Multiplication at the speed of relationship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 18:8

In June, I spent four days with our upcoming YLI Interns and Coaches in Northern Ghana.  We were camped out in a rented house which afforded us the space to plan, pray, talk, eat and also enjoy some relaxed time together.  The group in this photo includes original YLI Coaches like Vincent, Naomi and Jonah, second generation Coaches, and new young leaders who are now coming from all over Ghana and northern Nigeria.  Out of this group, our next YLI Coaches will emerge and begin to raise up the fourth generation.

With each generation of apprenticed leaders and disciples, YLI’s geographic sphere of influence has expanded.  Collectively, YLI leaders now have direct influence into nearly every West African country!

We’ve learned that discipleship happens no faster than the speed of relationship.

We made an intentional decision long ago not to measure discipleship training effectiveness by the number of people who complete our training process, but rather by the observable fruit in their lives.  Personal stories of transformation and the impact these young people are having in their world are very encouraging!  

This is what I have witnessed this year: 

  1. New disciples are being produced and reproduced.
  2. YLI groups are forming to listen to God’s voice and respond to God’s calling.
  3. New churches are being planted.
  4. Fulani Muslims are continuing to come to know Jesus.
  5. Villages are enjoying safe water for the first time.
  6. School children are being educated and fed.

It is young leaders who have been discipled into a Jesus way of life who God is working through to create this impact. Multiplication and discipleship are show processes at the beginning, but as we see in YLI, it accelerates over time. Thanks for reading!

Pass the baton, but don’t exit the race too soon.

Multiply what’s best in you.

One of the great things about our leadership transition to Gen-2 Coaches is how the first generation, now in their 40’s and 50’s, are giving of themselves to support the younger leadership.


Passing the baton, but not exiting the race.

Discipleship and apprenticeship necessarily culminate with a
handing over of a baton, but
Gen-1 Coaches like Jonah,
Naomi, Vincent, and Solomon
are still participating in the new innovation and growth in YLI.

My first 2019 trip to Ghana was part strategy meeting and part “ministry of presence”.  Coming out of that time, we have begun implementing a plan to train the third generation of Coaches in Nigeria and Ghana.

New Nigerian leaders

Our new work in Nasarawa State has expanded to six young Coaches, women and men who have started going deep in relationship and spiritual growth with 28 university students. 

Spiritual apprenticeship

The Gen-1 Coaches and I invested in Constant Adzomani, a Ghanaian who moved to Nigeria for two years.  In Nigeria, he raised up the first Nigerian Coaches.  Now he travels periodically back to Nigeria to continue to train and encourage them.

Multiplying what is good

It’s sobering and true that for good and bad we will multiply what we are into those around us.  If we live intentionally in our discipleship, we have the best chance to pass on what is best in us.  I am encouraged that although I have not yet met the Nigerian Coaches, I recognize in them what I love about YLI: our focus on love, our values, our mission to empower others not just ourselves.  

This is what the Nigerian Coaches shared with me recently.

“We give God the glory for counting us worthy to partner with Him in this sacred task of building young leaders that will shoulder the affairs of the Kingdom in their generation. Although we are also young ourselves, we do not take this calling and election for granted at all. We have wholeheartedly accepted the task and believe God to passionately pursue the Vision (Going Deep with a Few) and Mission (2 Timothy 2:2) of YLI to actualization in Nigeria.”

“We are not claiming to be sufficient of ourselves but our sufficiency is of Christ who has called us and qualified us as able ministers of the New Covenant and as ambassadors of His Kingdom here on earth. As we conduct ourselves in this task of YLI in Nigeria, it is our earnest desire that we will recommend ourselves to peoples’ conscious and be proven faithful by the Lord Himself who will judge both the living and the dead at His appearing. God bless you all.”

YLI has never been about Jim Moye, Fran Moye, Fent Smith, or Ash Zook.  Long after all of us leave the story, young leaders continue l continue to grow in their followship of Jesus and multiply what is best in them.

It brings to mind the Casting Crowns song, Only Jesus: 

 I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus.

Thank you all for reading, for your financial support, and your prayer.


Why what’s happening in Nigeria is so exciting

“In all my time in YLI, I have not witnessed such receptivity and enthusiasm like in this conference. They were open to share from their lives and ready for deeper relationship.”

–  YLI Coach Constant Adzomani

Jim Moye founded YLI in 2002 through a few deep discipling friendships and we’ve chosen to continue that impulse into 2018.  Depth ensures we continue to see our vision of young leaders reaching their world with the gospel.  We’ve experienced time and again that fostering deep relationships with a few, and making transformation the goal, not numbers, leads to exponentially more long term impact.  Its vital for us to gain trust and relational access below the surface of leaders’ lives.

