Phil Strout: Everyone Gets to Play

Episode 1 January 05, 2022 00:52:24
Phil Strout: Everyone Gets to Play
We Are Vineyard
Phil Strout: Everyone Gets to Play

Show Notes

In this first ever episode of the We Are Vineyard podcast, VUSA National Director Jay Pathak and former VUSA National Director Phil Strout discuss Equipping the Saints — where this principle comes from biblically, what it means, and how you do it.

They also talk about the vital role of mentors in a leader’s life, share personal stories of pursuing the mentors who have shaped them and cared for their souls, and subsequently how they have learned to recognize leadership on those coming up behind them.

For over a decade Phil Strout served as the National Director for Vineyard USA before he passed the torch to Jay Pathak this year. Phil also served in the Vineyard on the board of directors for Vineyard USA, as a Regional Leader, and as the Senior Pastor of Pathway Vineyard Church, a multisite church based in Lewiston, Maine. He has also done extensive work in church planting around the world, especially in Latin America, and along with his wife, Jan, is bilingual (English/Spanish).

Phil is the author of God’s Relentless Pursuit: Discovering His Heart for Humanity and Thrive: How to Successfully Navigate the S-Turns of Leadership. He brings a non-hyped, down-to-earth, passionately authentic spirit and vision to leading the Vineyard Movement in its divine assignment.  Phil and Jan have been married since they were teenagers and have two kids, 6 grandkids and 2 great-grandkids.


Show Notes:

Faithwalking / Emotionally Focused

Reason for God by Tim Keller

Walter Ciszek
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:13 To me. It was the mercy of God that in the very seed of the vineyard, that small group in Southern California were impressed that there was not to be a one person centered ministry now, because of all that happened, explosion of ministry growth, healing, deliverances all of that easily could have made another big, which in a sense it did, but in the very seed, in the wisdom of God, he made sure they understood. You're not to do this. You to train all of the people to do this. Speaker 2 00:00:51 Welcome to the, we are vineyard podcast conversations to help us grow in life with Jesus and each other. In today's episode, our host, Jay Pathak talks with Phil Strout, former national director for vineyard USA. Speaker 3 00:01:12 Well, Phil, thanks for joining us in our first ever podcast. Imagine that it, Hey, you're you're a trendsetter man. That's Speaker 1 00:01:22 Yeah, I've always been said that it's always been said technology and the latest and the greatest with all this equipment and getting out over the airwaves. Actually this morning, somebody called me a nerd because they saw me sitting in front of a microphone and I had to tell that person that's the first time that's ever Speaker 3 00:01:39 Happened. Trendsetter and nerd, all in one fell Strout. So Phil, uh, I'm really excited to talk to you about what we're going to talk about today, which is equipping the saints because in the vineyard we've always said, this is like a critical component of how we think about ministry, right? Yes. Why do you think that is? Speaker 1 00:02:01 Well, you know, in, in referencing the way on conference w how, w what we addressed there to me, it was the mercy of God that in the very seed of the vineyard, that small group in Southern California were impressed that there was not to be a one person centered ministry. Yeah. Uh, because, because of all that happened, the explosion of ministry growth healing, deliverances all of that easily could have made another big name, which in a sense it did, but in the very seed, in the wisdom of God, he made sure they understood no, this you're not to do this. You to train all of the people to do this. And I think that was the Mo I don't think it was planned. I think it's something that happened, uh, because there's really none. None of our history says, w here's the S here's the five things we're going to make the vineyard B as it started, they just realized. And I think it was Carol Wimber one time said to John, John, you, if you do it, they'll just watch. And you know, of course in the early days, John would be famous just to set the whole thing up, then walk off. And everybody had to jump in. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:03:20 All to manage the mess. Yeah. Yeah. You have of ministry and the rest. So like for you personally, I mean, I know that's who we've been in the vineyard talk a little bit about, well, first just work some Bible, if you have in your head, like, how do we get this idea of equipping the saints? Not just us doing ministry, but part of doing ministry is teaching people to do the thing that we're doing. So just, yeah. What kind of scriptures and press Speaker 1 00:03:51 You have, you have Paul's exhortation to Timothy and second Timothy, two, two. Yup. Where that I learned it from, I learned a lot of this from chameleon. Then I have this encounter with Jesus, and then I've been training. Now you take what you learn from me in the public arena, and you find people who will then find other people. Okay. But then there's the other thing is Jesus. I think it's mark two where Jesus says, follow me. And I don't know if mark one, mark two. I can't remember follow me. And I will make you become fishers of men. Yeah. Uh, he, he, and then he did the training. He walked with them. Then he gave them the instruction of Matthew 28. Okay. And that's go do this on your way. Do this, teach everybody to do the things that I've instructed you to do, teach the way of life that I've just taught you. Speaker 1 00:04:43 That's the way Eugene Peterson said it, the message. So there's really, uh, uh, I think the picture of Moses and Joshua, that, that there was a reference that where when the Lord spoke to Joshua, he says, as I was with Moses, I'll be with you. Joshua had been, uh, riding sidesaddle with Moses for years. And he had been trained in hearing from the Lord and walking with the Lord. So training and, uh, sharing ministry is, it's not a one-off biblical thing. A lot of times we'd go to Ephesians four fivefold ministry. And those, those gifts have been given to the church for the equipping of the saints. But I think we can extract equipping the saints, um, in the, in the entirety of the, of the big narrative of the Bible. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:05:31 Yeah. That's right. Well, and here's a little Bible trivia. Cause there's, here's a, there's a verse I really like is, do you remember? It's a quiz Bible quiz. Okay. Do you remember there's two times Jesus says he finished the work. Do you know what the two times are? Speaker 1 00:05:52 Well, I know it was said it is finished. That's right. Is in John. Yup. Which is the Speaker 3 00:05:57 Cross. Right. Which is the Speaker 1 00:05:58 Cross, Speaker 3 00:05:59 Which is, there's another one. There's Speaker 1 00:06:01 A big one. Okay, go ahead. Uh, let's see Speaker 3 00:06:05 You like this dog, I'm enjoying this. Speaker 1 00:06:07 All right. So, but there are questions coming in. Speaker 3 00:06:12 No, I don't think that's how this works. I really love, I mean, genuinely it's made a huge impact on my life in John 17 in Jesus's prayer where he's, you know, he's going to the cross and he is praying for his disciples, then he's praying for who they will reach out to. Right. Which is us effectively resist this little weird thing in there where he says, I have finished the work in them that through them, the world might know and thought that at that time. Yeah. Which is quite a thing to say. Right? Like, so Jesus is, and by the way, we know the guys, these aren't like high Speaker 1 00:06:54 Shelves. Speaker 3 00:06:55 No, no. And, and we all know what's about to happen. He's about to go to the cross. They're about to all scatter effectively, but he still says, you know, the thing that I set out to do, I've done in them and I'm betting the farm on these guys. Yeah. The whole thing. Yeah. Depends on that. Yeah. Yeah. Which I don't know, for me, I've just realized, and I asked pastors this all the time. Don't you want to be able to say that at the end of all this, you know, like to look at a group of folks that you've given your life to and said everything, I have everything I've known to do, I've tried to do now. It only took him a few years. It might take me a lifetime to get right. Half of what I've sort of experienced from God into some people, but you could make, and you've of course read all the master plan of evangelism and Dawson Trotman stuff with born to reproduce all the things that huge impact on me that it seems as though the whole ministry strategy of Jesus's I'm going to do things. Yeah. But I'm mostly going to invest in a few folks that if they invest in a few folks yes. We'll change the world over time. Yeah. What a remarkable, radical plan. Not a PR plan. Not a crowd plan. No, but a discipleship. Speaker 1 00:08:17 You mentioned a mass planner, the evangelism, Robert Coleman. I highly recommend that still to this day. Just read it, read it again, read it again. You get bored with your assignment. Read it again. Yes. Because that's really what it does. Uh, it is, it's the simplicity of the few that have a few that have a few and it, uh, it, and it happens, um, you know, when it comes to the whole thing of, um, uh, equipping the saints, let me put let's, let's just, let's just put a little Asheville here because let's look at it a different way. Because sometimes, sometimes in the vineyard I have felt that you used more as like an invitation to an all-inclusive resort. Speaker 3 00:09:04 Well, I like those though. I know. Speaker 1 00:09:06 It's like, it's like, Hey, everybody gets to play. Then if you want to come play that I don't think is what Jesus was saying to the, to the boys in mark two. And it depends on how we read it now, I'm, I'm not trying to add anything or manipulate the verse, but he says, I will make you become fishers of men. So if you're going to follow me, this piece really isn't an option for anybody that follows Jesus. You do the things he did. So we've used eat and it can be not always, but it can be just like, like you want to, you know, in, in, in a cultural, warmth and hospitality, Hey, everybody gets to play. It's more than that. If there's a mandate in this of sharing, and if you're a leader, you have a mandate to share whatever it is the Lord has done in you and through you. Speaker 1 00:10:07 And then you give that away. Then they give that away. It's just the Paul Paul said the same. Let me just before, because some of these things come into my mind and now they run out so fast. Brilliant please bring is acts 20. When Paul said, I have not. I have been with you day and night as he leaves the church of Ephesus. And he says, I didn't hold back. One thing I've given you. So there was a thoroughness to that and day and night, day and night day. And, uh, and, and when he left, he knew he had never seen him again. So Paul was basically following Jesus's pattern of betting the farm that these boys would carry on. Speaker 3 00:10:46 Yes, no, that's good. So, so why, why do we even have to talk about, I mean, if it's so plain, what we're saying is so plain, it's plain from the old Testament story, it's plain from the ministry of Jesus. It's playing from the ministry of Paul, not just by way of model, but he's then starts intentionally saying, Hey, Timothy, this is what you gotta do. He looks at the Ephesians elders, as he's about to depart. He says, let me tell you what I've done. Let me tell you what you must do. And we can actually follow this. Of course, through the early church, you can start to notice some of the early church fathers who were referring to how they were discipled by folks like John or others. If this is so plain, it's so clear, how do we get off message? Like, what are the things that make it hard for pastors to keep this central and how they think about ministry? Speaker 1 00:11:41 Um, as, as you were asking that question, it just popped into my head week today. If I was going to answer that in a contemporary way is because the church system went in another direction and we made, uh, superstars. We made the man of God, the woman of God, and they will have, you know, and we've, we've seen it when somebody's got a prophetic gift. People stop doing, practicing the prophetic, because he's going to give a word from the stage. Um, you know, that we changed the word minister from a verb to a noun. He is the minister of that church. And so, although I think there is definitely a change in, in church today. I think a lot of it is because we've been beating this drum and we've seen the clear reality of burnout by people who had they one man show one woman show it's impossible, Jay it's impossible. It is the one is the systems. And, and then, uh, you know, uh, uh, who doesn't like to be the man, right. And Speaker 3 00:12:54 Important feel like Speaker 1 00:12:56 You've got some, you got some fruit and, and yet Jesus, you know, you see him ministering. And then if the crowd stayed together, hid withdraw to a quiet place. Like, you know, Hey, don't tell anybody I just healed you. We have just the opposite. You know, you pray for somebody and they're blind IC. And the next thing you know, you're trying to fill stadium. So your books in your Speaker 3 00:13:16 Got to put it on Insta. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's, so you see the sort of celebrity culture plus the sort of psychological reality of everybody wants to feel important and interesting. That's sort of compounding this problem of sort of the, the one man, the one woman show. Yeah. Yeah. I, you know, and I also, the truth is this work is hard work, right? Like, yes. Like when you go to invest in people in this sort of thorough way, you don't ever bat a hundred, like the amount of people along the way that kind of go, nah, I'm good. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. You start with 10 folks, let's say, then I'm going to help them think through these things really systematically and practice these things with the Bible or ministry in the spirit or being a pastor or whatever, preaching, whatever it is for you. Speaker 3 00:14:16 What, what do you think has been sort of your batting average? I mean, if you look back over the years that you think okay. Of the people that I kind of really intentionally put in a spot, not I've preached to the room, because we're saying that is a different thing. It's an important thing. It's a different thing. But over the years, batting average, I think I got everything I wanted to get into them in a way that I saw them doing it and then putting it into others. Yeah. What do you, what do you think would be Speaker 1 00:14:49 Idle? I mean, I, I just have no way of quickly just adding that up, but it has been, it's not a hundred. No, sure. I do know it's not a hundred. Uh, I just don't want to use that number. Uh, but that is, that's a very interesting thing because I am now a, in a second, third and a third generation of preachers. Yep. Where I was, I mean, I honestly fell into some amazing discipleship when I was fresh and converted in 1974. So I really had somebody in my life saying, you know, son, you know, this is the way walk in it. And it was discipleship and he called to ministry. And then early on reading Robert Coleman, Dawson Trotman, you've already mentioned and others that were just there's the way. And I never, I never had any affinity towards largess, but I loved pioneering. And I spent most of my life pioneering in a matter of fact, over the last 10 years and more managing and leading, it's not been that, that you do it because you asked to do it by the Lord and okay, you do that. Speaker 1 00:16:08 But I think Jay you're taught, you're pushing a button right here. If our colleagues would get how great it would be if they took 10 or 12 and you pour years into them. Yep. So years ago I instituted a thing where I did early morning and it was men, young men. And then in other aspects, young women, but the early morning thing was mostly young men, but it was, you know, 5, 5, 5 30 in the morning. And if you miss two, I basically said, you're not ready for this group. So if you just rolled over one morning, said, Hey, I don't want to go. And you know, from those groups through these, I usually do two, three years. A lot of those young men are today in ministry and, and, and young women. Speaker 3 00:16:55 So, okay, wait, this is important. Yep. I love everything. You're saying how many bailed out? You said, okay, so there's some dishonorably, Speaker 1 00:17:04 Uh, like a third. Yeah. I would say a third. I mean, I've done. I had never done that. No, I know. Speaker 3 00:17:10 But what's interesting to me is I would say a third, you're a highly capable guy. You're super gifted. You've had prolific ministry. You've you've, you know, you didn't just wake up yesterday and start doing this. You've been doing this a long time. And even in doing it a long time, you bet on certain people, you investing a lot. Yeah. And third let's say are just like, nah. Yeah. Which is wild to think about. I mean, you see it in Jesus, right? I mean Jesus' ministry. The amount of people are like, wow, that was kind of cool. Speaker 1 00:17:43 I think sometimes I wonder if, if in God's great cosmic wisdom, he just said, Jesus, we have to set it up. So you lose one. So the humans in the centuries afterwards don't feel so bad. Now I'm kidding a little bit. I don't know, man, but, but there is a reality to that. Oh, totally. You know, Stetsa would say a, a great Missy ologist in ecclesiologist. He would say, you've got to put six into the front end of the system to get one out. Yeah. And we, you know, if you remember those conversations, 10, 11, 12 years ago, we were overwhelmed with that because we knew we had a season of a lot of retirements out of the vineyard. And, uh, and we wanted to plant several hundred new churches. So we knew that was, you know, we, we were in need of minimally a thousand people, uh, that, that somewhere on the next journey, the next decade could step into churches. Speaker 1 00:18:38 Should we basically, we, we took that as Sandra, we need to put 6,000 in the pipeline. Yes. And I, I don't even know if it was, if it would be a third for me through the years, but, but I can look back and see the groups that's right. There was, there was some that really caught it and they stayed at it. Here's