There are people out there right now that need your skills and your advice. They want to learn from you and they’d be happy to join your community, if only it existed. Don’t let your fears keep you from creating a community.
When I first came online, I was overwhelmed by all of the “experts” I saw. Perhaps it was because the first summit I attended was an extensive weeks-long training from the leading experts in Social Media.
It was as if I had been thrown into an advanced calculus class before I had learned how to multiply!
So much new jargon! I didn’t know the difference between SEO and a CTA. These elite professionals would throw out jargon which the moderators understood perfectly. I had no idea what they were talking about.
Surprisingly, I learned a lot during that training.
Yet unsurprisingly, I established myself in my own mind as an outsider in this complicated world. From then on, when I went to conferences or engaged in online chats, I always felt that everyone knew so much more than I did. And that they were more successful.
I have been blogging – and learning – for several years now, and I have a clearer understanding of what was happening.
Slowly my eyes were opened to the fact that many of those people didn’t know as much as I did. And I began to realize that i could do this. I could be successful online.
So if you are one of those who feels like an outsider looking in, I have some great news for you.
You have unique gifts which will benefit others. You also have a personal mission which may be similar, but it won’t be just like anyone else’s. Have faith in who you are – and know that there are many others who need what you have to offer.
They also need your encouragement.
That’s why we need community.
Your community may be those who listen to your podcast, or read your blog, or those who read your emails. Or you could want to start a membership community. Or a Facebook Group.
With any of these communities, you will have more impact if you consider a few things.
Decide on the goal of your community.
The first thing you want to do when building your community is deciding what the goal will be. It’s a good idea to look at the end result your ideal client wants. For example, if your ideal client wants to start a blog, then creating great blogs can be the goal for your community. Other communities could focus on speaking or podcasting. Some could focus on all of these things.
Interestingly, within your community, there will be smaller topics of interest. Best tools for the job. Best practices. Creativity. Mindset.
You can see that the list could be endless.
Who are your people?
Every community has its own culture that’s shaped by the creator and members. When you’re thinking about culture, you might want to consider your personal values. For example, if you’re building a Christian community then you may stress the importance of Biblical principles while on the job. Obviously in this case, good character would be important to implement in your group.
Walk alongside your members.
The most effective teaching is walking alongside your members or friends.
What do I mean by that? Let people learn from your mistakes as well as their own. When people see you as authentic, they can relate – and they can learn better. Let them see your journey, and let them see where you are at the moment.
When their guard is down, people learn a lot more from a peer than they do from a school marm. So be real and be honest.
Your community will be delighted to find someone who understands their struggles.
Find a partner
If you’re nervous about building a community, look for a partner. This is someone that runs a business or brand that complements your skills. For example, if you’re an excellent writer, team up with someone who is a great internet marketer.
This set up benefits you by cutting your responsibilities in half and it benefits your group by allowing them to receive support from two people, instead of one. Keep in mind that you’ll want to build your community with a partner that you already know and like. You should also have a plan in place for what happens if one of you becomes too busy to participate or if one of you wants out of the community.
The bottom line is this. We need each other, and if you can answer that need in your business or blog, your effectiveness will increase many times over.
We have entered a new era, and it’s here whether we’re ready or not. A few years ago, I wrote my first book, and at the suggestion of some savvy people, started a blog to promote it. Little did I know where this would take me.
As I roamed around the internet, looking for like-minded people, I found something very interesting.There are some really great Christian blogs, podcasts, etc. out there, but over all, we don’t have the representation we need – or that our Father wants. Sure, there are some Christian ministries, but we are greatly outnumbered. There are many voices out there, but relatively few Christian voices.
Our presence is sadly lacking.
I have continued to pursue my own presence online, and have learned a few things in the process.
First, I have learned (as you may have also) that the digital world has totally taken over our culture. Just as TV changed the lines of communication several decades ago, the internet and wireless devices now hold the keys to communication in our world. People in their 20’s and 30’s are not watching Christian TV; they are surfing the web – and usually on their phones or tablets.
Second, I have learned that mastering the tools of the digital world is not as hard as you might think. There are so many software programs now which simplify the process. It’s often a matter of discovering which ones to try.
Third, in the process of learning, I have found some great instructors, who are eager to share what they know. Some people who have been online since the inception of the internet are more than generous in sharing how to get the job done. And the numbers of experts who are willing to share their information is growing by the day..
Fourth, I have learned that the internet is inexpensive compared to other means of communication. To my surprise, many applications are totally free.
I am convinced that God had the invention of the internet put into our hands at this moment in time for us Christians. I am convinced that the internet is here for us to reach the multitudes, worldwide. Let’s not miss this opportunity to saturate the web with God’s message and His presence.
Perhaps you already have a thriving blog or internet business. The rest of us could learn from you.
Or you might be saying, “I would like to, but I don’t even know how to start.”
There are plenty of people who would love to help you.
Our new mission is to help you as a minister or lay person fulfill your purpose. We know that you have a message, and we want to help you get it out to the masses.
When you speak to your audiences in person, you can reach hundreds – or even thousands. When you go on TV or radio, you can increase your audience to millions. When you take your messages to the world wide web, you can reach hundreds of millions – and even billions. (Yes, I said, “billions!”) Digital technology can go into places which don’t have TV or radio.
God has provided this golden door of opportunity for us to reach the world, so let’s do this. We hope you will join us in taking up this torch.
We have a world to reach.
We can do this!
Kindle afresh the flame. Stir Up the Gift. It’s time for awakening!
Last night the Holy Spirit woke me up at 3 am and spoke these words into my spirit. “Stir up the gift which is within you.”
He reminded me of earlier days…He reminded me of the days when there was rejoicing in the city by the many people who were turning to the Lord, getting saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit and shouting their newfound truth to the rooftops.
Do you remember days like that?
If you have been a spirit-filled believer for many years, you probably remember. You might have memories of the Healing Revival with Kenneth Hagin, Gordon Lindsay, Oral Roberts, and others. Or you might remember the great Teaching Revival with Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin. Or the early nineties with Rodney Howard Browne’s impact on our nation. Or Toronto. Or Brownsville. Or that special outpouring of God’s blessing in your church.
Since those times there have been Prayer and Prophetic Movements and there have been the rising up of true apostles with God-ordained strategies to take the land. All of these occurrences have been milestones in God’s plan — laying foundation and restoration one brick at a time. All working toward God’s goal of a worldwide kingdom.
Now I sense the Spirit saying that it’s time for His plan to come together.
As I write this, I see a mountain with many tributaries, or streams, trickling down. Some are almost unnoticeable; others are racing down to near-river proportions. The important thing is that as they get closer to the bottom, they run together to create a strong, powerful river which forces its way through the surrounding landscape. Eventually, nothing can permanently stand in its way. Not even the rocks, which over time become smooth and re-formed by the power of the river.
This is a picture of God’s church. The Presence and the Plan of God flowing from the top of His Mighty Mountain. At first, there are many streams which emanate from the rain of His anointing. They are truly from Him. They originate with Him and they are designed by Him to bring forth their portion of His anointing.
As they proceed down His Mountain, something very interesting happens. They meet. They join forces and get stronger — and they continue — until all tributaries and streams become One Mighty River flowing to the sea.
This is the culmination of God’s plan. The many streams becoming One and working together for His Glory. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers unified and working together for His purpose. For His extravagant plan in the earth.
A few years ago, just as I awoke, I had an open vision. In the vision, I was up to my neck in a river, and I knew that it was the River of God. That Ezekiel 47 river. That has been one of my favorite passages for many years, so I knew where I was.
Yet I had always pictured God’s River as it appears in Revelation — as smooth as glass.
On this day, as I pondered what God was showing me, the river was anything but smooth. It was roaring and swirling — much like the ocean. I could even feel an undertow. There was such a power to this river that I had to tread water with every ounce of energy I could muster to keep my head above water. And still the force of the river was moving me down stream. He was showing me that when we are truly His, without holding anything back, His river will carry us to fulfill His plan in the earth.
So what am I saying? What does this river have to do with “stirring up the gifts?”
Our God has distributed many gifts in the earth — and we all have them. He hasn’t left anyone out. We are all a part of His plan and we all have a part to play in His next great move.
As we stir up those gifts which are within us, they will be different from some others we see, but they will be part of His plan. As we genuinely worship and praise Him, pray in the Holy Spirit, spend time in the Word, and listen to His leading, we will discover or confirm our gifts and we will grow in them.
Many people have unfulfilled prophecies which have been on the shelf for 20 years or more. It’s time to get those out and take them to prayer. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance what He has spoken to you in years past.
The time has come for many of those words to be fulfilled. As we contend for what God has spoken to us and over us, our part will come into focus.
Then, as we say, “Yes, Lord, I am willing,” we will sense the currents under us carrying us to our place in Him.
Remember, God’s Kingdom is huge and multifaceted.
As you gain confidence in your portion, you will be able to accomplish what He has placed on your heart. And please remember: there is no room for competition in His Kingdom. Only cooperation. If you are a prayer warrior, then pray for those with the evangelistic thrust to be able to break through the barriers they face. And if you are a teacher, then be thankful for the strategy-oriented apostles who can bring foundations of change. If you are an evangelist, then listen to the words of the true prophets who help establish your focus.
