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What Now? What Next?
Making Disciples in a Disrupted World
In the day-to-day reality of increasing upheaval and discord, how are Christians to think and behave? How do we anchor our conversations and attitudes when everything in us wants to either retreat or lash out in anger? In this new series, Chip provides a biblical path to allowing Christ to reign in us and work through us no matter what's going on.More from this series
CHIP: Well, as we wrap up this series of What Now? What Next? Making Disciples in a Disrupted World, I just want to pause and I want to end this entire series by sharing some pretty personal things that I pray will give you hope. I mean, give you encouragement.
During this last year, year and a half, all the different things that have happened – It’s been a really, really challenging time. But it’s not new. It’s not unprecedented. God uses times like this if we trust Him. You know, I gave you that acronym about God’s calling in my life and at Living on the Edge to, let’s get back to Jesus, right? You know, let’s make our focus Christ, not causes. Let’s make our response healing, not hostility. Let’s make our priority relationships, not just real estate or buildings or sort of, you know, big stuff that’s happening. Let’s make our attitude innovation, not indignation. Let’s make our passion substance, not success. And by “substance”, remember, I talked about the power of God’s Word in our life, of really knowing Him and making Him known. And then, finally, our response is that God wants us to trust Him, not technology, not waiting for the next miracle technology, or the next silver bullet that’s going to make everything wonderful.
And what I want to share today is out of our weakness, I have seen God pour out His power, reveal Himself, do things that, quite candidly, I’m amazed, I mean, I’m in awe of. Whether it was mentoring individuals, whether it was things we have done internationally, whether it’s open doors in China, whether it’s God working in people’s lives like never before in their communication to us.
And so, I wanted you to share in that, because it’s not something He “did for me” or our staff or our board. He did it for us. Thousands and thousands of you are on the Living on the Edge team, you’re the Living on the Edge family, you have prayed, and you have given. And you have been a part of everything that we are going to share, so I just wanted to stop today, and I’m not very good with details, and I don’t remember a lot really well. And so, I have asked our President and Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Accardy, to join me here in studio. Andrew, good to see you, buddy.
ANDREW: Great to see you, Chip.
CHIP: And he is really, I tease him, he is a guru of strategy, organization, technology, and literally building organizations that fulfill their mission. And, so, Andrew, I just thought rather than me bouncing all over the place as I tend to do, I would love for you, maybe, take a minute and let people know a little bit about you, so they get to hear your heart. And then, give a highlight of what God has done through us in the Living on the Edge family.
ANDREW: Well, again, Chip, great to be with you today. And it’s a great privilege just to talk to all the people who have been supporting and listening to us over the years. And this has been an amazing year. As I look back, as somebody who is a pastor’s kid, you know, I grew up living in the fishbowl, if you will. And so, I’m very familiar with the Church and the ministry of the Church. And I think what God is doing throughout the world. And it’s exciting to see the role that we get to play and what God is doing globally.
In my years working with, at Saddleback Church, Purpose Driven Church, The Purpose Driven Life, or working in New England with church leaders, I have never been more excited at what is happening here at Living on the Edge right now. Because, you can see God’s hand working.
You know, every week, whether it’s on radio; on the app, which we have had nearly four hundred thousand downloads, millions of podcast downloads – about a million people are listening every week.
ANDREW: And that’s just amazing. And not only that, it’s increasing. You know? There’s these rumors that the impact of radio might not be growing, well, it is! And what we have seen is marriages restored, relationships restored, people overcoming anxiety. And what I’m really excited about is that people are applying what they are learning, and sharing it with other people. Because at the end of the day, that’s what, really, what we are all about.
CHIP: Well, I think about probably eighteen months ago, you and I and our executive team were on a Zoom call and I think the pandemic was about ten days in, and we were asking ourselves, “How do we help people?” And out of our conversation came this idea of a Daily Discipleship with Chip, mentoring people.
Maybe you could tell us a little bit about what happened from that very first idea to, here we are eighteen months later.
ANDREW: Well, the first thing that happened was panic, because it was like,
CHIP: (laugh) That’s right!
ANDREW: Well, we’ve got to do this thing in ten days, right? And it’s the moment, I mean, so you need to respond to the moment. And it was just this thing of, well, what is God calling us to do? Let’s rally the troops, and we did. And since that time now, we have released several Daily Discipleships. This last one we did with True Spirituality we had thirty-five thousand people joined with us, which was amazing. Now, here’s the thing that is most amazing. Spiritual growth is not done by a hundred and fifty-six character tweets.
What we are offering is you getting to spend time with Chip one-on-one. This last one was over seventeen days where you really learn to hear God’s voice, when you learn to respond to God’s voice in your life. And I know at least for me, and I’m sure for many other people, sometimes you’re like, “I’m reading the Bible, but what is going on here?” And by the way, this wasn’t a Bible study. This was really about Chip mentoring you to really live out God’s unique calling in your life. And so, when thirty-five thousand people sign up for that, you know, that’s pretty cool!
CHIP: It really is. And what I loved was uh we had, like, three thousand comments, a thousand prayer requests. And by the way, those prayer requests don’t go into a virtual pile where we say, “Oh, Lord, bless these people.” we get a handout, sometimes daily, because of how many requests that have come in.
And then next to my name and every staff member’s name is two, three, four requests. And then we pray for them that day. And what I heard was people saying, “I’m hearing God’s voice. No one ever taught me how to study the Bible. And I’m studying it. And, yeah, at first it was a little confusing, but I did it each day, each day, each day. And now, wow, the Word of God is open and I’m not just hearing ‘podcast’ and inspiration and people teaching. I’m hearing God speak to me.”
And I think that brings me greater joy than almost anything that we do, because that was a bricklayer named Dave Marshall, who my first year as a Christian, every Tuesday morning, came down and did that with me, Andrew. And I am glad for seminary and learning Greek and Hebrew and there was lots of good things, but really, what has always changed my life has been getting up every morning, meeting with God, and I still do Bible study and hear God’s voice the way Dave Marshall taught me. And as an aside, because I don’t know if Polly or any of the kids will get to hear this, Dave, at eighty-four years old, just went to be with the Lord here about a month ago. And, you know, to his legacy living on, of discipling people one-on-one, helping them really grow is just awesome.
So, we started with Daily Discipleship and then we found that families were kind of stuck. And our creative team did something that I thought was really, really cool that helped people share a meal in a way where they began to share their faith and pass on the legacy of who Jesus is in the life of their moms and their dads.
ANDREW: Yeah, it’s what we call Mealtime Conversations. And what we know is culture only wins when you check out as a parent.
And so, when you’re having faith conversations with your children, that’s the number one thing that will lead towards the transmission of your faith.
I’ve got teenagers, older teenagers that sometimes you have to, like, pretend to trip over them to hug them, right?
But they are pushing you away, but what they are really saying is, “I want you more than ever.”
ANDREW: And so, those conversations are more important than ever. And so, that’s why we did Mealtime Conversations. It’s also why, we introduced these new Intentional Parenting cards. Just really simple tools that parents can use to remind them of principles on a daily basis. And it just makes you intentional. You know? We kind of do some of the thinking for you, just to keep reminding you.
CHIP: Well, the research is overwhelming that when a family eats together, that’s, in that informal time, how values get transferred from parent to child. And there has been a lot of challenge that come with being cooped up in the same house, not being able to go to school, trying to do your job at home along with kids underfoot. And I think we had, like, seventy-three thousand downloads, that was, like, six months ago.
CHIP: And we provided all that for free. And I say “all that for free” – in other words, we didn’t want to charge people any money to help them during a time of crisis. But I think it’s probably appropriate to say thank you to thousands of people listening right now. We were able to do that because you gave. And as you gave, we passed on those resources that we created to families. And the responses, my favorite one, is from Bangalore. And they actually sent us a picture of the family doing it together, with these little kids. And we gave them little activities and ways to do it.
And, again, who would have dreamed? I mean, of course we wanted to serve America, but who would have dreamed that some of these things would get translated into twelve, fourteen, fifteen, twenty languages all within the last year, year and a half? So, again, these are those – you can’t explain it apart from God’s favor and Him opening doors.
ANDREW: That’s exactly right. I’m thrilled too, just about the ability we have had to minister to pastors.
ANDREW: You know, I’m a pastor’s kid so, you know, as I mentioned, you know, there are certain pressures that come with being a pastor. And I personally believe that pastors are some of the most underappreciated change agents in the world today. There’s a lot of pressure on them. And so, our heart is with them. And so, in the midst of COVID, I think it’s best, Chip, if you tell the story about how we just helped pastors in the Middle East that then went to India and then beyond.
CHIP: Yeah, in fact, this series, What Now? What Next? came after I did webinars for a full year with pastors and then that turned into eight or ten thousand pastors in sixty countries.
