On the Road

Jared the Military History Teacher

Episode Summary

"The gospel and the great commission and the mission of Jesus Christ needs to be super incarnational so everybody can do it. And then I looked around and I didn't see any examples." - Jared. Find out what Jared did next by listening to this episode.

Episode Notes

  • Check out the Season 1 episode on MAWL: Model, Assist, Watch, Leave.
  • You can hear more from Chuck and Jim, two guys that Jared talks about, on these podcasts:
  • Find some #NoPlaceLeft Training
  • Call/text any questions, comments, or feedback: 321 209 3899
  • Episode Transcription

    Peter:

    Jared, tell me what's been the best part of your week.

     

    Jared:

    I'd say the most exciting part of my week in this last week has actually just been just my time, probably with the Lord in the morning. There's uh, I've been reading through Isaiah and Isaiah is a very, at times it's a very scary book, 'cause there is a lot of judgment, but then getting to, you know, you slog through all that. And then you get to the Isaiah 55 where God talks about extending the stakes of your tent. God was kind of speaking directly to kind of some of the things we have going on to extend the stakes of our tent. Just very encouraged by, by that. But I, I think I can only get encouraged by it because of all the stuff that comes before is all the judgment, you know, like, Oh, there is good. There is hope so.

     

    Peter:

    Yeah. Thanks so much for jumping on. Tell me just your connection to no place left. Yeah, well, it's a great, you know,uthere's a reason I asked what our time limit was. The short answer is actually through Chuck and Deb Wood and Jim and Rolinda McKnight down at Fort Benning. So I,ujoined the army in 2008. I was probably a moderately established believer by that point. Had probably kinda, you know, giving my life to Jesus as a teenager and gotten baptized, but hadn't really ever figured out much after that. The first day I showed up at Fort Benning, the first Sunday I was there, I was in an army barracks and I would just walk down the street to a,ua Baptist, sorry, a gospel service, cause it was just the closest thing. And it was, it was my first time in the South and it was in Columbus, Georgia, and it was, it was a new experience. And I was like, Oh man, this is going to be a rough...

     

    Peter:

    Right. Different culture, completely.

     

    Jared:

    Different culture. Coming from California and all this stuff. And so, and then, but I had a friend who another Lieutenant who went and got connected with some folks in the Navigators. And uone of them was Tim Ianicone ,who's another army officer who kind of began discipling me and I was there for a year and that's when I got connected with, him and Chuck.

     

    Peter:

    Well take us from there to where you're at now.

     

    Jared:

    So I actually, it was an accident. I was there. I had to come to Fort Benning where Jim and Rolinda were for a year for training. Well, it really was kind of God's sovereignty. I got the opportunity to stay there and for another year or for another, sorry, three years after that. So we ended up staying at Fort Benning with Jim and Rolinda for a total of four years. One of those years I deployed to Iraq as an infantry platoon leader. And that, that was really the time, you know, that I began to own at kind of more of an adult Lordship level. My not only my faith, but, but the mission of Jesus Christ. And so God took me through, I would say during that, that year a series of refining experiences... Failure. As a leader, I struggled in my job, had conflict with kind of my key partner. My other platoon Sergeant,we had a lot of, you know, conflict and, and in all that stress, God really used that I think to root me very deeply,in Jesus. It was just, it was just, I had nowhere else to go. I was alone and stressed out and angry with myself. And so I had to, had to turn to Jesus. And so what that led to was September of 2010, was really when, very early on when Chuck and Jim were starting to hear about movements. And so,came back in 2010 at the end of 2010, Chuck and Jim kind of came up with this idea of, of not, we weren't even calling it church, but this idea of a great commission experiment, which is, "let's form little small groups" where, you know, they're doing a lot of evangelism and, and you know, small groups are where transformation kind of occurs. So let's do that. So in early 2011,I moved in with Jim and Rolinda for about six months,for kind of more intentional discipleship, but then I also was helping lead kind of this big Bible study where my brigade was. And then we kind of said, Oh, Hey, we're going to, we're going to multiply. And I got sent out to kind of go start my own little great commission experiment. And I'll never forget... Walking... There were about 10 ,soldiers that were, you know, I was kinda felt following up with who were in this Bible study and we all walked out and we said, we're going to go start a great commission group in the barracks. And we all walked out and there were 10 people with me then, and I said, we shared the gospel a couple of times. And I said, all right, if you want to come back here and start a movement that's gonna change the world, come back Sunday morning at 9:00 AM, which was not a good time for, you know, 18 to 24 year old men. So Sunday morning that was a Thursday, Sunday morning rolls around and nobody shows up. One, sorry, one guy shows up. And then we went and knocked because we were meeting in the barracks of a second guy. We went and Knocked on his door and said, Hey man. So, so we had a beginning of that first year, very kind of... Chuck and Jim will describe it as a mixing the chemicals in laboratory. And if that's, if that's the analogy then I may have been the lab rat during that time. I think in all of that though, God really transformed my heart to where I knew by the time we... You know, I got married at the end of that when we left Fort Benning. By the end of that, I knew that I was going to be making disciples for the rest of my life.