As all the gifts are being stirred up, God’s Mighty River will flow unabated. And get ready. We are about to see signs wonders of healing, salvation, and restoration coming all over the world. It’s upon us, and we are privileged to be chosen and gifted to be a part of God’s Mighty Plan in the earth at this time.
Yes. Get ready. “Stir up the gifts which are within you.”
And hang on for the ride!
Which Mountain are You Climbing?
Now you may think that this is a strange question. We have been focusing on influencing the world for God. Why would I suddenly start talking about mountains?
To understand where I’m coming from, let’s go back a few years. In fact, let’s go back to the year 1975.
In that year, Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had some visitations from God. His heart was sold out to the ministry to which God had called him, as he was sending missionaries into all areas of the world. These ministers were bringing people to Jesus and helping them to grow in their new faith. There was tremendous fruit being produced for God’s Kingdom.
However, he realized that forces were working against his mission in a mighty way. Many times discouragement would hit when he would see the new converts being swept back up into the current thinking of his or her society.
During this season, Loren was getting a revelation of the many forces of darkness – coming from many different areas of life. It was the “secular world” coming against the “sacred world” he was living in as a minister.
As Loren sat pondering, the Lord took him to Acts 10:9. It’s the episode in which Peter received a revelation to go to the Gentiles. The Lord gave Peter a vision. Three times a sheet came down from heaven containing animals, reptiles and birds. A voice said, “Rise, Peter. Kill and eat.”
Each time Peter would say, “No, Lord. Never have I eaten anything which was unclean.”
After the third time, the Lord spoke. “Do not call anything impure which God has made clean.”
Then the Spirit said to him, “Peter, three men are looking for you. Go downstairs and go with them. For I have sent them.”
So Peter went with the men to Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Regiment. And he led the officer and his entire family to the Lord. As Peter stood there, the Holy Spirit fell on these people – just as He had done for Peter and the apostles in the upper room.
Thus for the first time, Peter realized that God was calling gentiles to receive Jesus – and not just the Jews.
This was a transforming time for Peter. And also for the Jewish leaders of the early church. They were just learning that God was a God of all the believers in the world. A revolutionary thought.
Well, on this day in 1975, as Loren came to that passage, the Lord said, “Do not call anything impure which I have made pure.”
Of course, the minister’s mind first raced to food restrictions. But the Spirit said, “No. I am talking about things you call ‘sacred’ versus what you call ‘secular.’ You consider church and Sunday “sacred.” You consider every other area of society to be “secular.” Then the Lord said, “I have created it all. It’s all for My glory.”
This required some pondering, indeed! Loren had never thought in those terms before.
As he sat in the stillness, Loren heard God begin to list for him the seven spheres of influence in a society. Then he began to see that these seven were in existence in every culture where his mission teams had gone.
The seven: Religion, Family, Government, Education, Commerce (Business, Science, and Technology), Media, and Celebration (Arts, Entertainment, and Sports).
Then came the realization: these seven areas of culture bear such a great influence on people that a nation will never be truly discipled for Jesus until all of these areas have Christians involved at high levels.
When Loren Cunningham received this revelation from God, he wrote the areas down on a yellow pad and started praying over them. He was on vacation in Colorado at the time.
A dear friend of his, Bill Bright, who had founded Campus Crusades for Christ was also vacationing at a log cabin in the area. When Bright heard that Cunningham was nearby, he invited him over. Loren tucked the list of seven spheres into his shirt pocket, and headed for the visit.
Was he ever in for a surprise!
As he walked in the door, Bill Bright said, “I want to share with you something which the Lord just spoke to me. It’s about seven spheres of influence in society which hinder or help the discipling of a nation.”
Wow! Was that ever confirmation! They compared notes and they had received the same list from the Lord.
About a month later, Darlene Cunningham, Loren’s wife, was listening to an interview with Francis Shaeffer who was speaking from his ministry, L’Abri, in Switzerland. He had recently received a word from the Lord in which he was given seven “Molders of Culture.”
Do you think that it was the same seven?
Yes. It was!
Fast forward a few decades, and a minister/marketplace apostle named Lance Wallnau enters the picture. The Lord gave him some insight also. He had a revelation of the cultural influencers which make or break a society. He called the seven spheres, or molders, the Seven Mountains. But the message is the same.
Individuals can be brought to the Lord throughout the world, but cultures will never change as long as the Seven Mountains are dominated by unbelievers. Only a saturation of believers in every sphere of society will bring true discipleship to a nation.
Nations can’t be discipled properly until these seven mountains are dealt with.
And that works both ways! If Unbelievers dominate those mountains, then the prevailing attitudes will work against God and His plans. If Believers are prevalent and high profile, then Godly attitudes will prevail.
Now think about our modern western cultures. Can you see where we are on this scale?
Most Christians have noticed a decline in the American society over the last decades. But just sitting around playing the game of “Ain’t it awful,” is not enough. (You know. The game where we say, “Ain’t it awful what they did, or said, or voted for?”)
In fact, God has created you to be on one of the mountains. Whether you are a teacher, an actor, a businessman, or a stay-at-home Mom, you are on one of the mountains already.
Let that thought soak in. You will start to see how important you are in God’s big plan.
Think about it for a moment. Think about how different our culture would be if actors were speaking out for Jesus. If journalists were speaking out. If educators and doctors were influencing the world for Jesus.
When we notice the charge of Jesus to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” (Mark 16:15), sometimes we might think in terms of going to other countries. Well, of course, some do that. Yet every day we are “going into the world.” We are going to our jobs, or our neighborhoods, or our committee meetings. Wherever we go, we are to shine brightly for Him.
We are ministers. Every born again believer.
A lot of your success in your position is for you to appreciate where God has you. It’s an important position. The gifts and callings He has put within your DNA are what you need to accomplish His will for you in that place. God’s Spirit will guide you and empower you to bring influence for Him – right where you are.
Do you need to change positions? He’ll let you know and make a way for it to happen. He’ll direct your steps.
The keys for you to accomplish God’s will for you are:
First, spend time with God. Read His Word, pray, and listen for His voice. Be ready in season and out of season.
Second, When God shows you someone to pray for, or to share with, do it. When you bring a person to the Lord or encourage them in their walk, the ripples of your ministry are felt beyond what you can imagine. As they are encouraged, they will encourage others – and the effects will be seen beyond your expectations.
Third, Stand for righteousness. Make sure that you bring to your position honesty, integrity, and diligence. The world has become slack in these things, and when someone shows up with a different set of standards, people will notice.
Finally, be strong and courageous. Just as God spoke these words to Joshua on entering the Promised Land, (Joshua 1;6,7,9), He speaks these words to all of us.
Wherever we are, we are taking territory for Jesus. As we are strong, courageous, counting on God and seeking His plans, we will see great victory in our lives.
So you are important in God’s kingdom.
Go climb that Mountain. Your Mountain.
Do it with faith, God’s wisdom, courage , and great joy. Thanking and praising your God every step of the way!
You have an assignment from God. You are to influence the world around you to know Him and to live according to His purposes. He has great things in store for you!
I had an interesting conversation with God yesterday.
He asked me, “Would you be willing to board an airplane and fly for more than 24 hours in order to take my message to a far continent?”
“Yes, of course, Lord.” I said.
“Would you be willing to climb into a rusty Jeep and travel up a dusty, rocky road in order to find those who don’t know about Me?”
“Would you be willing to enter a primitive village where no one speaks your language?”
“Even if you know that they don’t have running water and don’t eat your type of food?”
My answers again and again were, “Yes, Lord, of course I would. You know that I would go anywhere and do anything for You.”
Then He threw the curve ball.
“Would you drive for 20 miles on a bumper to bumper interstate to take My message to people who don’t know about Me?”
“Would you dress up in an executive suit and ride an elevator to the 18th floor in order to share My message of hope?”
“Would you be willing to travel to the next town in order to deliver My Word to a plant?”
“Or a school?” “Or a hospital – where you work?”
Where you work! Ah- there’s the key.
It was clear to me what the Lord was speaking. Everywhere we go is a mission field. So often we might glamorize work that is being done in the far reaches of the world while considering the work close at hand to be boring and nothing but a chore.
But when we live our lives for Jesus, our focus can change. Instead of seeing our jobs as boring or mundane, and seeing our co-workers as obnoxious, we can see as He sees. We can begin to see our Father’s compassion for the people we are around everyday. They may seem indifferent – or even hostile – yet God loves them, and they need Him even when they don’t know it.
So what do we do? We pray and stay tuned into what God is telling us. There may be special words He wants us to speak. There may be certain gifts He wants to flow through us. Maybe He will give us a Word of knowledge about their specific needs.
Are we to pray for their healing? Is their marriage in trouble? Are their children having problems? Are they single and lonely?
Every human being – whether living in a mud hut or a mansion – can be going through a season of despair. And the mansion-dwellers will usually try to hide their true condition. But the Lord knows – and those who are in tune with Him can take them what they need.
And don’t forget the “living witness” aspect of our lives. As people observe our joy, our hope, and our faith, they will be drawn to our answers.
So today as you start out, see your life as what it truly is: an adventure with God. There are places to go and things to do. There are also lessons to be learned – and lessons to share. Words to speak – and prayers to pray.
Whether it’s in a faraway village or the governor’s mansion, our life can be an exciting one when we live it for and with our God.
Just remember: you are always on a mission.
Luke 4:18, 19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.