This year, our relationships with young leaders (through the Holy Spirit) led us into northern Nigeria, a tough but exciting place to minister!  And it has been incredible so far.  Because of our foundation of local relationships in Nigeria we’ve experienced a high level of engagement, even though we are new on the scene.  YLI in Nigeria will soon be it’s own self-sustaining community and organization.  The same process is also taking place north of Ghana in the country of Burkina Faso.

We all make a choice:  Will we do what most people do and stay “surfacey” in our relationships.   Or will be do the hard work and take the risk intentionally going deep with people?   YLI has grown and extended geographically as we’ve followed our relationships with young leaders.

Not compromising on depth of relationships has been a core value in YLI for 15+ years.  It has been a guardrail that has helped us stay focused on the destination (not crash the car in a ditch!).

Do you have guardrail values that focus and protect your lives’ work?

Grateful for you!

First Nigeria 3 day training

A few interesting facts, and why we are so excited about YLI’s natural expansion in northern Nigeria:

  • Ghana Coaches Yakubu Zacharia and Naomi Awuni traveled 4 daysby road to northern Nigeria.
  • Word spread.  33young leaders came the 1st day, 45the 2nd day, and 51the 3rd day.
  • Ghana trained YLI leader Constant Adzomanilives in Nigeria and is responding to interest by forming a leadership team of disciples to hold more training and Coaching opportunities for young leaders.

First discipleship weekend in Burkina Faso, West Africa

“Your teaching has opened my ears to be able to listen to God on my own”  

– young Burkina Faso leader

Ghana shares the northern border with the country of Burkina Faso.  Although culturally similar in ways, Burkina is French speaking.  Local dialects span country borders, however, which laid the ground for YLI Coaches to hold the first three-day discipleship weekend in Burkina from March 21-25.

Pastors from seven different churches and 46 young leaders participated.  The responses we are getting indicate that God is opening a new door for us in Burkina.  Young people shared that no one had ever taught them discipleship, intimacy with God, or love evangelism.  It was a special time.  New friendships were started from which the Coaches will begin to build discipling relationships.  We pray that in time we will have the first Burkina YLI Coaches.

We’ll be going back to Burkina Faso in September to deepen the training.  Please pray for the Ghana Coaches as they become cross cultural missionaries beyond their own borders!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Naomi’s “Van-Bus” Project

Naomi’s love, and expertise as an educator and a discipler, was making an impact, but transportation was needed….

In Africa, it is not uncommon for subsistence farmers to pick up and move in order to find a piece of fertile land from which to feed their families. Wherever they settle, many build impromptu villages in the bush with other families and try to survive.  Many go to the Brong-Ahafo region, Ghana’s forest belt, where YLI Coach Naomi Awuni lives.

Naomi, a school teacher, began traveling to these communities to serve and evangelize.  When she saw the children had no education options, she created one — the King James School (named after her son James and her late son King).

Naomi’s love motivated her to sacrifice her aged Toyota Corolla to transport the children, but when she found herself making three round trips to the bush every day, with 12 children in the car each way(!), we saw an opportunity for a strategic investment.  You the YLI Tribe stepped up and funded the purchase of a cargo van which we converted into a school bus to last month.   The children (see below) are excited, and we are so grateful for the impact of your generosity.

From this…

IMG_7207 (1)

To this…


To THIS!!!


#smallbatch Listening to God AT Course


A Listening to God Pilgrimage

April 20-23, 2017, YLI #smallbatch discipleship is hosting the first intimacy with God mini-pilgrimage on the Appalachian Train in North Carolina.  Younger leaders of any hiking ability will have the opportunity to learn more about intimacy with God, hearing God’s voice, and will be coached in developing an individualized 30-day experiment to hear God’s voice after the hike.  Our hope is that this experiment will lead to an ongoing deepening connection to God that will lay the foundation to a lifetime of fruitfulness in a life of following Christ.

The cost is $150, but if you are short on funds, scholarships are available.  Hiking gear such as packs and sleeping bags are needed, but loaner and rental equipment are available.  We’ll provide tents, clean water and food.  Both men and women are invited.  In short, if you are between the ages of 20 & 35, willing to hike up beautiful mountains and sleep outside, open to sharing your life with others, and available that weekend, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t join us.


how to pack


Why does disciple making not happen more among us USA church folk?