And so, what we did is I taught this because pastors were asking me, “What do we do now? We want to open up the churches,” or, “It’s part online and there’s all this division.” And as the Lord showed me that we need to get back to focusing on Jesus, God opened these doors and it ended up more than just these webinars, we created this resource called The Art of Survival.
And that’s what I think I want people to hear is in the midst of the challenge, rather than waiting for something to get better or waiting somehow for life to get back to normal, we came to the point where we realized when the world is falling apart, I mean, historically, that is when God moves in the most miraculous ways, because in our human nature, Andrew, we are just more open. We are willing to change, we see our need, our… our arrogance and our idols get revealed for what they are, and we realize we need God, we need Jesus.
And I think what we are experiencing is an explosion of people saying, “We don’t need to hear the gospel one more time. We need to know: how do we follow Jesus? How do you experience the peace that He promised and the love that He promised and the joy that He promised?” And then these pastors are saying, “I’m stuck. I am hurting. Will you help me know, what should I preach and how should I preach it?” And I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been so excited, like you, I’ve been kind of doing this for a while. I’ve been a pastor for over thirty-five years. I have never been more excited than I am right now to get to do what God is calling us to do.
ANDREW: It’s amazing times. It’s counterintuitive, right?
CHIP: Yes, it is.
ANDREW: I mean, when things feel down, it’s the most opportune time.
CHIP: And we have never had more people pray, we have never had more people be more generous. I mean, at a time when you would think a Christian would say, “Hey, I’ve got to play it really close to the vest right now,” we have had the strongest response to pray with us about this, of people giving generously, that have allowed us to do what God has called us to do in this moment of history.
I was talking to a guy, uh maybe a month or so ago. And he had a really interesting comment. We got up from the lunch and he looked at me and he said, “The time is now.” And I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, he said, “You know, I have watched the world,” and he’s retired now, was very successful in business. He said, “I don’t want to find myself not getting in on what God is doing.” And so, he said, “Let me know, literally, when this match comes. I want to help build it, because I think we need to step out like never before. This window may never come again like this in our lifetime.” And we have really responded and said, “You know what? We agree. Man, we are going to go for it like never before.
I’d like to spend the rest of our time talking about the three, literally, God-sized goals that the Lord has given us to move forward.
Andrew Could you walk us through those three things and maybe we could talk a little bit about what they are and why we are doing them?
ANDREW: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the first one is that we are committed to doubling the reach of our teaching ministry in the next twenty-four months.
CHIP: Wow, that’s big.
ANDREW: It is a big goal. We just sensed we have to do it.
ANDREW: The times require it.
CHIP: Amen. And then how?
ANDREW: Yeah, there are really three ways. Obviously, the strategy is primarily a digital one. So, we want to go where your kids and grandkids are listening. And create some new programming for them. So, we are looking at podcasting. We are looking at varying programs on YouTube. We are looking at increasing our reach on YouVersion.
You know, for many of you, you have it right on your phone; it’s the Bible app. Got about, I just saw the numbers, about a million people have now signed up for our reading plans, thousands upon thousands are going through Daily Discipleship, which is also on YouVersion. And so, it’s just another great way, which people who have supported the ministry have enabled us to get onto a brand-new platform that is reaching literally around the world. I saw the statistics, I mean, Brazil – I mean, who would have thought? I mean, hundreds of thousands of people in Brazil are doing our reading plans right now.
ANDREW: Well, we didn’t plan that; that’s what God does. It’s just amazing.
So, when you think about podcasting is really growing rapidly, YouTube is really growing rapidly, YouVersion is really growing rapidly, we are growing teaching content in those channels to enable us to reach a whole new group of people.
CHIP: And one of the things that excites me, and I’m sure people have been listening, you know, my son Ryan has done two or three series recently. We had John Dickerson on who is a young Millennial, bright communicator. Kyle Idleman will be with us. It’s exciting to me to begin to have a teaching team at Living on the Edge sort of that come out of different decades and different backgrounds that can really, the DNA of Living on the Edge isn’t Chip Ingram’s personality. It’s discipleship. It’s helping Christians live like Christians. And I believe that if we are going to broaden and reach the next generation, I certainly have things I want to say and that God wants me to say, but I am seeing some young communicators that the Lord really wants to use that we are going to bring into the fold, Lord willing, and let our audience and our family and their kids and grandkids grow through what they have to say.
ANDREW: You know, our second big God-sized goal is we are committed to doubling our one-on-one mentoring through Daily Discipleship the next twenty-four months. We just started this; why not just double it right off the bat? So our goal, two hundred and fifty thousand people going deep and to applying God’s Word over the next couple of years. By the way, that will change things.
