According to research if you are feeling frustrated by these issues you are not alone. Again and again we meet people who are tired of functioning in the “form” of church. They dream of experiencing its Biblical authenticity. Leader after leader have confided in us their frustration with so much time spent in administration and preparation. They muse about how to spend more time with people. Churches are closing at an unprecedented rate. Our outreach is not keeping up with population growth—we are losing ground. Some churches are getting bigger. Yet many people are not becoming fully committed self-actuating and self-propagating disciples of Jesus. While prayers for salvation are being prayed, discipleship is waning.
Part of the Joint Statement on Discipleship at the Eastbourne Consultation says the following:
Christians are not that different from the culture around them.
When the desert wind blows, it shapes the sand, and the Church has become more like the sand than the wind.
Here is one more quote. This one comes from Albert Einstein:
doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Many years ago Jim Warren, founder of Dynamic Life Development, found himself facing an impossible task. He was asked to reach out to some of the most obnoxious, disrespectful, rebellious youths he had ever met. They had no interest in learning. They had no interest in anything he had to say. Jim had spent over 10 years in pastoral ministry. He loved to teach. He loved to preach. These young people had no interest in being taught—they distrusted teachers. These young people had no interest in being preached at—they despised the church. In fact they had learned not to trust anyone. Jim found every traditional approach to ministry ineffective.
Jim began to pray and study the Bible within the crucible of this very pragmatic ministry. Through this he began to develop an approach to ministry. It was simple—live life with people while building sacrificial invested relationships with them. He called this approach “Invested Ministry.” Over the next sixteen years it made a huge difference in the lives of the youth he served. Jim began to understand that the Bible does not just tell us what to believe and how to live. It teaches us how to minister the good news of Jesus in a transformative way. It teaches how to minister to both those who are in the church and those who are not. He began to realize that all effective ministry has Invested Ministry at its core.
DLD was formed in 2010. The original goal was to bringing the Invested Ministry methodology into the lives of youths who had been incarcerated. Jim interviewed over 80 people from local congregations. He asked them to consider spending two to three hours a week with these youths. Over 90 percent of those who had their own children gave the same response. “We do not even spend that much individual time with any of our own children.” Jim could not believe what he was hearing. He realized something had to change.
Today DLD is focused on helping churched people learn how Invested Ministry must be the focus of their lives. It must be their focus in their families and in how they interact with their church community. It must also be the way they interact with the non-churched community around them.
DLD still offers direct ministry to youth in the church and troubled youth from the community. However the emphasis is always on developing long-term invested sacrificial relationships as the foundation of that ministry.
Jim Warren is President & CEO of DLD. He is a Motivational Speaker, Author, High Risk Youth Specialist and Life Coach. He is also an expert in the Invested Ministry Model of Discipleship and Outreach. He has served as a Pastor, Business Owner and Consultant. As an accomplished Non-Profit Management Professional Jim has devoted 35+ years to the development and successful execution of strategic fiscal and organizational management plans that facilitate growth, cut costs and drive revenue while maintaining a relational connection with both clients and colleagues. This impressive track record grew from his combination of exceptional Leadership and Communication Skills. Jim’s passion is to move the Christian Faith Community into a ministry process based on the attitude of Jesus. His desire is to reach and empower youth while equipping others to do the same.
As a man of strong Christian faith and conviction Jim is determined to see God honored and the principles of His Kingdom followed in each endeavor he undertakes.
"I have never met a man who is more passionate about reaching young people with the message of hope the way Jim works. If you want to make a difference in the life of a young person then partner with Jim. Support him with finances and your investment will have great impact!"
Dennis Tooley, Former Central Field Rep. Indiana Youth Institute & Principle at Powerhouse Consultants and Powerhouse Laughs
"Jim is a man of vision and commitment. He has demonstrated an engaging personality, an uplifting spirit, and a genuine concern for others. The fact that these "others" includes not only adults within the community, but especially the throw-away youth that very few adults in the community have either the heart or the ability to reach cannot be overlooked. He is creative, dedicated, and committed to accomplishing his goals in a manner which demonstrates the highest level of integrity.
Patrick R. Oatis. Former Executive Director, Christian Haven, Inc.
"I have known Jim Warren for close to thirty years. I have, in a sense, walked with him through some good times as well as through some very trying times in his personal life. Even during the most difficult of times I never saw his sway from his convictions or from his work ethic. He was always committed to doing the right thing, of fulfilling his life purpose and professional goals and of seeing those who were around him positively impacted. It has been a pleasure to know Jim Warren and to be among the select few who might consider him a friend."
Doug Winne. Senior Pastor, Burning Hearts Church