EP 200 THE BOOTCAMP LOOKS BACK AND FORWARD
Well Bootcampers we made it! This is the 200th Episode! We had the opportunity to turn over the mic to one of our Replanter friends, Evan Skelton. He asked some great questions about our podcast, what we’ve learned and where things are heading in the future. We also get to hear from some of the friends of the Podcast along the way. This EP is a bit longer than usual, but there’s some real gold in the conversation and comments.
We’re grateful for your listening ear, thanks for giving us the opportunity encourage you in your work of renewal at the local church.
A special thanks to our great sponsor who makes this all possible, One Eighty Digital. Let them know you are a bootcamp listener and get their help with your website, branding and social media needs.
Stay tuned, EP 201 is on the way.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Hey, bootcampers welcome to episode 200 of the replant bootcamp podcast. This is such a special episode and we are so excited. That you have decided to join with us for a little while for this. One of the reasons this is going to be very special and different from our normal episodes is it will be more than twice the length of our normal episodes. We hope that’s good news to you. If not just stick around next week, we’ll be back with our normal length of episodes.
There’s a couple of reasons why this is going to be different and special to celebrate 200 episodes. One as we’ve brought on a special guest, Evan Skelton, who’s been on here before to interview Bob and I, and that’s the bulk of the content of this episode. But another reason is we have asked you to celebrate this with us and be a part of this episode.
And part of the way that many of you have done that is by sending in either written or audio recorded. Segments to be a part of this witness. I want to kick us off with one from Trevin wax, one of our former guests. Here’s what he wrote in.
Hey guys. Congratulations on reaching the milestone of [00:01:00] 200 episodes. I don’t know that I have a favorite moment from the podcast to share because my favorite moment happens frequently off the podcast. It’s when I meet a pastor who has stepped into a COVID co-located. Vocational role and a small dying church and suddenly realizes that he’s not just revitalizing, he’s replanting that church.
And after I point him to this podcast and the resources that you and mark Clifton and the replant team are providing.
I will hear back a few weeks later. And I’ll get a huge, thank you. And a comment on how you guys are speaking to the soul of what he’s working toward and wrestling with at the church. And then I’ll hear about how he’s signing up for events and connecting with your team. And that is my favorite moment hearing that someone is being strengthened for ministry in their context. And it happens often.
And I’m glad to be just one chain in this brotherhood of linking arms. With pastors doing tough work in churches being renewed. Trevon. Thanks for sending that in. It’s going to be segments like that. The interview segments that are going to [00:02:00] make this episode so different, so special. So maybe if you wrote in or you send an audio, you’ll hear yours.
Just like this one from Kyle Buerrmann.
Hey, Bob and Jimbo, Kyle Biman here from the Replant team alongside you guys, and also not another Baptist podcast. Just wanna say congratulations on your 200th episode. That’s incredible. So grateful for you guys getting, to work alongside you and, uh, for the work you do on the podcast. to encourage, folks along the way in the replanning journey.
Keep up the good work guys. God bless you.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp. Back at it again, Bob, and we’ve made it episode two, hundo.
Bob Bickford: It is amazing. Jimbo, we have, uh, surpassed what our first grade teachers thought we could do. We have surpassed what our cousins thought we could do. Only our grandparents Jimbo thought we could make it this far.
JimBo Stewart: Yep. There’s not a long list of people who believed in us, but here we are. we have arrived. And now one of the longest running replanting podcast. Here’s the key to becoming one of the longest podcasts in your category. Pick a super niche category And
Evan Skelton: You
JimBo Stewart: And then just don’t stop recording, no matter how low your listen stats are or how few people actually subscribe, like just keep recording and if nothing else, you can attain
Evan Skelton: That’s right. Welcome to the Top Replanting podcast for plumbers in the Appalachian. There you go.
Bob Bickford: There you go. Jim. Our [00:01:00] frequent guests has joined us, as you can hear, by his fabulous voice, the one and.
JimBo Stewart: Evan, welcome to the bootcamp.
Evan Skelton: Hey, I’m glad to be back. It’s been a while. Lot’s changed in our life too, but it’s a privilege. 200 episodes. This is incredible.
JimBo Stewart: man. Give us a real quick update on your ministry and what’s going on with you since the last time you were on the podcast.
Evan Skelton: Yeah. So we, for those who are unaware, so I. My wife and I moved to St. Louis, Missouri about five years ago for us to replant a church here, from within. and, it was a pretty difficult journey for those first four years. can empathize with a lot of the highs and lows that have been shared on this podcast, and it’s been such a comfort to me as well, as well as your friendships personally.
But, about last year, about January, Of 2022. God provided for our church in a pretty incredible way that our replant process that we prayed for and worked for he brought to a culmination through a merger, a pretty unexpected merger with, a brother in Christ here in the city [00:02:00] about three miles away that I love serving beside.
and, we’re, Able to now not only engage our community, strategically and find stability, but we’re in the building that Bayless Baptist is in paid off, we’re able to pay off our debt, which was one of the major hindrances to Bayless paying a full-time pastor.
And, was able to baptize recently some of the, college students who had come to Bayles Baptist a few years ago. Um, and have been there in service. One of the guys that have been discipling over the last several years as a pastoral intern here and now, only God can write this story.
It’s still full of a lot of uncharted territory, but I’m grateful to say, yeah, it’s come to a culmination in big ways,
JimBo Stewart: That’s awesome.
Evan Skelton: the next stage. Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: That’s awesome. Hey, well, here’s what we, we wanna do. We wanted to bring you on. Here’s one of the reasons we wanna bring you on. One, you’re one of our favorite people evidenced by how often we bring you on here. but not, but here’s what, here’s what you need to know. Not only are you one of our favorite people, you may not know this, but you’re one of our listeners favorite people.
I was looking at the stats and out of the top 10 most [00:03:00] listen to episodes of all time. number three and number six are with guest Evan Skelton.
Evan Skelton: Oh, well that’s encouraging. I hope it wasn’t because it was too controversial. They’re just spreading it around.
JimBo Stewart: No, it’s.
Bob Bickford: No, I, I think it was. It was great content, but I was also, on my Covid death bed for one of those episodes, and I think people were listening.
Evan Skelton: hanging on hoping you were gonna make it.
Bob Bickford: Well, I think they were gonna see who’s this new guy and is he better than Bob? So I think that was, was the case in. Obviously you’re an instructor at Missouri Baptist, you’re, you know, a pastor, you’re a creative writer, editor, so you, you’ve got lots of irons in the fire.
But Jimbo, if, if I ever get hit by the bus, Evan is the guy.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think, I think you’re the next paper towel that comes out, as Bob likes to say.
Evan Skelton: next paper towel. Oh man. Well, guys, the early, it’s a privilege.
JimBo Stewart: Well, here’s what we wanna do, Evan. We wanna flip the script and I’m gonna, we’re gonna swap the bootcamp mic over into your hands. And, for [00:04:00] the 200th episode, we thought it would be unique for us. Instead of us interviewing and leading the podcast, let’s let somebody else lead for a change and so we are officially handing it over to you.
It’s now your podcast.
Evan Skelton: Mm. Well, I, first thing I wanna say before we get into these questions, guys, is. along with so many of your listeners and so many of the leaders who are on this podcast, uh, this has been, such a, a gift of grace to me and to so many of our, those who listen to, help us persevere, to, also be reminded of the wonderful, steadfast love of Christ.
to hear war stories, to know that we’re not alone, and also some of the, challenges. That we’re, what challenges are on the horizon we can prepare ourselves for, which is gonna get some of our questions today. But I’m so grateful for both of you. Thank you for your friendship Bob, you’ve been a coach for me.
Many of you don’t know this, but Bob is the, it’s Bob’s fault. We’re in St. Louis. Um, we’re very grateful. Bob was at, a, replant assessment in Denver and, has been one of my close friends and Jimbo and I just hung out [00:05:00] for a few days together. and in Colorado as well. And so, and just become, and I think over Panera, we didn’t talk shop really at all, mostly about family and the Lord’s work.
So thank you for both. But first question here is actually about friendship. I want to, I want to know, and I think many of us are, one of the things we love about Replant Boat Bootcamp is it’s both of, you don’t just speak as part practitioners, but you both appreciated and leaned on some on each other so much as friends.
And there’s such a natural, there’s just been such a. I think a perceived chemistry between the two, two of you. Tell me a little bit about that friendship. what’s meant to you? over these four years, these 200 episodes, and what have you enjoyed most about hosting the podcast together?
Bob Bickford: Well. Man. You know, I think one of the things that, is, so great is when I’m around Jimbo, I always learn something new. Right. Not just a, some something’s about him. Like Jimbo is a deep, well, he’s a, he’s a big onion, right? You start peeling back those layers, you’re gonna get some really funny, interesting and incredible things.
And, I can guarantee you if I say to Jimbo, have you ever more than about 95% of the time, he [00:06:00] probably has in some way. So I think that’s, that’s pretty exciting. but seriously, I, I think, I always learn something when I’m around Jimbo. And love it. And then one of the things I, know that is, is helpful for me is so we just laugh.
We laugh about stuff, hard thing when we’re going through hard pain things, when we’re struggling. When my mom makes stupid comments on my Facebook, Jimbo makes fun of that. And we laugh together. and so one of the things it’s, it’s very rare that you, you are mostly always friendly with people that you work with. But on rare occasions, you become friends with people that you work with. And I would say that’s true about me and Jimbo.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. I, by the way, my favorite comment of your mom’s ever was, what was it like, how, I can’t remember how she word it, so it’s, I know it’s not any of my business. I. But I love you. And it was something to do with like,
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: it was
something to do with, with your fashion. it was, something you were wearing
Bob Bickford: I had,
JimBo Stewart: it mustache.
Bob Bickford: It was my mustache is when I shaved my, I had grown a beard over [00:07:00] like a vacation week and just for grins, shaved off everything, and had a mustache. And she, she said, you are a replant, you’re not a goat roper. And I know it’s none of my business, but I just love you. I think you, you,
Evan Skelton: a goat roper.
Bob Bickford: yeah.
JimBo Stewart: She loves you enough to not let you look like a goat roper.
Bob Bickford: yeah. yeah. So, you know, And then Jimbo trotted that line out the other day something was going on and he goes, I just, I know it’s none of my business, but I love you so.
JimBo Stewart: No, it’s, look man, the friendship with Bob has been, has been so good and I think he’s right. Oftentimes you work with people, you become acquaintances and you definitely become friendly and cordial. cuz work would be miserable if you didn’t. but Bob is somebody I just enjoy hanging out with. I’m constantly, I’m constantly learning from him, and from his experience cuz he is so much older than me. And so he double nickels over double nickels now. And, uh, and so he gets to, he gets to bring some wisdom and experience, like a big brother in a lot of [00:08:00] ways. and he challenges me. he’s not afraid to challenge me when I need to be challenged. And, so through the podcast, through working together at Nam, I feel like I’ve become. a better man because of my friendship with Bob, and it just meant the world. When you travel as much as Bob and I do. It becomes difficult to have, good friendships because of how much
And so having a really good friendship with Bob has become so valuable to me in that because we get to travel together, you know, at least once a week or so we’re on screens, at least on the podcast.
And that feels like for us, at least for me, like we just met at a coffee shop and we’re hanging out and we’re just talking and, and enjoying each other. and so it’s life giving when we get together.
Evan Skelton: so many ways, and I think you guys have emphasized this, just the importance of those kind of friendships for sustaining in the work that Christ has entrusted us. And that’s one of the ways he, he designs for us to hold fast. Yeah. Yep. So grateful for it. Well, uh, let’s think a little bit about replanting since this is what the podcast is out about.
I’m curious, since you’re think, thinking back to the beginning of the podcast, what would [00:09:00]you say has changed over these 200 episodes about the work of replanting? things are, it feels like our culture’s changing around us. Some of the di the dynamics and challenges have changed. What have you seen change and then what have you seen remain the same about replanting.
JimBo Stewart: Uh, I think one of the things we’ve seen. Change is, there’s definitely been an increased awareness and excitement about the ministry of Replanting. And with that has been, a lot of innovations. And so one of the fun things we get to do with the bootcamp and with Nam is like, Identify where we’re seeing God do some really cool stuff at other places and start learning from that. And so there’s been, in the last year or so, a huge movement in a shift in the way we view replanting to fostering has become kind of a primary approach. that’s been fascinating to me, just to see. And that didn’t come from us. That didn’t come from, we’ve been able to help resource that, but that didn’t come from us. and. Seeing more and more churches now that are healthier and have the capacity are starting to, more of those are starting to ask, Hey, what would it look like for us to be ready to [00:10:00]replant, a dying church? And, so I feel like that lane has opened up a lot more as well. and then certainly Covid changed the world.
I mean, it changed the culture that we’re in in so many ways. we started this in 2019 and. so much has changed since 2019 and obviously 2020 changed everything. and so I feel like full-time opportunities are out there than used to be. because of that and many other things. There’s been an increased need for us to try to be really encouraging on this podcast. We’ve always wanted to be encouraging, but we feel a, a weight. when we talk to people as we’re out and about and as we’re on the podcast to make sure we’re always encouraging.
Evan Skelton: Bob, I think of. How you have described covid, blew down on whatever was already happening in a church. So either the slowed growth or intensified decline.
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
Evan Skelton: And so how that’s just, and then the response in that is just needing so much encouragement, guys to hold fast. It’s help helpful too.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, you’re, you’re referring to, and I think we, heard about that with our, episode with Les McEwen when he talked about the life cycles of an organization and [00:11:00] what, and the impact of Covid. And so I think Les, has really helped us understand, but I do think that resonates when we’re out speaking to.
Churches that are considering their future. And I guess what I would say is, two things stand out to me is one before, when a bunch of us were starting out in replanting, you know, 6, 7, 8, 9 years, 10 years ago or more, we were trying to survive, right? We were just like, what, what can I do to survive?
And then since then, the work of renewal, has become popularized in, in the academies with focuses of, doctoral ministry and revitalization, and there’s been an explosion of resources and rural resources. And so I think now there’s a language and there’s vocabulary that we didn’t have before when we first started out.
And even though our podcast is, you know, just as. Surprisingly, I guess it is four years old now. It surprises me to, to think it’s that old. But, terms have been defined and now I think they’re being applied. Right. And so I think that that’s, that’s a good thing. And I, I think the, the thing that I sense, that is changed a little bit is Jimbo alluded to this, is there’s a decided need for partners in re [00:12:00]renewal work.
Partners through fostering, through mergers and adoptions and those sorts of things. I think when we were first starting out, it was the solo guy that’s doing from a replant within like all three of us. The model that we did was a replant from within, and we would all say that that’s probably the most difficult model to take on.
So I think the shift in the transition to partnership models of replanting are encouraging and helpful and I think are what’s really gonna help this work move forward in the future.
Evan Skelton: I’m curious from both of you just to follow up on that. so Jimbo, you also mentioned this increased interest in fostering. Do you see that on both sides of the fostering equation? Because I hear a lot of churches that are, in wanting renewal in various stages of decline. Wanting a fostering relationship.
Do you see the other side? Healthy, thriving churches also interested in offering that.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. We, I feel like I have more conversations about that this year than the previous years in churches that are seeing this and, and they, their churches are going, we’re not interested in. a full-time, long-term campus we’re not [00:13:00] interested in, they hear the fostering model and they think that now that’s something we are interested in getting into.
Right. We could, we could get into that a temporary time defined, how do we help this church? And, and it looks a lot of different ways, right? There’s some really shorter partnerships of fostering, like we see in North Carolina and the way that they’re doing some things to their state convention too.
I’ve helped churches negotiate a like three to five year. Fostering agreement and work through that. And it’s, really a long-term partnership, but with this kind of loose grip of authority, with the very clearly stated goal of a desire for autonomy. And, it’s become probably my favorite.
Model, just to see how that has expanded on both sides. We definitely are seeing that happen more often. And so, that’s one of the conversations we are even having of how do we continue to equip the churches that are wanting to be fostered. We have a great book out there, pathways to Partnerships, but even beyond that book, how do we continue to deepen that ability to develop these churches because we are getting a number of [00:14:00] them saying, we don’t even have a church that we know.
Needs it, but we’re open. We want to do it.
Evan Skelton: Hmm. That’s really encouraging to hear. obviously, Yeah, we see God’s work for his church here in that way. so here’s the question too with this is, so if you’ve seen these things change, what would you wanna reemphasize that has not changed about replanting?
Bob Bickford: would say the need, it’s actually picked up steam. They’re more, more and more, and congregations that need assistance and renewal of some sort. I think we’re, we have maybe early, early. We, forecasted too early the wave of potential closures that were coming out of Covid. now we’re three years post roughly.
and I think that, in years four and five, we might see churches intern to a season of more desperation. and so I think. The field is telling us to the AMS leaders that they have better than 80% of their churches that need some sort of renewal. Right. So I think that while that’s the same, I think I just would wanna reemphasize, and this is hard for us sometimes and in particular me, I talk and speak [00:15:00] and lift out, lift up the banner of church renewal and replanting and revitalization so often that I forget. The uniqueness of it and the need of
it, because I’m in it, right? So it’s like being in the forest. You don’t see the trees. You just, you’re dealing with the undergrowth, you’re dealing with all those things, right? What’s right in front of you. But I think when we, when I step away from it and they come back to it, I’m just impressed over and over again when someone, someone freshly comes to the reality of the church in North America and, and sees it and connects with it for the first time, says, oh my gosh.
We are in such need, right? So I think that remains the same. I’d wanna reemphasize that. just don’t forget that if you’re, if you’re listening to us and you’re engaged in it, then you’re doing important work, right? And you are one church among thousands that is needed. in terms of being a gospel presence in North America.
So, stay at it. Right? Stay at it there, there’s so many others. And by your, by your sheer effort and existence, and work with the Lord’s [00:16:00] grace and strengthening, as you prevail, you encourage the rest of the body, right? And it’s like the water and the harbor rises, and all the ships rise as you replant a church and another church has replanted and another, and another, the movement is strengthened and it grows.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I would say while we have seen an increase in awareness and excitement, what’s still the same is it’s not enough.
because at the same time, while I do have conversations with churches that are ready to foster and churches that are ready to take this on, to be honest, it’s often rarely in the same geographic area that I’m having conversations with churches that need to be replanted and so that’s the part where it’s like, man, there’s still.
Such a great need for this. And it’s still really hard sometimes to find a partner church or a good re planter or, you know, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. And the flip of that, that’s still the same with that is we’ll in residencies we will train up replants and then we don’t have anywhere to put ’em, or we have re planters, you know, with nowhere to go or we’ve got, I I, I’m talking with a guy in [00:17:00]California that several churches have given their property to. That church, but he doesn’t have re planters and and so there’s just a lot of this like, man, how do we get enough awareness and enough momentum? And the other thing that I would say that hasn’t changed is the foundational principles of
what it takes to replant a dying church. Right? And it’s, it has to be focused on being biblically faithful, making disciples and missionally engaging your community.
And that that has to be kind of the primary activities and the primary things that you’re doing. And, That hasn’t changed and is not going to change. and that’s the things that we kind of continue to repeat over and over. And we repeat a lot of those things over and over on purpose because that’s what we have to continually be realigned to.
cuz it’s so easy to just think. Man, it’s just gotta be more modern or it’s just gotta be more this, or, or, I’m not successful unless I’m big. And, and so we, we try to
just keep reminding and keep encouraging back to those basic [00:18:00] fundamentals. So,
Evan Skelton: That’s helpful and I was gonna ask this question later, but along those lines of, okay, so the work of replanting has gotta still be rooted in a deep confidence in the scriptures, a commitment to the power of this spirit. returning to the work of discipleship, tell me a little bit more about what are some of the convictions for you personally that you’ve noticed over these.
200 episodes that maybe have shifted or maybe have become more rooted and become more committed to
JimBo Stewart: [00:19:00] [00:20:00] I have grown deeper in my conviction of the equipping side of that. Not so I agree with Bob on the funding side, but for me, just how are we equipping people to lead churches in renewal and. how do we get seminaries to use content that is going to, point people in the right direction of pursuing health and not just large and cool and modern, but then how do we equip them for the, consistent difficulties they’re going to experience, in trying to do something like this and the spiritual warfare and so their character and their competency, and really a, a deep need for both of those.
the past, I always go to, in Psalm 70 eights, He, he shepherded them with a pure heart [00:21:00] and skillful hands. And how do, how do we continue to lead leaders of all kinds to have, the pure heart of good character and the skillful hands of good competence because the need is there for the churches, but it is hard, difficult work and.
Just having good character won’t be enough and just being skilled won’t be enough.
Evan Skelton: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: and so we really have gotta get more robust in how we are helping prepare people for this.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
Evan Skelton: And how we’re forming them and how we’re helping them sustain. Yeah. just to riff on that a bit. So you, you’ve both have mentioned just the need has not changed. In fact, it’s grown, not only for the, for, for churches that are in need of renewal, but the need for good leaders.
Talk about the difficulty of that and raising those up. I’m curious if you, if you could just speak directly to those who are hearing this podcast that perhaps are considering the work of replanting. We know that so many, men that are drawn to pastoral ministry they’re weighing, the cost of becoming a lead pastor.
Let, let alone in a context like you’re talking about, we have [00:22:00] more men who are interested in associate positions. if ministry at all, just the cultural costs, let alone the idea of doing something co vocationally. speak to, if you wanna speak to, what would you say to those, those who are wondering if God might.
Be calling into that work and wondering if those costs are worth it, especially if they’re going to increase in terms of the difficulty.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, so I think the, the short answer is worth it on this side of life. yes, rewarded on this side of life, maybe not fully. but I think ultimately in the big picture of things, as we follow the Lord in obedience, he blesses in ways that we may consider, the, the, the culture may not consider material, in some ways right.
or beneficial in some ways. But I, you know, I think Gavin, e every single one of us, you know, you, me and Jimbo, We’ve been in a hard season of ministry. And then if we have a spiritual conversation with somebody where they see a new truth from scripture or they have a reconciled relationship, or they, they take a step of faith or obedience and maturity, I mean, that is worth it.
[00:23:00] Right? That’s worth a bad week. That’s worth all the, the headache and the frustration, and we feel like, okay, there’s an eternal point that’s been placed on the scoreboard for the Lord, right, for the team. That person, a person advances in the maturity of the Christ. So it just brings me back to my, you know, my replanting theme verse Colossians 1 28 and 29, that just talks about the fact that, we present Christ Hemal claim, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom.
And here’s the goal that we may present. Everyone mature in Christ. The goal is to help those mature who are under my care. And if, we can see that happen, if I can see that happen, man, I think that’s worth it. So, If you are called to the work of ministry, know that the reward is not in recognition from your peers.
The convention, the outreach, fastest growing list, the stats on your podcast downloads, the likes on your social media, all of those things. The Lord’s not gonna, he’s not gonna look at any of that. He’s gonna look at the [00:24:00] sheep that he entrusted to you and ask you how did you care for them and. So, I would say that is hearing well done from the Lord by helping a congregation of 40, like 80% of them take a step of maturity.
Is that worth it? I would say in the eternal scheme of things, yes. in the temporal world, most people would have the question mark, I, is it worth it? But I think if you, if you’re truly engaging in seeking the Lord and, and call and drawn and called by him to do ministry, it’s absolutely worth it.
And so it’s gonna cost a lot. It’s full talk contact sport. It’s gonna hurt. You’re gonna get some headwinds, but you’re also gonna be, formed in the image of Christ. Because as much as we called to. Ministry for the glory of God. God calls us to do the ministry, calls us to ministry so that he might be glorified in us through process of sanctification, right?
So, I think absolutely if you’re called to it, man, yes, pursue it. Be equipped, be empowered, be encouraged. Be in fellowship with [00:25:00] others and, go for it. It is absolutely worth it, but it’s not like anything that you’ve ever really tried to do, before, most likely.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I would shortly echo that in that if the Lord has called you to it, then it’s worth it.
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: and that’s true. Whatever it is, right? Because we have no, we just have to trust him with the harvest and we have to trust him that we may not even get to see really a lot of what the harvest is gonna be, but just trust him that there is harvest and trust him that he’s, he’s not wasting our time and we are not wasting our time.
we’re putting energy into something that glorifies him and brings people closer to him, even if that amount of people that it brings closer to him. Small.
This is not just preacher talk. it really is worth it. I am absolutely convinced that when we get to heaven, those with the most crowns and jewels and their crowns to lay at the fear of Jesus will be people we have never heard of. you know, it won’t be the big, huge names that get to speak at all the huge conferences and do all [00:26:00] like, and write all the books and, It will be people like you’ve never heard of that just faithfully served God, where God called them to be in obscurity and plotted. and I know for us, that’s so many of our listeners is guys who are, are not getting asked to speak anywhere or do anything.
but they’re showing up and they’re discipling people and they’re preaching the word and they’re loving their community. And I honestly am convinced that they’ll end up with the most jewels in their crown, lay at the feet of Jesus.
Evan Skelton: You know, I, I think, something both of you have been so good to remind me of and, in the midst of this, is that the way of. Christ is the way of the cross. Jesus promises us that not only is suffering something we cannot avoid, but it’s actually through the weakness and it’s through the losses and through the disappointments and the strangeness of choosing things that everyone else neglects and avoids, that the strength of Christ shines the glory of.
Guys, God shines. Brilliant. And so I would say, it’s [00:27:00] something that I have heard and I’m so grateful and need to continue to hear being as committed to this work as I ever have been. And I hope others who on this podcast are hearing as well is that if there’s any part of you that is drawn to seeing Christ glorified in this way and to the, you have this strange.
Itch to commit to a work that’s very difficult, and unpredictable, and the challenges that come with it. because you want to, because you believe that the Holy Spirit works through his church, and you believe that, uh, again, it is through, as Paul has often, Paul often says it’s through his weakness, that Christ’s glory is shown off as His strength is made perfect. Then, pursue that. You’re going to need partnership, you’re going to need resources. But here also, one of the things I’m so encouraged to hear is that watch how God is also providing for our churches as the costs have increased.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Evan Skelton: and, we cannot isolate.
We will wither. The Lord is raising up men like you who are drawn to the ministry. And providing resources so that you [00:28:00] would sustain. And so, tell me the, next question was, for, we got a lot of new listeners on here, so, If you were to. send them back.
in those last 200 episodes, what are some of those gold nuggets or conversations that stand out to you, you would recommend them to go back and listen to, as they catch up on what’s taking place? As much as it’d be great for them to listen to all 200.
Bob Bickford: Well, yeah. Start now, right? And catch up just when you’re on a long road trip. man, a couple, couple things stand out. I think, any of the ones that deal with, uh, dealing with conflict or change or struggle, mean most of the guys tend to, reach out during those times that need help during those times.
