WHY NOT? (by Jon Shuler)

There were 40 people in the classroom for the fifth and final session. There had been 40 in the room for the first one. It had never happened in my years as a leader before, the numbers never declined, and I took it as a good sign. But I was wrong.

 I was trying, again, to impart to a group of adult church goers that the number one responsibility of a Christian, who has grown up, is to be a disciple-maker. I had taught only the words of Jesus. Nothing else. No other books than the Holy Scriptures. No videos. No other program than the clear words of Jesus.

Three months later I returned to the parish, and found that 5 of the 40 had actually done “something” with the teaching. One was reading daily only from one of the four gospels – for the first time. A chapter a day. He was trying to learn to “abide in my word,” as Jesus said a true disciple would. Another was meditating on a small portion of the gospel each day. Two others had begun to disciple another person since the class. One had reoriented the emphasis of his weekly bible study group to being more focused on discipling than study. Five out of forty beginning to make a change. Five out of forty. Only 12 &1/2 %.

For those five my heart was glad.

The amazing thing was, all 40 said: “It was a great class.” Many of them said: “I really learned something.”

But what I found was 35 Christians who are – apparently – used to learning things, but doing nothing with the learning. Changing nothing. Hearing Jesus words, but NOT taking them as from the Lord to be obeyed. And I ask myself: “Why not?”

Since 1988 I have been trying to learn how to be a disciple-making disciple, and a disciple-making leader. I have grown much through these 30 years. I am grateful to God for all that he has shown me. But I find very few other ordained leaders who are engaged in the same quest. And I ask myself: Why not?”

I wonder if you who are reading this have ever asked this question? How is it that the church of Jesus Christ could be filled with people and leaders who have steadfastly ignored the Final Command, yet continue to think of themselves as good Christian people?

Today some you who are reading could make a decision to change how you use your time in obedience to the Lord, and do so. You could resolve to find someone to help you become a disciple-making disciple. But if you read this and do not, I ask you: “Why not?”

— Revd. Jon Shuler
NAMS Servant General

WHY NOT? (by Jon Shuler)

NAMS Blog – Sold out for Jesus (by Manik Corea)

Recently, when teaching in our NAMS Latin America meetings, I shared a cogent definition of discipleship by the late Dallas Willard:

“A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do.” [1]

The late, great Christian singer Keith Green likewise gave a simple and memorable description of a genuine Christian: ‘One who is bananas for Jesus’.

Both definitions were true to Jesus’ words (Luke 6:46, 14:25-33, Matthew 28:20).

The highest place in our lives must belong to Jesus. This means He gets the first and final call over what we do with our money, time, possession and energies and over every life critical issue, opportunity, relationship and circumstance that is ours.

He demands that all our dreams and ambitions be laid at His feet in total surrender. The call to discipleship is not, and has never been, a popular message. Sinners after all prefer their way to God’s, and sin is essentially civil war against the rule and reign of God over us.

What is truly heart-breaking, though, is how very few of us who call ourselves Christians are likewise willing to accede full control to Jesus in the same way. We want Him to save us from hell in the next world, but to pander and be subservient to our wants and desires in this. If you’re like me, we easily hold back the more precious parts of our lives from Him.

But we cannot have it both ways. Jesus didn’t come so the ‘faithful’ could simply be comfortable and fed.

There are so very many people – some live across your street, others across the oceans – that remain ignorant, apathetic or simply have no access to the message of God’s love and salvation in Christ Jesus.[ii]

John Wesley famously said, ‘the world is my parish.’ Today, for most faithful Christians, the parish has become their world.

Despite ostentatious talk about missions, many evangelical churches spend more money, time and effort on their own buildings, staff, programs and services to meet the needs of their members or attendees than they do on reaching the unreached, making disciples or helping to plant new mission-centered churches. Global mission is hardly a concern for the average Christian in most parts of the globe.

This is borne out by damning statistics like the following:

A meager 0.1% of the estimated US$53 trillion that Christians the world over will earn this year will be given towards Christian mission.[iii]

Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, receive 53% of the world’s annual income but spend 98% of it on themselves.[iv]

It is patently clear to us in NAMS that God has called us to play our part in awakening His sleeping Church to obedience to Jesus’ final command to make disciples of all nations.

To do that, we must ourselves be sold out to Jesus. There can be no compromise.

My prayer and passionate hope as Global Executive of NAMS is that every NAMS Companion will be a bona-fide all-out, disciple-making, Spirit-filled, Jesus-pleasing Word-abiding, rabid seeker of the lost, like our Master. And that we would find and raise others to be the same.

It is enough, as Jesus said, for the disciple to become like his master. (Matthew 10:25).

Will you pray, support and join us in this glorious, all-or-nothing endeavor?


[1] Dallas Willard, ‘Rethinking Evangelism’, Cutting Edge Magazine, Vol 5, No. 1 (Winter 2001)

[ii] Globally, it is estimated that a staggering 80% of all non-Christians (i.e. majority of which are Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims) in our world do not personally know another Christian. http://www.gordonconwell.edu/resources/documents/1IBMR2015.pdf – see section on ‘Personal Contact’ for how this figure was derived.