     

    Peter:

    Yeah, go ahead. Keep going. Tell me, tell us what happened next.

     

    Jared:

    And so there, there's a lot of kind of things going on at once. One is, you know, the NPL vision. The other part of it is just in 2013 we began to kind of gather enough, call it a Friday night fellowship and we had about 15 or so people kind of showing up and halfway through 2013, Jim came up and Jim's been discipling me for, I think about 10 years now. And he's MAWLed, right? ,Model Assist, Watch and Leave, my a church of mine twice. Right. First time was summer of 2013. He came in and he showed us the... He modeled lesson one of the three thirds process for our, our, what, at that point, it was just a gathering of believers and trained everybody on how to share their testimony. And and it blew my socks off. I was like, Oh wow, this is amazing. And then what happened... So that was, I'd say early summer of 2013, then what happened is we went out to a six week summer training. We had kind of this a lot of the folks that were in that gathering that fellowship gathering. We're going to be out in this this training with, with us. And so we started very simply when we got out there doing justdoing a nightly or every other night kinda gathering. You have barracks and you have this open kind of picnic table area, and we'd meet up. We'd go train during the day. And then we'd meet up in the afternoon or evening. And we just did practice. We practiced. Maybe a little bit, you know, maybe a directive kind of goal setting, hey try and go share with all your squad. People started sharing the gospel more than I had ever seen. And I have to ask God, so this is the big asterisk, because we didn't, we weren't tracking it tightly, but I'm pretty certain that everybody in that 300 man class, by the end of that six weeks heard the gospel. And so we were sold, it was so exciting. It was so amazing to see what God had done. And I don't, I don't think, we may, maybe a couple of people got led to Christ, but I, I, you know, not necessarily a ton of evident fruit, but just the saturation of that larger group through multiplying simple tools of gospel sharing. And what was important is that out of that, that's one, the people that were faithful who God really kind of wanted us to invest our lives in. It became incredibly clear who those people were. And so when we came back what we call in Army "Garrison," so that's sleeping at home every night and getting our weekends. That's really, when we got the vision for church, people have different ways that they get to, you know, or that they answer the question. Why, why church? Um for me, it was reading Matthew 16 and seeing Jesus look at Peter and say, Peter, you are my rock. And on this rock, I will build my church. And the Gates of Hades will not overcome it. And I, it just hit me like a ton of bricks, and I'll never forget it was fall of that year, that I cannot make disciples without planting churches. We planted our first church and, and, you know, multiplied it a couple you know, one, one out kind of for that. And then everybody left. One of the guys who was in that church, went out to Fort Campbell and just started leading lots of people to Christ. And it was amazing. I was like, and it was just absolutely mind blowing.

     

    Peter:

    Again. I love how, when we just think of the four fields of how interconnected it is, we never evangelize in a vacuum and just tally up gospel decisions, or even what you just said there, we don't disciple with no end goal in mind. Right? There's the gathering as part of it. So, so maybe a way to kind of bring that together, then it would be just, what about now at West point?

     

    Jared:

    Yeah. Since we've arrived, we've planted a church you know our first year here, it was, you know, we saw a couple of folks get led to Christ and have a church, but it was, it was kind of that initial, you know, first year on ground figuring things out. And so this year in particular, we're very excited because we, at the end of last year, we had seen three second generation churches and two different teams basically in that second gen into the second gen church is committed, starting a third gen church. So there... The multiplication is, is you know, really starting to happen. And as that's happening more, you know, more people are hearing the gospel and getting led to Christ. And so I guess if there was a cool story that kinda maybe illustrates some of the bigger stuff, I there's a ton of mentorship, like army mentorship opportunities here at West point. And there was a young woman who came to me for mentorship for an army project. And over the course of, you know, our time, you know, it became very clear that she needed to hear the gospel, as everybody does. And so we, you know, share the gospel with her and didn't see anything happen. And that was during our first semester here, six months goes by and she reached out and was like, sir, like I was on a mountain top in Alaska, this, this summer. And I realized that I'm looking for the wrong thing. So she gave her life to the Lord and it's just, you know, seeing the extent to which, how readily she shares the gospel with her, her friends and, and... It's just as mind blown. And so it's, it's very exciting. So that was, that was last,uI guess November,uthat, or maybe October that she got baptized, but it's more of the, the growth that's happened since then is super exciting as well. Yeah.

