I am absolutely thrilled to see the newest edition of the Advance Group Mentoring Guide launch online today.
The first Advance group started seven years ago in Manchester, England, when evangelist and Message Trust CEO Andy Hawthorne felt compelled to spend more time mentoring young evangelists.
Initially, the first group, and those that would launch alongside it over the following eighteen months, didn’t use any official Advance material for the sessions, they just worked within the five principles of Advance: Regular Meeting, Sharpening, Accountability, Communication and Multiplication.
By the time we had twenty-five groups of evangelists being mentored month-in-month-out, it became clear that this little movement of evangelist support would benefit from having a name and some basic material to help new groups get up and running. And so, at the first Advance Groups conference held in Manchester in 2016, we launched Advance formally and produced a small booklet that explained the ideas behind the Advance movement alongside four sessions to help get groups started.
Another eighteen months went by, and the movement continued to grow. We saw increasing numbers of evangelists connected in, with more than eighty groups running across the UK. Interestingly though, we were starting to see Christians who didn’t view themselves as evangelists, but who wanted to become more effective in their personal witness, starting and joining groups.
It became clear that a fuller guide would be needed to support these groups in their evangelistic development. We set out to write a guide that would cover everything a group needed to journey for at least one year together, and to slightly broaden the focus of the material so that it could be useful for anyone in the church, rather than being tailored so specifically to those called and gifted as evangelists. This guide (essentially our first edition of the full Advance material) was launched in 2018 at our summer groups conference.
At this time, we partnered with the Luis Palau Association to get Advance into the hands of anyone around the world that might find it helpful in developing their witness or stirring the gift of the evangelist. This first edition of the guide is the one that has been used over the last four years in groups around the world, as we have seen Advance grow into more than eighty nations across the globe. To help that growth, the first edition has been translated into twenty languages.
So why are we releasing a new mentoring guide today?
Two years ago, I went on a week-long retreat to pray into the development of Advance, particularly about how we should resource groups around the world. It became clear to me at that time that we needed a second edition of the guide that would do at least three things:
- Revise the first year material in light of everything we have learned from the Advance movement over the last couple of years.
- Provide a second year that would expand upon the first.
- Provide a third year which would enable groups to tailor the content to their specific needs and help them to keep going beyond year three if they wanted to.
After two years of praying, writing, receiving critique and feedback, rewriting, testing the sessions, rewriting some more and then a design refresh, we have finally arrived at the release of the second edition of the mentoring guide!
It has been a longer than hoped for journey, but I really do believe the process has paid dividends. I’m delighted with how the guide has turned out and I’m excited to hear about your experiences of using it in the coming months and years.
Printed copies of the English (UK) guide will be available in April, and we have already begun the process of translating the guide into all of the languages that we currently have translations for, as well as many more over the next two years.
So go and download the new guide at the link below! Start using it with your existing group this month, or even use it as an opportunity to launch a brand new group! I pray that this guide is a blessing to you in helping you understand the gospel more fully and in encouraging you to carry it into the world more intentionally.