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Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp

The guys welcome Dr. Trevin Wax, Vice President of Research and Resource Development at NAMB to the Bootcamp. Trevin’s new podcast, Reconstructing Faith, is one of our favorites, we’re talking about some of the subject matter from this season’s final Episode 12 on how the church can impact culture today.

We asked Trevin a couple of questions about things the churches can avoid and what gives him hope about the church today.

What Churches Can Avoid 

  •  Abandoning orthodoxy to stop decline
  • The assumption that it is impossible to grow as a church in today’s culture

What Important Commitments are Necessary for the Church?

  • Hold to doctrine – keep standing where you are standing
  • Be known for the way your church serves the community (especially the marginalized)

How To Mobilize the Church Today

  • Champion the idea that there is no expiration on spiritual gifts – there are opportunities for seasoned saints to engage people with the gospel regardless of age.
  • Rephrase the question: What can’t these Sr. Adults do? See them as an asset not a liability
  • Help the church turn outward by working with those who are most receptive to living missionally, let God change the hearts with your work of faithfulness (start with who you have)
  • View the church (even if small) as a strategic outpost for gospel ministry

Listen in for more great insights from Trevin and checkout his resources and podcast.


Help your church improve its social media and web presence in connecting with the community. Our great sponsor, One Eighty Digital can get you headed in the right direction. Contact them today and let them know you are a Bootcamp listener.


JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. Back in our own domiciles from the weary, travel that we’ve been on lately, we’ve been in all over the, country and continuing to be as we do a lot of great events and at one of those great events, we had, a really great speaker, in maybe the most unique venue that we have ever hosted a replant.

Bob Bickford: Absolutely Jimbo. We were at the Replant Lab, the replant practitioner lab in Atlanta, and our dinner got kicked to the College Football Hall of Fame because apparently all the floor and decor stores were. Having a big conference at the Omni. So we were trying to work a deal where we could get rid of the Red Baptist carpet that’s in so many of the declining churches.

And I think we have a, we’ll have a sponsorship to announce at some point in the future. man, we walked in this room in the college football Hall of Fame, right next door to the Omni in downtown Atlanta. Beautiful venue. We walk in where we’re having a banquet and it’s this half a football field with complete, with a field goal.

And I think [00:01:00] you’ve tried to kick a field goal there. If I’m not.

JimBo Stewart: I did. Yeah. 2019, we went over. At that point, if you had a Chick-fil-a red card membership, you could get in for free. And I had my wife with me and she single-handedly funds our local Chick-fil-A with her and our three kids. And so she, I think there’s a step above red that my like signature. My wife is a signature member and it’s one of those, she has so many points of Chick-fil-A.

I think she’s a signature member to like 20, 27 or something stupid like that. and, and so they were like, yeah, come on in free. And, uh, thank you for all the money you’ve spent at Chick-fil-A. So me and my wife and, Kyle Bierman and Evan Skeleton went with us and we kicked field goals and, toured the whole place.

It was pretty great.

Bob Bickford: Awesome. Well, part of that, we had a, a kind of, sort of a banquet, I would guess, and we had a, uh, concert by Chosen Road, but we had a speaker, Trevor Wax, who is part of the NAM family. And we wanna welcome him to the Bootcamp podcast. Trevor, it’s great to have you here, and thank you for doing [00:02:00] our event last week.

Trevin Wax: Oh, great to be with you guys and, thoroughly enjoyed.

Bob Bickford: So tr give us the quick backstory. I remember becoming familiar with you as a, fan of the Gospel Coalition and reading your articles and those sorts of things. And then I learned that you went to, Southern Baptist Seminary and you’ve been a missionary. Then all of a sudden we got the great news that you joined us at the Nam family.

So can you give us like the, quick, who is Trevor Wax and how did he get here? Background.

Trevin Wax: Yeah. So I’d say first and foremost, I’m a. I’ve been writing for, for a long time. my, blog has been hosted at Gospel Coalition for 11 years now, so I’ve been writing columns there for, for a long time. But, you know, I’ve been writing books. Even first book was publish was 29, so I’ve had a number of books that have, come out over the, the last decade or so.

but yeah, I did, I, I did mission work in, uh, Romania for five years. When I was, doing my undergrad, I was at a Christian university there and doing some mission work at the same time. I’ve been at both Southern Seminary for my MDiv and then Southeastern [00:03:00] Seminary for my PhD. worked at lifeway for 11 years.

helped start, a curriculum called the Gospel Project that was way more well received than we realized actually when we first, started it. But, has really been in, used by a lot of churches. also spent a, a lot of time at lifeway, helping launch the csb. So the translation, the CSB that launched in 2017.

and then, uh, also by the time I left there was leading Lifeway research. So I came to Nam about a year and a half ago to, oversee a small team of. research and resource development. We do new for church planters. We assist the evangelism team, the send relief team, the SY network team, and different resources that are coming out.