     

    Peter:

    Yeah. And don't miss the part of the story too, that... Just that six month gap. I would just encourage anybody that we share the gospel. And sometimes we have, I mean, I guess I just had one today that you're like, this feels like nothing else is going to happen. I mean, I was faithful to obey, but yeah, this is just a good reminder for me, that story, if you don't know how God's going to use that fruit and that seed. Tell me, like, just what's your job in a nutshell, what do you do there?

     

    Jared:

    I'm an active duty army officer. I'm an infantry officer. But right now I'm teaching military history to West point cadets.

     

    Peter:

    So I wanted to jump back to something you said in your original story, but then it relates to this question. You said at some point in the story you just had that light bulb turn on... Like, if I could just, I'm just going to make disciples for the rest of my life. So you said something to that effect. And I think we're often used to hearing that story and then we would hear... The rest of the story is, and then I stopped working at the army and I went to seminary or stopped working in the army and I became a missionary. So I just kind of wanted to know... How do I ask it? Why did you choose to stay where you're at? Was there any specific calling in that or was it just, you had already seen modeled like, well, I can make disciples and the other one wasn't even an option. I just would love to kind of explore that with you.

     

    Jared:

    It definitely was a calling. And I think that's definitely important to say. That deployment experience that I described right before going on that Jim and Chuck had given a talk on, we call it the insider. This is one of the things we've gone back and forth is what do you even call it? What do you call somebody who's working a full time job? And I, you know, insider, I think has some loaded, theological things that I don't know about, but that's, that's, that's the term that I come back to, which is it's... Cause it captures maybe more of the strategic importance is that there, in every context, there's always going to be somebody who helps make the, the gospel and the mission, super incarnational. So, yeah, Jim and Chuck had talked about that rep before I went on my deployment and I can remember 10 months later. Right when I was done as a platoon leader. And I was just kind of hanging out, waiting to leave Iraq. I remember reflecting on that talk and looking back at my notes and being like, I don't have an excuse. I had an excuse up until that point. And, and then I heard them say that, Oh, wait, you're just as responsible for the great commission as anybody else. In fact, maybe even more responsible cause you're around the lost, every day. And that, that wrecked my world every, I mean, it was like a wrecking ball to every paradigm I had about how I could live a life pleasing to the Lord as I... So that was probably the calling. It, it took me a long time to figure it out and it took a lot of laboring to figure out that, Oh wait, that's what God was doing in that moment. But I think once I kind of really discovered through just, you know, friends and mentors, you know, how Christ has wired me. I began to see that I took that message that, Hey, the gospel and the great commission and the mission of Jesus Christ needs to be super incarnational so everybody can do it. And then I looked around and I didn't see any examples. And I got mad. I was like, why, if this is what we're saying, that this is, you know, the, the, the mission of Jesus Christ is available to all. Why, why are, why don't I have anybody I can look up to? And it's not, it's not quite true. I mean, there were, there were, but that became pretty clear that that's what, yeah. One of my heroes Dawson Trotman said, "don't do" and I'm paraphrasing, but he said "Don't do what everybody else is doing when there's so much that other people can't either can't do or won't do." ...was a very loose paraphrase. But I just, I saw what nobody else was doing. And I was like, all right, God, that must be what you want us to do. Now there's a whole lot of other things in addition to that but, but that is, is the call. And then I am really proud of that. I saw it in Jesus. I saw Jesus was the ultimate insider. He became, he could have stayed up there on the throne and out of the right hand of the throne of God, but he he did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped. And I was sold.

     

    Peter:

    Man, that's a rich, that's a great story. If there would be a stereotypical person that I hope kind of this series of interviews I'm doing reaches... It's somebody that's just kind of: "I know God's calling me to something and I can't figure it out." I mean, what would you encourage? Somebody that's just wrestling, wrestling with that,

     

    Jared:

    You know, the best offer help I could offer is not use my own words, but use, use probably scripture because I think it, it did take me a while to wrestle through the word of God, as, you know, as to kind of get to the principles, right. Because it does seem like, Hey, if, if Jesus, you know, this is, it seems as if this is the pattern, right, that the, those who Jesus calls, they, you know, they give up their nets and they follow. Right. I think that once I realized kind of the two principles of scripture that, that kind of helped me understand and give value to what I was doing, because we were at an NPL army retreat last week, and we had to write the statement of, you know, who is NPL army, or what is NPL army, right to you? Right. AndI wrote down the name of John and Lauren Sweat. And so John's a noncommissioned officer. He's, he's a chaplain's assistant down at, down at Fort Stewart in Georgia. And they, they were at Fort Benning and they left and they're, you know, sharing the gospel. They've led a few people to Christ and they're just trying to scratch out a church. And they're just, they're, you know, it's, it's tough cause they got there and, and this, you know, you've got work, you've got all this stuff. And I think that if, so if a John Sweat, you know, realized, and I think he does is the beauty, cause he's such a sharp guy, but if people like John Sweat could realize the value to that process that they're engaging in, you know, is that because it, because it leaves, it means there's no excuse for anybody to not engage in the great commission. And and it sets a reproducible example. I love... My best friends in the world are all full time workers. You know, and, and, in vocational ministry. And they're great, but there's, there's that question right, of, of the example. Right? And so the principal scripture, in addition to the incarnation, right which is Philippians two, five through 11, right? Jesus came down to earth and took on everything that it meant to be a man. Therefore the second half of that, that passage, right, therefore, therefore is really important God exalted him into the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. That that's part of the vision of seeing no place left is, is the, and I think where we get our theology of movements from, but the second principle of that is that, you know, the, the, the gospel that we preach says that Luke 9:23: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." So it is... Jesus Christ is calling every person, every person to give up everything, to follow him. And so the cost is, is everything for everybody. And we can't, we can't just say that: "Well hey, if you're really" ...you know, there's, there's not a hierarchy. And the reason I love the gospel, because it turns, it turns any manmade hierarchies completely upside down. It's like, look, you, you know, your call is to give up everything to follow him. And it's not like, just because you're not in full time ministry doesn't mean that. I've seen that scenario that you described where for somebody in full time ministry, I had a friend who the thing God was calling him to do, was to leave and take a job. And that was a really hard call. You know, I consistently have to wrestle with this: "Man, God, is this really what you want me to do?" And so, but Jesus, Jesus is... He calls every person individually. And it's just such a beautiful thing about kind of our discipleship and the Holy spirit and the Holy scripture and all that. So those are the, those are the two principles, the incarnation, right? That you're, you're doing something that's really reproducible, but you're also, you know, Jesus can, it's very individual. Jesus is going to call you to give up something really hard. So, you know, maybe it's not, maybe it is your job, so you gotta give it up, but maybe it's, you know, your comfort. I mean, I don't want to move, I'm moving in five months and I don't want to, I want to stay here and keep making disciples. We've got, we've seen amazing fruit. And now I gotta leave it all behind and kind of go start over. I don't want to do that. I don't want to deploy to, you know, who knows where the next couple, couple of years, and it's all part of the deal. And so just, just recognizing that the cost looks different and it's tailored specifically by Jesus to his disciples, through his Holy spirit in his Holy scripture.

     

    Peter:

    That's good. That's good. I think you said you wanted to say... You get wanted to give, give an army disclaimer. Do you want to do that now? After just blasting with the best theology that I've probably had on this podcast, but...

     

    Jared:

    What's the right thing to say is the views expressed in this interview do not represent the United States military Academy, the United States army, the department of defense. They are my own.

     

    Peter:

    And they are well grounded in scripture. So take that department of defense. If anyone there listens to this then my podcast will have gotten a lot farther reach than I expected.

     

    Jared:

    Well, you know, the beauty, the beautiful thing on that though, is that, I mean really there, there, there, there is no obstacle, at least not yet to the gospel in army regulations.

     

    Peter:

    Do you have anything else on your heart or mind to share?

     

    Jared:

    I really do think that at least here in the States, I think we're just starting to crack it open. I, it is, it is maybe that's just my ... Me, you know, projecting my experiences onto, you know, the rest of the body of Christ. But I do think that that we're just beginning because the way that it was working before. Every two years and leave folks behind, and I think this year in particular, God has told us, and we've done it once before and with a lot of fruit, but it's just to the online meetings like this, using Zoom really kinda enable the goal and our goal for this year for ourselves, but also for a lot of folks that we're co laboring with is to see insider led networks. And so network being kind of more than more than what we've seen, we've seen like, Hey, three, four or five churches multiply and then, but then the insider leaves, right, is if we can kind of get to... Me even in busy job sustaining and kind of coaching and network of, you know, about.. We're praying for 12 right now, 12 churches, even if they're geographically separate, if we can figure out how to, you know, the beauty of being mediocre, right, is that, you know, the, Hey, if I figured this out, probably some other people can't. And so you know, that we see a lot of people doing that and those churches are healthy and sharing the gospel. I think that's the ballgame in America. I mean, this is my complete personal kind of conviction. So I that's, that's what we're kind of running after.

     

    Peter:

    Yeah, man. That's the path until there's no place left. That's great.