Although I love the growth and multiplication happening in YLI, I’ve also come to terms with embraced that going deep with a few in discipleship doesn’t have mass-appeal.  And as I’ve had the joy to get to know many of you, I have learned that you are OK with that.  You support YLI because you believe:

  1. Jesus meant for making disciples to be a priority for Christ-followers, and…
  2. There is much evidence that disciple making is a very neglected practice among Christians!

The YLI Tribe (you) are people who desire to continue to grow as disciples and disciple-makers.  If that is true of you, I have a very helpful article from David Mathis of  Seven Costs of Disciple-Making.  (Hat-tip to Bobby Callahan, one of our #smallbatch leaders, for forwarding it).  Just a couple of excerpts…

Mathis first suggests that being honest about the cost of making disciples can help us rise to the challenge, even if others think we are just wasting our time on a “small batch”.

“Perhaps what might help us over our hurdles is not to hide how costly disciple-making is, but to be utterly honest and explicit about the costs, and hold them out in the light for us to see, and then find whether something in us might just rise to the peculiar glory of it all. God makes foolish the wisdom of the world, with its shortcuts and mass production, through the folly of disciple-making. As he did when his Son took a rag-tag band of uneducated peasants, invested in them at depth, and launched them out to change the world.”
2 Timothy 2:2 is YLI’s keystone verse, but do we pay close enough attention to the very next verse?  Mathis makes another great point that speaks to our Coaches in Africa and to us.
“What is the very next thing the apostle Paul says after he gives his disciple Timothy the charge to make disciples who make disciples in verse 2? Verse 3: “Share in suffering.” Should we be surprised? The master disciple-maker himself was put to death on a cross. And Paul is writing this letter from prison to his disciple. Paul wasn’t locked up just for being a disciple of Jesus. If he would have just loved Jesus and kept it to himself, no one would have gone to all the trouble to put him away. No, he was in prison because he was fruitful to multiply his life by making disciples.”
I challenge you to read the entire article and share your thoughts.  Reply via email, post on our Facebook page, or tweet your thoughts to @ash_yli.  Let us continue to encourage and build each other up in our shared work of making disciples!

Sarah Roy Sheppard Moye February 21, 1936 – January 02, 2017



Mrs. Sarah Roy Sheppard Moye, age 80, of Atlanta, died Tuesday, January 2, 2017. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, January 5th at 11:30 a.m. at Davisboro United Methodist Church with burial to follow in the Davisboro City Cemetery. The Reverend Ron Dixon and Reverend John Wesley Moye will officiate. Pallbearers will be Mike Moye, Michael Moye Jr., James Moye III, Daniel Moye, Jonathan Moye, Stephen Moye, and Barry Sutlive. The family will receive friends at the church also on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:30 a.m.

Mrs. Moye was born and reared in Washington County, the daughter of the late Roy Sheppard and the late Sarah Bynum Greer Sheppard. She graduated from Sandersville High School in 1954, where she was selected as Homecoming Queen. Mrs. Moye spent her adult life in Atlanta as a homemaker raising her children in the love and admonition of Christ and living out her family’s conviction, “Jesus is the driving force of my life”. She was an active member of the Oak Grove United Methodist Church where she was a member of the New Hope Sunday School Class and was a former teacher and mentor to the College/Career Sunday School Class. She was also an active volunteer in mission work in Atlanta. Mrs. Moye is predeceased by her son, Reverend Dr. James Dunaway “Jim” Moye Jr.

Survivors include: her husband, James Dunaway “Jimmy” Moye Sr. of Atlanta; son, Michael Raley “Mike” Moye Sr. and his wife Sharon Whelchel Moye also of Atlanta; daughter-in-law, Frances Smith “Fran” Moye of Carrollton; grandchildren, Rachel Moye Iliadis and her husband Dimitri of Atlanta, Rebekah Elizabeth Moye of Nashville, TN., Michael Raley Moye Jr., of Birmingham, AL., James Dunaway Moye III, Daniel Felton Moye, Jonathan Smith Moye and Stephen Francis Moye all of Carrollton; great grandchildren, Penelope Lark Iliadis and Eleanora Poet Iliadis; siblings, Jerry Gilbert Sheppard and his wife Judy Austin Sheppard and Judy Patricia Sheppard Rakestraw.

Donations may be made in memory of Mrs. Moye to Young Leaders International, P.O. Box 1088, Carrollton, GA. 30112, a charity, her son Jim founded.

May and Smith Funeral Directors is in charge of these arrangements.

%d bloggers like this: