To Everything There Is A Season

Daniel’s Story

Five Faithful Years

After five years of faithfully serving our Justin, Texas site, Site Coordinator Daniel Andrews is stepping into a new season. Daniel will be moving away from the area, which means he will be stepping down from his post. God has done some incredible things in and through Daniel in his years with Feed the Need Missions. We would like to highlight and celebrate this!

What You Get When You Give

When Daniel first came to the Justin site, he was a guest. Within a year he became a co-leader at the site, and by 2018 he was the Site Coordinator. Daniel has a natural leadership, tremendous gifting, and carries it all with such humility. He has been an integral part of the team and has blessed so many.

As he reflects back on his time, Daniel shared with us how meaningful Feed the Need Missions has been to his own spiritual walk. When he came to the site, God drew him in and surrounded him with community and opportunity. Because he was afforded this, he grew in his walk. Daniel attributes his spiritual growth to his opportunity to serve. This is because he was held accountable and challenged.

The Search for New Leadership

As the Justin site transitions, we ask that you join us in prayer over the next leader to take the helm. The role of site coordinator is a key leadership. They recruit, equip, disciple, oversee, encourage, and develop as they serve. They are tasked with surrounding themselves with gifted, dedicated individuals that can fill the various leadership roles for a site. Reach out to our team if you’re interested in learning more about being a site coordinator. We’d love to connect and serve alongside you!

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been one year since our big family move to Texas. Moves can generate all sorts of emotions, from fears of the unknown to the joys of new adventures. Most importantly, thought, change can generate tremendous outcomes when you put Jesus at your center of your life. 

This move first became real as we initially crossed the state line of Texas in August of last year. The joy and cheers quickly turned into shock when we realized we were still almost 9 hours from our new home in Elgin. As we traveled southeast, dreams of outdoor adventures, family memories and new chances to share about Jesus echoed in the cab of our truck. Before we knew it, we landed at our new home. The house we bought had been vacant (from humans) for six months. It was then we realized just how different Texas was then the west coast. In true Texas form (and in case you did not know) everything IS bigger here… including the spiders! As we stood laughing and crying, we knew this season was going to bring some incredible memories!  

What do you do when you are faced with overwhelming change? We discovered this year that the recipe of guided change, mixed with blanketed trust, sprinkled with the confidence found in Jesus leads to life altering impact. Within two weeks of my arrival, I found myself on stage at the 2021 Gala, challenging people to risk themselves to serve others as Jesus served us. As it turns out, that message was not just for those in attendance that night but for my family as well. We have chosen to live it out all year… and what a year it has been!

This year, I asked the Lord to do far beyond what I could ever hope or imagine. As a result, we have seen wonderful answers to prayer! There has been a significant shift in staffing. Almost 40% of our team is new to the mission. This has allowed us to focus on relationships in new and deep ways. As we continued to pray for direct field ministry growth, we are praying for two new locations for 2023. This would not be possible without the staffing additions.

In May, my family and I took over as Site Coordinators for the Smithville location. I have personally prayed with 11 people as they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This, combined with the work that has been done at our other sites, has led to over 40 people responding to the hope found in Jesus this year!

I have watched my daughter Shayla turn 16 and son Asher turn 14. Shayla has gained continual confidence in sharing her faith. When asked, many of the guests that attend Smithville are more concerned about talking with and receiving prayer from my daughter than anyone else. My son could have chosen to do anything for his birthday but instead wanted to celebrate his day with those at the site. He would has said multiple times it feels like family. 

In just one year, I have prayed for new volunteers, prayed with guests who lost loved ones, cooked 1000’s of hotdogs and hamburgers, built new site trailers. I have laughed, cried, led worship and preached the gospel. And in all this time, I have been amazed by the change that only comes from the Lord.

Will you take the time to experience part of this change with me? Come on out and see what Jesus is doing, for it is perfect. I can promise this, that when you put your trust in His plan, your life will be changed for eternity! 
Meet Tamika! She is a long-time Smithville resident and regular guest at the Smithville site. Tamika is one of many guests who have attended weekly site gatherings since the beginning of the site’s launch. Tamika is a dedicated guest. She is usually the first one at the site, even before the volunteer team arrives. Not only is she the first to arrive, but she is also the last to leave. You will always find her with a smile on her face.

Tamika’s curiosity brought her out to the site. She was intrigued by what she saw, and it kept her coming back week after week. “I saw a lot of people, good people and I wanted to check it out,” Tamika shared. “I really liked the hospitality and the personalities [of the volunteers].”  Tamika found the weekly cookout to be inviting, hospitable and engaging.

Tamika, by her own admission, is quite shy; large crowds can be difficult at times. However, this does not hinder her getting out each week.  “There were a lot of good Bible verses I heard, and I love the music,” Tamika recalls. She has found herself growing in God’s word each week as she participates in Table Talk. “I’ve learned to be more open with people and it has helped work me out of my shyness.”

Like so many of us, Tamika has experienced her fair share of heartbreak and difficulties.  Though the trials of life have left bruises and scars, she chooses to hold tight to hope. Tamika has recently made the decision to follow Jesus and is trusting her future to him. Pray for Tamika as she begins her new faith journey!

Every week, beautiful, custom built trailers roll in to sites across Texas, fully equipped to feed communities physically and spiritually. These are the Feed the Need Missions trailers. But it hasn’t always been this way. We sat down with Jonah Beyer, president of Feed the Need Missions, to learn about the evolution of these incredible “mission mobiles.”

In the Beginning

Feed the Need Missions trailers are vital tools used to deliver supplies and support the work of feeding communities. But when Feed the Need Missions began operating, there was no trailer. “We started with volunteers showing up with personal grills. Chairs and tables were hauled over in pickup trucks and flatbed trailers,” Jonah shared. But over time, leadership realized this wasn’t a sustainable plan. “We needed a place to store supplies, so that they would last longer. We needed a mechanism for maintaining cleanliness. And carting things to the sites every week was very wearing on the volunteers.” So the team put their heads together to try to come up with a solution. And the idea for the trailer was born.

The Flatbed Prototype

Trailers seemed like a good place to start. “Volunteers brought small box trailers in the beginning,” Jonah said. “Unfortunately, people kept bumping they heads on them, because they are so short.” Realizing something more custom-made would be needed, they began to dream.

They started by assessing needs. The trailers would need to fit everything needed to run the site, including chairs, tables, a grill, serving and cooking utensils, cutting boards, tents, cleaning supplies paper towels, food, and drink coolers. “When we built the first trailer, it was just me and one volunteer. I was learning to weld at the time. So we grabbed a flatbed trailer and started to try to modify it.” They soon realized this was a daunting challenge to modify. “So, back to the drawing board, we decided to retrofit an enclosed box trailer.”

Unit A-1: The Modified Enclosed Box Trailer

“We had very specific criteria as we set out to modify the box trailer,” said Jonah. “We needed to keep it compact, so it was easy for a volunteer with a half ton pickup truck to tow. We wanted it to protect all of the supplies and maintain the durability of the supplies and equipment. It needed lighting because in the winter months it got dark early. It also needed a water supply because some sites didn’t have water. But it also had to be low maintenance.”

In 2015 Feed the Need Missions completed and launched Unit A-1. An enclosed 10′ box trailer, it was equipped with solar power, lighting, and a gravity-fed water system onboard. A spigot on the front of the trailer would provide opportunity to fill drink coolers and wash utensils and supplies.

A-2: The Next Generation

“Once we put A-1 in the field, and did training, we realized that it was just too compact,” Jonah laughs. “The team kindof teased me because I packed everything in like a Tetris game, but it wasn’t simple for most volunteers to figure out how I had done it. It wasn’t easy to restock, the layout wasn’t user friendly—we realized we were going to need a little more space pretty quickly.”

So, two years later, Unit A-2, which was larger, was launched and dispatched to the north Texas sites in 2017. This time things were laid out and additions were made. It was completed just in time to dispatch it for Disaster Relief during Hurricane Harvey and helped us serve countless meals to those affected by the massive storm in Texas.

A-3: A Fully Equipped Mission Mobile

“The latest model of our Feed the Need Missions trailers was deployed just last week,” Jonah shared. Additional modifications have been made, including a solution to put hot water on board, which is helpful for north Texas especially, for winter season, and for cleaning.

“But one of the best modifications to these new trailers is that we have equipped them with AV,” Jonah said. “Years ago, my Grandad visited a site. I was sharing with him about Table Talk, our discipleship plan and he suggested that it would be helpful and beneficial to find a way to put a television on the side of the trailers to keep consistent messaging at all the sites. That conversation took place in 2013, and it’s reality now. On this new unit, there is a tv mounted in the side with a door that flips up and it has sound. It’s very exciting.” This AV equips volunteers to do effective and consistent ministry, to reach our guests with a clear presentation of the Gospel message.

A-4: Built to Last

In production now is Unit A-4. While A-3 captures the functionality of what each site needs, the next generation of trailer will tackle durability. “We are looking at what hasn’t held up well over the years and what needs to be built to last longer,” shared Jonah. One of the ways they are doing that is by tapping in to creative partnerships.

“We contracted with a local company called Spiradrill to help us build out a more durable unit.” Spiradrill is a local company that is a big supporter of Feed the Need Missions. The partnership in the trailer building arose because sourcing challenges and product shortages made if difficult to find a cost effective way to costom build what was needed. “We purchase the basic box trailer, which is easy to acquire, and Spiradrill is doing the upgrades like cabinetry and equipment installation. The labor is donated, and in return they get a beneficial visibility to the community.

 

The Current Model

Our weekly site trailers are designed to support 3 sites within an area. They are a self contained unit equipped with a grill, tables/chairs, freshwater, dish-washing station, water heater, lighting, solar power, all equipment to run a site, and supplies it has everything needed to be self-sufficient and convenient. Each trailer should be able to support 3 sites for a month (12 events). It is branded to help promote and spread the word about the mission. Contact us for more information about Feed the Need Missions or partnerships. 

 

Trick-or-Treating: A Waning Tradition?

Fall is in the air. Costumes, spooky decor, and candy assortments are now fully enveloping aisles of the local grocery store in anticipation of Halloween. A huge money maker, Halloween-related sales accounted for more than $10 billion in 2021. Yet, while Halloween is known for kids dressing up in costumes and visiting homes of neighbors with expectation to receive, the tradition of trick-or-treating has declined in recent years. Fewer people are giving out candy, and fewer parents feel it’s safe to consume items doled out by strangers.

Safe Alternatives to Halloween Trick-or-Treating

While the nostalgia of trick-or-treating is appealing, many parents have sought alternatives for health and safety. Churches and communities now hold Trunk or Treats, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festival events. Some neighborhoods create block parties or organize trick-or-treating among themselves. Some families these days even opt to just stay in for movie and game nights. But what if we, as Christ followers, reframed the idea of Halloween to be an opportunity to give, rather than to receive?

Halloween Fun with Purpose

What if parents had an opportunity to embrace all the fun of costumes and togetherness, while teaching the biblical truth that it is “more blessed to give than to receive?” What if, rather than pouring into the billion dollar industry of candy and decorations, we invested in something more long-lasting and meaningful—putting our money and energy where our values are? This Halloween, Feed the Need Missions is giving families an opportunity to do just that.

Feed the Need Missions Site are Open This Halloween

Feed the Need Missions is a non-profit hunger relief organization that has been feeding communities physically and spiritually for over a decade. Every week, rain or shine, we roll into communities across Texas, prepare hot meals, and share the message of Jesus with anyone who shows up. There is no cost for the meal, and no requirement to receive. We meet tangible and urgent needs, we pray for those who are lonely, and we teach people about the values of the Bible. And it is absolutely transforming lives and communities.

 

This Halloween takes place on Monday October 31. We invite you to join us at one of our three Monday site locations gatherings. Dress up in costume and come ready to have safe, and meaningful fun together as you serve, give, and shine the light of Christ. We’ll even fill those treat bags with a little candy. Our friendly Bastrop South, La Grange and Stony Point volunteer team will greet you and help you find a job just right for your family. Visit our locations page for details about each site meeting. We hope to see you—it would be a real treat!

