During worship he watched Jesus’ entire crucifixion detail by detail unfold from start to finish in his vision.
5. During another worship time the love of God fell strongly on Y____, one of our translators, and she began to minister God’s love to several of the 41, who later testified that they came away profoundly transformed from those wonderful times of experiencing God’s love.
6. After I encouraged the 41 to ask God to interpret their visions and dreams, one girl, the previous day, saw a vision of a small seed fall from heaven, then a person (in the vision) next to her said “plant the seed”. She did and saw it grow into a tree with lots of fruit. Then saw many birds coming and eating the fruit and taking the seeds to many other people. This girl did not know what it meant. But then she asked God what it meant. He quickly revealed to her that He wanted her to share certain Biblical truths with an unbelieving friend of hers. She felt like God was saying that friend would get saved and lead many other people to Jesus.
7. Somehow a girl got invited to come to this training but was not yet a follower of Jesus. You could tell it by looking at her countenance. She testified that after watching our Team’s love for God and one another, she knew God was real and invited Jesus to come into her heart and be the Lord of her life, which He wonderfully did. Her smile was beaming the rest of the time. We think this same thing happened to a young man whom his sister invited to come. (He was one of the few survivors of a tragic bus accident which killed their mother and another relative and several friends just 2 weeks before the training. Early on in the training I spent some time talking with this young man as he processed this unfortunate event. Later we began to see him enthusiastically participate in worship and prayer times.)
8. Several times we sent the 41 out in small groups to practice treasure hunting / evangelism in the town where we were. One group met a man who fled from them. Later God led them to a house. They knocked on the door and this same man lived there. They spent the next 2 hours witnessing to the man and his wife. Long story made short, both the man and wife renounced Hinduism and invited Jesus to be their Lord. They came to our compound the next day and wanted to get water baptized.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
Twice we had the 41 meet in smaller teams (according to their local regions) and ask God for and develop specific plans of how He wanted them to go back into their country and implement these things they experienced in our training. As we listened to each group testify to the God-given detailed plans and their passionate commitment to one another to carry them out, we were overjoyed knowing this nation was getting ready to see an explosion of the spread of the Kingdom of God among their people (almost all of which are unreached people groups). A couple that helped translate for us will be periodically going back into this nation and encouraging these new evangelistic and disciple-making groups.

PRAYER POINTS
PLEASE PRAY with us for these 41 precious, passionate and dedicated (even in the face of persecution that they know will come) fellow Believers. Pray for the increase in their fiery passion (never a decrease). Pray that they will regularly fellowship and pray with each other. Pray for unstoppable disciple-making and church planting movements to sweep through their nation and on into surrounding nations. Pray for their favor among their lost friends and family and for a great harvest of souls to come into the Kingdom of God. Pray for their protection and provision to do God’s will. Pray for our Team to hear clearly about how we are to follow up with these 41 fellow Gospel laborers (whom we are maintaining ongoing contact via email and hopefully a return trip). Pray there would be no demonic backlash on our Team. We were and are praying for all of you who gave financially and prayed for our mission. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. THIS IS AS MUCH YOUR FRUIT AS IS OURS. ALL OF US CAN GIVE THIS FRUIT TO JESUS AS A REWARD FOR HIS SUFFERING FOR US!!!

For more information about this trip, or the work being done overseas please send an email to info@intentionalgatherings.com

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Student CPx in San Diego…

We are ultra excited about Student CPx on the West Coast. We are working with our close friend Brian Orme to host SCPx in San Diego in a few weeks! If you are on the West Coast, know anyone in that area, or just cannot make it to one of the other SCPx locations this summer then make sure you GET REGISTERED for SCPx in San Diego by July 9th! Check out a quick promo video for San Diego…

Summer Is Here!

…And you know what that means…things start to get a little crazy around here for us, and our partnering organizations as we come together to put on Student CPx trainings in 4 cities! That’s right, we have SCPx opportunities this summer in San Diego, CA. Austin, Tx. Phoenix, AZ. & Pittsburgh, PA. Intentional Gatherings is responsible for hosting two of these four (San Diego, and Austin). If you, or anyone you know is interested in some incredible cross cultural disciple making/church planting training then SCPx is a MUST!