We’ve been involved with you guys as well at, replant and, you know, just speaking into different things that are going on when it comes to revitalization and whatnot. And so yeah, so it’s exciting to be in, in the Nam family and, be able to bring some of, you know, Experience that I’ve been able to have in, in other areas to, to help assist Nam and, and, all the, great things that, this organization’s doing.

Bob Bickford: Man, it’s been great to have you, as part of our [00:04:00] Nam family. And I, I think the bootcamp is probably a stepchild to the Nam family at some, a sort of way, , but we are, we’re super excited to have you and then. Most recently, you launched a podcast within the last year, and tell us a little bit about that and what was the heart behind that?

Trevin Wax: Yeah. you know, it was a, I wanted to do a podcast that was a little different than, a lot of the podcasts I was listening to at the time. I, was thinking about doing something that would be addressing some of the different issues. Facing the church, giving us something of a credibility crisis.

So it’s called reconstructing faith, which obviously a little play on words, cuz a lot of people are talking about deconstruction right now, deconstructing their faith or decon converting. But it’s not so much a podcast for people that are deconstructing or a, in that sort of phase.

It’s really more for those of us in the church that want to see the church be healthier and renewed in the, in the coming years. And so, it’s documentary style. So think like, you know, this American Life or the rise and fall of Mar Hill and things like that where it’s story focused. There’s, you know, news clips and music clips.

People talk about the music clips. quite a bit of, old CC m [00:05:00] from the late nineties, early two thousands, showing up there. But, it’s, uh, a little more journalistic style with interviews and things like that. And so, You know, the idea of it was, how, you know, how can we do this in the most compelling way possible to kind of address some of these issues in a way that would be really constructive.

Like, really, like that’s what I wanted was to get voices that are, they’re not necessarily, they’re not like flame throwing kind of voices. They’re not, you know, controversial. They’re not the ones that are, you know, out there saying this thing or that thing. They’re really, you could tell from the people we had on there, I think they really want to see the church better.

And are wanting to rebuild in some way. And so that, I wanted the whole tone of it to be that, yeah, we need to recognize that there’s a lot of challenges in the church, but we also need to, you know, roll up our sleeves and, and get busy. And so I, you know, and it’s found a good audience. There’s a lot of people out there that I think are asking these questions that are not necessarily wanting to, to just.

Listen to, you know, podcast about, oh, everything the church has gotten wrong, or that, just ignore all that the church is getting wrong, but to, to really say, okay, how can the, [00:06:00] how can we be part of the solution to a lot of the problems that we, that we face in the church today? And, that’s really been the heart of it.

I don’t expect everyone to listen to it and necessarily agree with every guest or every proposal or everything that’s there. But the, the idea is let’s get a conversation going for those who really want to rebuild. And yeah, we’ll have. Conversations and debates and disagreements about some of the best ways forward on some of those pressing issues.

But the goal is if we can get constructive voices, in conversation, I think, I think we’ll, we’ll, I think, that’ll be healthy and good for the church.

Bob Bickford: I think that’s excellent. And in particular for us in our work with churches that have been in decline for a while, there’s some, conditions that have led to the demise of a church. And one of the things I, particularly found most helpful in your last episode for this year was a conversation you had with Tim Keller that provided. Critique and, and observation, but also some hope. And, as we deal with churches that are struggling and have been struggling for decades, they find themselves in a challenging musician where, where they’ve maybe become attached to some things that they’ve gotta [00:07:00] steer away from. And, uh, so as you think about church, when you see it, in as it is now and where it’s been, what are some of the things that you think would be helpful for.

As churches, maybe a declining church or plateau church, what are some of the things we need to be cautious about or tend to steer away from, or maybe avoid even?

Trevin Wax: Yeah. You know that episode, you know, Keller brought up a few things, that where the church really needs to, to avoid some, some particular traps. I mean, one of them, I mean, one of the most common ones is. Thinking that the way that you stop decline is by changing your core convictions and your, beliefs.