 

 

 

Have you ever been part of something that was larger than the sum of its parts?  That is Feed the Need Missions.  The parts are important, and they are obvious. Feed the Need Missions provides hamburgers and hot dogs to those in need—at sites each week and in disaster areas when the need arises.  Feed the Need Missions allows many people to be part of a great work. We feed hundreds of people free hamburgers and hot dogs each week.

Many people are generous and donate to provide the supplies for the meals. Some wonderful leaders keep the vision on track and undergird everything with prayer. Some people do the administrative duties to keep everything running smoothly.  Other people go and purchase the supplies each week. Site volunteers show up every week and wash, chop, cook, wrap and bag the food. The most fortunate volunteers get to take the orders for the food, talk and pray with those who come to be served.  All that is impressive, but there is so much more!

Feed the Need Missions addresses many kinds of poverty.  The obvious financial, physical poverty, but there is also emotional, spiritual, and community poverty. Those who come, volunteers and guests, face more than one of these. The obvious provision is the food for those who are in physical or financial poverty.

But the bigger provision is for the emotional, spiritual, and community poverty. Each week, we have people who come who have recently moved into the area. They need the community that is provided when they come and talk with us. Each week we pray with those who are facing emotional trials and they need the love that soothes their emotions. We display the love of Jesus in every interaction, and we pray with each person who comes. We even get to introduce some to Jesus for the first time and some come to accept Jesus through their interactions.

The sum of the parts is much greater than the individual parts.  The volunteers become family and pray together for each other. The volunteers who are packaging the burgers and hot dogs pray as they work for those guests who will receive the food.

Oh, the joy and blessing of praying with and for the guests. To answer their
“why” questions—Why do you do this?  Why would you come here?  Why would people give money for this?  Why are you here in the rain, heat, cold? To have the opportunity to pray for each family.  To see the changes in the community.  The friendships that develop among the volunteers and the guests is amazing! The excitement when someone who hasn’t come for a while comes back.  That recognition of their importance is often the only time they get validation of their importance. For some of our guests, Feed the Need Missions provides the only love and acceptance they get.

Even COVID couldn’t slow down God’s hand through Feed the Need Missions. The change from a serving line to a car line could have dampened the spirit and the connections, BUT God! How amazed we were to see prayer become so much deeper and more open. Who knew that the guests would open up so much more in the privacy of their cars! Would we have had the opportunity to pray with the man who accepted Jesus at Feed the Need Missions the week before he was shot 7 times at close range and lived to give God the glory?  To come back to thank the volunteers and ask them to pray with his wife?

Yes, the sum of the parts of Feed the Need Missions is amazing! Physical food for those in need, a place of service and an opportunity for generosity for the volunteers, a way to help in emergency situations. But there is no way to know the spiritual and emotional impact on every person involved this side of heaven. There is always room for one more, too. You can be part of all of this—just show up with a heart to serve and a smile to share.


About the Writer:
Teresa Carrol is a lead volunteer at the Stony Point site, where she has been serving for more than five years. 

At Feed the Need Missions, we often emphasize the importance of our mission, vision and values. But simply sharing the information with our team does not build personal buy-in of these things from team members. How do leaders cultivate this? Here are a few things that we find strengthen missional mindset and team atmosphere for us.

The Mobilizing Power of Relational Credibility

Recently, our LBA site was facing a challenge. Jack, our staffer and site coordinator, who also serves as a senior pastor at a local church, was going to be out for a week for vacation Bible school. This meant he would not be able to lead in his typical capacity. Looking to cover his area, he reached out to several volunteers at various site locations.

The response was pretty incredible —14 people stepped up, and most of them were from other site location teams. This overwhelming response was a surprise because, not only is it a very hot time of year, but also many of these people had already served at a site location earlier in the week. So what made them so eager to help Jack and the LBA team?

Jack isn’t just a person who reaches out to people only when there is a need. In fact, he has such high capacity that he rarely asks for help. But he’s very involved with people. He helps at others sites. He focuses on building relationships. He takes time to see people, and serve them. The result is that people were equally ready to sacrificially reciprocate this posture in order to meet the need at LBA.

Taking time to build relational credibility is powerful. Often leaders make the mistake of thinking they need to flex their title or authority. And in a corporate setting that might be more appropriate. But with volunteers, that isn’t the answer. If you want the buy-in, put in the time and value the people for who they are, not just what they do.

The Unifying Power of Shared Values

The big evening came and the team gathered together, and it was a terrific success. They knew what to do because our training is consistent among all our sites. But this didn’t account for the an instant camaraderie, joy and unity they experienced in serving together. It was incredible to see people who weren’t familiar with each other come together and immediately have a rapport. The secret to how these individuals could blend so successfully as a team is our shared values.

Every week during our Table Talk discipleship time, we discuss our organization’s core values, as well as ways to demonstrate them at the site. Our Feed the Need Missions core values are:

  • Jesus
  • Servant Leadership
  • Consistency
  • Mercy
  • Simplicity
  • Stewardship

Because we consistently talk about what we value, and model what we value through action, we tend to draw people who are similarly passionate about these things. Knowing a job description is important, but mission and  core values reinforce why we do what we do and how we are to approach accomplishing our goals. A volunteer noted, “Even though we do things a little differently site to site, the heart and mindset is all the same, to share the love and hope of Jesus with guests but also with each other.”

The whole group enjoyed the experience immensely. Unity within the organization at large was discovered, and cultivated, through the experience of site members serving another site. One volunteer even shared, “It’s great to see the bigger family of Feed the Need Missions. What tonight showed me is that  if there is ever a need some place else, I want to help meet it for others within the family!”

The Contagious Power of Volunteer Buy-In

The impact of the experience was powerful for onlookers who were new to Feed the Need Missions as well. One of the Stony Point site volunteers brought a co-worker with her to check out the site for the first time. She commented about how familiar everyone seems with each other, even mentioning that the way these strangers interacted with one another made her want to get involved in the ministry. Leaning into relationship building and shared values, and the unity it enabled, created an attractive atmosphere that newcomers were eager to be part of. What powerful growth tools these are in building successful organizations!

When It All Comes Full Circle

At Feed the Need Missions, discipleship is at the core of our mission. We do what we do in order to create a guest experience that fosters the building of disciple-making relationships. One of the most exciting things to witness is the real transformation that takes place in lives because of this. Recently, we were able to celebrate with Cynthia, a guest-turned-volunteer, as she came full circle in her journey from receiving discipleship to enabling ministry to others.

Getting to Know You

Cynthia has been a guest at our Smithville Feed the Need Missions site location for years. Her first visits were prompted by a desire to not just know about Jesus, but to really live for Him. At the time, she was struggling to commit fully to the Lord because of brokenness in her past. Painful experiences had caused her to turn inward and had stunted her spiritual growth. Knowing something needed to change, she came to the site looking for answers.

She quickly got to know Jonah Beyer, the president of Feed the Need Missions, and several other volunteers. As the weeks passed, the team intentionally took time to get to know her, to really listen to her story. As they prayed, encouraged, and cared for her, Cynthia became a regular attender.

Step By Step

Each week, she took part in Table Talk discipleship discussions that opened her eyes to the Lord in a powerful new way. After a time, Jonah challenged her to seek more answers through regular church attendance. Ready to take the next step, Cynthia found a church and got very involved. Her growth continued, and her commitment to God grew as she healed and pressed in to the counsel she received at the sites.

Just a few months ago, Jonah and Cynthia reconnected on an evening in Smithville when she drove up to pick up a meal at the site. It was a joy-filled reunion as they talked and reminisced about all the growth that has happened in her life over the years. Jonah, once again, challenged her to take a mother step in faith. He invited her to start serving her community as a site volunteer. Having experienced the value of this ministry as a guest, she said yes.

Change the World

The very next week, Cynthia came to serve. She was nervous and unsure about her new role, because as a guest she had gotten the inside story about many of her fellow guests. She felt a tension about serving people she thought might be taking advantage or guests didn’t have the purest motives.

But once again, the team pointed her to Jesus. He loves and blesses and gives to His children, unconditionally. She was challenged to see and serve as Jesus does—not on the basis of deservedness, but as an act of obedience and in honor of Jesus. A new wave of heart transformation and growth began to unfold within her. As she served, she began to see others just as God had seen her.

Ready to Run

Cynthia’s posture has completely changed since stepping into her volunteer role. She has become so passionate and invested that she recently felt led to supply burgers for the Smithville site meeting. Also, during a recent shortage of the burgers, she timed a trip to visit family in Corpus Christi so that she could gather the needed supplies, stopping at three Walmart locations along her route, just to ensure the site would have supplies for the meeting.

She looks back in awe of the transformation in her life. God is now using her to have a powerful impact on others in the way way that Jonah and other Feed the Need volunteers had on her years ago. She is now a vessel for Christ, meeting needs and helping others lean in to the Lord. Her personal growth and passion are having a contagious impact, bringing down walls. She has come full circle, and is now the one spurring others on to grow and serve.

It’s easy to do what we’ve always done. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is all too familiar. Change can be incredibly hard, and stepping out into the unknown is often unnerving. 

Just six months ago, I was on staff at a church in the southeastern corner of Iowa making plans to launch a mutli-site campus for a growing church. I had a carefully thought-out plan for the next several years concerning my position and the church’s growth.  I’ll spare you the details, but it was a really good plan.  Just before we got into the thick of planting, my wife, Lindy, thought it would be good to recharge with folks we knew would encourage us and pray over us, and rest a little before we kicked into full-blown church planting busyness. So, in late February, we made a trip to Texas to visit our faith family and close friends.  The trip was amazing and we got far more than we had hoped for!

One evening towards the end of our visit Lindy asked, “We’re moving back to Texas aren’t we?” “No way,” I told her. “We’re planting a church in Iowa,” I reassured. The visit had been an incredible time to recharge. I felt more confident in my giftings and how God would use them in Iowa. Little did I know God was putting into motion a new plan. The problem was it did not align with my carefully crafted plan. 

After a couple weeks, God began to stir within my heart. I even found myself wrestling with the decision I had already made and was set on following through with. I was planting a new church and that’s the end of it!!! It was not the end of it, however.  Cue dark billowing clouds rolling in and lightning strike. Ok, so it wasn’t quite that dramatic—but the Lord did remind me, 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.—Proverbs 19:21

Now the hard part. In my pride I felt foolish. I was leaving the church at a critical time as the launch was happening. How would that look?  I was moving my family back to Texas away from the family we moved to be closer to in the first place. In all His goodness, God revealed I was more concerned about how others would perceive this transition than my obedience to His calling for myself and my family. Pride is a tricky beast. Kick it in the pants, repent, and prepare to live in the fullness God intends for us. 

The question I have to ask you is this: Are you willing to move as the Lord leads? Are you willing to step back from the comfort of the familiar? Is God calling you do something hard or maybe bigger than you can seemingly handle? When we move in accordance with the Holy Spirit, we often get a front row seat to see the beauty of God’s work unfold before us. What’s holding you back? 

About the Writer
Hi, I’m Jace Allen! I’m the newest staff member to join Feed the Need Missions team.  Actually…I’m back, y’all!  For those of you who don’t know, I had the privilege of serving on staff with Feed the Need Missions from 2017-2019. My wife Lindy, my son Jax, and my daughter Piper made it back to Texas the first part of June. I cannot adequately express how overjoyed we are to be back and serving with Feed the Need Missions! God is on the move.  He’s always on the move and we are honored to be a part of His work. We can’t wait to see Jesus continue to transform lives in the communities in which we serve. 

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

At Feed the Need Missions, our mission is to mobilize believers to feed people physically and spiritually in their communities, while actively building disciple-making relationships. This priority of discipleship comes from the directive of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20, and we take it very seriously. So how are disciples—and disciple-makers— built up? Read on and discover a few tips we’ve learned as we’ve served over twelve years and in numerous communities. 

Tip #1: Make Room for Relationship

Nathaniel has been coming to the Bastrop-area Feed the Need Missions sites for years. One Monday night, while Nathanial was getting his food, he struck up a conversation with Feed the Need Missions President Jonah Beyer. While the two have been familiar with each other, this unplanned, unrushed conversation allowed the two to connect on a deeper level. “Just asking basic questions, I could tell that he was hungry to learn and ready for more than just food. He was super hungry for relationship,” shares Jonah.

 

The conversation deepened into Nathaniel’s spiritual life. Jonah felt they needed more time to really delve into this. So, because he needed to make a stop at the La Grange site, he asked if Nathaniel would like to tag along. “That 30 minute drive gave me the opportunity to intentionally ask him questions about his past, where he came from, to gain a better understanding of his current spiritual condition,” he said.

 

If we want to become effective disciple-makers, we have to show up. Not just physically. But with spiritual eyes wide open. Wherever we are, and whatever tasks are at hand, one essential posture is building margin into our activity to do more than task. We have to slow down. See people. Be available to talk. Take our time. Be ready to invest time and ask questions. Listen more than we talk.

 

We must look at every encounter not as an interruption, but rather as a divine appointment.

 

Tip #2: Know Your Audience

The time with Nathaniel had two benefits. For one,  Jonah now had a sense of Nathaniel as a person. Second, because he had invested time and attention, he had gained perspective and relational credibility that allowed him the privilege of speaking to his life. Now he could prayerfully tailor encouragement based not on assumptions, but time spent learning this person.

 

The live-altering truth of Jesus Christ is unchanging. But how we present and apply that truth in discipleship isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. People have different struggles. Different temperaments. Different levels of education and learning styles. We have to know who we are talking to in order to know how to guide them to Jesus, and to holiness.

 

“As the conversation progressed, Nathaniel began sharing his passions with me. We had this amazing conversation about his life and his church back ground, his passion for wanting to do better and serve God, his desire to preach,” Jonah said. “He has this desire to be an influence for Christ in the gang world, because he was brought up around gang activity. He sees a pretty harsh street world that needs to be reconciled, to learn how to love.” But his hope for future ministry is only part of the story. He has significant needs himself right now, from struggling at work, to trying to be there for his two children who live apart from him, all while living in a make-shift shelter wrapped in a tarp, which is the only shelter he can currently afford.

 

True discipleship comes when we get a sense of a whole person. To disciple others, we should know what their hopes and passions are. But we should also have a sense of their greatest concerns and needs. Outside of sharing the hope of Jesus and praying they will accept Him, we can’t create goals or plans for people. And we have to be sure our suggestions are aligned with an understanding of the obstacles they face. Our job is to point to Christ, help them see and understand dangers they may not be aware of, remind them of promises they can stand on, and encourage them along the way.

 

Tip #3: Discipleship is a Team Sport

Once at the La Grange site, the two men were greeted by Dave, another volunteer. As Jonah greeted the site team and tended to things, Dave stepped in to talk to Nathaniel. “They ended up talking for like two hours,” Jonah shares. “Dave, after their conversation, really felt compelled to get housing for Nathaniel, to help him be there for his kids, help him financially, to meet some of the pressing needs he’s facing.” But again, more than physical needs, Dave felt a burden to help Nathaniel understand Jesus. “Often we see people at the sites who do not having a good understanding of the Gospel. They don’t have a real understanding of who God is. There is a disconnect about what it really means to surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ.”

 

As the men talked, Jace, another Feed the Need Missions staff member, approached the group and began talking to Nathaniel. “Nathaniel walked away from the evening wrecked. He told me ‘I needed this so bad. I haven’t had anybody to encourage me or speak life in to me, or help me to pursue God.’ Now here were three men making themselves available to invest in him, to see him, to listen to him, and to encourage him.”

 

That healthy dynamic, that consistent truth, was a significant in Nathaniel’s life; but it was an important moment for Dave, too. Before he left, Jonah was able to spend time with Dave, coaching him. To build disciple-makers, it is important to have follow up conversations, answer questions, and to encourage those who answer the call to minister to their community. Jonah then drove Nathaniel home, where he was invited into his home to pray for him in Nathaniel’s own space.

 

One of the most incredible things about disciple-making is that it isn’t all dependent upon one person. God has created a network of believers. Some plant seeds, others reinforce truths, still others model, and at just the right moment, the cumulative experience hits home and brings breakthrough. What is most important is not that we “close the deal,” but that we engage in the process in obedience to the Divine command we’ve been given.