Forge Dallas Blog
Feb 5, 2013
Look What We’ve Done Together!
Wow! When taking a look at this last year, I am truly amazed at everything God has done and everything He has allowed Laura and I to be a part of. Our family continues to live as missionaries here in our own local context in an effort to help the people take steps towards Jesus. Also, through Waken Ministries, the non-profit entity we established 2 years ago, we continue to help waken all Christ followers to their full kingdom potential and to their own missionary calling and identity. When we first started out on this journey, we could have never imagined all that God would have done in just a few years’ time. While there are so many wonderful things I could share with you, I would like to share a few highlights from 2012:
Our Partnership With Forge America
Waken Ministries has been blessed with the opportunity to partner with FORGE America, a mission training organization, to bring missionary training to individuals across the country. At its core, Forge seeks to train individuals to live as missionaries in the places that God has already placed them. This past year, both Laura and I joined the Forge America Team. Each member of the Forge America team, including us, raise support so we might play a part in seeing this type of training continue to spread. Laura and I assist Forge America in replicating the missionary training and residency that we have done here in Dallas to other locations across the country. This training is now happening in El Paso, Joplin, Raleigh, Portland, Huntsville, New Jersey, Sacramento, & Knoxville. In each city there are anywhere from 6-18 individuals being trained to help the people in their everyday life take steps towards Jesus. Our hope and prayer is that we will see a movement of Christ Followers who fully embrace the God given potential for world transformation that is already in them. Serving alongside the men and women of Forge has been a humbling experience for both Laura and I.
Forge Dallas & Waken Ministries
Forge Dallas is a DBA of Waken Ministries and serves as the training arm of Waken Ministries. In May of 2012 we completed our first residency. The Forge Dallas Residency exists to train individuals to live as missionaries in the places that God has already placed them. Nine people walked through this 9-month training and as a result, have begun to connect with people who may never walk through the doors of a church building. Also, 2 of our residents have decided to move to East Asia to be missionaries to an unreached people group. In September of 2012 we started our second cohort of residents. We are half way through this residency and can not wait to watch how God will use these individuals to impact their neighborhoods, businesses, play groups, apartment complexes, and sport fields.
This past fall, in conjunction with our Forge Dallas Residency, we launched a Church Transition Residency for church leaders and church staffs. This residency is designed to assist church leaders in guiding their faith communities to develop a more missional mindset. We are honored to walk 3 churches through this residency and we are already blown away by the shifts these faith communities are making to better communicate the gospel effectively to those in their community.
Within Our Faith Community
Laura and I continue to journey alongside the families in our missional community. We continue to gather weekly to learn from the Jesus of the Gospels and to encourage one another as we all live on mission as missionaries in the places we do life. Over the last year, we have had several new families join our faith community. Also, there been individuals in our faith community initiate faith communities with those they live alongside. We have learned so much from one another and we look forward to what God has in store in 2013.
As we look back over the last year, there is so much that we have to be thankful for. We are so grateful for the journey in which God has taken our family on and we are so thankful for all that He has allowed us to be apart of. We are also very thankful for those of you who have journeyed alongside us in this last year. None of this would be possible without the prayers, encouragement, and financial gifts of friends and family. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. You fill our hearts with joy and have blessed our family beyond imaginable.
With Great Love & Affection,
Ryan, Laura, Hadley, Hensley
Aug 16, 2012
At the time which Shawn joined the Forge Dallas residency, he was considering starting a Christian centered support group for alcoholics and addicts. For years he had attended both AA groups and other Christian recovery groups but as of recent had only been attending the Christian ones. As Shawn walked through the Residency, he began to ask the question, “God where are you at work and in light of my gifts and resources, how can I join you?” From this, he began to realize that God was already at work in the traditional non-religious AA meetings that he once attended. As a result, Shawn decided to join God in His redeeming work by participating regularly in local AA meetings. Since this, Shawn has built many relationships and friendships with those in AA who are broken and hurting. He continues to ask what the good news of the Gospel is for these people and how can he continue to show the love of God to those he meets with. Shawn has said,
“The beautiful thing about AA is that it is a group of people that are brought together by their brokenness to help one another. Being connected with AA groups has given me the opportunity to connect with people, learn from others, and has given me the opportunity to bless and help those who are hurting who might never walk through the doors of a church building.”
Aug 8, 2012
Tony decided to participate in the Forge Dallas Residency and has since been on a journey to understand his calling to follow Jesus in daily mission. After a time of reflection, Tony realized he had been spending most of his time in church activities and had very few friendships with people outside the church who might be far from God. Knowing he would need to invest relationally in those outside his Christian circles if he was to follow Jesus into daily mission, Tony joined a local fitness program/gym and now exercises with the same thirty people five days a week. Instead of relying on inviting his friends at the gym to church activities as he might have in the past, Tony is asking God where and how He is at work in the lives of gym members, how God is calling him to join in God’s mission, and what the good news of the Gospel is for the people he now sees five times a week. These questions have led Tony to join other members of the gym in regular outings, to share meals with the owner of the gym, and to introduce his new friends to God by inviting them to participate in social justice projects in which he was previously involved.
Apr 20, 2012
A word on the purpose of the church from one of Forge's Founders Michael Frost.
Feb 18, 2012
Jul 21, 2011
Jun 20, 2011
Before we get into the Missional Conversation...
by Markus Lloyd
The American church is starved of the gospel. We don’t really even know what it is anymore. That is why people don’t share it! The "Missional Movement" is another attempt to bring the Church back to the gospel, and for it to succeed, the gospel is where the movement must live. We have some amazing leaders for this movement but we must be careful not to make the same mistake that other movements have made and turn the leaders into the source for the gospel.
The wonderful men and women who are speaking and writing books on Missional living are not to be worshipped. They are, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, merely servants of God. (3:5) Their ideas are not original or their own, but rather they received all knowledge and insight from the Holy Spirit for he is the source of all wisdom.(1 Cor. 4:7) So, let no man boast about another man's "wisdom" for all of it is from God.
The gospel has never changed nor will it, so that is why IT and not another man’s words has to be the foundation for our lives for “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11) “Do not go beyond what is written. Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. “ (1Cor. 4:6) The Bible points us towards this gospel. So, if you want to quote something, quote the Bible not something out of another man's book. If you want to draw your neighbor to Christ, then use the gospel given to you in God word not some perfectly worded phrase you heard from a speaker at a conference so that their “faith may not rest in the wisdom of man but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5)
The gospel i.e. Christ's Love must have the first and last word on everything we do and be the lens through which we view all things. If we can stay in the center of that place then we can truly see the church complete it’s movement back to the Gospel.
There. Now we are ready to talk about this Missional movement....
Jun 16, 2011
Recently, I finished reading The Leap of Faith, a book by Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost. Towards the beginning of this book, Alan & Michael write,
“To learn, to grow, to mature, requires a journey from where we are now. And it is only after journeys of exploration that we will return to our most basic of beliefs and really know them personally. Without such movement there can be no real learning, development, or maturity. Whatever knowledge we might retain in the safe, self-protective space will end up being merely secondhand, dangerously depersonalized and depersonalizing data—nothing close to the way the Bible sees faith.”
This is one of many great quotes from this book and as I read it over and over again, I cannot help but wholeheartedly agree. The journey that my family and I have been on has definitely led us back to our most basic beliefs and has led us to know them in a more personal way. Each day our faith continues to grow as we are truly being molded into the Christ followers that God has called us all to be.
As we are hopefully being molded into the good news people of God that Jesus designed us to be, we are also seeing, by God’s grace, Waken Ministries molding into the organization that He had in mind.
Seven months ago, we began with a simple desire, “To waken the people of God to the mission of God.” We have wanted to help all Christ followers see their full potential as active agents of God’s Kingdom. We have wanted to empower the “religious nonprofessionals” and help them see their calling as God lays out in His Word, as missionaries in the places in which He has already placed them. This, in itself, has been so rewarding. Just recently, my wife and I received an email from a young lady. In her email she writes,
“I loved talking with you last week. It blessed my heart so much, as well as got me to start having some good conversations with God regarding how I want to spend each day of this one and only life….
I was all excited about getting on another team at church, and I still am, but God stopped me cold and told me that loving my neighbor through her hard time, mentoring her and helping her and loving her without expectation or strings, to get messy with her, and to do all of that while staying connected to Him is what I am truly called to do. That is my calling. That’s what love looks like. As you can probably guess, I’m overwhelmed and humbled and thrilled all at the same time…So, that’s where I am. And, it’s actually our talk last week that helped me get perspective and energy to help stand with my neighbor. Thank you for that.”
We are so thankful that God is allowing us to play a part in his mission and we pray that He would grant us the grace to be a part of more and more stories like this.
While we have taken every opportunity to waken the individual, and will continue to do so, we also want to disciple and train them to live as missionaries, empower them, network them together, and release them to be the good news people of God in the places God has already placed them.
To help us with this process, we have been blessed with an opportunity to partner with FORGE Mission Training Network, an international organization, to bring this type of missionary training to the North Texas Area.
Forge, founded by Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost, seeks to be a midwife to the missional church, helping give birth to the missional church anywhere it is appearing. Forge brings together denominations, seminaries and faith communities of all kinds as it trains people to live on mission, lead missional communities and create missional movements. We are very excited about this partnership; and more specifically, we are excited to launch FORGE DALLAS in partnership with Waken Ministries early this fall. To learn more about Forge Dallas I would invite you to visit www.forgedallas.org.
We are so blessed by God’s provision in helping us become the educating, paradigm shifting, empowering and releasing, and training organization that He had in mind.
Also, we are so blessed by your ongoing support and prayers. Without your partnership, we would not be where we are. Thank you! We ask for your continued prayers for God's wisdom, grace, and leading in the ministry in which He has blessed us. Please also be in prayer for financial support so that we may continue the ongoing work of Waken Ministries.
Finally and more specifically, we are having a “Coffee and Dessert” Informational this Saturday. If you are able, we would love for you to be apart. Laura and I will take time to share stories of what God has been doing in & through Waken Ministries, as well as provide more details about the newly established Forge Dallas Hub and its Residency Program starting this September.
We look forward to visiting with each of you in the near future.
Apr 21, 2011
Apr 20, 2011
Forge Dallas Launching May 15, 2011
Will also be accepting applications starting May 15, 2011.