You know, that’s sort of a liberal mistake, is this idea that, you know, well, we, there’s a, I’ve heard it said, you know, there, there’s some, some leaders in the Church of England saying this. There’s a moral chasm between us and the next generation, and the only way we’re gonna reach the next generation is if we jettison some of our long-held beliefs about marriage or sexuality and things like that.

which I think is the exact wrong approach when, the church has this weird tendency, I think of like jumping on bandwagons, right? As a train’s about to crash,[00:08:00] and I , I’m like, let’s not do that. Like, you can watch the train wrecking, you know, with, you know, I, and even like secular people are beginning to ask questions about the sexual revolution and has it been good for women and for kids.

And so like that, it’s like, yeah, now is like the worst time to like jump on that bandwagon, right? So, you know, so jettison in orthodoxy to stop declining. That’s, that’s the mistake most people listen to This podcast, I think would be more inclined to what can sometimes be the mistake more on the conservative side.

And that’s just to assume that we can, that we, just to assume it’s just gonna be impossible to grow again. I just like, if we just maintain what we’ve got, you know, that’ll be success. I like to say it’s, it’s making maintenance the.

Just, let’s just huddle up, hold onto what we’ve got, and that’s gonna be what success is and really losing hope that Christianity can thrive. there are times when God. shows us that that’s not impossible. I mean, there, there’s been, you know, a lot of conversations about the, spiritual awakenings at, you know, Asbury and other college campuses and whatnot among young [00:09:00] people. And I mean, I, regardless of what, you know, people may think about the, the ins and outs or everything good or bad about, you know, particular awakenings.

They’re always messy. You know, they’re, they’re always messy. But the one, the one thing that has always been the case about revivals throughout history is that they’re, they’re surprising and suddenly it’s like you, like there’s an intensification of the work of God that, you know, you’ve been plowing and plowing and plowing, and then suddenly it’s just like you start seeing results or fruit that just are unexpected.

Tim Keller likes to say, you know, we’ve never seen a revival in a post-Christian nation, but he. You know, at the same time he’s like, yeah, but you know, it doesn’t happen until it happens . So like, when it happens, it happens. So like you can’t, you the idea though that, that we can’t grow in a secular environment or that it’s impossible for us to thrive, that sort of defeat us deflationary that I think we’ve gotta, we’ve gotta avoid that for sure.

But those are two of the big.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I, I would agree that from our observations, we see a lot of churches go into that kind of maintenance mindset [00:10:00] and wanna blame the lack of growth or effectiveness on a lack of responsiveness to culture. and that. one of the things as we work with dying churches, they often will tell us, we held the black parties, we did the events.

Nobody wants to come to our church. We’ve invited them, and no one wants to come. The culture is not responsive, and they enter that point of hopelessness. One of the other things I like that you discussed with Keller was the idea that there is a hopefulness and what, what will. The church look like in however many years that is, if we see, you know, some great renewal, what will in, in 50 years, when none of us are pastoring or are leading, what, what will that look like in the local church?

And there was, you know, a lot of ways, I think five ways that, that Keller listed out, that all had a very, very Keller theme. Of failing to understand and fully grasp the gospel. but as you look at some of [00:11:00] those, what stands out to you in particular to the churches in this audience are very small churches with, solo staff, usually by vocational, or churches being replanted by a mother church, starting with a pretty, pretty low critical mass.

and it’s hard for them sometimes to see hopeful.

Trevin Wax: Yeah. I. Talk about the church in 50 years and where it might be. And I know you say none of us will be leading then. I mean, you need to speak for yourselves. Like, I’m so hoping to be around. I’m . I’m like, I I want to be like, uh, you know, I, I wanna be the guy that’s like all, everybody’s already died before me and I’m kind of turning off the lights.

You know what I mean? Like, like, uh, in my nineties, right? In my last book, like, that’s my, like Dick van

Bob Bickford: he’s primarily talking about me. I would be as old as the Apostle John or older.

Trevin Wax: Yeah.

JimBo Stewart: Look, I’ve, I’ve worked, I’ve worked with enough 90 year olds to know, how miserable being 90 is. So I’m good with, with going ahead and going to heaven.

Trevin Wax: See, I don’t know, man. Like I lo like Jean Getz and I’m talking about like Jay [00:12:00]Packer and some of these guys. Like, I’m like, yeah, I want to be still doing my, daily core exercises when I’m 95. But beyond that, okay, that’s 50 years down the road. We’ll see if this podcast, if I, if I, if the Lord gives me that many years, I wanna serve him that many.

If he takes me much sooner, that’ll, that’ll be. Just fine too. I’ll won’t, I won’t be complaining. Lemme just put it that way. But, um, uh, no, when I think, I think when we think about what the, the church is gonna look like in 50 years, or even a hundred years, this is one of the, the things that is really behind the, the heart.

It’s the heartbeat for my book. The Thrill of Orthodoxy is that, there’s a lot that’s unknown right now. And there’s a lot of, you know, discouragement in the church today. and especially among leaders that are plowing in tough areas, tough fields, you know, and not, not seeing the growth that they wanna see or whatnot.

one of the, the things that got a, you know, that I, I wanted to, to make clear with thrill of orthodoxy was to say, well, You may not know all the answers, but you can plant your flag here and you know that you can, you can stand here at the, the, the sort of the bedrock of the faith and [00:13:00] you can have confidence that what Christians have believed for 2000 years, if the Lord tears a hundred years from now, there Christians are gonna be believing those same things.

So there’s gonna be a sort of, uh, an orthodox in doctrine, like they’re still gonna be confessing. You know, the nice scene creed, the faith, you know, once for all delivered to the saint, still gonna be, believing. I mean, I believe there’s evangelical essentials, you know, about, you know, justification by faith alone and are still gonna be saying these, these things.

So, one of the. Areas that’s easiest, I think for all of us. Or I say easy. It’s, it’s probably harder than it seems, but it’s, it’s easy in the sense that there’s not a whole lot to do except just to keep standing. Where you’re standing is to say, we’re not gonna reneg on our, on our doctrine, on our, on our, on the truth.

so the renewed church is going to look a lot like the old church. The ancient church I think is, is an important thing to, to remember. but when I, when I think about particularly, you know, churches in, in areas, It can be tough and the the, the resistance can be strong and there may be, you know, areas that, are more disadvantaged today or [00:14:00] are in challenging areas where there’s, you know, people leaving the community rather than moving into the community.

I think of that happening in a lot of places. Say, well, what, what would our new church and areas like that look like? Well, I think, you know, one of the, key ways. That, a church is, the church is that a church is known for the way it serves the community. and it serves the people in the community. you know, Keller talks about being very more generous than, than the wider population into serving the poor and the marginalized and those that are, that are, you know, in financial distress or in economic distress or even moral distress.

You know, I mean, you think about the opioid epidemic that’s ravaged so many towns and cities and things like that. And so I would just ask the question, okay, what are the gifts in the particular congregation you’ve got, even if it’s a small congregation, if we’re talking just tens of people, right?

Like what are the particular gifts to like make an impact so that the church is known in the community for a particular thing. Maybe there’s a s a public school that’s having a lot of challenges and there, there are people there that are tutoring or, you’re collecting resources [00:15:00] like fill backpacks for kids that, that really don’t even have a.

Essential school supplies and things like that. I’m just thinking like, what are, don’t think big, think small at first and don’t think that you’ve gotta do everything. Think about what you know, can you do something? I think that the church, being the church in that kind of environment and being known for this is a, this is an outpost of generosity toward our community.

That because when, even when culturally, There’s resistance because of some of the church’s beliefs. and there’s gonna continue to be that resistance, just demonstrating the, the, the goodwill and the heartfelt. compassion of Jesus for that, for our community can go a long way. Can, it can really, can go a long way.

And so, again, don’t think I’m talking about another program necessarily, or like adding a gazillion things to the, the plate of a busy bivocational pastor. I’m just saying like, look around at what are the gifts and skills that God has already placed in that congregation and ask how can those be deployed for the community.

Because the, then the invitation is going [00:16:00] to be different when that, when that church is known for something more than just holding worship services. It’s really known for being a, a beacon of light in a small, in a, in a small place.

Bob Bickford: I love that idea and thinking through the churches that, we have pastored as re planters as Jimbo and myself and then others that we have friends and peers and colleagues, and then churches we console. Oftentimes in a declining church, you’ve got a, a seasoned group of saints. Who built the church in their thirties and forties, but now in their sixties and seventies, that is really a daunting task to mobilize those folks into a culture that’s completely different than the one they grew up in and equip them to engage, in mercy ministry and compassion ministry and those things.

What council might you have or encouragement might you have for a re planter who’s looking around at the, at the gifts that exist, even though they’re in, Embodied by saints who are older, how do we mobilize, a small group of Christians who may be their, their primary days were[00:17:00] 10, 15, 20 years ago?

How do, how do we remobilize that group to engage their community in some helpful ways that would steer us towards this idea of the church being known as a, as a place of blessing and a body of blessing in the.

Trevin Wax: Yeah. I, you know, I love the way that you’re asking that question cuz I think it’s important for us to all realize that the body of Christ is like, there are particular gifts given in the body of Christ and there’s not an, there’s not necessarily an age limit on these gifts.

And I think, I think we live in a society that, really think. , most of the time young is better than old. and just the how out of step that is. with history in general and church history in particular. there are particular gifts that older saints have that younger saints don’t have and the younger saints need to benefit from.

And not just younger saints, but also people. So if there’s, you know, if you’ve got a church that’s got, you know, 30 to 40 people in. The va, you know, the average age is over 65. well then you gotta ask the question, what does it mean for us to. Godly grandfathers and grandmothers, not only to our kids and grandkids, [00:18:00] but like in our community.

Like, what does this look like? And I mean, I kinda tell you some of the best, like disaster relief people I’ve ever worked with in a church have been people that are retired that do training and then wind up rushing to places that are, you know, where there’s emit suffering and, and doing a tremendous amount of good.

Like, I, I just, I feel like we, we kind of asked the question. Almost backwards. Like, well, of what use can be these older saints. And I’m thinking the question is like, well, what can’t they do? ? Like, let’s let, I mean there’s so many things that, older believers can have and, and the more you get older believers engaged in particular forms of outreach, ministry service, compassion, whatever it might be, the more outward focused you get them.

One. One of the challenges, and bivocational pastors I know, know this, is that a church. Just left to itself naturally turns inward. It happens with our groups. It happens in congregations and you, you don’t get a church to turn [00:19:00] outward by berating the church and by just telling them all the time, you should look outward.

you only get that to happen when you get, you know, a few leaders in the church when you get those that are most recept. To actually begin doing work that is outward focused and you let that sort of revitalization of their own spiritual, that spiritual rule take place, begin to get contagious in the church itself.

Like you, you gotta, you almost gotta bring back the virus of thinking outwardly to combat the virus. looking inwardly. And, and that doesn’t happen unless, un unless you, you wind up finding and, and I, encourage pastors, to think, okay, so let’s say you get some pushback and resistance and just apathy from, 80%, 90% of your congregation.

Well, if you’ve got three or four people that. Somewhat receptive that you can bring kind of out of the shell and out of the, well, this is the way we’ve always done it and kind of did, where they’re [00:20:00] actually thinking of ways of serving the community or, or ways of, you know, if you can just start, start with who you have that’s, that’s receptive in that way.

Pray for God to show you who those are. you let the, instead of the pastor feeling the weight of, I gotta change the pers the perspective of everybody in my congregation. You let God do that changing through the people that the spirit’s already changing their perspective in. So it’s, it’s a shared burden.

It’s not just all on the shoulders of the pastor. I think that’s really key to getting people to thinking outside of the, outside the box, outside their own walls and whatnot and beginning to think. I mean, the reality is a lot of churches are. The vast majority of churches around the world are small.

 and we, we’ve gotta stop seeing that as something that’s necessarily bad in and of itself and recognize that there’s, there can be strategic, ministry that happens through. A smaller church, rather than assuming that that’s always, something to downplay. I mean, it’s difficult.

It’s really difficult, especially when a church has already gotten to a certain age. It’s, it’s harder to reach young [00:21:00] people. I mean, all of the, there are all sorts of dynamics in play from age to class to, you know, ethnicity, all sorts of things that can make this a, a challenge to reaching the community.

But I mean, starting with who you’ve. Is one of the things I’m encouraging pastors to be thinking about.

JimBo Stewart: I love that idea of starting with who you’ve got. And it ties into what you said even earlier about, don’t we always think it has to be the big thing, but really if we can think small, What is that thing we can do in our community? What’s that three or four people we can pour into in our church?

one of the reasons I think we struggle with that you also address in this podcast is that kind of consumer. mindset that has really infected the American church in a way that makes us, I think it makes us as pastors feel like we are in competition and we’re, we’re losing, right? And so when we look at our 40 people and, we look at other churches in our community, we feel like, oh, this is a competition and I’m losing, and the small things that I’m [00:22:00] doing aren’t important.

How would you encourage the, pastor that struggles with that mindset, maybe even, they’re not necessarily even trying to be subservient to the consumer mindset, but they feel like they’re subject to it, like they don’t know how to succeed because they feel like they’re in competition.

Trevin Wax: Yeah. I mean, the first thing I would say to that is like, let the good side of the consumer mindset do its work. And what I mean by that is like we, we tend to, I think almost like just sort of rail against the consumer. Culture there are all sorts of challenges that are brought to the church by consumer culture.

I’ve written a lot about those. I’m not, saying we should be pro consumer culture, but those challenges always have opportunities. And one of the opportunities is, when you live in a consumer driven society that is built on marketing. every organization has to ask the question why? Like, why are we even here?

Why do we exist? you can take some of the istic pressures and actually use those [00:23:00] in the favor of a, of a church, recognizing we can’t just. We can’t just say we exist because we exist and we should exist cuz we’ve always existed or we’ve existed for a hundred years or whatever. You can’t do that anymore.

You have to clarify the mission and like, what are we really here for? Like why, why? What are we doing? Why are we meeting every week? Why are we, you know, why haven’t we shut down? Why don’t we just all go to the church across town? Like, at the end of the day, you gotta ask the question like, what does God, like, what, what, what particular mission does God have for this particular church?

I mean, obviously it’s connected to the great mission that all churches are supposed to have, but like, ask the, the contextual question, like, what are we doing right here, right now? Like, why does God put this church here? And does God still have a future for this church? And if he does, what is it So I would just, I would not rush past the. feeling of pressure that you get in a consumer society. I would love that pressure. Do some of the good work of leading you to clarification of mission questions that can be really helpful for a church

JimBo Stewart: Hmm.

Trevin Wax: we [00:24:00] we’re, we’re not just gonna be here cuz we’ve been here.

we want to be here because God’s called us to be here and we’ve got a, a role to play in this community for this reason, for this purpose. You know, what are the particular gifts we. for such a time as this kind of a question. So, so first I’ll just say don’t rush past those consumer, that those consumer culture challenges.

but secondly, then I would, say, okay, don’t think of yourself as competing. in, spaces where other churches may be doing great work. think of yourself as complimenting rather than competing to say, okay. We’re a 40 member church and they’ve got 400 across town and they’ve got all these programs and we can’t compete with those programs. Well, it’s like, don’t try, like you’re gonna just like a 40 member church trying to like, have the level of kids programming or whatever, you know, or student ministry or whatever that afford member church is.

It’s probably gonna be done. Not really well. so I think you gotta asked the bigger question of then what, okay. What does it look like for us to invest in the, in the, the younger generation or the people that we’ve got in our, in our congregation. In a way that actually is gonna let them lead. there’s a book called Growing Young that came [00:25:00] out a few years.

that talks about churches, and these are not some of them are larger, but not all of them Larger. there’s a lot of small churches that one of the ways that they incorporate young people into their congregations and are able to see growth among young people is by investing, like seeing them not as The target, so to speak. But as leaders in the congregation, they, they call it embrace keychain leadership. In other words, you give you hand over the keys, like you, you let them really lead and like lead out and then they take ownership in the congregation itself. a few years ago, Andy Stanley made some controversy cuz he made a comment about how student ministries.

That don’t have sort of the flash and glitz and glamor of, the megachurch, what megachurches can do for student ministry. He’s basically like, look, if churches don’t get on the board and they don’t have this like level of excellence with student ministry, you’re just gonna lose ’em all. They’re gonna either come here, they’re gonna leave the church completely.

And I remember when all that happened and there was some backlash and Andy kind of apologized and said, I didn’t mean to like diminish smaller churches and their student ministries, but I just remember [00:26:00] thinking, that’s not even. I know lots of people that went to like flashy, glamorous student ministries that are nowhere near the church today, and other people who were in smaller congregations, but who were very involved in serving that are as invested in the church today as they ever were because they were trusted with leadership and responsibility early on.

So I would just say like I think a lot of smaller congregations and those in decline can sometimes beat themselves up for not being what the church across the street is, rather than realizing God. Can use all, God uses all kinds of churches, all kinds of sizes. it’s good to want to have younger people in your congregation.