“Student CPx will be a potent force on the university campus. This endeavor merits our prayers and support!”

– George Patterson, PhD, author of Church Multiplication Guide

“The hottest mission field in the Western world right now is the college campus. If this is an indication of what is to come, we will see another Great Awakening. Everyone should be praying for this emerging movement to spill over into all the domains of society. Come join the party.”

– Neil Cole, Church starter, author of Organic Church

To find out more information about a particular city, click the city’s link above. To register for Student CPx Click Here!

A New Kind Of Disciple…

A disciple of Jesus…what does that mean? It goes much deeper than someone who “calls them self a Christian”. If we are disciples of Jesus we will DO what Jesus DID. He made disciples, and then told us to do so…so, if we claim to follow Him, we will go and make more disciples. That means we will also Baptize those new disciples into the kingdom of God. Below is a beautiful picture of this generational discipleship that’s hitting neighborhoods and campuses all over the country and world!

Zach & William live in our apartment complex. I met them soon after we moved in, and we have been in discipleship relationships since then. Zach’s roommate Kyle Baptized him tonight. Then, Zach Baptized a guy he’s been discipling named Jose, along with his other roommate William! This beautifully illustrates the call for disciples to make disciples as a normal part of the culture of following Jesus. Jose, who was Baptized by his discipler, now knows that he is to “do as his teacher did”. Since his discipler Baptized him, he is now empowered and released to go and do likewise; this will hopefully create a spiritual down line of disciples!  Zach & William are going to pursue Jesus with us in this apartment community and trust Jesus for a new church to birth from the Harvest as more disciples are made!

When Ordinary People Lead…

This past Sunday a few UT students who went through Student CPx back in August hosted a “joint simple church gathering”. They wanted to bring the other simple churches from their relational networks together for a time of sharing what God has been doing in Austin through these various lay-led churches, as well as hear from some students who had taken trips overseas during the winter break.

What you see represented in the pictures above and the videos below is the fruit & result of the obedience of students living out the Gospel being the Church. Yes, this entire gathering was student organized & led. Most of the SC’s displayed here represent the actual local churches these students belong to. They are seeing much fruit through the individual communities as they step out in faith to obey God. The coolest part is that there were NEW BELIEVERS at this gathering who have recently made decisions to follow Christ! One of them will be Baptized by another student this Friday!

It is so important to recognize what happens when the works of scripture are lived out by ordinary people. (lay-people, students, new believers, unpaid, non-professional, etc.) The growth of the kingdom and spread of the Gospel is no longer dependent upon how much money exists, where we “meet”, who will “lead”, how “big” are the projects, etc. When a 20 year old college student realizes they have “permission” from Jesus to go make disciples, Baptize them, and watch as a new community of faith (church) is birthed it sparks something very powerful. When several students come to this realization it marks the beginning of a movement…

I captured some little bits of the evening with my phone – let us imagine together this scenario multiplied in homes & cities across our nation!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

At Intentional Gatherings we seek to equip, & release ordinary believers to live out their full potential in the kingdom of God. We do that in many ways. Whether it be a Student CPx Training, involvement in a new simple church community, or just walking through real life with someone from our team, the desire is not to build or grow a church or organization. Success in our organization is based upon spiritual transformation in the lives of individuals whom God places in our lives. Spiritual transformation is measured by those individuals ability to hear God’s voice, and be obedient to that voice (No matter what that looks like-yes, even if it means they don’t “join” our org., or one of our churches). Essentially, we want to disciple in such a way that leads to the empowerment of those disciples to go make more disciples. It’s been a long journey thus far, but we’re excited about what God has done, and will do in the days to come.

Lord, may you continue to release your children into the harvest to fulfill the Great Commission! We are available to You, and earnestly desire Your Spirit to sweep across our city and nation!