[iii] https://factsandtrends.net/2016/12/12/10-key-trends-in-global-christianity-for-2017/ based on http://www.gordonconwell.edu/ockenga/research/documents/StatusofGlobalChristianity2017.pdf

[iv] David Barret and Todd Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30- AD 2200, (William Carey Library:Pasadena, 2001), 656.





NAMS Blog – Sold out for Jesus (by Manik Corea)

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

While in college I was discipled by Pat, a director in our campus ministry. Typically we would meet weekly in the student center for coffee and talk. But for at least half of time, we would do other things together: shopping or I would help him paint his house or I would go on ministry trips with him. In one instance he took me with him while he did street evangelism. He put on me the spot by asking me to share my testimony with a group he was talking to!

In the early days of our discipling relationship, I wondered what was really going on. Why wasn’t Pat taking more time to teach me things? I wanted to go deep and learn, not just hang out!

Then Pat showed me a story from the life of Jesus, from Mark 3:13-19 (ESV):
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

He honed in on verse 14a, “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him.” Pat made clear that Jesus wanted the disciples to do and share in Kingdom ministry, but first and foremost, he called them just to be with him. The reason Jesus did this was that he wanted the 12 to watch his life closely and have front row seats as he did Kingdom ministry, so that they too could do the same.

Last week I wrote about the disciple-making principle that ‘more is caught than taught’. Before that principle can be effected however, one has to learn the importance of simply ‘being with’ another who disciples him/her. This has been called the ‘life on life’ principle.

This is where one person intentionally watches and learns from another through the investment and sharing of time and space. The time spent with those we disciple or are being discipled by, creates the space for more to be caught than taught.

While it can be helpful to use disciple making tools and studies (I use them and so did Pat), disciple-makers must remember that the heart of disciple-making is life on life transfer of biblical truths by teaching, practice, modelling and enabling. It requires that I live as a disciple of Jesus and that I both model and multiply that life into the man or woman I am discipling.

To be an effective and fruitful disciple-maker, I have to make space to let people into my life: my home, my errands, my driving, my family, etc. That’s what Jesus did with the 12. That’s what he calls us to do with those we are discipling.


Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

When ‘Being With’ Leads to ‘Becoming Like’. (by Peter Matthews)

Urgent call for support

S & N Bangkok

Dear NAMS supporters and friends,

A couple of days ago, we received news about an urgent situation facing a brother who was discipled at our NAMS Base Community in Bangkok called All Nations. S* is a Muslim-background believer from a South-Asia country who was a refugee first in Bangkok. He was subsequently accepted into the US where he is today as a refugee.

This brother has already suffered much for his faith in Christ, not least as he waits for his family to join him. His wife and 3 year old daughter remain in their country of origin awaiting relocation to the States and are in process. In the meantime, they have been facing threats and have been trying to lay low.

However, things came to a head three days ago when a group of gunmen fired upon the house where N was staying. Their daughter who was sleeping at the time, was unhurt, but N was hit by two bullets in the stomach.

We thank God that, though she lost a lot of blood, the wounds did not impact her vital organs and doctors manage to remove the bullets. She is recovering but expected to be in the hospital for some time.

Please will you pray for her recovery, their on-going protection and speedy expediting to the States and safety?

S needs help to fund her treatment and bills from the hospital as well as on-going protection (they will have to move house again) while they await for news from the US embassy.

We are therefore going to establish for the short-term, a ‘N Support Fund’ at NAMS. We estimate we will need $3,000-4,000 to cover medical bills and to support them through these difficult times.

If you would like to contribute to this, you can send a check (USA only) to NAMS at our address on our NAMS web-page (http://www.namsnetwork.com/be-involved.html) or by clicking the link below which will take you to our web-site where you can make payments by card via the internet (from anywhere in the world). Please indicate in both instances (in the comments field, if using the online donation form) that this is for the ‘N Support Fund.’  Even a little will help.



Thank you.
Manik Corea
NAMS Global Executive


*S and N are pseudonyms.

Urgent call for support

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

Little things can make for big lessons. When I was a teenager, I went riding one day with Troy in his 1968 Barracuda. I noticed a strange looking miniature wallet of sorts by his gear shift. Curious, I held it up and asked Troy, “What is this?” He told me it was his verse pack, which he explained helped him memorize and review Bible verses.

“Are you serious man?” I said. “You actually memorize Bible verses?”  “Yep,” he said. Then he explained to me why a disciple ought to memorize scripture. The next day I went to our local Christian bookstore, bought a verse pack and started memorizing Psalm 15.

That story is a picture of one of the central truths of fruitful disciple making: More is caught than is taught.

That day I learned about memorizing scripture and I started doing it. Why? Not because I went to a class, nor read a book. Not was it because it was the next session of my 12 week discipleship program. I did it because the man who was discipling me did it.

I was with him. I observed him. I imitated him. The result? A practice I started at 18 that still serves me at 53.
The heart of disciple-making is a relationship between a discipler and a disciple. Why? The main way a disciple is trained is through imitation. I often tell people that the Apostle Paul’s disciple-making program is summarized in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” That’s the heart of disciple making.