Don’t think that the, it’s the program that’s going to attract them. Programs don’t disciple people. People disciple people. when Paul talks about discipleship, he doesn’t talk about, he talks about young women pouring into, older women, pouring into younger women and older men into younger men.

He doesn’t, he doesn’t talk about adopting the, the latest, greatest, you know, having the latest, greatest experience in a, youth ministry environment. So, [00:27:00] all that to say is, don’t try to compete, try to compliment and like to figure out what it does it mean for our church to do, to know, to do discipleship. in different kinds of ways that may not be as programmatic, but can still be very, impactful and personal for.

Bob Bickford: It’s good word, Travis. Thank you. Thinking, of just one last question. As you look at the church today, what causes you to have hope for its future?

Trevin Wax: You know, I’m not really optimistic about the church, but I am hopeful about the church and I’m glad you asked me about the question of hope. I mean, the main hope that I get is just the fact that the church goes through these cycles of renewal and decline all the time. And I mean the, the gl, I mean the church.

At large, I don’t just mean individual churches. there are seasons where it’s really tough and there are seasons where just abundant fruit happens. And I, like you can trace these throughout church history. So I think one of the things that gives me hope is just watching these cycles and, throughout church history recognizing.

We’re, yeah, we’re facing a lot of challenges, but the [00:28:00] church is always facing challenges. Like it’s just, this is the kind of thing that happens a lot. so I have hope for that. I have hope of what gives me hope is what Jesus says about the church. That the gates of hell are not gonna prevail against the, the church.

another thing that gives me hope is I do see a hunger among younger people, especially for an encounter with God that is serious. and I see, know, a lot of people look at the next generation and they, they’re deeply concerned and there are reasons for concern. But when I look at, some of the, commitment.

Just traditional like to orthodoxy among younger people is really, is really encouraging to me to, to see, cuz I don’t, I see younger people sometimes more serious about the truths of the faith than some of the, some of the older people that would. Complain about them. So, I mean, that’s one of the, that’s one of the interesting things is to, to watch, the generational shift taking place.

So all of these things give me hope. And then the, the main thing that gives me hope is just, I get, and you guys know this too, you get to be on the, when, when you work at a place like Nam or you get to serve in different [00:29:00] environments and, you know, my, my connections allow me to, to see a lot of churches at work, regardless of what makes the headlines, the, the church churches are doing really, really good work in a lot of places.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. Yeah.

Trevin Wax: they’re unsung heroes everywhere and people don’t realize it. And I love seeing the church in action knowing, hey, one, one of these days, like, and maybe an eternity, but God is going to, God’s going to showcase the heroes of the faith and they’re not gonna be the ones that we assume. There is so much amazing work that goes on and so many things that the churches are doing that don’t make headline. Art reported in newspapers, on the internet, whatnot. and God sees, God sees all of that. And when we get a chance to see a lot of that, it’s encouraging cuz it means God’s at work and we get to be a part of it.

Bob Bickford: It’s a great

JimBo Stewart: Amen. That’s so good. just plot away in obscurity. Staying true to orthodoxy, our hope is in Jesus focus on not only the big things, but the small things. Don’t be in competition, but. [00:30:00] Be complimentary. So many highlights, so many great things. Uh, I wish we had more time, but I would encourage our listeners to go check out episode 12, A Reconstructing Faith where Trevon dives into this, uh, a bit further with several guests.

And, Trevon, thank you so much for coming on to the bootcamp. Where would you like to point anybody, that wants to know more about where they can read more or listen more, to more of what you’re saying about the church? These.

Trevin Wax: Yeah, I mean, you’re just, I, I’m, I’m, which will take you to my column at Gospel Coalition. I do a couple, couple columns a week there, so that’s probably the, the easiest way to get in touch. And h we’re thinking about doing a second season for reconstructing Faith. So, hopefully if there’s any listeners that haven’t heard it, that want to go listen to the.

To the first season. They’re all up there and out there, and hopefully will be helpful for a long time.

JimBo Stewart: Thanks for coming on.

Trevin Wax: Thanks for having me.

bivocational ministry, Bob Bickford, church growth, church health, church vitality, Hope, Impact Culture, Jimbo Stewart, light and salt, Matthew 5:16, missional living, normative sized church, North American Mission Board, Orthodoxy, Reconstructing Faith, small church, Tim Keller, Trevin Wax

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host


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