Habit #2 Active Prayer: Igniting the Flame of Christ Within

Habit #2 Active Prayer: Igniting the Flame of Christ Within

Have you ever felt like your prayers are getting lost in the heavenly hum? We all know prayer’s importance—it’s echoed in scripture and preached from pulpits. But sometimes, it becomes a rote recitation, a to-do list on the divine grocery run. But what if prayer felt like less of a duty and more like a direct line to the heart of Christ?

Imagine prayer as a hidden chamber within your soul, a chamber where the flame of Christ flickers, waiting to be fanned into a roaring fire. Within lies a direct line to the source of salvation, a force capable of shaping reality and igniting transformation through the power of His love. This isn’t about checking boxes; it’s about forging a heart connection with Jesus, a connection that ripples outward, reflecting His light in the world.

But how do we fan this flame into a beacon? How do we transform our prayer lives from a dusty attic to a vibrant, Jesus-centered dialogue? The key lies in active prayer. It’s about ditching the autopilot and stepping into a dynamic, intentional conversation with our Savior.

1. Rekindle the Flame of Jesus: Pray for Yourself. This isn’t about begging for earthly treasures. It’s about deep soul-searching. Ask Jesus to chisel away the layers of self-interest and reveal your authentic purpose in His grand plan. Pray for a heart overflowing with Jesus-like compassion, a heart that aches for those who haven’t yet experienced the transformative power of His love. Imagine yourself as an extension of Jesus’s ministry, channeling His love outward, drawing others towards His light.

2. Become a Bridge to Jesus. The people you encounter daily – the barista, the stranger on the bus – they’re not random bumps in your life’s journey. They’re divinely orchestrated opportunities to share the love of Jesus. Actively pray for them! Ask the Holy Spirit to open their hearts to Jesus’s voice, to make them receptive to the whispers of His grace within. Pray for the wisdom to speak words that resonate with Jesus’s teachings and the courage to act with His love, even when it feels awkward or uncomfortable.

3. See Jesus in All. Every face you see is a reflection of God’s creation, a soul for whom Jesus died. Start your day by actively praying for two random people. Ask for Jesus’ wisdom and understanding to flow through them. Pray for the opportunity to be a tangible expression of Jesus’ love, even in a small way. A simple smile, a listening ear, or a helping hand – these seemingly insignificant acts can be the spark that ignites a fire of faith within another soul.

Passive prayer keeps you on the sidelines, a silent observer in the grand drama of salvation. Active prayer throws you into the heart of the story, empowering you to be a co-laborer with Jesus, a difference-maker who reflects His light in the world. Don’t settle for the flickering ember of a rote prayer life. Step into the hidden chamber within, fan the flame of Jesus into a blazing fire, and watch as incredible possibilities unfold in His name!

Curious about your unique strengths as a disciple? Take our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz today!

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Habit #1: Missional Values Guide Disciples into the 3rd & 4th Generation

Habit #1: Missional Values Guide Disciples into the 3rd & 4th Generation

I’ve been pondering this question for some time now: “What essential support, resources or training does a disciple need to make disciples that make disciples?”

Back in the fall of 2020 I began a conversation with one of my friends who was asking the same question. Glenn worked in an industry his entire career and has a pretty good pulse on how to make disciples in places the local church is having little success. In fact, one of the catalysts for Glenn has been his frustration with participating in local churches but seeing little impact made beyond the walls of the church building. Simultaneously, I’ve informally asked people what they really need. I’ve blogged about some of those ideas. Glenn and I are working at refining the list.

In my last blog I presented the habit: Active Prayer. We identified two areas of focus that a disciple could benefit from in his/her prayer life.

  • Prayer for self 
  • Prayer for people God has placed in their life to coach on their spiritual journey

Now I want to circle back around to the second habit on the list: Missional Values. What do I mean by missional values?  Let’s start by defining both “missional” and “values”.

  • Missional = disciples making disciples into the 3rd & 4th generation
  • Values = principles that drive missional behaviors

Simply put, Missional Values guide people who are making disciples into the 3rd & 4th generation.

In our conversations with people, the three missional values we see in Scripture and are verified in ministry with other leaders include:

  • Loving God
  • Loving your neighbor
  • Making disciples

It is like a three-legged stool.

One leg without the other two is worthless. Two without the one is broken. All three legs must be solid.

This is the reason this habit made its way into the list.  Without missional values the motivation will always be lacking. A person may make disciples for other reason like:

  • obligation
  • guilt
  • legalistic teaching

When a person embraces these it is hard to NOT make disciples: Loving God, loving your neighbor and making disciples.

How important are these three values to you?

Ready to take action?

  • Find your starting point: Take the FREE Discipleship Quiz and discover your strengths and weaknesses as a disciplemaker.

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

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7 Nuances to Transform Your Discipleship Culture

7 Nuances to Transform Your Discipleship Culture

Discipleship: Beyond Assimilation, Beyond Boring

Want vibrant faith journeys, not just pew-fillers? Ditch the “join the club” mentality. Begin with the end: are you raising disciples, or filling seats? Distinguish: assimilation welcomes, discipleship equips. Monitor progress – are hearts growing, lives changing? Spice it up! Make it fun, adventurous, messy. Keep it simple, focused, real. Less is more, quality over quantity. And finally, make it reproducible: empower others to disciple, creating a chain reaction of faith. Remember, it’s not about numbers, it’s about igniting souls!

