Archive › Core

Sifted: Refined for Multiplication

This is a guest post by Dave Ferguson. Dave co-founded Community Christian Church and New Thing Network.  He also serves as President of the Exponential Conference and on the leadership team of Exponential.  Dave is a huge champion of healthy reproducing churches and leaders.

Who wants to be Sifted?  I know it doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?  When we first picked the Sifted theme for the Exponential 2012 Conference, I wasn’t a big fan.  I’m more of a big picture and positive sort of guy so thinking about being sifted made me cringe a little.  As we continued to develop this theme, I began to realize this is exactly what we need to be talking about.  God allows us to be ‘sifted’ (Luke 22:31-32) through trials and temptations to grow us as followers and leaders.  How we respond as church leaders not only shapes who we become, but also those who we lead because we reproduce who we are.


Comments Off on Sifted: Refined for Multiplication

Spiritual Warfare in Sifting

The previous posts in our series highlighted that “sifting” is defined as worldly trouble, producing increased surrender to God.  God knows how to creatively allow just the right challenges to bring humility and increased dependence on him.  Today we expand the definition to include spiritual warfare.

Sifted is:  Worldly trouble intersecting with spiritual warfare to produce increased surrender to God.

It’s eternally significant work to launch a new church. It’s crucial to understand that the church planting process is filled with worldly troubles.  Trouble is normal!  Joy comes in knowing that God has equipped us with a great calling, and that many people will find Him through freedom in Christ.

My wife, Zarat, and I are immersed in launching Vertical Church in Atlanta GA in two weeks.   The journey has certainly sifted us.  We’ve had so many opportunities to be discouraged.   We are planting in a very poor, urban context among college students.  Like most planters, we’ve had to raise all of our financial support against seemingly impossible odds.   Our son, Damian Jr., has cerebral palsy and requires special care and schooling.  Our extended families live in other states.


Comments Off on Spiritual Warfare in Sifting

20 Bible Leaders in 20 Days – Daily Devotions on Sifting

We continue our series on “Sifted.”  Here is a summary of recent posts:

We asked each speaker (over 100) that will be at Exponential 2012 to write a short candid essay (500 to 700 words) on a personal story of sifting from his or her lives.   We post at least one of these stories each day via the Stories of Sifted web site.   The stories are powerful testimonies to how God is at work in and through his people.  Collectively, these stories remind us that he does not give us more than we can handle if we trust him.

As noted in previous posts, Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world.  He prayed for us that we might be protected from the evil one when the day of trouble comes.  He knew that the spiritual warfare of the evil one seeking to take captive our minds would be a greater challenge to us than the physical trouble itself.   God uses our worldly troubles, intersected with spiritual warfare (mental attacks from the evil one) to produce increased surrender in us to Him.


Comments Off on 20 Bible Leaders in 20 Days – Daily Devotions on Sifting

Wayne Cordeiro on Sifting

We continue our emphasis on personal sifting.  Today’s post includes an overview of Wayne Cordeiro’s (with Francis Chan and Larry Osborne) new book, “Sifted”. Sifted is the theme of the 2012 Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida on April 23-26, 2012.  Wayne’s new book debuts in the Exponential Series at the 2012 conference in April.  Click here to listen to an interview between Wayne Cordeiro and Dave Ferguson on Sifting.

Overview of Sifted

In Sifted, pastor and seasoned church leader Wayne Cordeiro speaks the truth in love, offering wisdom and insight to prepare leaders as they face the difficulties and hardships of planting and leading churches, while providing encouragement and inspiration for the journey.

Wayne shares the things he wishes he’d known when he was starting a new church. With additional stories from Francis Chan and Larry Osborne, each chapter includes a thought-provoking challenge question to develop a heart that is surrendered to God, focused on being and becoming versus doing and accomplishing.

Click here to read more!

Comments Off on Wayne Cordeiro on Sifting

Francis Chan on Sifting

Francis Chan is a great friend to church planters and Exponential.  We interviewed Francis to get his thoughts on the theme of “sifting” in our lives.   Francis had some great words to share.   Click here to check out a short 3 minute video of Francis talking about sifting.

Here are a few other sifted resources to check out:

1.  Exponential 2012 – the theme of the conference is “Sifted” based on the newest book in the Exponential Series called “Sifted” by Wayne Cordeiro with Francis Chan and Larry Osborne

2.  Podcast Interview with Wayne Cordeiro – In this interview with Dave Ferguson, Wayne shares candidly about his own journey of sifting.  Subscribe to the Exponential Podcast via iTunes and get access to 100s of hours of free training material like the interview with Wayne

3.  Sifted Blog Post Series – Check out these recent blog posts about Sifting via the Stories of Sifting web site.  Most recent posts include:

4.  20 Leaders in 20 Days – Starting on February 6, the Stories of Sifted web site will feature daily devotionals featuring the stories of sifting in leaders from the Bible.  The devotionals will continue throughout February and will challenge church leaders to a single question each day.  The purpose is to help leaders pursue and embrace the stories of sifting that God is writing in each leader’s life.   Subscribe to the Stories of Sifted RSS feed to automatically receive the devotional posts each day.

5.  New Sifted Book by Wayne Cordeiro with Francis Chan and Larry Osborne – This is the newest of the book in the Exponential Book Series and debuts at Exponential 2012

Comments Off on Francis Chan on Sifting

From Troubles (Symptoms) to Causes in Sifting

In our previous posts in the Sifted blog series, we’ve looked at (1) why its important for us to understanding sifting, (2) what sifting is, (3) what Jesus said about sifting, and (4) what the Apostle Paul said about sifting.

In a nutshell, the journey of sifting can be boiled down to:

Sifting – Worldly trouble producing increased surrender to and trust in God.

Where we often seek to avoid or run from sifting, God intends it for our good.  To embrace it is to grow, and mature, and become more like Jesus.

In today’s post, we look at the types of worldly troubles church planting leaders often face in their journey. (more…)

Comments Off on From Troubles (Symptoms) to Causes in Sifting

Paul on Sifting

In our previous post in the Sifted blog series, we looked at what Jesus said about sifting.

Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world.  Trouble is of the physical world and often the product of external factors often beyond our control.  Worry is emotional and the product of the evil one working on our minds.  Jesus asked God to protect us from the evil one when the day of trouble comes.   He could have asked God to take away our trouble but instead he asked God to protect us from the evil one’s attacks on our minds during the trouble.

Sifting is the process of facing life’s troubles and enduring by allowing Jesus to take captive our thoughts rather than the evil one.  Yielding to Jesus’ captivity strengthens our faith.

The Apostle Paul knew trouble.  From flogging to hunger to imprisonment to fear of death, he faced it all.  Amidst it all he said, “in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.”  In, through, and because of his sifting, he learned the secret to “being content in any and every situation.”  In today’s post, we look at ten truths about sifting that we learn from Paul’s life. (more…)

Comments Off on Paul on Sifting

Jesus on Sifting

In our previous post in the Sifted blog series, we discussed a working definition of what sifting is and why it’s important.   In a nutshell, the process of sifting can be boiled down to:

Worldly trouble producing increased surrender to and trust in God.

Where we often seek to avoid or run from sifting, God intends it for our good.  To embrace it is to grow, and mature, and become more like Jesus.

In today’s post, we look at what Jesus had to say about sifting. (more…)

Comments Off on Jesus on Sifting

What is Sifting?

In our last post that kicked off the Sifted blog series, we discussed why the issue of sifting is vitally important in the life of a Christian leader.   In a nutshell, sifting is unavoidable. It’s the weapon of choice used by God to accelerate the spiritual growth of his children.  Contrary to our natural human inclinations, embracing sifting, and even pursuing it, is a catalyst for growing more like Jesus.

In today’s post, we pursue a working definition of sifting.

Most of us prefer to avoid it!

A key assumption in our national platforming of the Sifted theme is that most of us would prefer to avoid it; we’d rather pursue new innovations, new strategies, and other tactics to grow our churches.   The hard work of personal sifting is simply not sexy.   It’s messy.  But, it’s unavoidably necessary as a foundation for healthy reproducing leaders.


Comments Off on What is Sifting?

Why Sifted?

He was successful in business, and in his new non-profit career he was the natural leader of the group.  He was often set apart by the founder, indicating some special anointing.  He was the first in the group to confidently call Jesus “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”   He was the only one to step out of the boat and try to walk on water.  He was even called out by Jesus as the one upon whom Jesus would build his church.

Peter and Judas were both sifted with radically different outcomes!

Peter was full of zeal, pursuing the greatest cause of his lifetime.   Although he’d sacrificially left everything behind to follow Jesus, his new life of significance had him riding a high.  He said he’d do anything for Jesus, including fight to his death.   He was a Type A, High D (on the DISC profile), self-starter and entrepreneur.

He was, in many ways, the profile of most church planters.  And like most planters, he was about to experience loneliness, discouragement, grief, fear, and a host of other emotions.  He would even question, and deny his calling.  He would be “Sifted!”


Comments Off on Why Sifted?