Intentional Gatherings Website

I thought I’d take a second to shamelessly plug our organization on the ol’ blog today. Many of you know what we do, so I won’t go into too much detail. Instead, I want to direct you to our website. There you will find TONS of great info. From what Intentional Gatherings is all about, to wonderful resources on how to make disciples & start your own faith community the site has become a blessing to many. We even have the ability to process tax-deductible donations online now! So, if you believe in what we do as an organization, and would like to make a tax-deductible donation head over and show us some love. =)

As you navigate around the site I encourage you to check out the various videos from our Student CPx’s, video teachings, outreach projects, Baptisms, and so much more. There is also a file sharing box where you can download various articles, workbooks, and other resources for simple church planting.

It’s been a wonderful journey over the past three years watching this organization grow and morph into what it is today. We can only hope and pray that it continues to change as we learn, and are sharpened by the Holy Spirit. I want to thank you all for  your love and support as we have ventured out into a story that only God Himself could have written…

It was around this time three years ago that the first group of us (Shout out to the Duckett’s) got together to start dreaming about what life as a follower of Christ could look like. It was then that I.G. was “accidentally born”. Here’s to another three years!

Freedom & Release.

During Student CPx we focus very heavily on the Great Commission, and the importance of EVERY BELIEVER realizing those last words of Jesus before he went to heaven are for them, TOO. Part of the GC teaches every believer to Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We teach that these Baptisms can be fuel for the movement of the Gospel, but it’s very important to ask a few questions about Baptism:

1) Who is DOING the Baptizing?

2) When is the Baptizing taking place after a decision is made?

3) Where is the Baptizing taking place?

We always teach that the DISCIPLER should, if possible, also BE THE BAPTIZER. It should, if possible, be done as soon as possible after someone makes a public profession of faith. We hope and pray that unbelievers would be present to watch the Baptism, & do our best to be strategic about where/when in order to make that possible. We have found that it will almost never occur in a traditional Baptismal, but a fountain, pool, stream, creek, lake, bathtub, or whatever happens to be available.

After teaching through this section at SCPx we watched as students began to realize that they had been believers for a long time, but never Baptized anyone. They weren’t upset, though. They became excited to see it begin to happen in their lives. One of the students began to weep as she shared about her Baptism experience, which occurred at a young age. She described a very impersonal, mundane Baptism by a guy she never knew. Sound familiar? We encouraged her that her Baptism was completely “legitimate”, & that the Lord was pleased with her heart. She knew that, and was not doubting her faith/salvation. She communicated that she had a desire to be Baptized in a very powerful, and celebratory way among a spiritual family whom she had grown to trust and love. Another girl spoke up and said she had a similar experience…

The students started discussing things like, “are we allowed to be Baptized twice?”, and “If we do it this time does that mean the first time didn’t count?”, etc. – (please know that this did not result in anyone doubting their salvation in Christ & eternity in heaven with Him)

I shared with the students that I would hope we would all “pray the prayer” EVERY SINGLE day, committing our lives to Christ, repenting of our sins, claiming Jesus as Lord, etc. I also posed the question: What would be wrong with “BEING BAPTIZED” every single day!? (Declaring the death of ourselves, and new life we have in Christ, that we are washed clean of our sin, etc.) Someone yelled, “we could just Baptize ourselves in the shower every day!” I am not submitting that we should or must all get Baptized everyday, or Baptize ourselves every day. I am simply saying that someone who has been Baptized at a young age in a very impersonal way should be free to declare that new life in a celebratory way to those they are walking in Spiritual Family with. I cannot think of a reason why it would be a bad thing to declare that symbolic, life transformational act on a regular basis…

We walked down to the creek that runs through the middle of UT’s campus. It was dark, and the water was about knee deep. Two girls waded through the water, and were Baptized by two other girls. It was powerful, and all four girls were deeply impacted for life. A group of UT students with head lamps on came our way wading through the creek-they were hunting water snakes in the creek for a class assignment. They said studies showed that there were an average of 1 snake every 8 meters in this creek. Snakes! Mixed with Baptisms! What incredible symbolism. The two doing the Baptizing felt the freedom to start doing this new act, which they had never done before, many more times. The two who got Baptized were released to go and do the same. It was a powerful experience for everyone involved.

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Courtney Baptizing Jessie (on left) Sarah Baptizing Sabrina (on right)