7 Nuances to Transform Your Discipleship Culture: From Assimilation to Thriving Growth

Discipleship. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, but how often do we truly understand its depth and power? Building a thriving culture of discipleship isn’t about simply checking boxes or churning out cookie-cutter followers. It’s about cultivating a space where individuals grow into their full potential, empowered by faith and equipped to make a difference in the world.

Here are 7 nuances to guide you in transforming your discipleship culture from assimilation to a dynamic, life-changing journey:

1. Begin with the End in Mind:

Before building, you need blueprints. Define what a “disciple” looks like. Are they individuals who embody specific values? Do they actively engage in their communities? Having a clear vision of your destination helps you navigate the path and tailor your approach.

Key Question: How do you measure the fruitfulness of a disciple of Jesus? 

2. Distinguish Between Assimilation & Discipleship:

Assimilation is about making people fit into a mold, while discipleship is about helping them discover and develop their unique gifts and calling. Don’t focus on conformity; nurture authenticity and encourage personal growth within the context of shared values.

Key Question: Are your people simply being assimilated into the congregation or are they growing closer to Jesus, cultivating their character and reproducing other disciples?

3. Monitor Progress:

Growth doesn’t happen by accident. Implement systems to track progress and provide personalized feedback. This could involve goal setting, mentorship, or even simple check-ins to see how individuals are applying their learnings. Coaching keeps motivation high and identifies areas where support is needed.

Key Question: How does your ministry monitor progress in the disciples you are making?

4. Make Discipleship Fun and Adventurous:

Let’s face it, traditional Bible study can feel stale at times. Inject a sense of excitement into your discipleship journey. Organize mission trips, retreats, or even service projects that allow people to put their faith into action in engaging ways. Remember, learning is best when it’s also fun!

Key Question: How dynamic is your discipleship pathway?

5. Keep it Simple:

Don’t overwhelm people with complex theological jargon or a never-ending list of requirements. Break down complex concepts into digestible chunks and focus on the core principles of your faith. Remember, less is often more when it comes to laying a strong foundation.

Key Question: Can you draw your discipleship process on a napkin and explain to a brand new disciple in 3-5 minutes?

6. Less is More:

Quality trumps quantity. Is it better to have a small group of deeply committed disciples than a large group of passive participants? Foster meaningful relationships within your group, providing opportunities for genuine connection and support.

Key Question: What are the essential components to foster a culture of discipleship in your congregations, gatherings, and groups?

7. Make it Reproducible:

A strong discipleship culture isn’t sustainable if it relies solely on charismatic leaders or specific programs. Design systems and frameworks that anyone can pick up and run with. Train and empower individuals to become mentors and guides themselves, ensuring your culture thrives even beyond the initial spark.

Key Question: If you step out of the discipleship “system” will it continue on it’s own?

Remember, building a thriving discipleship culture is a journey, not a destination. By incorporating these nuances, you can create an environment where individuals are challenged, inspired, and empowered to grow into their full potential as Jesus followers. So, let’s ditch the assimilation assembly line and embark on a journey of genuine transformation, together.

Resources to cultivate disciples, that make disciples:

Make Obedient Disciples
(of already disciples)

Make Disciples
(of new-yet disciples)

Ready to take action?

  • Find your starting point: Take the FREE Discipleship Quiz and discover your strengths and weaknesses as a disciplemaker.

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

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Connecting with Not-Yet Followers of Jesus

Connecting with Not-Yet Followers of Jesus

Imagine you are preparing to go fishing. What are the things you need in order to be prepared?

  • Gear
  • Tackle
  • Bait

Now consider you are fishing for not-yet followers of Jesus. What do you need to be aware of (think attitudes to adopt and contextual factors to consider)?

  • Spiritual readiness
  • Posture of curiosity
  • Mindfulness
  • Authenticity
  • Compassion

As I’ve shared in the past, Gina and I are serving and participating in a new church plant (The Refinery Church) that has a vision to reproduce churches so that people far from God can discover Jesus in non-judgemental, safe environments. Here is a quick guide for preparing and being ready to connect with not-yet followers of Jesus. 

Spiritual readiness

Let the Holy Spirit guide you: Ultimately, it’s not your job to convert people. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and open them up to the message of Jesus.

Posture of curiosity

Respect their beliefs (or lack thereof): People have a wide range of beliefs, and some may not be interested in religion at all. Approach conversations with an open mind and a willingness to listen to their perspective.


Focus on common ground: Look for areas of shared values, like compassion, kindness, or a desire for a better world. This can build a foundation for further conversation.

Avoid being pushy: People are more likely to be turned off if they feel pressured to accept your beliefs. Focus on sharing your faith in a loving and respectful way.


Live your faith: Your actions and the way you treat others are often the most powerful testimony of your faith. People are more likely to be receptive to your message if they see the positive impact your faith has on your life.

