Identity, Purpose, and Belonging with Joe Elliott Founder of Catalyst Collective [Podcast 33]

Joe Elliott knew that he needed to do something different if he were to reach young adults. During a brain-storming session with several other youth pastors, many great ideas rose to the surface. But they all knew that if they began doing much of what they put down on paper, they all would get fired.

But Joe was in the right place at the right time to begin applying some of the ideas. Out of that the Catalyst Collective was born.

Joe is married, the father of three children, a dreamer, motivator, connector, and speaker. I look forward to you hearing from him.

Here is the interview on His Hands His Feet:

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How Can We Equip and Send Missionaries Well?An Interview about Launch Global [Podcast 014]

Far too often we send missionaries into a foreign culture without adequate preparation. The result is the missionary returning home long before they had any impact. The causes include lack of financial resources, poor team dynamics, limited knowledge of how to accomplish the mission, marital issues, personal character challenges, and so on.

My friend C (I will use only his initial for security reasons) began working with Launch Global a few years ago. I met my friend C a few years ago as we served different churches here in the same city. We had similar roles of equipping people and teams to serve on the mission field either short or long term. I readily admit that C is gifted in this area. I watched as he and his wife took a group of couples through an intensive process to ready them to deploy to the field.

That experience influenced C’s decision to join Launch Global and the work they are doing of “Helping people discover God’s will, develop as a disciple-maker, and deploy for maximum impact.

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Is There Something In Your Life That You Need to Get Rid of?

Sometimes You Have to Dig It Out by the Roots

We had the same plant growing in every flower bed in our yard. The previous owners of our home apparently liked this plant. Even though it’s a pretty plant with either pink or purple petunia-like flowers that bloom each day, it’s incredibly invasive. It grows thick and tall, choking out or dwarfing the other plants in the bed.

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So Danielle and I decided to remove most of the plants. I took a sharpshooter shovel and started digging in a flower bed in the front of the house. I quickly learned that the plant’s roots were tubular traveling underground with many plants growing from each cluster of roots.

We moved to the backyard flower beds, and we decided for the easier, quicker method—cut the plants off at ground level. We just wanted the flower beds to look better.

Both methods worked and the flower beds looked neat and uncluttered. For a few weeks anyway. Then it began to rain. And rain. One day I looked into the backyard and guess what I saw. The plants were growing again like crazy. I think they were growing back even thicker.

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Have We Changed What It Means to Be a Disciple?

3 Ways We Have Lowered the Bar for Discipleship

When I say “We” I refer to the church. I count myself in that clan. I grew up going to church every Sunday. Our family attended church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any other time something was going on at the church.

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That wasn’t a negative thing for me. It was my extended family. We did a lot of life together with other families. Many Godly men and women influenced my life in positive ways.

Looking back I recognize something that has become engrained in today’s church culture. It’s the idea that once a person “prays a prayer” of salvation, the job is complete. Now just keep hanging around the church, and you will be okay.

I prayed a “prayer of salvation” at the age of seven. I have a Bible with the date written in my seven-year-old handwriting in the front cover. I found the Bible on my bookshelf. Take a look!

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7 Four Letter Words I Want My Son to Learn

Father's Day Post

I admit. I enjoy being a father. The cool thing is that this year, Father’s Day lands on the same day CPS placed my son in our home as a foster child four years ago. I enjoy watching him grow and seeing his personality come alive while he explores his world. I also enjoy teaching him.

I was thinking the other day about how we as parents try to shield our kids from negative things—like four letter words! But there are many four letter words I want my son to learn. Not just learn them, but know what they mean and how to apply them in his life.

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How to Disciple in A Way That Your Child Will Love

Many mornings Danielle sits at the table with our son to eat breakfast while I stand at the counter. One morning we ate each in our places. Our son had a waffle and asked Danielle for some honey on it.

If I remember correctly, the little guy demanded for the honey on his waffle. I am sure Danielle responded with, “Hey buddy, are you telling or asking? Try that again using some good words.”

After he rephrased his request asking in a proper way, Danielle happily poured sweet honey over his waffle.

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The Most Effective Way to Disciple

Anyone who knows me knows I am all about radically responding to the needs of those around me. Helping build a home a long the border in South Texas; repairing a home of a working poor family in the midst of affluent neighbors in Lake Travis; meeting the need of  a homeless person; defending the orphan, even adopting a child; supporting and serving alongside those on the foreign mission field—these are all ways I have responded.

Helping build a church in Louisiana

Helping build a church in Louisiana

However I can fool myself into believing that I have discipled others through these actions. They are a good first step, but they don’t necessarily disciple anyone. The challenge with this list is that for most of the activities my time spent with people is/was brief, a few days at a time at best.

Now I am not saying I will stop doing these things, but when we think that these brief interactions focused on meeting a need accomplishes the mission, we miss the mark.

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27 Quotes Worth Repeating from Verge14

Verge14 is this years version of the missional conference that began in Austin, TX in 2010. My wife and I attended that first conference, and God dramatically altered the course we were on. You can read about that in my book, Adopting the Father’s Heart.

Over the past few years, speakers from these conferences, books I have read written by many of them, videos I have watched, forums that I have participated—all have challenged and shaped me to live a life sent.

Even though I didn’t attend this years conference, I picked up several nuggets by watching some of the conference via live feed and dropping in on one lunchtime session about the Orphan Care Network.

Here are several quotes I picked up on Twitter that I think are worth repeating from the conference followed by a few summary comments of mine.

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Family Worship Nights

I struggle leading our family in spiritual matters. I did when it was just Danielle and me. I am no better at it now that our son is a part of the family.

When our son was first placed in our home as a foster child, I intentionally prayed over him each night. The thought that we only had a few days or weeks with him fueled that focus. However now that he is a part of our forever family, some of that intentionally has waned. I guess that is just normal human nature. But, it bothers me.

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Who Else Wants to Write in 2014?

I am taking a 31-day challenge this month. A writer/blogger that I follow (Jeff Goins) challenged us to write 500 words each day for 31 days. Exactly the challenge I need to begin 2014.

I began 2013 knowing hardly anything about blogging or writing. I finished the year having written over 120 blog posts and a published book. Yeah, I am a little bit proud of that accomplishment.

But, I recognize that I have a ton to learn when it comes to writing. A common question I get from experienced writers and bloggers is, “who is your audience?”

I decided early on that my blog would consist of topics related to missional lifestyle. I threw in the occasional blog post about my personal life or writing, but most were about what I think missional lifestyle is about.

Nothing wrong with a “random thoughts about life” blog. In fact, these can be fun to read. But, I want to find an audience or tribe that is passionate about the things that matter most to me.

That includes topics like orphan care, international missions and missional living.

At the end of 2013, I decided to add three more categories or topics that I think are important to missional living:

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