Let Us Engage and Run Together
… & let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Let’s Engage & Run TOGETHER!
… because it’s time for a reproducible approach to discipleship.
Continuous/combat operations, frequent deployments & personnel turbulence require simple ideas, simple tools, low overhead activities, and personal initiative. Let’s tailor how we follow Christ & how we train others so it works in any environment. The enemy of our souls is looking to devour isolated soldiers/seamen/airmen & families … many get at most an hour a week of spiritual input and think they have no need for more! As we Engage & Run TOGETHER we can include them in small groups, draw them to Christ, and train them to Engage & Run Together wherever they go.
Perhaps initiated by a CMF leader or a Chaplain, small groups organize and direct themselves in cooperation with Chaplains/Pastors, … and CMF leaders. The key idea is that each participant should see, live, and learn these seven reproducibles well enough to begin reproducing them at his/her next duty station:
- Inductive Bible Study
- Conversational Prayer
- Scripture Memory & Meditation
- Excellence in all Things
- Grow Together
- Pray and Plan
- Lead by Example
Future articles will briefly discuss these aspects of a self-reproducing integrated life of faith.
While a curriculum is something you start, follow for a while, and finish, E&RT is a framework, a philosophy of ministry, a set of basic tools and attitudes …something to be taught by example, lived individually and in small groups; a way to help us and those we lead to press on toward the mark. After Bible Study of three sets of foundational verses and the seven reproducibles, subsequent study topics should be pray-and-planned by the group in coordination with Chaplains/Pastors and leaders.
Live the Essentials
Live the essentials as we Engage & Run TOGETHER!
Following Christ in a demanding environment calls for simple ideas, simple tools, low overhead activities, and personal initiative. Inductive Bible Study, Conversational Prayer, and scripture memorization, the three individual / small group “Reproducibles”, help us continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
The Holy Spirit is our primary counselor as we study and pray. He also uses a group as part of Proverbs 11:14’s “multitude of counselors”, confirming or overriding human insights which may come up, directly or by bringing up the appropriate Scripture for teaching, reproof, correction, or training in righteousness….(2 Tim 3:16)
Inductive Bible Study (IBS) is the study of a limited portion of Scripture by a small group in an informal, discovery style. It emphasizes hearing from God, devotion, and obedience (“what do I do with this”) in context of all of Scripture, while not trying to force acceptance of controversial doctrines or denominational distinctives. The basic guidelines are: Stick to the passage; All who want to may participate; No one dominates; Answer 3 questions: What does it say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me? The traditional who/what/where/when/why/how questions can be useful for understanding what it means; the CMF DTOs offer Bible study tips and a study form to provide additional structure. The DTOs and verse cards at the link below are a good place to start.
The leader’s role is primarily administrative, rather than “teaching”, involving start/stop times and helping the group follow the guidelines. It’s normally best to stay in the agreed passage so that those with less experience aren’t intimidated; at times it will be important to refer to complementary or balancing scriptures for “the rest of the story.”
A group as small as two (The Holy Spirit plus one) can engage in Inductive Bible Study!
Conversational Prayer (CP) is clearly not the only way to pray. It is presented here because many national Military Christian Fellowships have found that it produces an increased consciousness of God's presence, resulting in greater group vitality and unity. CP follows the normal rules of polite conversation … only one speaks/prays at a time … 2-3 sentences or a short paragraph as the others pray along silently. Someone else prays next. At least one person follows up the current topic before a new topic is started, perhaps praying about other details or from a different perspective. Who is the next to pray? Anyone else! Silence in between is fine; it leaves time to hear God speak. Include adoration & praise to God, confession & petition for ourselves, intercession for others. Leave “who’s next” to the Holy Spirit rather than “going around the room.”
And consider conversational prayer as a group of two…God plus one!
Scripture Memory and Meditation help us live Joshua 1:8’s “… you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” (NKJV) Learn the passage (with its “address” before and after), and understand the context. Hide/treasure it in your heart that you may not sin against Him (Ps 119:11). Meditate on it as you review, prayerfully asking “what does it say/mean/mean to me”, sing it, chant it, pray it … let the Word transform / renew your mind, your reactions & relationships. Some printable verse cards are available at the link, along with a template for making your own.
Conclusion: IBS, CP, & Scripture memory/meditation are practical forms of individual and small-group worship reproducible in even the harshest, most primitive environments. They’re simple ideas, simple tools, low overhead activities.
This is the second article in the “Engage & Run Together (E&RT)” series. Article #3 will address “Excellence in all Things”, “Grow Together”, and “Pray and Plan”.
Let’s invite others to join us in living this self-reproducing integrated life of faith!
Excellence in All Things
While our adversary prowls around … seeking someone to devour (1Pe 5:8), we resist him, strengthened in The Lord by praying for each other, supporting each other as the Proverbs 11:14 multitude of counselors, living the seven “reproducibles”. Inductive Bible Study, Conversational Prayer, and Scripture Memory were outlined last month. Here we’ll consider Excellence, Growing Together, and Pray-and-Plan.
Excellence in all things. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17) Part of an integrated life, this is an attitude to be lived, modeled, encouraged. Military duties, marital and family relations, social life, recreation…everything reflects who we are and how God is working in us, so everything deserves to be excellent, high-quality, … an act of worship (cf Col 3:17,23). In addition to making “even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Pr 16:7 NKJV), such worship reveals God’s transforming, empowering Life in us!
Finding an “excellent” solution involves understanding the problem and balancing solution approaches and quality with expectations and such realities as resources and time available…a second opinion often helps me recognize traps like perfectionism (late at best, maybe impossible) or laziness (“just get something out the door”). Whether that opinion comes from my wife, friends/co-workers, or the guys I pray with, it’s an example of encouraging one another unto love and good works (Heb 10:24)
Pray and Plan, below, is an excellent way to find our way to excellence individually, as families, as groups/teams, etc.
Grow together. We “Run Together” because we value and need each other. Interacting, learning from, and strengthening each other we move beyond anonymity and isolation, beyond dependence to empowerment, to finding the way forward through prayer and Bible study together, guided by the Holy Spirit. Often this means regularly getting together face-to-face, but we can maintain the connections by a handshake as we cross paths at shift-change, etc, or from a distance by messaging app’s, cell-phone, etc. Far beyond “another meeting to go to,” this can lead to the Jesus-centered lifestyle, unity, and joy of Acts 2:42-47, to favor with all the people, to The Lord adding to those who are being saved!
We’re in this together! We benefit from whatever leadership experience or Biblical background anyone brings to the group, while respecting the IBS guideline that “All who want to may participate; No one dominates.” This lets us all explore together with “awe-inspired fear and trembling” how to “bring (our salvation) to full effect” (Phil 2: 12, Amplified). Check out the Australian MCF’s “Small Group Code of Conduct” at the link below.
In between meetings there’s a low-tech approach to growing together: “journal” by screenshots inside a smartphone Bible app or DTO study form and “text” it to your buddy (see the briefing at the link). There are printable cards at the link to use with your pocket Bible in a no-electronics environment; pray for a buddy on the same outpost or “inside the same fence”.
The key is staying centered on learning and living the Word, connected with each other to grow together, to recognize and resist the enemy’s lies and distractions together, to build up one another. Use simple ideas, simple tools, low overhead activities...SIMPLE ENOUGH THAT THEY GET USED!
Pray and Plan. “Running Together” implies that we’re going in the same direction toward shared goals. Pray and Plan (P&P) engages us together in developing direction and goals as we prayerfully let our insights complement and complete each other, working together in Jesus’ presence to let Him align our wills with His (Mt 18:20), to understand His direction.
Whether it’s a small group deciding what to study next, or a group of leaders planning a large-scale event like a conference, the distinguishing aspect of P&P is how the meeting is conducted. The AMCF Reference Manual (access via the link below) describes the process:
The Process. The essential start point for a Pray and Plan is prayer and praise … to “take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Cor.10:5) … mention the subjects for which prayer is needed…explain a bit of background where necessary…prayer for each subject mentioned.
Discerning The Plan. …The discussion should not be dominated by any one member … a group of sharing and expectant Christians who are sensitive to the Lord's leading. When there is no agreement on an issue the group should turn to specific prayer and then try again to discern by discussion what the Lord is saying. The characteristic of Pray and Plan should be consensus, but sometimes when seeking to undertake a new initiative a group will have to meet three or four times before the Lord will reveal the fundamental issue, such as the essential aim of the undertaking from which all else depends. The Lord can as easily reveal detail to a Pray and Plan team as He can reveal principles.
The Pray and Plan team should close each meeting with a time of praise and thanksgiving that the Lord has given the team His wisdom and discernment.
A small group is likely to P&P about what to study next; how to bring a new member up to speed on E&RT basics; how to serve “where we are” (the needs, how to reach out effectively )’; “have we grown to the point where we should become 2 groups (‘divide to multiply’)?”
Pray and Plan works for individuals praying alone, for families, for teams
Think of the E&RT “reproducibles” as aspects of a single, integrated, Christ-focused life. As they come to characterize our daily lives we’ll realize we’re already leading by example … the topic for next time.
00 - Description of Resources
Complete set of downloadable resources in a .Zip file.
“00 - Description of Resources” (this document) explains the resources in this “Engage&RunTogether” folder and suggests how they might be used
“01 – E&RT Articles…” is a series of articles from the Christian Military Fellowship (CMFHq.org) “Christian Report” newsletter which introduce the main ideas of E&RT : Overview, -1/”essentials”, -2/”run together”, -3/”lead by example”. The actual newsletters are included in the “reference” category, below.
“01a - E&RT Overview Brief (powerpoint).ppt” explains the need for E&RT and how the concept works; provides a visual summary of the essentials and introduces the use of the “textable” and hard-copy resources; offers examples of how available smart-phone technology can be used to maintain and deepen spiritual relationships; and suggests how to proceed.
“01b - Resource Links (Clickable, after download).doc” provides clickable links to the resources identified in the briefing & images, and to other useful sites. It can be downloaded to a PC or smart-phone, for example, and used from there.
The remaining resources are named to relate them to their suggested use as Textables, Hard-copy cards (Business Card Format), and References.
“02 - Textable”: single images convenient for sharing by text-message, eg by a group leader before beginning the related topic.
• Example: “02 - Textable_01 E&RT Summary (Front)” is a single image that contains the overview of “Engage & Run Together”
02 - Textable_01a E&RT Summary (FRONT)
02 - Textable_01b E&RT Summary (BACK)
02 - Textable_02 Small Group Guidelines
02 - Textable_03a Inductive Bible Study (FRONT)
02 - Textable_03b Inductive Bible Study (BACK)
02 - Textable_04a Memorization (1)
02 - Textable_04b Memorization (2)
02 - Textable_05 Verse list 1 – Coming to Christ
02 - Textable_06 Verse list 2 – Starting the Race
02 - Textable_07 Verse list 3 – Pressing on with Christ
02 - Textable_08a Conversational Prayer (FRONT)
02 - Textable_08b Conversational Prayer (BACK)
02 - Textable_09a Pray & Plan (FRONT)
02 - Textable_09b Pray & Plan (BACK)
03 – Hard-copy cards (Business Card Format) Resources.
The pdf files are set up for printing on card stock or plain paper; borders are already turned on. To print on business-card stock, use the MS-Word version ; turn off the borders in the table ; and use “page setup” to adjust the margins as needed to align the card-images with the perforated cards.
In this age of electronics the need for hard-copy resources is usually limited to a one-card overview (the “summary” card) or a “starter kit” page (10 cards) of “E&RT Concepts” drawn from the briefing. Beyond that, most Bible study, memorization, and interaction is likely to be done on cell phones … the hard-copy “verse sets” may be needed for high-security areas and primitive/combat environments.
The “verse set”s below correspond to the “verse list”s in the Briefing and the “Textables”. Alternate or additional lists can be prepared as needed using the 10-card page “for use as needed” template (MS-Word). You may want to prepare the text one slot at a time, make & crop a screenshot to paste into the slot. This will preserve your layout from automatic reformatting and may avoid problems from an overly complex file. Hacks: If the file doesn’t print correctly, (1) ) adjust content so it fits within the cells of the table; (2) adjust file-setup margins to align the “cards” with the media being used; or (3) try putting it into .pdf format. (The free downloadable utility “CutePDFWriter” looks like a printer to MS-Word)
03__ - Printable Card Format (for use as needed).doc
“Printable Card – 10 copies”: ten copies of a single image in a 10-per page format suitable for plain paper or card stock. Separate and distribute as individual cards
• Example: “03 - Printable Card – 10 copies _ E&RT Summary (Front)”
03b - Printable Card – 10 copies _ 01a E&RT Summary (FRONT) (pdf)
03b - Printable Card – 10 copies _ 01b E&RT Summary (BACK) (pdf)
03b - Printable Card – 10 copies _ 01c E&RT Summary (FRONT) (doc)
03b - Printable Card – 10 copies _ 01d E&RT Summary (BACK) (doc)
“Printable Card SET”: a set of related images in a 10-per page format suitable for plain paper or card stock. A Chaplain or group leader might print and distribute one such page to each interested individual.
• Example: “03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_0l_ E&RT Concept Cards (FRONT)” contains the textables in a convenient-to-print format, suitable for use as a “starter kit” for those beginning to Engage & Run Together.
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_0la_ E&RT Concept Cards (FRONT) (pdf)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_0lb_ E&RT Concept Cards (BACK) (pdf)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_01c_ E&RT Concept Cards (FRONT) (doc)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_01d_ E&RT Concept Cards (BACK) (doc)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_02_ Verse Set 1_Starting the Race (pdf)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_02a_ Verse Set 1_Starting the Race (pdf) (doc)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_03_ Verse Set 2_ Press On_set mind & course (pdf)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_03a_ Verse Set 2_ Press On_set mind & course (doc)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_04_ Verse Set 3_ Press On_persevere & serve (pdf)
03b - Printable Card SET - Individual_04a_ Verse Set 3_ Press On_persevere & serve (doc)
- “04 - Reference”: Key reference documents directly accessible on this site.
Example: “Reference_01 E&RT RT Summary (text, not image)” includes the text from which the “summary” images in the briefing and cards were created.
04 - Reference_01 E&RT Summary (text, not image)
04 - Reference_02 CMF Discipleship Training Guide
04 - Reference_03 CMF Discipleship Training Objectives
04 - Reference_03a Bible Study Tips & Study Form (DTO extract)
04 - Reference_03b Completed DTO Study Form example
04 - Reference_04 CMF Christian Report 201808 (E&RT article 0,1,2)
04 - Reference_05 CMF Christian Report 201809 (E&RT article 3)
04 - Reference_06 Starting and Growing an MCF (Pan-African Conference 2018)(Rev 1)
04 - Reference_07 The Practice of the Presence of God (gutenberg_org file 5657)