Be articulate but avoid jargon: Explain your faith in a way that is easy to understand, avoiding complex theological terms or church slang.

Answer questions honestly: Be prepared to answer questions about your faith in a clear and truthful way. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say so.


Empathy vs. being right: I was reminded of this recently when I was discussing faith issues with a person from another belief system. It was difficult, but I tried my best to practice empathy when discussing her beliefs rather than argue my theology. I have a long way to go, but I am continuing to learn to put myself in the other person’s shoes when viewing issues of faith.

Who do you know that you could invite into a conversation about faith? Or, who do you know that is connecting with not-yet believers of Jesus?

Ready to take action?

  • Find your starting point: Take the FREE Discipleship Quiz and discover your strengths and weaknesses as a disciplemaker.

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

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Building and Supporting a Network of Excellent Coaches

Building and Supporting a Network of Excellent Coaches

One of the most strategic tools a pastor can learn to empower other leaders is coaching.

When your need for more coaches outgrows your capacity, going from one to many coaches, the common step is for a standardized coach training process to be instituted so that all the leaders who use a coach approach, regardless of their previous training and experience, now use a uniform process and practice the skills to standardize the coaching the congregation or network provides.  This fills a felt-need of quality control for the network and for the “clients” (pastors, church planters, leaders) they serve.

But standardizing coaching practices is only the first step. To see your coach network flourish, you need quality control and ongoing investment in the development of your coaches. 

Common Coach Qualifications

Early in the network the qualifications might be a church planter who had a reasonable level of success, or a pastor who seemed to have good people skills, or a formally trained Christian counselor.  These experiences are certainly helpful but do not predict coaching success.  

What is predictable is that the leader, coached by leaders with a wide range of competency, will have varying levels of success, all other things being equal (similar assessments, resources, mentoring, and training).  

Competent and consistent coaching is the “x” factor that will have the greatest level of   without reliable and valid assessment and development.

When you lack a reliable pathway to assess a leader’s coach competency it is very difficult to know where to focus on the coach’s development.

Five challenges networks face who do not assess and develop their coaches:

  1. Mixed Results – a pastor, church planter, or ministry leaders coached by a coach that has never been formally assessed have a 50-50 chance that the coach will maximize the leader’s potential.
  2. Intuition can be misleading – most coaches with a compulsory level of coach training rely on intuition to determine how they need to grow.
  3. Unreliable feedback – it is important to ask clients for feedback but if that is the primary means for assessment, it is limited.
  4. Developmental pathway – a repeatable development pathway is super important so coaches in the network have a predictable process they follow so that they are always striving to get better and better. 
  5. Guide to walk alongside – coaches need guides or mentors to help them sharpen their skill.

Even if you are a solo pastor who is launching or about to launch a leadership training process in your congregation – you will face these same issues.  But in a team or network, the problem increases in complexity proportionate to the number of coaches involved.  So what are some ways to address the problem?

Five ways to assess and develop leaders beyond initial coach training:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the 5 most common ways leaders develop their coaching – CLICK HERE.
  2. Observation and feedback from a competent coach (live or recorded).
  3. Create a development path – if you are interested in learning more about a 7-step process called the Journey of Ongoing Growth, read Christian Coaching Excellence (Part 1).
  4. Take a  reliable, valid assessment like the 360-degree Christian Coach Assessment.
  5. Find an experienced, competent coach mentor.

Where to begin?

A quick start to upgrade from average coaching is to implement three extremely important tools. The first is a Coach Agreement (think contract or covenant).  The second is a Coaching Log (think journal for note taking).  The third is a Coaching Journal to record your own observations and actions you will take to grow your coaching process (think work-out booklet).  These three things are very practical, and simple things you can do now.  It will benefit the church planters or pastors or business leaders you are coaching.

Coach Agreement 

A Coach Agreement helps to clarify expectations for the relationship.  This will increase your effectiveness to coach your clients by as much as 80%.  When you begin with the end in mind, you are more likely to reach and surpass your client’s goals. To get you started, we have a free downloadable version HERE.

Coaching Log

A Coaching Log serves two purposes.  It gives you and your client a way to look back and forward.  You can capture notes during a session AND log actions to move into the future.  For a free downloadable version, click HERE.  There are also many web-based tools that you can find on the internet with the added feature of having a shared space to send clients preparation questions to respond to in advance of appointments. I’ve seen coaches adapt MyRevCoach, Notion, Todoist, and Trello to work as a Coaching Log.

Coaching Journal 

A Coaching Journal allows you to record your observations, reflections, resources, actions, and powerful questions to grow your coaching skills. Taking a few minutes between coaching sessions or at the end of the day to reflect on what worked well and what can work better raises your self-awareness and gives you the ability to find patterns that need to be changed. You can download a simple Coaching Journal format for free HERE.  One thing I am doing currently is going through a self-led coaching supervision course that will equip me to provide more targeted feedback for coaches.  A bi-product is that I am becoming more aware of the nuances that I need to pay attention to in my coaching.

This blogpost was first published at Christian Coaching Tools – April 18, 2024

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