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)

Come and Join Us In 2018? (By Revd Jon Shuler, NAMS Servant General)

Why wouldn’t you want to join the community of NAMS in 2018? Seriously?

I find myself asking this question after experiencing the most wonderful retreat earlier
this month with eight of our global society who live in North America. We met in the
beauty of holiness at the Christian Retreat Center known as The Close, nestled in the
midst of the Daniel Boone National Forest in the state of Kentucky. Of all that we did,
just being together again as friends and fellow Companions of Jesus was central. We
laughed and sang, we worshipped and wept for joy, we ate and drank, we prayed
together and in silence, we brainstormed and planned for the New Year, but most of all we listened for the “still small voice” of the Lord together. And then we all headed
back to the “place of our assignment” to serve the Lord and his church.

The relational connection that comes to us in this community of gospel servants is a gift from God. So too is the encouragement and support we find as men and women who are obeying the command of the Lord Jesus to “make disciples of all nations.” Also a gift from God is the accountability that it places in our lives, to the Lord and his Word, and to the covenanted life we have promised to pursue together.

I for one would not know how to carry on without this band of brothers and sisters in
Christ that he has given me in the global family of NAMS. We are serving on every
continent. We are a hidden “clan” within the wider church of Jesus, bound together to
“work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” in the particular calling of new church planting. It is a wonderful gift to belong to such a religious order.

Would it possibly be true that you who are reading this may be called to join us in some concrete way in 2018? Would you pray about this and seek the Lord for his will in the matter?

How can you join us? There are many ways, but here are five, in ascending order of

1) Join us as regular contributing NAMS Partner. Even a starting gift of $25 per
month will help the gospel go to the nations. Go to ‘’ to begin doing so.

2) Become a dedicated praying NAMS Intercessor. Set you phone to remind you
to pray for us at 10:02 am each day. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to raise up laborers to go into the harvest, as Jesus commanded in Luke 10:2.
Contact Mary Garrison at ‘’, our NAMS Global Prayer/Intercessor Co-ordinator, to become a prayer partner with us

3) Become a NAMS Centurion. Be one of the men and women who are taking up
the call to help spread the gospel right where you live, in covenanted partnership with
NAMS. Sign up to be a NAMS Centurion. Go to ‘’.

4) Volunteer to be a NAMS Global Apprentice. Give a year or two to the Lord to
serve in the mission field of his choosing for you. In North America, Nepal, or Norway. Wherever he needs you. Go to ‘’ for more information.

5) Decide to become a NAMS Companion. Begin the journey of discovery that
leads to a life under rule in our global missionary society. Write to us today at

Will you join us this coming year?

— Jon Shuler

Servant General (NAMS)

Come and Join Us In 2018? (By Revd Jon Shuler, NAMS Servant General)

A Taste of Heaven! NAMS in North and Latin America (By Rev. Manik Corea, NAMS GE).

One of the privileges of my role as Global Executive of NAMS is to visit NAMS Companions around the world. I get to see and hear first hand what God is doing through them; to be part of retreats and meetings with Companions, and to lead and share at NAMS training events (often with other Companions) as we seek to teach and envision our friends, partners and other Christians in the places we have work in, to join in the mission of Jesus to redeem a lost world.

In the last three weeks, I have been first to USA and then to Chile, two of our most representative Mission Regions. It was a joy to see and hear what God is doing in both these continents.

The NAMS USA gathering was at a picturesque Christian centre called The Close near Lexington, Kentucky. From Thursday 30 November to Saturday 2 December, 10 of us (pictured below left), including NAMS Servant General Jon Shuler, gathered for retreat. Companions of NAMS commit to take personal days of retreat every quarter year as part of our Rule of Life, and once a year together as part of our region.

We shared meals, Scriptures and stories, prayed Morning and Evening Prayer together in the ‘Chapel of the Broken Vessel’, had quiet times of reflection, as well as discussed, prayed and planned together for the work God is giving us to pursue in North America.

We all felt encouraged and strengthened afresh to press on with the vision to make disciple-making disciples, raise up disciple-making leaders and plant disciple-making communities. We agreed on new ways to support each other and to become more interconnected and intentional in our work of reaching the lost in the mission field that is North America today.

Soon after, I journeyed to Temuco, Chile, where our NAMS base community there (Comunidad Cristiana ALP) is located.

There, the 30 or so people who make up the community, were busy preparing for the NAMS Latin America meetings from Thursday 7 Dec – Sunday 10 December. We soon swelled up to more than 50 in number, including people from 7 nations, including 9 Cuban pastors and leaders. The presence of the Cubans was a miraculous answer to prayer as it was unheard of in Chile to have such a large group of Cubans be given permission to come.

We met at the SIM Koyamentu Retreat center, in a very scenic location in the countryside. In the course of the few days together, we heard amazing testimonies of God’s work across the Latin continent, prayed for each other, fellowshipped over delicious food and sang lustily in Spanish (which NAMS Regional Team Leader Andres says is the ‘language of heaven.’).

I spoke on the NAMS story and aspects of our church-planting work, including the process of making multiplying disciples and how we pioneer new communities of faith. NAMS Companion Clay Hamrick, who lives in Florida, USA, was ‘skyped-in’ for a session of how to share the Gospel with your neighbors, which was very well received.


At the end of the meetings, three new NAMS base communities were proposed, including one in Cuba. Many of the participants said they finally understood the vision and work of NAMS, while a working partnership between NAMS in Chile and Campus Crusade Chile to reach university students was agreed upon.

One of the highlights of the Latin America meetings was the marriage proposal of NAMS Companion Felipe Casanueva to his girlfriend Cami after one of the afternoon talks, in front of everyone. Thankfully Cami said ‘yes’! We were also serenaded in the evening by music from Kyrios, probably the premier Christian band in Chile.

Returning across the globe to my family in Thailand chalked up more hours in the air than I had ever spent consecutively on a plane. I write this jet-lagged and tired from the journey but I thank God for the wonderful joy it was to see the vision God gave to us in NAMS coming to fruition in the Americas. Thank you for praying and supporting us to do this. To God be the glory!


A Taste of Heaven! NAMS in North and Latin America (By Rev. Manik Corea, NAMS GE).

The Holy Spirit and Missions: God’s Work or Ours?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”
(Acts 1: 8 NIV)

Several years ago, I assisted author and missionary Paul Hoff to translate some writings about on the most significant movements in church history. In researching those movements, I discovered the nature of genuine visitations of the Holy Spirit that have led to true awakenings or revivals. I found that the following characteristics are always present in such movements, and that none of them can be considered in isolation from the others:

Prayer – A church in which the Spirit of God is active always awakens to genuine prayer. It begins to feel the need for constant intimacy with God, even as it strives to align itself with the plans and purposes of its Lord. Accordingly, such a church intercedes passionately for a world that is lost and for new workers to join them in the cause. Prayer, both individual and collective, leads to a permanent habit of worship and praise, with clear results and changes in their lives.

The Word of God – The Holy Spirit, whenever He visits His church – the people of God, with power, will kindle a fire in their hearts, leading them to love the Word of God more – to meditate on it, to submit to it and to continually delve into the Scriptures for more. The Word of God is not ambiguous, and God’s people will learn to look to it for daily guidance, so that they can join the work that God Himself is already accomplishing in their midst and in the world at large.

Social action – A church that is moved by the Holy Spirit will not be complacent about the prevailing social conditions around it. It will empathize and respond to human needs out of mercy and love. Such an action will be an expression of God’s love within and through the church itself. It will involve seeking to transform society for good and to work for the justice that God wants to see established among all people.

Evangelism – When the Spirit of God visits a human community, He sees and is moved by the lost. He seeks the hearts of those who genuinely seek Him. Consequently, God’s children will be motivated by Him to share the good news of His love to those who would be lost forever without the Gospel. The believer’s passion for sharing the Good News dynamically comes alive. Everyone who comes to into their new identity as heirs of the love and mercy of our Father in Heaven is called to invite others in.

Mission – As soon as the Holy Spirit begins to move within a community, its impact will not be contained within the confines of the church or even its own community. It will start to transcend all and any barrier – geographic, social, cultural and economic. The church cannot help but send her members out to fulfill the Final Command (Matthew 28:19-20), as instructed by Jesus. They do this because they know that the Spirit Himself prays and intercedes through them, that the Presence of the Son compels them every day and to the ends of the earth, and that their obedience is pleasing to God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth.

In the history of the Christian Church, every time a group of God’s children, somewhere in the world, has received a special visitation of the Holy Spirit, the effect has been strong and clear, bringing change within the church and beyond, starting with growth in the church itself.

A case in point is the Lun Bawang people of East Malaysia. They were originally head-hunters in Bornea. When such activity was banned under James Brook and British rule in the 19th Century, the Lun Bawang turn to alcohol en-mass. It was said that people of all ages in their villages were under the influence of drink at least 100 days in a year. The colonial authorities refused missionaries permission to work with them, hoping that the tribe would die out. But eventually, through missionaries from Australia, the Gospel was shared and social transformation took place through prayer and perseverance.

Today, the Lun Bawang peoples are key pillars in the Bornea Evangelical Church, the largest Protestant Church in Malaysia. Many of them are contributing to society through influential positions in business, government and the arts. The Holy Spirit brought once more, total social transformation. [1]

We can say without reservation that the Holy Spirit brought about these changes, and but also that the saints of God were used as the mediating instruments of God’s grace.

— By Revd Andres Casanueva,
Regional Team Leader NAMS Latin America



[1] Shirley Lees, Drunk Before Dawn (Sevenoaks, Kent: OMF, 1979).


The Holy Spirit and Missions: God’s Work or Ours?

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 2, by Revd. Gabriel Smith

Last week, I began to share about ‘Life at the Seams’. The seam is a line along which two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or article of clothing. It can also be a metaphor for the spaces in our life whe0re plans, dreams, ideas and reality meet or are brought together, with either new forms emerging or the potential for tear and damage to occur.

Before I left South Africa with my family as a missionary for nearly 6 years, I had coffee at my favourite coffee place in Stellenbosch. There a significant conversation took place with my Bishop, Rt Revd Josel Obetia from Uganda. Last week, I shared the first two of seven important words that he shared with me. Today, I share the rest with you.

The numbered lines are what he said, with my italicized sentences as commentary.

  1. Some will be called to pastoral ministry.

The goal of new, visionary Kingdom work is to build the church. Therefore, some will be called out of communities that are at the edges of the Kingdom where new forms are being explored and innovated, and into settled pastoral ministry. We must support and encourage the move from the edge back to the center for those called to this work. At the same time there are some called to remain in the bridging places, innovating new pathways that do not yet fit into the existing structures and teaching and equipping people to cross back over the bridge spanning what will be to what is. In the body we must see, provide space for and encourage both those called to casting vision for new things and those called to shepherd God’s people where they are. Pioneering leaders must make space for settled leadership to emerge.

  1. Our place is to be the cutting edge.

While some are called to settled work, I am part of a community of pioneering Companions made to live and work on the cutting edge of the Kingdom where the future of the church is being forged in places that are often misunderstood and will not necessarily gain the traction we hope for in our lifetime. But we must take heart, because we are in good company of the many saints who have lived in these spaces in the centuries before us.

  1. Most of the work is done on your knees.

We must be leaders who understand that our deep connection to Christ through prayer is our primary and most productive task. The natural gifts of leadership often come with a bent and temptation to busyness. We must resist these carnal desires to do before we become.

We must first be leaders who find our identity and significance in Christ alone so that we enter our work envisioned and empowered by the only one who truly knows the future. We must also enter each day with the solemn awareness that we are hunted by evil. There are real forces of spiritual darkness who plan our demise and work intelligently and persistently to destroy us. Our power to resist such evil originates in the depth and constancy of our prayer life.

  1. As long as people live the Gospel.

The good news of the Gospel, the true story of the world is the first and the last thing. All of our ministry and our lives must be focused on remembering, living out and sharing the Gospel in thought, word and deed. We are free to innovate new forms and methodologies for ministry but we are never, ever to break the word of God. Jesus wants Gospel-centred disciples made.

  1. The Church is God’s instrument to reach a dying world.

As we go about the cutting edge, visionary, apostolic work we are made for and called to, we must never forget that the Church is the Bride of Christ. The Church is God’s beloved and therefore we must love her even as we co-labor with God to renew and reform her for His glory.

In this “seam season” I am grateful for a band of companions to journey with who love the Lord Jesus, one another and the Church.

Will you pray for us in NAMS – that we will remain faithful to this worthy but difficult calling? Thank you.

— Revd Gabriel Smith
NAMS Global Operations

Seeking New Life at the Seams – part 2, by Revd. Gabriel Smith