Jen, you've heard me say this a hundred times. I'll just say it again is there's really, you don't change the game. I get calls. You get calls or what have you, here's the famous line. What do you think the Lord is doing today as though God is cosmically bored and it has to come up with a new gig. And the fact of the matter is that's just not true. Yes. For leaders is we can get discouraged because people drop out or we get bored with it and say, well, okay, I've discipled. Speaker 1 00:19:33 And I, you know, you disciple, you disciple, you raise up leaders. Then as you know, I always put a tagline on, you know, evangelize, disciple, raise up your leaders and include everybody, the diversity. Do it again, do it again, do it yet. So I'm in a great transition in my life, but I know that going forward, I will gather another group of young men. And we'll start the process again, of doing these things that Jesus show these guys how to do and show these people how to do show these women how to do and, and on and on. So Speaker 3 00:20:05 Back up a little bit, you, you mentioned something anecdotally, they probably be worth exploring. You said that early on for me, I was invested in really intentionally. And I've heard bits of the story, but describe some of the key mentors leaders, because as you're first coming in, you don't know what you don't know. Like yeah. If they told you to go stand on your head in the corner, you probably would. But, but, you know, cause I don't know, I met Christ. I'll do whatever you want me to do. What kinds of things do they do with you? How do they grab a hold of you intentionally? Yeah. And it sounds like that almost immediately shaped how you thought about ministry. Like, oh, I guess what's happening to me. I'm supposed to do to other people Speaker 1 00:20:45 Thoroughly. And it came up in faith, walking where we're talking a lot about first formation, but they ref in the, in the group I was in, we were talking about our family and our personal first formation. Yup. And I just transferred that to what is it? When somebody comes to Christ, they're converted, they start following Jesus out of the gate. That is so huge. And I had, I, you know, I don't know how there's a phrase, you know, uh, born with a silver spoon in your mouth or something. I can't, I can't remember how that goes, but it indicates you had an easy road. Well, the fact of the matter is I had a sensational man lead me to Christ that I had, I didn't know, from, from anybody, he was a Penn state graduate Princeton graduate. He was one of the first Protestant missionaries to go into Japan at the end of world war II at the invitation of Douglas MacArthur. Speaker 1 00:21:39 And he administered all over Southeast Asia for years and years and years. Wow. And then when the Japanese began in the late sixties, early seventies, they began immigrating to Brazil because Brazil was giving away massive pieces of land to Japanese immigrants because they were excellent farmers. And they had all these natural resources. So fast forward, this man began ministering. He decided to start going to Brazil, administering to the Japanese immigrants. He was recruiting high school and college kids, all of the United States to go do this work in Brazil. I happened to fall into a meeting with that guy was the speaker. I'd never been to a Christian meeting. I had never heard the gospel until that night. He explained the gospel in a way that was like, I mean, Jay, just what you and I do every day. You know, as, as passive, I mean, crystal clear, you know, man is separated from God and he goes through, he walked us through the steps. Speaker 1 00:22:35 Wow, 10 minutes afterwards, I prayed a prayer and he prayed with me 10 minutes later, he says, how would you like to go with me to Brazil the summer and tell them and tell the young people in Brazil, what, what just happened to you? And my response was what happened to me? I didn't even know what he's talking about. Right? He said that Jesus just came into your life. He's forgiving you sin. And he's going to start showing you your very purpose in life. I go, sure. I'd love to do that. And three months later, I'm with him in Brazil, I was 16, 17 years old. And he was an amazing, amazing man of God. Brilliant, had good chunk of the Bible memorized. He took us that summer and then I had to finish high school. And then he asked for, he asked us to come live with him for one year at the mission compound that he ran. Speaker 1 00:23:33 And for year I met with him for two and a half hours. And he took me through the new Testament verse by verse first formation. Wow. He poured it into my gut. So thought this is what you do. You lead someone to Christ and then you begin doing with them, what was done to you and you teach them to do it to others. And so I've, I've had three pretty strong mentors that if kept my feet to the fire, Earl tiger. Who's who's now with the Lord, Bob Fulton welcomed me into the vineyard and poured a lot of, uh, vineyard stuff. He really, really was one of the glues into the vineyard. And then I had a, uh, later in life mentor that many people that know me, they referred me to say is, is named Dr. Bob. And he is the one in probably mid nineties, 95, 6 started talking to me about my interior life. And he would say he had a great voice for podcasts. He'd say, Phil, how's your soul. So in that, Jay, I really believe that that, that, that first formation has set me on a path that we've been on now, 47 years, Speaker 2 00:25:07 Each quarter on the weird vineyard podcast. We will focus in on a theme for all of our interviews for the first quarter of 2022. The theme is equipping the saints. And every month we're going to introduce a new recommended book or resource to dig in deeper this month. We're recommending that everyone reads strong and weak by Andy crouch later this month, we'll interview Andy, to hear a deeper dive on this book and much more strong in week is available through vineyard resources and wherever books are sold. Speaker 3 00:25:42 And so like you, I have conversations like this with people. Yeah. My story is not that different than yours. You know, a few very critical people, very intentionally invested in my life in a way that much, like you said, at the time, I didn't understand. I had no idea that it was an unusual experience. I thought, oh, this is just what people do. And that's shaped every bit of my ministry life. So as I talked to people about this leaders, pastors, one of the things they have to process often instantly is I don't think that happened to me. Yes. Like I came to Christ and the basic thing I was told to do, or maybe I was raised in church, was show up at meetings, you know, be at church every Sunday, if you're extra into it, go to a Bible study. And they were mostly sort of discipled within larger group contexts. And then somebody taught a class on teaching the Bible. And so then they taught there, they taught the Bible. Once people are like, man, you're pretty good. And next thing you know, they're a pastor and they listened to us talking right now and they suddenly, it starts to Dawn on them. Wait a minute. The thing you're describing, that's super intentional time with another person never really happened to me. So now I don't feel like I know how to turn around and do that somewhere else. What would you want to say to that? Well, Speaker 1 00:27:14 I think you've nailed it. Uh, we hear that a lot that never happened to me and I, and you have deep regret on that, but at some point you, that needs to stop so well, let's you, you can end that if something doesn't happen to you then, and then you realize, gee, that would've been a good thing. You just generationally have to pick it up and start the ball rolling from there on, in one sense, as you were saying that I was thinking, you know, our church planters, the good church planters that I've known through the years are people that come from atmospheres and environments where church planting is a big deal. And it's probably the same with this discipleship thing or, or equipping the saints, especially in the intensity of equipping the saints. Like I will make you become a Fisher of men, right. Speaker 1 00:28:08 Um, if that didn't happen to you, there's a good chance that's not happening from you. But I would think somebody listening to the podcast could say, instead of saying, gee, I never got that. So I don't know what those guys are talking about, but they sort of do know what we're talking about. And, and I would just, you know, I mean, as a simple say, okay, I'm going to, I'm going to exact do this. I think there's also a lot of pressure on pastors to get more because of the whole consumerism. And you know, you get, you get a little bit of recognition, significant status and all that, all that in a bag of potato chips, more numbers were sort of led away from the intensity. And if you did 10 really good, it would probably be better than a hundred that I just going to sort of walk, you know, listen to Speaker 3 00:29:02 A sermon, right? Speaker 1 00:29:03 We just don't have a culture that applauds for that. You know what I'm saying? But one of the phrases I used to use is first row, second row, third girl. I think it was the first church we did in Santiago, Chile. We literally had a front row where the guys who were in Bible college, they were, you know, working, going to school at night, everything into the church. And there was probably 15 of them. And then, and then as some of them began to take up leadership positions in one, a couple of one went to be a missionary in Ecuador. Another one went to plant a church in conception. It's sudden in Southern Chile. I okay. It now I started looking at the second and the third row and I realized there really is. It's like, okay, here, there's a team. That's there. Ready? If triple a they're ready to go up and take a swing, but there's Speaker 3 00:29:56 Got to be intentional to your point. You got to keep looking, is the key, do that again? Speaker 1 00:30:00 Yeah. This is hard. This is hard work because it is it's applauding work, you know, left foot right foot. It really is. And then we could say, what's the content of this. I'll just tell you for me. I want to hear that one. Would've been how intensely I was influenced in first formation of how important the Bible was. I don't regret that one bit. How intentionally a prayer. And then it was some, you know, just some crazy stuff, sacrifice, engage. I would make you. And I, I often talk about this through the users. Do I really do I really have to get involved with people's lives? Like Speaker 3 00:30:46 Yes. Yeah. I can just preach and write emails, right? Speaker 1 00:30:50 Yeah. And I can write devotionals, but no. Do I have to get in messy lives? Yes. That's a big deal. It is. Yeah, Speaker 3 00:31:00 It is. So for you, you said Bible prayer, sacrifice, engaging, involved in people's lives, which missional. Yeah, because I know you, that means evangelism, not just pastoring Speaker 1 00:31:13 And I'll evangelism being with like, here's an example in, in our, in the, one of the churches we planted in Portland, Maine w you know, you start gathering some men and women groups and things like that. And I said, what would it be like for first few years, if we don't invite any Christian speakers to a group, but we invite the mayor. We had a professional hockey coach that was, at that time, the Portland pirates, he went on to become the, eh, he won the Stanley cup in the NHL about 10 years later. So, I mean, we just had anyone in the community that the police chief, the fire chief, the, we had the, uh, I had the coach come in from the, a class, a state champs, south Portland bulldogs, nice guy. He, and I'd play golf once in a while. Probably mainline denominational guy nominal at best. Speaker 1 00:32:08 But he came in and, you know, I mean, he was a motivational guy, right. And he talked about being a, his was a seed. A sapling is the only things that can turn into Sequoyah, you know? And you can just see he's been developing young football players. So, you know, you start out as a seed and then everybody doesn't pay attention to you enough to let a little, a little sound sapling. And he says, but that's the only thing that turns into a Sequoia. They can get a great shot. So then he ended it forgot his audience. He got wrapped up in his pep talk that he told a dirty joke and all the guys were trying not to laugh. They were like, you know, nervous and looking at each other. Totally. That's what they said, John, you got to remember your audience. Do you Speaker 3 00:32:55 Remember where you are? Yeah. Speaker 1 00:32:57 And I said, but I guarantee it's not the first off-color joke those guys have earned. Yes. Yes, that's right. I share that. Just to say, I got some pushback at the first, but only from church people, you're going to have Barry Trotman, he's the guy that won the Stanley cup. Uh, you're going to have, he doesn't know Jesus. I said, oh yeah, we didn't ask him to preach. We asked him to come share her story. Yeah. A lot of those things. And then, you know, uh, our lives have to get messed up. She'll part of the formation. It's not just, it's just, it's just the word of God. Not just the bread. The inner me, the inner life formation came later. I didn't, I didn't even know that it was matter of fact, some of my, some of my first formation was prejudicial against them because so much of it came from our Catholic brothers and sisters. But keeping your hands messy with humanity was something that Earl target put in me really, really quick, because we weren't, I mean, the work in Brazil was not like church work. It was street work we worked with. Yeah. It was just hard. Speaker 3 00:34:03 And what's interesting listening to you, fill in and speak to this a little bit is so when you meet Dr. Bob in the nineties, how old are you around that time? I mean, because, you know, I would Speaker 1 00:34:17 Have been just turning 40. Speaker 3 00:34:20 Okay. So that means that into 40. You're still saying I need some intentional mentors. Yes. People in my life, which strikes me because what we just talked about a moment ago, people say, well, I don't have this. I must have missed my window. You can just go find people to invest in you now. I mean, I'm stunned at how many times when I walk up to people and to say, there's this thing you do, or there's this way you do this thing, or there's this thing I don't understand that somehow happens when you teach or when you pray or that I don't get, can I just tag along? Can I just get to know what you do? Can I, wherever you're doing whatever you're doing, can I just be there? Can I buy you lunch? Um, you, you might know Floyd McClung, you know, he was a yes. Speaker 3 00:35:14 Y waver, Y whammer director of Wyman. And I'd seen a thing. He was going to be speaking out in the middle of the mountains and I'd read a bunch of stuff and always admired him. So I drove up there and walked in this meeting. It's like a few hundred people, these teaching, and it was incredible. Great. Just powerful time. Anyway, I just walked up to him and he came off the stage and said, Hey, my name's Jay. I live in timber, say, oh, you're a part of the wham thing here. No, no. I just showed up. He's like, oh my God, I would love to take you to lunch. And he goes, well, I like, I think I'm supposed to do something. I don't know. They, these guys brought me, there's a lunch. I think I was supposed to go to, I go, well, what is it? Speaker 3 00:35:55 He goes, I don't really know. Well, it doesn't sound like it's that important if you don't even know what it is, can I, can I please take you to lunch? And he goes, he just looks at me. He kind of smiles. He goes sure. Then that started a real lasting friendship where, you know, he would just walk with me and talk to me about life when, when, when he'd be somewhere in the states, even cause he lived at, oh, I would try to fly to be near where he was. Yeah. Flew out to do stuff that he did. We woke up every morning, went to South Africa and I walked on the beach every morning for like 10 days. Yeah. And I just asked him everything. I just peppered him with questions and he would ask me things. And I think back on that, and I think so some guy just walks up to him off the stage. Yes. And he says, sure, I'll do that. I think there's more of that available than people realize. Speaker 1 00:36:55 Yes. Both ways. There's people that could walk up to you. Yes. Right now. And just say, can I talk to you? Would you have lunch? Or you can walk up to people. Yup. Now I met, I met Dr. Bob because when I planted in Portland, Maine, this was late 1993 ish. I asked around, I said, who's the players in Portland. Who's the players. And his name kept coming up. And he was the pastor of the largest, first Baptist church of canker row. And his name came up in such an endearing way. I thought I gotta go meet this guy. I wonder who this is. I made an appointment. And I went in and I introduced myself. I said, I'm Phil Strout. I says, uh, Dr. Bow. I said your name every day, everybody I talked to about planting a church here in Portland, your name comes up. Speaker 1 00:37:45 Oh, he says, you're so generous. And I said, no, it just does. And he says, well, who are you working with? I said, I'm um, I'm a vineyard guy and I'm going to plant a vineyard church. Oh, we love the vineyard. And his eye. He had had some niece, nephew, granddaughter had been at Steve Nicholson's church in Evanston. And so he just, he said, yeah, he said, and I said, um, would you mind maybe at some point telling me about what God's doing in Portland, Maine and the nineties and all, that'd be wonderful. And that's how it all started. And so we became friends and met with him. Oh, I don't know, maybe three, four times a year for two or three years. Then I asked him to come preach at our church, had this fledging little group and come to find out he had done his, uh, post-graduate work at fuller under George lad. Speaker 1 00:38:39 Wow. He was a total kingdom guy as a conservative Baptist. Don't try to connect those dots because they don't connect. Yeah. Okay. But he was, he was amazing. Well then he, he retires or no, the Lord told him to retire and he didn't a year later, uh, this would have been 90, maybe five or six. He got in a car accident on his way to sunrise service at the church. And the Lord said, I told you, you're done. Wow. He resigned that night. A lot of lessons. And he went to, and then the, um, the, uh, association of evangelicals of new England asked him and funded him to pick 25 young leaders around new England and mentor them. And when he told me about that, I begged him if I could be one of the guys. So some of those you have to go, you got to go, go, go, go, go get it. She's somebody that you resonate with. And you know, you they've got something you don't have just goes. I literally said, is there any room in this for a vineyard guy? Oh, Phil, of course. Yes. Yes. He and I met for 15 years, two hours a month for 15 years. I got to be careful. I can break down right now. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:40:09 He never asked me about my church. Got to be in a church work for years for decades. Right. He asked me every time I saw him for 15 years, Phil, how's your soul. And I, a few times I tried lying to him. I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. How's Jen. He adored my wife. How's Jannie. I said, oh good. We might have the worst fight of our marriage the day before, but I could never lie to him. I couldn't stick from one 10 minutes because we'd get further into the conversation. And I'd say, Hey, remember what I said? I'm okay. 10 minutes ago. I'm not, I'm a stick in wreck. Yeah. And that, that, but that was something, it was a gift from God that I needed. And that formed a lot of the evening. Some of the stuff I've brought to the vineyard in Mike, little, little, little tiny contribution about the inner life and soul care and how, how to have fruitful longevity. Yup. Um, so this thing of equip, he was equipping me, but his equipping was not in the tactical and strategic work in the church, his training to me. And then what I've tried to do with it was the interior life has to match the public life because he always said, if your prize in life does not match your public life shoot or later it comes tumbling down. Yep. No was like brilliant. I Speaker 3 00:41:36 Yeah. Or how so? So again, I, this is a little concrete, but, but when you first meet him, you have no church or you have very little church. Speaker 1 00:41:48 I had a fledgling small Speaker 3 00:41:49 Group. Okay. So you, you, I mean, at the risk of offending you for a guy, who's like the big deal in town, you roll in with pretty much nothing. Zero nothing. And they're like, Hey man, you want to hang up? Speaker 1 00:42:06 No presumption there. Speaker 3 00:42:08 Yeah. Yeah, sure. And he does a couple, few times a year, whatever for awhile. And then he has this other opportunity. And again, you pop up and I'm trying to do the math on that. So that means that you are in your mid forties or so around then. Speaker 1 00:42:23 Yes. 40 well, 40 years. Yeah. There. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:42:26 So I mean, and this, this should not be a controversial thought, but when he's supposed to get young leaders, 40 doesn't count. I don't think, Speaker 1 00:42:35 I think I, I went out and got some of that color. Your beard got the gray out, grew my hair a little longer. I did something, I lost 10 pounds. I don't know what I did. Speaker 3 00:42:46 You're like, I'm going to be a young leader, whatever it takes. Yeah. And so again, what's interesting is so many of the things you're describing, aren't just like magical moments, you know, it's not like, and then an angel appeared and I, and I, and I, and he was glowing or I was glowing. And, and, and he was like, I see the Lord on you. It's like this fairly boring, practical, intentional work of making an appointment, showing up as a learner, asking questions. And then you weren't even necessarily thinking, you know, I need somebody to help me with my soul. No, I didn't even really know. But you know, there's something about this leader. And then that leader starts to do these kinds of things with you. Uh, and, and this is where we do have to believe in the sovereignty of God, somehow God graciously partnered with your activity to put you with the right person at the right time, at the right stage of your life to do this kind of work. Speaker 1 00:43:54 It's such a miracle. Saint Ignatius always said, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. And you know, when I first started reading that, I was like, well, okay, pay attention. Because we believe, I mean, it's so hand in glove with what we believe theologically and practically as God's always at work. Yes. So it was just thinking, as you were saying that Jay there's guys and gals listening to this, even to this podcast, and I would say pay attention because there's people that are coming to you, looking for training, looking, looking for friendship, looking for, help me get, help me walk through this next stage. And then a Wiseman is always looking to see who God's putting in your path. That can be, I have always said, I like it. If somebody is 10 or 15 years older than me, and has not just chronologically in age, but in kingdom experience, church experience leadership experience. Speaker 1 00:44:53 Because if somebody's 40 years, 50 years, they forget. And it's like trying to have a, you know, somebody got a church of 3000 people doing, uh, a church growth weekend with, uh, you know, the churches of 30. Right. You know, get that church of 300 to help that one that's right. Too big. It's just too big a gap. So now it's a little bit harder because those people now have to be in their eighties for me, but I still say they're there. And I pay attention. I've recognized when I'm around them and I'll, I'll hunt them down. And I still sort of play the innocent, dumb, old guy, you know, just, uh, Hey, you know, I, I can't figure this out. Speaker 3 00:45:32 So ask questions, show up as a learner. Yup. Speaker 1 00:45:36 And then I'm looking to see who's coming my way, like in this transition right now, one of the things I'm excited about, it's got really nothing to do with you. And I transitioning here as much as having more time at pathway vineyard, I've realized over the last three or four months, I've been looking in a way that I haven't had the opportunity to, for the last decade because I just have not been around. Yeah. But where's, where's that next, you know? And so, you know, there's this four or five, you know, 30 year olds, 25 year old, 30, 35 year olds that I think, uh, yeah. Yeah. They're, they're the, Speaker 3 00:46:12 So your, so let's, let's wrap up with this. Like if you're looking, what are you looking for? So you're, you're, you're responding to people that come toward you and you're saying, yeah, let's, let's do the things. Let's think through the Bible. Let me talk to you about how to pray and let's do some praying. Let's put you together with some other folks so that you're doing, but when you're looking, what are you looking for? You're looking across the room. You're looking through the church. Speaker 1 00:46:38 Yeah. I, for me, and this is just mine. I mean, I've heard the one above, who's setting up chairs who staying late. Right. Okay, good. That's good. I agree. I think that's a, that's a piece of it. What I have found is the ones that come asking the intriguing questions. Hmm. They've made a step. And then when you ask questions back, you know, they're pensive and they're engaging, uh, or they that that's wh that's curiosity, curiosity, inquisitiveness asking questions. And that, that, that has been one of the big ones. Because if they're uninterested, I've never felt I had to be the salesman to get them there. Yes. But if they are interested, I have felt a moral and ethical obligation to let it come a little bit further, let it come a little bit further. That's what, I've always those groups at five 30 in the morning, because they want, they have, they want to get up in the morning. Speaker 1 00:47:35 They gotta want, they got to want to do that. Now I'll, I'll, I'll go coffee. I'll do lunches and all that. But if, if they're, if, and, and again, that's just me. I'm not saying that's a meth. My methodology has been. And that group, if I asked if I looked at the batting average with that methodology, it's pretty high to be real high. Right. Then I'd take them through some, you know, I'll spend a year on the life of Walter scissor. I won't go into who he is, but you know that that's been a big piece for me. Then we'll do every group I take through Tim. Keller's reason for God, you know, do some apologetic work. And, but they have to, they have to do then you just, you see their interest. So if they're interested because of the intensity we're talking about. Yep. If they're interested, I'll mentor, if they're not fit means they just need to be flipped over a few more times in the oven. Speaker 3 00:48:27 Right. Right. And you, and that's not up to you Speaker 1 00:48:29 And that's not up to me, right? Speaker 3 00:48:31 Yeah. Yeah. For me, I, you may have heard this story, but when rich Nathan hired me, he hired me to be his intern site unseen. I didn't really know him. And I get a call from Richard, which is terrifying. You know? I don't know why he's calling me. Yeah. And I show up, I'd been waiting tables. He walks me around the parking lot. He asked me a hundred questions in a row. I don't even know what we're doing. I don't know why he's called me. I'm thinking he's going to prophesize my sin or something. But like the third lap around the parking lot, I finally said, what are we doing? I don't know what I'm doing here is, oh, I wanted to hire you to be my, oh, I didn't know what we were doing. He goes, I'm sorry. I didn't say that to you. Speaker 3 00:49:11 I go, no, I don't even know what this was. And I said, so why are you? Well, we don't even know each other. I don't know how this happened. And he said, well, Jay, there's a lot of people that are way more qualified than you for this job. And I thought, oh, that's comforting. Right? Thank you. He goes, but there's this thing that I've tried to train myself to watch for, which is when people hunger and thirst for God, he goes, because I can't put that in people. I don't know how that happens. Some of that's a mystery, but when I see it, I'm confident pounce on it, that that person will grow and I can help them grow. And I see that in you. So I want to invest in you. I think, I think this is something God has for your life. And, and it was funny leaving because I don't think I realized how significant it was obviously at the time, because I was like, most of us, I keyed in on the negative part, which was, you're not very qualified, but, but, but now many years later I can see, wow. Speaker 3 00:50:18 He, that was about the best compliment. I think I could be paid in my life. Yeah. And it trained me to watch for that. Yeah. Cause sometimes people aren't as qualified. Yeah. They're not, you know, maybe as bright or they're not as sort of interesting. Or Speaker 1 00:50:37 Paul put a little qualifier there in second Timothy, two, two. Yeah. Cause he says, don't you give it? And he's talking leadership. Let's I mean, w we're putting a little of that into the passage, but exactly what you just said, give it away to people who are apt, who will then, or can, or have the skill to, or have the willingness to give it away to other way. That's right. So that's that, that, that's not a, Speaker 3 00:51:05 Yeah. That's great. Well, Phil, I personally am grateful for you. How you've invested me and how we're moving through this transition. You've been a champ I'm really grateful for you. And I feel honored and humbled even having this conversation with you because guys like me are just picking the fruit off the trees of what men like you. So Speaker 1 00:51:24 Well, you're on your time, Jane. We're just going to keep doing this until we don't do it anymore. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:51:31 That's enough. Well, amen. And I'm looking forward to keep doing it with you for you really grateful. And uh, maybe we'll get to talk again sometime. I bet we Speaker 1 00:51:39 Will. Thanks. Speaker 2 00:51:45 Did we? Our vineyard podcast is a production from the team at tenured USA. If you've been enjoying the podcast, here's a few ways you can help us leave us a review on the podcast platform of your choice. This helps more people find us connect with us online for additional resources. Our website is vineyard, and we're on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at, at vineyard USA. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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