A transcript from our conference call last Thursday. How to use I am Second in your city.
Mission America City/Community Ministries
Cities and Communities Conference Call
June 17, 2010
Hosts: Jarvis Ward & Glenn Barth
Guests: Mike Jorgensen, Vice President of Ministry, I am Second
Nathan Sheet, Vice President of Partner Development, I am Second
Glenn welcomed early callers. Alan Doswald, Fresno was asked to open with prayer:
David: The nations are in our backyard. They come to us as international students, businesspeople, some temporary, some permanent. This audience often goes unnoticed or we don’t recognize the opportunity or obligation to reach these people. We need resources to help churches discover – some churches can do research, find out where they are, who they are. Churches set examples of equipping their people to reach these neighbors of ours. Resources, tools, and videos are out there to help these people find Christ. We invite you to explore this. We have a couple of pages on www.cityreaching.com. Cityreaching.org from the Indianapolis area is also connected with us. We’re launching a new website , hopefully up in a week, with a page dedicated to tools and resources. We can post the link on the cityreaching.com site.
- April 4-7, 2011 is the Mission America Coalition (MAC) meeting Orlando This could be a once-in-a-lifetime gathering coming out of the Cape Town meetings in October.
- We have a major issue in our area, the Gulf Coast. But we need to be ready to meet any emergency. If you haven’t been to The Christian Emergency Network at www.Christianemergencynetwork.org individuals needs to be ready, then congregations.
Jarvis: We are thrilled to have with us today two brothers, Nathan Sheets, Vice President of Partnership Development for e3Partners. He has a unique identification – he is the creator of Evangecube to share the gospel. It is very effective. Mike Jorgenson is also Vice President, Director of Ministry Strategy. He’s originally from Humboldt, Iowa. I want to thank these brothers for being on the call. Welcome. Tell us a bit about I Am Second and how you got connected with it.
Nathan: Thank you for the opportunity to come on today and tell you what God has been doing in the 17 months since I Am Second (IAS) was launched. Our ministry is a church planting ministry, working in 40 countries. Originally we worked in short term missions with churches overseas. We will bring about 3000 people on short term trips this year. We work with networks of indigenous staffs in these countries. We believe the greatest opportunity is to mobilize the church to reach the world, equip and empower , equipping God’s people to evangelize and establish his church. Those are our 3 Es. Evangelize, equip and empower. A businessman in Dallas, Norm Miller, Chairman of Interstate Battery, has a true passion to share Christ with people. His personal gift of evangelism is a driving force in his life. In 2008, he called us, burdened to do more in Dallas. He begin to suggest an ad campaign in Dallas, use celebrities. We developed a billboard with a Dallas Maverick, who would say, “I Am Second.” It would have Erick’s picture, the website, and hook people up to a local church. Norm enthusiastically bought into it. He said, “That’s what we need to do in Dallas. But it needs to go beyond, not just a 60 or 90 day campaign.” I thought of the German siege of St. Petersburg, 800+ days. That’s what we needed to do – surround DFW with the gospel and have spiritual breakthrough. Originally we had local celebrities and used their testimonies. Our DNA from church planting and mobilization began to integrate. The greatest opportunity for success was not just to do advertising, but use it as a tool to mobilize Christians to share the gospel. We would leverage the advertising, get into spiritual conversations. In December, 2008, we filmed 30 testimonies, both celebrities and non-celebrities, who had backgrounds with porn, drugs, marriage difficulties, eating disorders. The media campaign had 30 billboards, many kiosks, 3000 radio and TV commercials. We saturated DFW with this unique advertising look. It exploded. We had no idea what the Lord was going to do. Our goal was to focus on north Texas, DFW. But we’ve had 2.5 million people on the site from all over the world. I’ll hand it over to Mike. We felt the DNA background of our church planting roots needed to be integrated.
Mike: Two months after launch, I was training and leading lay people to make disciples in other countries. One morning the Lord said “Move over to the I Am Second” team. My response was, “ I’m not a marketing guy, a video guy.” As we prayed and talked through it, we decided to take church planting, ministry and multiplication principles, to go along with videos on the website. Those who are familiar with the videos on the website, you can download the small group curriculum. It focuses on evangelism and discipleship, small groups.
Jarvis: Want to remind everyone that after this interview section, we will open the mike for Q & A.
Glenn: I was on your site in preparation for this call. Everyone will agree that your impact may have started in DFW, but it’s exciting to see the internet broadcasts, the testimonies that you filmed. Brian Sumners – right now his testimony is up there, from Liverpool, a compelling testimony of how God saved his life and his marriage and he now lives for Jesus Christ. I appreciate so much that you don’t leave people with the decision to accept Christ, but take them on to help them connect with a small group in the city or community where they live. Talk to us about how this has exploded from the north Texas area.
Nathan: Why did God give this evangelism tool to the church and this ministry? That question had long term rippling effects in our ministry, taking it from short term mission trip ministry to a multi-faceted ministry, planting churches. “God, why did you allow this church planting min to launch I Am Second?” God’s design for the great commission is the church. So to integrate new believers into spiritual communities, help people determine why God made me, how can I make a difference, what are the good works I should do? The DNA I referred to earlier, the reason why God brought Mike into the ministry, is to help believers who have established relationships who are afraid to share the gospel. 1 in 20 actually share Christ with the important people in their lives. How can we engage them to share Christ in existing relationships? Mike led in formation of church planting. Overseas we call it spiritual community formation. Mike has developed this material. It can be downloaded, and you can learn how to establish an I Am Second group. In addition to that downloadable small group material, in January we added a component where a small group can register and show up on a map. Click on the link and it populates the map within 25-30 miles. In DFW there are probably 20-30 I Am second groups near where I am. We were getting ready for the national championship with Colt McCoy, getting ready to play Alabama. In preparation for that game, we bought TV spots on satellite TV. A guy from Boise, now in Los Angeles, was watching the commercial. He typed in IAmSecond.com and started watching another video, and another, and another, and 4 hours later he was on the floor of his hotel room inviting Christ into his life. He went to his computer, typed in his zipcode for Boise. Three days before that someone from Boise registered the group. He joined that group, called his sister who had been praying for him for years and told her, “These people in Boise are jacked up about Jesus.” He was so impacted by that group that he couldn’t wait to form his own group and reach his circle of friends.
Mike: There are about 350 groups registered so far, probably another 50 in DFW area that aren’t registered.
Jarvis: We are interested in helping cityreaching take place. How do you see I Am Second contributing to the cityreaching process in a local congregation, in a community and nationally?
Mike: We had a situation here last summer where a young man contacted us. He wanted to start a group in a local high school. We thought he was a youth pastor. It turned out he was a high school senior. He started with 5 guys, but by the end of the semester it had grown to 9 groups; by end of year there were 300 meeting before school. It shows multiplication that can take place using the simple curriculum we have. Cityreaching is an on-going process. As groups use the curriculum, it gets them into discipleship and on-going evangelism. The first book is evangelism, how to do evangelism, how to multiply groups, how to grow leaders. Overseas it is how to grow churches, appeal to 20-somethings. The topics we go through are evangelism, discipleship, leadership, ministry multiplication.
Nathan: We’re aware of Barna research. There is lots going on with the younger generation, especially their view of the institutional church. We want to have a cultural impact, see cultural change, flip that number so only 1 in 20 people don’t share Christ. I went to an event where Huckaby was speaking on what it takes for cultural change. He said: (1) It takes more than one generation. You almost have to figuratively write off the previous generation, which is ingrained in methodology. You need to focus on the next generation. (2) Advertising is significant in that change. (3) After the advertising, government intervention began to solidify that cultural change. I.e. Ladybird Johnson saw how horrible litter was. She decided to change people’s perception of litter. An ad campaign began. I remember the Indian crying. Kids criticized parents who littered. Seat belts, smoking, have changed the culture. Now people would jump on a smoker lighting up. The final thing was drunk driving. Applying that to IAS, we want to effect cultural change with this younger generation. Sharing Christ with those I love will make the biggest change. Hebron High School started with 1 kid, ended with 300 kids meeting with no adult leaders, and they began shooting their own videos. A couple of kids in a college dorm on a local campus expected 5 kids, had 30 show up for first group. Within days, they had a group in every dorm. It doesn’t matter if you are Buddhist, Atheist or whatever; come and discuss spiritual things.
OPEN PHONE LINES – Q & A:
Hank Tate, Houston, TX: I had joy of being in Mike’s training class. We have started our first group in Houston. One of things we are struggling through – what is an effective way to get the word out? We aren’t currently aligned with the church. From my work environment, I just came off being unemployed, and don’t have a big work environment (I do contract work). People are fighting their battles, but we aren’t sure how to reach them.
Mike: First, register on the website. You will connect with those using the web. Facebook and Twitter will help get the word out. The best way probably is to reach into existing networks like neighborhood sport teams. We wrote a booklet How To Start a Second Group, using the Luke 10 peace principle, taking the group to people you already know.
Alan Doswald, Fresno: I know you are a fairly young movement. Do you have any examples of a city where a lot of the churches have bought into this and are working together to saturate their city with a campaign and follow up, bringing transformation to the city?
Nathan: First, we’re only in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DVW) area. We have a number of cities we are working with: Orlando, Chattanooga, Nashville, Kansas City, Evansville Indiana, a few others where people are launching IAS. When we launched in DFW, we chose 30 churches we thought were really intentional about making a transformational difference. Candidly, we were kinda selling vision and a dream – we hadn’t launched the site, had no track record. We didn’t have the ministry strategy in place I think it was hard for churches to see how to use it. One church here in Dallas, McKinney Fellowship, had a full court press Easter weekend in 2008, encouraging their people to start IAS groups, taking the concept into their work and home communities. They baptized 50 new believers as a result. They did another push at Christmastime in 2009, and again baptized 50 new believers. So a number of other Dallas churches were interested. 12 of the largest in DFW are planning for Super Bowl 2011, how to have a strong outreach. Sermon series and campaigns come and go, but IAS remains. So we met with them. That really synergized a 150,000 people population group where we will launch a small group strategy as an evangelism tool inside the church. My perspective is that churches are a long-term partner, especially large ones. They program for long term. There is the consistency of doing a 3-year campaign. This isn’t going away; we need to learn how to leverage this tool. My church is Prestonwood in Dallas, with 27,000 members. My pastor is chomping at the bit about getting IAS groups launched.
Alan: How did the 30 churches respond? Did 20 get involved? 3 ?
Nathan: Initially we video-taped the pastor’s video, gave each church a page they could fill out, but we didn’t have the strategy in place back then. We were pushing them to be more creative and develop their own thing. Some put it into visitor form: “Did you hear about us from IAS?” The small group strategy and curriculum gives the church a tool to go out and do evangelism with people you already know.
Glenn: Alan, I am curious – you asked how this ties into cityreaching. I think what we are hearing is that they are seeking to develop grassroots movements that do get involved in churches in cities where IAS is established.
Glenn: It was a collaborative effort initially with those 30 churches in Dallas.
Mike: And the intent was to launch the video and ministry strategy with churches at the same time.
Glenn: Did this answer your question?
Alan: I’m trying to figure out how this goes with love your neighbor, ties into prayer-care-share, how the two fit together. I’m hearing more about media.
Mike: That’s a great question. On the prayer part, we have a prayer journal for people to get involved. It’s woven into the curriculum. It includes an illustration of the hand for The Lord’s Prayer, balanced prayer. It works with the prayer-care-share which Mission America does so well. We are working on weaving this into community service projects. McKinney Fellowship decided to wear “I Am Second” t-shirts for a project. Local TV came, and it got a lot more attention. The care part is woven in. A lot of churches that do prayer and care are looking for resources to get to the share part. The groups are designed to be evangelistic. They morph into discipleship groups as people respond. But in Dallas, if you wear an IAS t-shirt, people will probably ask what it’s about. People say “I saw that cup on your desk. What is IAS about?” You can say, “Have you been to the website? Would you like to come to our group next Tuesday and hear what it’s about?” You can turn the pray and care into sharing part.
Dan in Ohio: It sounds like this starts out like evangelism and goes into discipleship. How have you found the transition? Do you immediately start another group? What if someone comes in who isn’t a believer?
Nathan: That would be great if non-believers would come. The first book is evangelistic. Often the group will go through it to see how to use it, go out in pairs, using the film discussion guide. As people come to Christ, one of the core concepts is its obedience based, not content based. Show the video. Ask 6 questions: What did you like? What didn’t you like? (Interpretation) What did you learn about people? About God? What needs to change in your life this week? Who will you tell? People are asked to change something and tell someone. They will be filtering for people interested in spiritual things. We suggest they stay in the original group and continue to learn there, but also form another group. That way the groups don’t get too large. People get a chance to lead. At Hebron High, the original 5 guys met every Sunday, but led groups on Friday mornings, keeping a step ahead.
Dan: I lead a pastor’s prayer group. I heard you talk about major advertising. If another area like Northeast Ohio attempted that, what do you provide? How do you get the city’s attention?
Nathan: We’re driving toward a saturation point in a community. Statistics on visits to the site in North Texas are 6 million people, so if you take out a million elderly and a million small children, you have perhaps 4 million for a target audience. We’ve had about 15% of the population on the site. There is tremendous penetration. For Evansville, In Southern Indiana near Kentucky, the budget is $300,000 a year. They have raised $200,000 to launch it there. In a smaller community, there are not the same financial requirements. But as communities want to participate, we can work with you on the advertising budget you need. 5% goes to a pool for web development, 15% toward the national strategy so we can continue to get people with a national platform that can be used and the creative development that can be used.
Dan: I’m assuming just start some groups and get some pastors on board and see how the Lord leads.
Mike: There are different ways to get started. Sometimes it’s an individual, sometimes a church, sometimes a group of churches. The more they get the word out, the greater the impact.
Jarvis: Sometimes it may be a group of marketplace leaders seeking impact working with the church in our city or community. I agree,
Mike. There are different entry points. We are about 8 minutes from the end of the call. Make your question quick. Remember the next conf call—July 15, 2010 emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael from TX : Who can actually join a small group – those are totally open? Is it up to the leader of the small group? Is Nathan Sheets on the line? Yes. I’m working with Jasper High school, here in Texas. We were kinda iffy on it. We heard about Hebron High School, and were wondering how it works.
Nathan: They had 5 guys, and it grew from those 5 to freshman, sophomore, junior and senior groups, and then they split them guy/girls. I went once. They had about 100 kids there. They had shot a video and wrote questions for the video. After they showed the video, they split up into groups and went through the curriculum. They opened it up to anybody to come. It is student led, student initiated. The goal is to get all who have interest to participate. A guy walked up to me in church 2 weeks ago. His daughter was floundering as a new student at Hebron High School. She got into an IAS group and it changed her life. We would love to help you get started at Jasper High School. Let’s continue to communicate. We’ll get your guys started.
Jarvis: Nathan and Mike – are you willing to share your email, or would you prefer that they go to www.IAmSecond.com ?
Email us at coach@IamSecond.com That’s easier than spelling names.
Jarvis: My colleague, Dr. Glenn Barth, has a book coming out. You can tell Glenn’s strategic thinking about cityreaching. We’re going to have a special conference call with Glenn as our guest. I think it may be August. Put that in your calendar.
Ellyn from Charlotte: I want to start a group with kids who have a rock band. They are high school kids. How do you make it appealing? A couple of them aren’t believers.
Mike: Have them watch the Brian Welch video. Have them talk about it, then see another video, then invite them over. Then invite them to your house. Watch it together and talk about it. Have a low threshold. This generation doesn’t want to be taught; they want to have discussion in a safe environment. They want a high tech, savvy way. Leverage the relationships you have, pray, and ask the Lord to work in their hearts so they are willing to come and talk about it. If just the 5 come, they will impact the other 2.
Ellyn: Is it OK to start with the discussion guide?
Nathan: Whatever gets their attention the most.
Jarvis: Remember July 15 is our next call. Mike, Nathan, thank you for being part of our call. Let me pray for you now.
Jarvis closed the call in prayer.