Mentoring Stories: Nathan Edwardson


Nathan no doubt wins the prize for being the emerging leader who I have spent the most time with, drank the most coffee with, laughed the hardest with, been the most frustrated with, had to ask forgiveness from the most, and who has leveraged what I poured into him more than anyone else I can think of. When Nathan and I first connected many years ago I quickly discerned his potential for impacting the advance of God’s Kingdom. Though not maturely formed or tested, he was clearly gifted, eager to learn and ambitious to serve. And so began the decade-plus discipleship relationship that I believe has shaped and transformed both our lives for the good. Today Nathan is a world class communicator and an extra-ordinary visionary leader who is literally impacting nations with the good news of Jesus Christ. Now hear our story from Nathan’s perspective:

Fifteen years ago, God brought Bill & Jill Randall in our lives. As my wife, Erica, and I began our young journey with God, the Randall’s very quickly became some of the most significant, encouraging, and prophetic voices in our lives.

For years, we gathered weekly, along with many other young adults, in Bill and Jill’s living room. They taught us, equipped us, challenged us, and empowered us to follow Jesus in every way possible. They have helped us to hear God’s voice, discern God’s leading, take risks, and dream boldly with God. They carry such a beautiful and authentic heart to see the next generation go further, faster, stronger and longer.

Bill and Jill have also walked with us through the most painful seasons of our life. They have helped us to face pain, to deal with discouragement, to forgive others, to embrace forgiveness, and to pursue healing and wholeness in the broken places of our lives. They have given us permission to weep, to feel, to fall apart, and to find God in all of it. They have shown us again and again, ‘It’s ok to not be ok,’ which has freed us beyond imagine.

Nine years ago, the Randall’s empowered us and commissioned us to plant a new church, the Stirring, in Redding CA. Our desire, more than anything, was to reach young adults, to see them come alive in Jesus, to encounter His wild love, and to live with courage the dreams God has placed within them; offering to this next generation what Bill & Jill so generously offered to us. Years later, the Stirring church has grown into a healthy and progressive expression of the kingdom in our city and beyond.

I am beyond grateful for Bill & Jill Randall, leaders and even more so, spiritual parents, who not only believed in us, but also took a great risk to invest their lives so deeply into ours. I can truly say, no couple has a deeper and more lasting impact on our lives than the Bill & Jill. We are profoundly grateful.

Nathan Edwardson
The Stirring Church

Question: What do think are the essential ingredients to an authentic discipleship relationship? Leave a comment!

Posted in Mentoring Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Programs to Rhythms of Life

Time to Change

For the sake of contributing to movements of the gospel, the body of Christ needs to resolutely transition from developing more leader dependent, consumer driven programs to that of establishing organic rhythms of life that form and sustain the fruitful life that Jesus made possible. In simple form, here are the rhythms of life that each believer must creatively establish in order to authentically flourish as a follower of Jesus:

Rhythms of spiritual formation that create space for the abiding presence and power of God.

Rhythms of connecting with an intentional community that create space for developing healthy, collaborative, reproducing disciples who together serve to advance God’s Kingdom.

Rhythms of missional living that create space for every disciple to authentically connect with not-yet-believers so they can discover and begin following Jesus.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Posted in Devotional musings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring Stories: Andy Ashworth


Andy & Julie Ashworth, Glasgow, Scotland

In the following mentoring story, you will hear from my friend Andy Ashworth who is the worship leader at Re:Hope Church in Glasgow, Scotland. I have had the privilege of coaching Andy for several years, and have had two fruitful and fun on-site visits.

I first encountered Bill and Jill Randall whilst attending a missionary conference in Mexico. They were teaching together on the topic of “physical healing” – and I remember being struck by their humility, wisdom, experience and depth. Later on that year, whilst watching Bill’s DVD series on “Inner Healing” as a church staff, the Holy Spirit nudged me to contact Bill and ask if he would be my mentor/coach, which he was happy to do even though we had never met!

In the two years since then, we have been connecting regularly via skype and also in person on a few occasions when their travels brought Bill and Jill to the UK. Bill has been instrumental in bringing inner transformation to my personal life, walk with the Lord and ministry over this time. His constant encouragement has been life-giving as he gently and persistently calls me back to a life centered on the love of God and my identity in Jesus.

The areas of life and ministry that have been particularly impacted by Bill’s ministry are:

  • Vision and direction
  • Ministering in the power of the Spirit
  • Spiritual formation
  • Self-leadership

Finally – one of the most transformative aspects of working with Bill is his ability to see what God is doing in our lives (my wife, Julie, and I) – to believe in us and the Kingdom work that God is releasing through us and calling us into. To have a couple like Bill and Jill by our side, cheering us on, equipping where necessary, listening when needed, speaking always with wisdom and insight, has been one of the greatest encouragements that the Lord has brought to our lives.