And so one of the great things about our website with our great partner, 180 Digital, they put in a search box. And so we’ve tagged the episodes and the show notes and all that kinda stuff. So if you, if you have a need, and you’re struggling. Just put, type that in the search bar and then pull that up.
So I would say that that typically is the number one needs, guys like, Hey, I’ve got an issue with this. And it’s, it’s under the umbrella of struggle, [00:29:00] like an issue, issue with like leading change or those sorts of things. One of my favorite all times one is, uh, how not to lead change. And that was like one of the first ones out of the gate where Jimbo, tells a story about sawing a p and a half with the chainsaw and scaring the W ladies and. For me, that is just still one of the most, memorable and fun episodes, and I think just a good one right out of the gate. I think that cemented our, podcast, history and, we planted a flag in the ground with that one. And, uh, I just, I still love that story and I love that podcast.
That was an early one.
JimBo Stewart: It was episode three, how, how
Lead, facility changes.
Bob Bickford: There you go. Yeah. And then also how not to do a name change. I think you, you
finally got over the,
You, you got over the PTs d of being able to not talk about it and then you could talk about it. So, uh, I think that one. And then, if you’re just starting out in replant and you wanna change the bylaws, search the bylaws episodes.
Cause we tell you, you don’t have to change it [00:30:00] right away. so there’s some good ones there.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I would say man, we’ve had a lot of really fun guests on, that I’ve just been a blast. I mean, that we’ve gotten to build friendships with, uh, you’ve been one of those multiple times. Evan, one of our other top 10, and I love this cuz here’s what I love. We’ve had some pretty well known guests on here and none of them are in our top 10 episodes.
our, our, top guests are like you and Jesse Peters and, like random people like that. I think the only one that made the top 10 was Brian Croft, and he’s a good friend of the podcast
and, he’s, he’s maybe the most well known that made the top 10. but one of my favorite guests was Fred Luter. And, hearing for hearing his story of replanting in New Orleans and, just such a good story. And then even the, like, the, the behind the scenes of that was like how complicatedly difficult it was to get him onto Zoom. he is not a technological person. I’ve known Fred and his [00:31:00] son Chip for a long time, and so I was able to mess with them a little bit about it behind the scenes.
But, it, it was, I think, I think we had to like, Literally like FaceTime someone else looking at a computer. Like it was like, it was
Bob Bickford: Yes.
JimBo Stewart: Like, cause he couldn’t figure out how to,
Bob Bickford: We had to hire a courier and a, and a balloon delivery and meal DoorDash person to go take him a phone that we ordered from Best Buy and turned. Have the guy turn it. I mean, it was, it was nuts
JimBo Stewart: it was so complicated.
Bob Bickford: But, then once he got, once he got on, man, it was great. It was one of the, one of the best ones.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, we’ve had some, I mean, some of my great friends we’ve had on the people I’ve known for a long time, I think some of my other favorites are like, early on, we did replant hacks, and they were just, Practical episodes we’re just talking about like, Hey, here’s good software for you to use, or Here’s a good way to save time doing this.
Or here’s something for you. Consider like just random. You should wear Thompsons Ts because Thompsons ts hide your pit stains and it’s an undershirt that is
Yeah, I, I’m a Thompson T user man regularly, and I, you know, I keep trying to figure out if we could get sponsored by ’em cause I think it’s the perfect pastor sponsor.
Bob Bickford: There you go.
JimBo Stewart: Most pastors need, uh, Thompson T and then honestly, my favorites though, that I point people to a lot is like we did a lot of little mini series. so we did one that I really liked called Leadership Judo. based on your leadership style, how, what should you consider and how should you lead people that have that style?
you know, using Visionary operator processor synergist, from Les McEwen. and I think that one was really good. Bob’s creating momentum for change. we did one on characteristics of, godly leadership that I felt like was really, really good. there’s several series like that, and one of the things that I really love.
Is, we have over the last year added blogs and so we have brought on, Aaron Cofield and Caleb Duncan are every week now, taking the episode of that week. And they’re turning it into, they’re writing it in their [00:33:00] own voice and everything, but with the same general advice, into a podcast, into a blog episode on Fridays.
Because one of the things we’ve found is some people just don’t like listening to podcasts And here’s, here’s why we did that. We’re not trying to grow our presence. Bob and I started, one of the questions we always ask ourself with just about every episode is, would this be a helpful resource for me to text to somebody when they, like, I go meet with a pastor.
Is this a conversation that might come up and they go, man, you know what I need help with is this? Or, or, and be go, oh, we’ve got an episode on that. And that’s my favorite thing to do is, is get a message from somebody, be out in the field and they go. Man, you know, I really need some help of with church conflict.
Okay, well let me, I’m gonna send you a couple episodes that I think you should listen to, or if you’d rather blog post, I can send you a blog post. and that’s the goal. So the goal for us isn’t how many listeners can we get? it is how much can we help those who listen?
Evan Skelton: Hmm. That’s great. Well, let’s, let’s think towards the future. Kinda last question. So thinking, what are some. of the main [00:34:00] challenges and opportunities, maybe in addition to what you’ve already said or including what you’ve already said, that you see coming up on the horizon for replanting work and what can, listeners expect look forward to in upcoming episodes?
Bob Bickford: Yeah, so challenges and opportunities for replanting. and I think the number of churches that are on the precipice of closure and the number of. Renewal pastors who are needed to, to step into those churches. I think those are some, some things that we’re gonna continue to need to focus on here in how do help those churches, Meet with the Lord and decide with the Lord’s leadership what their future is, and then how do we continue to ask, and make the call, to call out those who are called to the work of replanting.
So I, think those are some of the, on the horizon. That’s what I see. and in terms for us, man, I, I think Jimbo and I are, we wanna be sensitive to how the Lord leads and, and what we choose to talk about. And we’d love to hear from our listeners in, in terms of issues they’re facing and things that they’re dealing with.
And then really too, I think one, one of the things that’s been so helpful is when we [00:35:00] are in the field, at the conventions or conferences or associational meetings or whatever, man, we, we hear from listeners who come up and talk to us about what they’re going through. And so what I would say is, man, we, we want to hear from you.
We want to meet you. We’d love to grab a picture with you, shake your hand, hear about your story. We’d also like to hear what would be helpful to you, for us to, consider in terms of content for the, for the podcast.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I, I, I was, I want to echo that, that I think the most helpful content we provide. Is in response to a direct question from
and so man, reach out to us on social media. If you have our number, reach out to us. email us replant bootcamp gmail.com. it’s our favorite thing is to work through topics that you guys want to talk about or to bring you on and talk about it.
And, What’s coming in the future? I think it’s just more of the things we’ve talked about. More of a need. I, I’m seeing an increasing desire in the academic world to talk about replanting and that’s been really cool to watch. and so I’m excited to see what comes from that. and. [00:36:00] Just how do we continue to get more people aware of the hope that replanting brings?
This is not just about, let’s talk about dying churches. This is about, let’s talk about having hope in Jesus for churches that are struggling and so I’m excited to see as we continue to come up with ways to serve that need together.
Evan Skelton: Hmm. That’s great guys. Bob, you’ve mentioned too, I think at one point that we’re starting to finally get some metrics on, we’re able to, can you speak to that a little bit? We we’re able to now see some of the, current state of things. What are, what is working?
Bob Bickford: Yeah, since 2019, we, since before 2019, we’ve been recording, a lot of information about replants, but specifically through the annual church profile and through our counting of replants we’re, we’ve got a growing data set that we’re starting to explore to see. What the data shows us in terms of replanting and, and the fruitfulness of it.
So, I’m hopeful in, in the year to year to come to be able to unpack some of that with us. We’ve got our great friend, uh, Josh Dryer doubled doc, who’s doing some research on that. One of our [00:37:00]teammates at Nam Blake, Diebel, who’s looking at that. And so in the future, I think we’re gonna have some actual hard statistics, not just Facebook polls or chat group polls.
We’re gonna have some hard statistics on. The viability of the different replant models and, and what we see working. So I’m looking forward to, being able to unpack and that even segues with Jimbo’s comment. there’s great academic research that needs to be done and uh, so if you are considering a PhD or a DM and you’re interested in revitalization, contact us at nam.
Contact us here at the bootcamp. We’ve got plenty of projects we’d like to turn the loose on for you guys to help us, figure out what the Lord’s doing in the field, in the work of church renewal.
Evan Skelton: Hm, well, any final reflections, as you look back at these, 200 episodes for your both. Any last words you would say for this, this 200th episode?
JimBo Stewart: In the words of the wise Mark Clifton, well, what do I know? Anyway?
Bob Bickford: Jimbo, I know it’s none of my business, but I love you anyway.
JimBo Stewart: Christmas is ruined.
Evan Skelton: [00:38:00] Well, Papa Bob, brother Jambo. Thank you. Very great.
This is great.
JimBo Stewart: All right. Thanks for being a part of episode 200 with us, Evan, and for those of you that have made it this far into listening to the longest ever replant bootcamp episode that has ever existed, we love you. let us know how we can continue to serve you well.