Archives For Jeff Gibson

In 1941, a difficult 70 year long prodigal son story began to unfold in a hospital bed in wartime Soviet Union.  Nursing a shoulder wound from the Battle of Bryansk, Mikhail Kalashnikov, would set out to create weapons that would help defend his homeland from German invasion.

Over time, these weapons, the most well known being the AK-47, would be copied over 100 million times as the tool of choice for those intent on creating destruction on six continents.

A Soviet celebrity of sorts, Kalashnikov traveled the world declaring his atheism and defending the value of a material world over the freedoms and faith in Christ that hundreds of millions would immediately embrace following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The fall of the Soviet empire though did not dissuade Kalashnikov’s atheism … grace did.

And here are four things that we can take from this story of how ministry worked in this story of a prodigal son who was very far away from God but came home, started to see his life through God’s eyes, and on December 23, 2013 passed away.

When the son returns embrace him. …

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“Oh God, by your name, save me … The Lord sustains my life.”

Harrison Odjeba Okene, is an early riser.  At 4:30 AM, one May morning, Harrison was getting a jump on his day as a tugboat cook on the Jascon 4, when his life turned into one of the great stories of deliverance.

The Jascon 4, one of three tugs hauling an oil laden tanker out to sea through Nigeria’s River Delta, with 11 crew, lurched, keeled over and sank into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, coming to rest in 100 feet of water.

God, for your sake, help me! Use your influence to clear me. Listen, God—I’m desperate. Don’t be too busy to hear me. Psalm 54:1, 2 MSG

Quickly coming to grips with an emergency he couldn’t describe but knew he had to survive, Harrison freed himself from the confined space, outlasting the thrashing he took from the debris of a sinking ship as he found a place where he could better breath.  He grabbed two flashlights, his Bible, and a bottle of soda to sustain himself.  And he started to pray.

Not indiscriminate…

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Paul in RomeWhile we know Paul’s inspired Biblical work first appeared and has been known for generations as letters, epistles, and singularly as verses, it is clear, that as a social media guru, he was the first.

After some 20,000 + social media ministry messages, I am always drawn to the fact that nothing can connect people like a Bible verse.  Especially Paul’s work because it is so clear, concise, and flat out inspiring to people living at the height of the Roman Empire, in an age no one had ever seen before… in other words, much like ours.

Here are some quick lessons:

1. Inspiration + Application = Story.

Look at a verse almost any Christian can quote, like Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through him who gives me strength (NIV).  Just on its own it has easily been tweeted more than a million times.

It inspires, makes God apply in your life immediately, and it sends you deeper for the story.  While the first temptation in reading this verse is to respond, “of course”; the second response is almost always “why”, and that is the introspection that leads directly…

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ConnectedPRAY is an acrostic to remember when thinking about how to expand the reach and influence of your ministry on Facebook.  Here are the four steps to follow:





Each of these steps taken together can turn even a small ministry into a world changing force.

Last April 1, a ministry of 70 men, HERDSaturday at the Saddleback Church Lake Forest campus,  put the PRAY acrostic into practice with a day of fasting and prayer on Facebook.   In a single day they had reached over 50,000 with prayer requests from around the globe.  At the time, I wrote an article (link here) about what had achieved and now that they are gearing up for this April 1, you can easily learn lessons from their full year of experience.  Here is what PRAY looks like in real life:

Be PERSONAL:  “Fasting is a practical key for men because you can fast off anything.  We have guys fasting off dairy, television, soda, whatever you need to give up so that you can focus on God,” HERDSaturday Pastor Steve Komanapalli said.  “It deepens our commitment to God, to those we pray for, and to each other.”


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Working Woman2011 was the year in which it became clear that while women were outperforming males in education and their early careers, they were running into the same challenge: burn out.

Think about this, pastor. Many families start regularly attending church after the birth of a child or a career move often at the behest of the mother in the family. And now, research is showing that these same women, aged 25-32, are experiencing career burn out in greater numbers than men (via ForbesWoman).

This screams out for an outreach to women in the workplace specific to dealing with stress God’s way. Here are three quick outreach keys:


Service projects that have an immediate impact will attract the career obsessed who don’t think they can help, until they see a web video about a single Mom in need of tax help.


People that see themselves as ‘busy’ also see themselves as ‘doers’. Clearly asking for their help to achieve a specific, achievable outcome, will start that internal conversation of, ‘I can do that, and it is only a Saturday morning.’


Start the project with a very…

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The HerdFacebook is often seen as the shallow of the ministry pool.  You may be able to do some ministry, maybe some outreach, but nothing too deep.

Well, the HERDSaturday ministry at Saddleback Church proved you can sacrificially spread grace through a prayer and fasting vigil as easily on Facebook as you can in small group, or in a churchwide campaign.

“In the last month or two, our group of 60 regular attenders have been hit with health, family, financial issues,” said Robert Sturm, the volunteer ministry leader for social media. “In the midst of those challenges, it was clear, we needed to stand up and score big for Christ by spreading prayer far and wide.”

Before starting a Facebook page, HERDSaturday, was the smallest of several Herd men’s ministries, with a hardy 20-30 men attending services every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00.  Last year, the ministry started it’s Facebook page and immediately gathered 100 fans, watching attendance more than double.

Since the first of the year, Pastor Steve Komanapalli has focused a great deal of volunteer effort on Facebook with astounding results: interactions are up over 1,000% to 45,000 in the last month…

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