When I was a boy in the late 1960s, there was a popular T.V. commercial that involved a dad and his toddler son. Everything dad did, the son immediately imitated. If dad was painting, son painted. If dad was driving, son pretended to drive. After each instance the narrator repeated the phrase, “Like father, like son.” Finally the dad and son sit down at a tree and dad pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lights one, starts smoking and then sets the pack on the ground between he and the boy. The boy sees the cigarettes and picks them up. As he is doing so the narrator says, “Like father like son, think about it.”

The principle applies to good actions and to bad actions. But no matter what the setting, more is caught than is taught.


Revd Canon Peter Matthews is a NAMS Companion, and Rector of St Patrick’s Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

More is caught than taught (by Peter Matthews)

God’s Results in 2018?

I am persuaded that all those who are used by God to accomplish His will pay attention to the outcome of their effort. They are focused on results. What did God ask me to do?What has come to pass because of my efforts? What is different because of last year’s ministry? Is anything improved because of my contribution? Did the outcome I worked for get achieved or not? Is the community I serve built up by my contribution? Are there any results evident because of my stewardship? Am I focused on the right things?

For those, like me, raised up in the old faithful church, a measure of our faithfulness to Jesus Christ is to be found in the results of our effort to spread the kingdom of God. Indeed the catechism of my youth taught me that I was to “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.” To not do so was to fail in my Christian duty. But what if I worked, prayed, and gave last year, but there was no tangible evidence that the kingdom was spread? What if there were no real results?

You might say to me: “How can we know?” I would have to admit that many of the advances of the kingdom are hidden from our eyes. Only God sees them all. But God uses human beings to accomplish His will. In general, there is no human effort we ever engage in that cannot be measured. If we decide to lose weight this year, we will weigh ourselves regularly, and at the end of the year we will know if our resolve produced results. Results will mean we lost weight. If we set out to learn a new language, the year end will reveal our progress. We have learned to speak it, at least a little. What then are we to look for when we are thinking about the results that advance the kingdom? What are the results God is looking for?

For many years I was complicit in a great deal of organized church activity that did not even ask this question, but no longer. The Lord of the Church interrupted the path of my ministry career, in 1988, by challenging me to the primacy of making disciples. He showed me that there was one absolutely clear evidence of kingdom advance: you will see men and women you have poured your life into, those you have helped become faithful followers of Jesus, pouring their lives into others. You will see them reproducing new faithful followers of Jesus. This is the result that you are praying to see. These are the results that alone give you joy. This is what you are working for. This is the will of God for you.

In the Final Command of the Risen Lord the outcome is declared to be “disciples of all nations.” This is measurable. No vast amount of money in a church budget, no striking new buildings, no attractive new program, no fine preaching, no wonderful youth program, no great worship, no big conference, no wonderful music team, nothing can substitute for what God wants. The only result that matters is another disciple. Are you getting this result from your efforts? Is this not the result God wants?

As we begin this New Year, can we all pray to make this our desire. To want the results that God wants?

— Jon Shuler
NAMS Servant General

God’s Results in 2018?

What on Earth are You Doing? (By Manik Corea)

When Jesus gave his Final Command (Matthew 28:19-20) on a mountain top to eleven tired, partly-doubting deer-in-the-light disciples who were probably pinching themselves at His sight, Jesus enunciated their on-going work as that of ‘making disciples of all nations.’ This was to encompass all peoples and all times and so necessitated becoming the on-going task and focus of the Church called to walk on in the footsteps of those first Apostles.

The book of Acts, the sequel to the Gospel narratives, shows that the graduating class of disciples took Jesus’ final command seriously. They made the being and making of disciples the core concern, activity and thrust of their communal church life. Sure, they needed persecution to get them going on to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (Acts 8:1), but once those disciples of the original few got going, the Church became intentionally missionary for centuries. So much so that all twelve Apostles also left Jerusalem – church tradition has it that they all died outside of Israel.

How far have we come from those halcyon days when the world was turned upside down by missionary disciples of Jesus who shared the Gospel everywhere they went?

Tragically, in many places in the world, the witness of the church is placid, confused, compromised or dead. Cultural Christianity is the lethal order of the day. Sunday Christians whose behavior and desires on a Tuesday afternoon are no different from their un-believing colleagues at the office, or who don’t know and don’t care about their neighbors.

As Francis Chan laments, “(S)omehow many have come to believe that a person can be a “Christian” without being like Christ. A “follower” who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense?”

Agreeing, the late Dallas Willard wrote: “The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner  of human existence.”

Therefore, in NAMS, a crucial question we ask of people who want to join us is: ‘Are you in a Great Commission Cell?’ (i.e. are you already making disciples or earnestly desiring to do so?). If so, we would love to work with you.

For this, we are certain of, is THE primary business of the Church: to join God in His mission to transform people, their families and communities, one disciple made at a time.

Who will follow you as you follow Christ this year?

What on Earth are You Doing? (By Manik Corea)