CHIP: That really will.
ANDREW: That will change your life, it will change your church, will change your community. If you really are starting to hear God’s voice…It changes things.
CHIP: The research is overwhelming, Andrew, the people that are in the Bible regularly, four times or more, let alone studying it like we are teaching them, their life changes. Their marriage changes. Their parenting changes. If you’re a boss, you’re a different kind of boss. If you’re an employee, you work in a different way for an audience of One. I am so excited and of all the things I get to do, I mean, I love to teach, I like to create small group – but I have really – it turns my crank if you will to get to sit down with a cup of coffee and an open Bible, one-on-one, with people and help them learn to hear the very voice of the living God, because that’s what changes our life.
ANDREW: And I think you would say, for people who have been listening for one to five years, and they are asking themselves, Now, Chip, what would you have me do next?
CHIP: Oh, that would be it.
ANDREW: Daily Discipleship. That’s the next step. Any listener who is listening right now, go to stg.livingontheedge.org and sign up for Daily Discipleship.
CHIP: And what I’m finding is people do cool stuff now, even with adult kids, like, they go through it individually and then, hey, get together on a Zoom call as a family, or around the table a little bit later. I think it has lots of application to help people grow, but also to help people disciple others. I’m talking with some pastors right now about, “Hey, we’re – it’s available. It’s free. Why not – I’m glad to mentor the individuals in your church to help them grow so they fulfill the kingdom agenda in the church where you’re at here, and all around the world.” So, I could get off on this, because this is getting translated in a number of other languages.
CHIP: And we’ve got some really big plans for it. But as time is slipping away, what is the third big goal that God has given us?
ANDREW: Well, we’re committed to training two hundred and fifty thousand pastors in the U.S. and around the world the next five years, to grow high-impact churches. It’s such a huge need. We are talking about disciple-making churches. We are not talking about churches that are effective in building a crowd. It’s how do you grow people deep, spiritually, so they have an impact in their world?
CHIP: And I have been to lots of pastor’s conferences and I think events are very important, but this isn’t just an event. This is a training. This is helping the pastor in his personal life, the pastor in his preaching, the pastor in, “How do I take a small group of people and disciple them?” How does our church see lost people come to Christ regularly? Found people grow to maturity? And how do we as a church partner with other churches to meet the deepest needs in our community? That’s a high-impact church. And the doors opening for this, I mean, we have talked about the miracles in China and in the Middle East, but we are going into four new major areas. Maybe you can help me with them. I know Kenya.
ANDREW: Yeah, Kenya. I mean, the amazing relationship growing in Kenya. The Middle East, of course, we have been in for a while. But Central America. India. India has been so ravaged by COVID. I mean, the need there is so desperate, and that’s one of the reasons we are bringing The Art of Survival in there. But our investment in, I think what makes us different is that we don’t just parachute in, do some training, leave, take some pictures. We are there to build relationships with people. So, when we go into a country or a region, we want to make sure that we are supporting them for the long haul. Very relationship-oriented, not just training in resources, which are very important. But we want people to leave – when we leave, they have somebody who is trained to be able to teach what we teach. That’s our goal.
CHIP: Well, Andrew, thanks for joining me today. We have been talking about this match all this month, and it is very, very important. But I wanted you all to know, what do we do with this money? Why are we asking them to support us? I wanted them to have a very clear picture that God is working in Living on the Edge, He’s working in them, but I wanted them to know that as they pray about what they should do, what they should give, I wanted them to know where it was going to go, and why.
And so, with that, Father, I ask You, would You give hope and help to the people that today they are struggling and they are hurting and they are challenged? Would You use this message of this day to remind them that in our dark moments, You leaned in and You were listening. And as we took baby steps toward You, You have done miraculous things. And You want to take the worst situation in all of our lives if we would trust You and bring out good.
And so, Father, we ask that You will allow us to double our audience in twenty-four months. We ask You to allow us to double those that we mentor one-on-one, and we ask You for the rich privilege to impart and train and encourage and give life and hope to pastors all across the world. And so, it’s to that end we pray. And, Lord, I would pray for those listening today that You would speak to them, that You would encourage them first and foremost in their life and their walk with You.
And then, Lord, as they would pray and ask, what part might You want them to play in the ministry of Living on the Edge, that their hearts and minds would be opened, and, Lord, they would just do whatever You show them. In Jesus’ name, amen.