Here’s a great story from an I am Second Expedition.
“Our team gathered in a home in rural India. We first shared about Malaria using the MalariaCube, and then split the group to do Second groups. One went to the back of the house and the people that remained in my group were four old women, none of whom could read. One of the young girls that could read translated and also participated.
“As I looked around the room, I thought to myself that maybe we should just find another house and a younger audience, as obviously these four “old women” wouldn’t understand. Because they were hard working women, we read the story of Martha and Mary. The four chatted among themselves and didn’t seem to be paying attention. I began feeling this effort was in vain. Each time as we asked follow-up questions about the story, the women chatted with each other – and chatted – and chatted. Oh boy – why bother?
“Despite my expectations, when we asked the old women how they would share what they’d learned, they responded that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with others while working in the field. Because they couldn’t read, I figured they’d only be able to tell part of story, and probably only once. That’s where I had it all wrong.
“The group hushed as one woman,(I call her and “Indian Martha,”) recounted the Bible story in great detail, adapting for their culture where appropriate and applying the story to their real lives. They may not read, but they had amazing listening and memory skills! It turns out all the chatter was simply them having discussions about the scripture, and there was no need to include me. WOW!
“God once again was glorified as He showed our team that the same Holy Spirit that lives in us, lives in each of these old women. I learned (again) to never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!” – Mary W.
Like many young married couples, David and Bria Bickerstaff were going through life distracted by the daily needs of their blended family. With two young children and one teenager, life was full of activity but meandering in meaning. Up until two years ago something was clearly missing.Then they both attended I am Second’s 2nd birthday celebration, at which they encountered uplifting stories of how God had and was continuing to work in the lives of people through I am Second’s outreach. From the music of Matthew West to the appearances of 32 “seconds” from the website, the Bickerstaff’s hearts were drawn towards the movement. What’s more, at that event, Bria began a relationship with Jesus with night by accepting Him as her Lord and Savior.
From that point on Bria’s life reflected a major change. She radiated joy, filled with a passion for God and the desire to share him with others whenever she had the opportunity. The couple attended more I am Second events and began to bring its principles into their family.
Never was this more evident than throughout 2011. One tragedy after another came about- loss of family members, accidents, other near-death experiences. Yet their faith held. And became even stronger as Bria battled breast cancer. In February, 2012 Bria lost the physical battle, but entered heaven for her eternal reward.
At her memorial service her pastor said, “The most comforting thing we know for sure is where she is right now. When Bria took her last breath, she didn’t leave home, she went home because of her personal relationship with Christ.”
In her final years Bria encouraged everyone to know Him and become Second. Today, she continues to serve as an example. What a blessing she decided to follow Jesus in time.
Don’t delay. Learn what it means to become Second.
“Pastor Gireesh was skeptical. Since he had never used I am Second methods before our team arrived, he wondered if it would work in the the villages there in India. But soon his doubt turned to delight!
“Each morning, our e3 Partners Expedition members, local believers, and interpreters met Pastor Pastor Gireesh and his wife, Shobha, along with their two sons, Aaron (14) and Asher (10), to participate in a Second group before we headed out for the day. I was on a team with 10-year old Asher. One day, when it came time for “Live and Tell,” Asher spoke up confidently announcing, “I am going to tell my friend about Jesus. I will use my mom’s phone and call him tonight.”
“The next morning, 10 year-old Asher led our I am Second group. After everyone finished sharing how they had lived out the commitments made the previous day, I asked Asher if he had called his friend. He boldy answered, “Yes! I called my friend and told him about Jesus.” Afterwards, the friend’s father got on the phone and thanked Asher for telling his son about Jesus – and asked for directions to their church. That Sunday, Asher’s friend came to church with his father and mother. All three prayed to receive Jesus that day! The father told Pastor Gireesh that he had long wanted to come to a church, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Asher was obedient and kept his commitment. God was gracious and gave Pastor Gireesh a new family of believers to shepherd!
“Pastor Gireesh gushed about the spiritual growth of his own family as well, during the e3 expeditions and I am Second group meetings. He quoted Joshua 24:15 several times, ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
“May we all be as faithful and bold as young Asher!”
Report from Daniel, a youth pastor in Little Elm, Texas.
When I was first asked to take over the student ministry in my church, our Senior Pastor told me “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.” I didn’t completely understand how true that statement was until a couple of weeks ago.
In December 2011 we launched our first I am Second youth group. It didn’t take long for our students to get behind the groups. A few weeks after our first group launched, six students told me they wanted to take I am Second into their public schools. So in early 2012 we launched I am Second in our local Junior High and High School. Soon 35 new students had joined those school groups.
We now have 8 groups. Each group caters to different types of people. About 30 kids have joined our youth group because of groups our students are doing outside the church.
One group amazes me because they consistently have over 25 kids attending each week. This group has inspired the parents to get involved. Each week 4-6 of the parents team up to host the group and provide dinner.
The whole church is getting behind these youth groups. For example, the parents are wearing I am Second bracelets and t-shirts. Their impact is spreading, too, for now we are finalizing a strategy to launch I am Second groups for the men’s and women’s ministries. Several new families have come to our church because their kids started coming to one of the Second groups.
After we train more leaders, we plan to expand the groups in the schools. The schools have given us permission to put up banners during lunch to get more exposure for the Second groups. So we’ll have an official launch soon when these new leaders are ready.
There is nothing more powerful than young people passionately telling others about what Jesus has done in their lives. Our Pastor was right. “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.”
OK, admit it. As you read the title to this post, you were wondering if this is an “R” rated post? Right?
Well, it does have an “R” rating… but “R” in this case stands for “Redemption.”
Jake, a high school student from Texas, spent his Spring Break on an I am Second Expedition to Lima, Peru. Half a world away, Jake teamed up with local church members in a middle class neighborhood in Lima to talk to people about Him who is First.
A glance down the street hinted at fear–there were iron bars covering just about every door and window in sight. Like her neighbors, Hester relied on those bars to separate her and her casita (little home) from those she feared.
But Jake was not deterred. His translator told Hester that Jake had come from the U.S. to share some good news. That led to chit chat, which developed into a spiritual conversation. As she showed interest, that progressed to an explanation, using the EvangeCube, of how to put Jesus first in her life. Hester decided to receive Jesus as her Savior.
Along with his translator and local church members, Jake returned to Hester’s casita to help her learn how to follow Jesus. Jake and his team used an I am Second group to do this. It was exciting to see Hester discuss the Bible the church members, breaking a pattern of isolation that had separated her from the local church.
Equipped with his pre-trip training and preparation, Jake overcame language, culture, age, gender, socio-economic, and even iron barriers. Perhaps one of the few stories about “Spring Break, women and bars” that has a happy and healthy ending.
Sign up here. You’ll get an email every day for 22 days. It will have one of the I am Second films to watch. As you watch it, think about who you know that needs the encouragement in that film. Then forward it to them.
There’s also a daily challenge to take a Jesus step that is prompted by the film.
The  Day Challenge is patient with you, too. If you don’t have time to open the email… it waits. We all have those days when we’re pressed for time, so it gives you a break. If you haven’t gotten to it in 3 days, it sends you a reminder. It waits until you restart it by viewing a film.
People say that it takes 3 weeks to develop a new habit. Take the Challenge. Develop a new habit of thinking about how to bless someone else each day.
Looking for something to get your church all on the same page? Lead a youth group? Host a small group? Have a Second group? Challenge everyone to take the Challenge with you. It’s more fun to do it with friends.
Here’s what others are saying:
“I loved the challenges. I reconciled with a dear old friend that we were not on speaking terms for the past 7 years. It lightened my heart and had a very positive outcome.”
“It brought our middle school and high school youth groups together to focus on Him by focusing on others…. and making self be Second! My husband and I have done youth ministry for 20 years and found this top notch and top quality as well as inspiring!”
“Challenges led me to be active in my faith.”
“The films get you out of your comfort zone and remind me that beyond the smile there might be a hurting person.”
Chaplain Albert started an I am Second group in one of the pods (dorm rooms) at the Dawson State Jail in downtown Dallas, Texas. We were privileged and inspired to join them as he presented certificates to more than 25 brothers in Christ who had participated in 10 group sessions. In his humble orange jumper, one young inmate revealed, “Finally, I have something that my kids can be proud of their Dad for.” Tears welled in his eyes and his voice cracked with emotion. Hard time. Hard life. Hardened hearts penetrated by the grace of God.
Prison missionaries? Yes! Each is challenged to start their own I am Second groups as they are moved to other pods, and some to other prisons around Texas. The Spirit of the Lord will not be kept outside walls made by men. Pray for God to “grow them in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
Are you tired of being a spectator? Do you want to get in the spiritual game as a player? As we travel on I am Second Expeditions around the world, we see spectators turn into players as they help start I am Second groups.
Recently, we asked leaders from an I am Second Expedition to Colombia how effective the Yo Soy Segundo (I am Second) discipleship groups were in that country. Here is some inspiring feedback:
“Yo Soy Segundo is real, practical, and helps develop the spiritual the life not only of the new believer, but also the people from the church.”
– Bernardo Gonzalez
“The highlight of this expedition was leaving the evening meeting as four groups of Colombians were avidly pouring over a story from the Bible and discussing the six questions from the Yo Soy Segundo model. There were 15 new believers in those groups!”
– Mike Tremble
“The goal was always to connect those we met with to their local church. We only go where we are invited and where they want us to help. It was always good to leave knowing of that connection.”
– Bill Albert
“Yo Soy Segundo is the bomb! It turns the spectator into a participant! They are equipped with the necessary tools to fend for themselves. Their self-worth is nurtured, giving them the confidence they need to overcome the fiery darts that the enemy will soon be throwing at them, trying to discourage them when their pastor or leader isn’t around. The sooner they learn to feed themselves [the Bible], the sooner they’ll too be feeding others as well!”
– Edwin Varga (translator coordinator from Cali, Colombia.)
Go Global! Learn more about I am Second Expeditions and how God can use you to help start I am Second groups in other countries. Get in the game. Be a player.
My I am Second journey began at a NASCAR event. A big billboard truck with a T.V. screen was playing I am second films. Amidst the high-octane excitement they caught my attention and made my heart race for the Lord. I picked up some of the literature there and passed it along to my friends. Then, this past summer our church’s youth group went to camp where they too were introduced to I am Second. God was up to something.
Unexpectedly, I was laid off from my work as a millwork superintendent. I was praying that God would show me the green light to do what was next for me. That’s when I found the online group leader training for I am Second groups on the website and signed up. We had a great teacher and group of people in our sessions. The highlight for me was the “Live and Tell” at the end of each session. I was so supercharged when we went through the “My village” session that I made a list of 50 people that need Jesus. Actually, I talked to 66 people that week. If I was working, I’d never have had the time. Go God Go!
Earlier this year we started an I am Second group that kicked into overdrive and split into two groups by the third week. We invited the leaders of a teen and young adult bible study to our group and they caught on to the movement immediately. Now they lead a small army of young adults, as many as 45 people from high school age to their early 20’s, at a local fish camp. They’re identifying leaders to branch off and lay the track for more small groups. Go God Go!
God took the challenge of my job layoff and turned it into fuel for His race to the kingdom of Christ.
– Chris P.
Get Connected. I am Second small groups are designed to connect people with one another and with God through an authentic, action based discussion group. In an I am Second group you’ll be encouraged to discover your purpose in life through Jesus.
Everyone at our leaders’ conference sat in stunned silence as the young college student shared these words. Nancy was coming regularly to a Second group at the Univ. of North Texas. She told us how she studied the Bible with the others in the group, and even made commitments about how she was going to do what it said. But she freely admitted that she still was wrestling with whether to put her faith in Christ, particularly because of some of her lifestyle decisions.
So when asked why she was involved in the group, even though she was not sure she believed what was being discussed, Nancy said, “Why wouldn’t I want to go where I feel loved? I’m not against Christ, I’m just not sure about Him.”
How many other people around us are like that? Just waiting for someone to show enough interest to engage them in the conversation?