Learn more about Re:Hope Church on their website at:


Posted in Mentoring Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring Stories: Stuart Sutherland

The following mentoring story is from my creative and courageous friend, Stuart Sutherland. We dared to dream huge together about what kind of Kingdom initiative could make the greatest impact in the City of Shasta Lake. Along with reading Stuart’s story below, check out the Heritage Roasting Company website. It’s awesome!


It was almost everything we wanted.  In the Spring of 2006 I completed my BA at Simpson and was already headlong in a career with a local architecture firm.  Sara and I were raising our two daughters, bought our first house, and we just got a dog.  Life was finally settling in and we were content.

Our comfort was disrupted about a year later as the Lord very clearly called us to the mission field.  As we obediently followed, we discovered a huge gap in what God was asking of us and what we felt we were capable of doing.  Sara and I grew up with an understanding that we were quiet people looking to obediently follow Jesus in small tangible ways.  We were not planning to be leaders of much, or create anything new.  We just wanted to find our niche in the Church to quietly and obediently serve.

As a requirement of our missionary candidate process I began to attend classes at Tozer seminary.  I took a couple classes taught by Bill Randall and instantly there was a connection in what he taught and what I needed to hear.  Bill along with his wife Jill were able to walk with Sara and me through our pursuit of God’s call.  Their discernment and wisdom soon found that I was living under a very truncated perspective of myself and of my heavenly Father.  I can be a quiet person, but also a very apostolic, and entrepreneurial person.  For the first time in my life I was given permission to dream, create and implement outside of the paradigms that trapped me in fear.

There was a gap in who we thought we were, and what God called us to do.  Under the leadership, teaching, and friendship of Bill and Jill we were able to grow in an understanding of who we were and who’s we were.  Out of that identity we have been able to step up to the Father’s call and find freedom.  We have been able to create a business, community center, and missional community that is transforming an entire city.

Sometimes we wonder what life would look like without the influence of Bill and Jill and it’s impossible to know.  What we do know, is their obedience to the Father placed them exactly in the perfect time and place to empower and equip us for Kingdom ministry.  We are very grateful to these two: our amazing spiritual parents.

Heritage Roasting Company website:

Posted in Mentoring Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring Stories: Tim Kayser


The following mentoring story is from my good friend, Tim Kayser, who followed me as the lead pastor of Risen King Community Church after Jill and left staff to become missionaries with CRM (Church Resource Ministries). Tim is a very gifted communicator of the good news of Jesus, and one of the smartest people I know. He served the church with excellence as my executive pastor for many years. I counted on him big time in many of the huge transitions in the life of our church, especially in our move to our new facility on 50 acres in Redding, CA. Now, as the lead pastor of Risen King, Tim is leading and shaping other future leaders as I had the privilege of doing with him. May there be a mentoring movement across the body of Christ for the sake of the Kingdom!

From Tim Kayser:

I recently was asked who has had the greatest positive influence on my life and why.  Along with a couple of other mentors, I talked about Bill Randall.

Sixteen years ago, Bill hired me to work as a pastor at Risen King Community Church in Redding, CA.  This was my first pastoral job, and I learned so much from Bill about what it means to be a pastor.  I learned the importance of keeping one’s own spiritual walk vital; I learned the importance of vulnerability and authenticity, even for those in primary leadership roles; and I learned that it is possible to lead a church staff as friends.  Bill walked me through my first funerals and weddings and gave me feedback on my preaching.  He really helped me learn how to “do the stuff” of pastoring.

From Bill I gained a greater passion for seeing the Kingdom of God come.  In Bill, I found someone who was able to clearly articulate what I intuitively felt should be the case: that we can be passionate and committed to the truth of God’s Word, and be eager to experience the tangible presence and power of God’s Spirit.

I can honestly say that no one person has had a greater positive influence in shaping me for ministry than Bill, and I am so grateful for that.

To learn more about Risen King, check out their website at:

Posted in Mentoring Stories | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring Stories: Don Hunter

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

2 Timothy 2:2

Over the next few months I will feature the stories of some of the leaders I have had the privilege to work with as their mentor, coach and friend. Equipping and encouraging leaders on the front lines of ministry has been the passion of my life ever since I can remember, and God has been gracious and the fruit has been good. Thank you Jesus.

This first mentoring story comes from my friend and Kingdom comrade, Don Hunter. Don and I have developed a rich friendship over the years. I respect him a lot and am proud of the life and ministry he leads. Here is Don describing our mentoring relationship:

All Photos - 1 of 1

Don Hunter, Awakening Alliance Church

I first met Bill Randall in March 2010.  At the time, he was the Senior Pastor at Risen King Community Church in Redding, California, and was one of the featured speakers at Risen King’s first annual “Kingdom Come’ conference.  Bill was both an excellent speaker – deep but not over our heads, practical but not formulaic – and a wonderful host pastor for the conference.  Although I had very little personal contact with Bill at that conference, his ministry impacted my ministry and I decided that I had to return to Redding the following year for the next conference.

In 2011, my family came to Redding with me, and I got to meet Bill on a personal level for the first time.  We had lunch together with our wives, and that lunch was the beginning of a relationship that has continued to deepen both personally and professionally.   Since that lunch, Bill and Jill have had a major impact on my own walk with God, my family, the leadership in our church, our congregation as a whole, other pastors and congregations in my district in Western Pennsylvania, and many other communities as well through those who received ministry from Bill and Jill in our church and then moved on to other ministry opportunities outside of our local area, our state, and even our side of the country.

Since 2011, I have been blessed by Bill’s leadership personally in a number of different ways:

  • As a local church pastor, I was able to attend Bill & Jill’s Life Equipping Center in Redding through online classes, Skype conference calls with other students, and an on-site spiritual formation retreat and an on-site Kingdom Conference in Redding. This was one of the best investments of my time and money as far as growing both my personal walk with the Lord and my spiritual leadership for my staff and my church.
  • As an individual who is concerned about my spiritual health, and as a leader of both a church and a church staff, I have also experienced significant growth through regular coaching by Bill over the past several years. Bill has coached me via phone calls, Skype calls, and whenever it has been possible, through face-to-face meetings.  We’ve covered a significant range of topics, from things like hiring and leading staff, to personal spiritual formation skills, to communicating and preaching, to leading a governing board, and many other subjects that have equipped me to be a better steward of my time, talents, and relationships.
  • As a husband and a father, I have benefited from Bill’s coaching, advice, and years of experience.
  • As a local church pastor, I have been blessed to have Bill and Jill minister in our church over the past several years in several different capacities. During their various trips to our church, they have:
    • Spoken in our services;
    • Been keynote speakers in our conferences;
    • Led our church staff and leadership team through a spiritual formation retreat;
    • Led our church staff and leadership team through vision development retreat;
    • Led our church staff through leadership development training;
    • Trained Ministry Team members to pray for people with diverse needs;
    • Trained Prophetic Encouragement Team Members to hear God’s voice and encourage others by sharing what they hear; and
    • Trained our entire congregation to take risks by praying for people with needs at home, at work, and wherever they encounter them.


I am excited to support Bill & Jill financially because I have personally been encouraged and equipped by them in an ongoing way.  I have seen – and continue to see – the Lord work through them in my personal life, in my family, and in my congregation.  For me, it’s good stewardship to invest in a proven ministry like that of the Randalls – a ministry that has widespread impact and ongoing fruit.

I hope you’ll strongly consider doing the same.


Rev. Don Hunter
Senior Pastor
Awakening Alliance Church
Ridgway, PA

Posted in Mentoring Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Free of the Status Quo!

goldfish jumping off to new fishtank

“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”       
– Acts 11:19-21

This text describes such a critical turning point in the missional narrative of Acts. Even after the believers were scattered, most kept their ministry confined to the Jews. Yet there was “some of them” who were wired and inspired differently for a different impact. This is the point in church history when the focus turns externally to the unreached majority of the world. From this point on, God’s redemptive story in the book of Acts is largely focused on a mission to reach Greco-Roman cities and nations.

I wonder who these courageous people were who broke out of the norm—who broke “the rules” in  order to connect the gospel with those who were the furthest from God? Would they have seemed like rebels to the establishment? I wonder if they had been frustrated by the “Jewish only” mission to that point? I wonder if they had been accused of being critical of the status quo?

Whoever they were, and whatever they were like—praise God for the “some of them.” Every generation needs a fresh batch of creative and anointed “some of them” to bravely pioneer new Kingdom works in new God directed ways.

This is the type of person I love to spend time with and help shape for the sake of launching new Kingdom outposts and expressions of the church: churches that will functionally prioritize the making of more and better disciples of Jesus and the advance of God’s Kingdom; churches that will emphasize outward focused multiplication rather than inward focused addition; and will prioritize sacrificial giving rather than just receiving as a way of life.

I’m incredibly grateful that my role with CRM/ChurchNEXT as Director of Pioneering Initiatives has positioned me to serve full time to this end. I am passionate about discovering, developing and deploying a new generation of radical apostolic men and women who are crazy in love with Jesus and resolutely committed to his mission. If you happen to be reading this and your heart has been aching to break from the status quo of the typical institutional approach to mission and church planting, get in touch with me! I’m convinced it takes a new kind of leader to lead new kinds of ministries—ministries that are desperately needed to connect Jesus with the majority of our unreached world today. Please join me in praying for a fresh unleashing of the “some of them” who are willing to break free of the status quo for the sake of the gospel.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment!


Posted in Devotional musings | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments