Invitation: 4 Chair Discipling

4ChairHow does someone go from seeking truth about Jesus to knowing Him and making disciples in His name. The Discipleship Network of Kentucky and I would like to invite you and your discipleship team to join us on April 20 to hear a simple process of moving people through four chairs.

  • WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 10:00-Noon (Eastern time).
  • WHO: Dan Spader, author, disciple-maker, founder of Sonlife Ministries
  • WHAT: 4 Chair Discipling: Growing a Movement of Disciple-Makers (Dann will share about this book).
  • WHERE: Live at the Kentucky Baptist Convention, 13420 Eastpoint Centre Dr, Louisville, KY and Webcast to a host church in Paducah, Bowling Green, and Lexington.
  • COST: $15 per person (you will receive his book by mail when you register)
  • WHO SHOULD ATTEND: pastors, associate pastors, volunteer discipleship leaders, and individuals with a passion for disciple-making

REGISTRATION. You will be able to register for this event online soon. Save the date. Bookmark this blog post and check back in a few days.

QUESTIONS. If you have questions, contact me at darryl.wilson@kybaptist.org or Ron Moore, president of the Discipleship Network of Kentucky, at ronm@littleflock.com.

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Strategic Use of Discipleship Venues

BuildPlanABSENCE OF DISCIPLESHIP. Today, it is common to hear “We no longer have a discipleship ministry in my church.” How can that be possible when our Lord called us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)? For years, many churches thought discipleship would be accomplished through worship, Sunday School or small groups, and discipleship courses. But lives were too little changed. Disciples were not being multiplied. The absence of a discipleship ministry is our open door to start fresh!

EFFECTIVENESS? When it comes to discipleship done in different venues/group sizes (see Disciple-making: Using Group Size Advantageously), some are done well and some not so well. Opportunities for discipleship are numerous. Sometimes they are a home run. Sometimes they drain church body attention, time, and resources. Are your discipleship programs, activities, and plans effective? This may be time to consider strengths and weaknesses. It may be time to trim activities and programs in order to focus on a clear path.

A PATH OR STRATEGY. Recognize it takes more than having a discipleship ministry. It takes more even than doing discipleship in every venue/group size–even if what is done is done well. It takes a strategy, a simple plan! It must be simple. Any plan path that is not easily understood is too complicated. If you cannot explain it, that is a bad sign.

SHARE IT! As you read scripture, books, and web posts related to disciple-making, share them. Raise attention and interest. Increase personal awareness and sense of responsibility. Gather a study team. Spend time in the Word together. Read a book and talk about the chapters. Attend a conference together. Evaluate everything your church does and its impact on discipleship. Where are your strengths and weaknesses? Where are the gaps and needs? Put together a simple plan. Implement. Then assess and adjust the plan as needed.

PERSONAL CHALLENGE. At the same time, this effort can and should be a call to a similar process for your personal discipleship. As a result your efforts and those of your study team members, you have an opportunity to evaluate and consider needed adjustments in your personal discipleship. I challenge you to develop a personal discipleship strategy. Where do you need to start? Who could encourage you and hold you accountable to carry out your plan?

For more ideas about putting together a plan for discipleship, check out these posts:

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Turn Life into Discipleship Experiences

WreckMy previous two posts, Turn Sermons into Discipleship Experiences and Turn Lessons into Discipleship Experiences made me think of Deuteronomy 6:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Life is full of teachable opportunities for growing as disciples and making disciples. Loving the one God is important enough to be the consistent topic of your thinking, object of your worship, and influencer of your attitudes and actions.

What reminders can we discern from these verses? Here are a few thoughts:

  • The phrase “shall be on your heart” (v. 6) reminds me that God and His Word should ever be before us. This means memorization and meditation from regular times of study.
  • The phrase “shall teach them” (v. 7) requires personal study and an intentional plan to communicate them. This is more than memorizing words. In the words of Jesus in the Great Commission, this is “teaching them to obey.”
  • The phrase “talk of them” (v. 7) means continuing to bring God and His Word into our daily conversations in the home and beyond.
  • The phrase “when you lie down, and when you rise” (v. 7) is a reminder that our conversation about God and His Word is not to end. We are not to segment our faith from life.
  • The phrase “bind them as a sign” and others to follow (vv. 8-9) remind us to use every resource available to keep God and His Word ever before us AND others.

Life is full of opportunities to turn daily activities, events, and interactions into discipleship experiences. What else would you add to these thoughts? What experiences have you had of turning life into a discipleship experience? Press Comments and share your thoughts.

For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these posts:

 

 

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Turn Lessons into Discipleship Experiences

BibleReading2In my previous post, Turn Sermons into Discipleship Experiences, I shared 11 actions you can take to grow as a disciple through worship, particularly sermons. In this post, I want to take the same approach and apply it to Sunday School lessons (or small group time). Consider these 14 simple ideas the next time your group meets:

  • Pray: Pray for your group. Pray for your leader. Pray for guests. Pray for fellowship and Bible study time. Pray for insight and growth.
  • Rest well: Give God and your group experience, your best effort by getting enough sleep. Avoid staying up late the night before.
  • Prepare: Look at the scripture, lesson, or topic which will be the focus of your group. Read. Study. Meditate. Ask yourself questions. Seek God’s insight. Come prepared to share and ask questions.
  • Be on time: Avoid rushing. Arrive early. Greet members and guests. Listen.
  • Enter expectantly: If you expect to encounter God during group time, you will be less likely miss to Him. Pray expectantly.
  • Choose the best seat: Choose wisely according to your vision, hearing, and reducing distractions. But make prime seats available for guests and late arrivers.
  • Bring your Bible: Technology is fine–as long as the technology does not tempt you toward distraction.
  • Take notes: Even when you can use a Bible app, you may find paper notes more convenient. Flipping between apps can be challenging (and distracting). Include the date and scripture reference for later review. Record the major points.
  • Listen and determine the point: What is the point of the passage/lesson? What does God expect? How does God want you to respond? Add to your lesson notes.
  • Ask God for help: Commit to be obedient. Ask for His help in carrying out a plan.
  • Choose a plan of action: Make a plan of action. Share it with a group member (accountability). Add the plan to your lesson notes.
  • Take a step: Start the plan. Keep your commitment to be obedient.
  • Review your lesson notes: After 3-4 days, check your notes to see how you are doing at carrying out the commitment to obey. Ask a group member to check in with you during the week or the next time you gather.
  • Adjust as needed: Get busy if you have not started. Ask for God’s help. Adjust the plan if needed.

Pray. Prepare. Enter expectantly. Listen. Apply. Commit. Obey. Adjust. Lead others in this direction. Make disciples!

For more ideas about discipleship, check out these posts:

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Turn Sermons into Discipleship Experiences

PreachingWould you like to worship, be motivated, AND be discipled from sermons? Consider these simple ideas this Sunday:

  • Be on time: Avoid rushing and missing preparation (see below).
  • Enter worship with prayer: If you expect to encounter God in worship, you will be less likely miss to Him.
  • Choose the best seat: Choose wisely according to your vision, hearing, and reducing distractions.
  • Bring your Bible: Technology is fine–as long as the technology does not tempt you toward distraction.
  • Take notes: Even with a Bible app, you may find paper notes more convenient. Flipping between apps can be challenging (and distracting). Include the date and scripture reference for later review. What are the major points?
  • Determine the point: What is the point of the passage/sermon? What does God expect? How does God want you to respond? Add to your sermon notes.
  • Ask God for help: Commit to be obedient. Ask for His help in carrying out a plan.
  • Choose a plan of action: Make the plan of action. Share it (accountability). Add to your sermon notes.
  • Take a step: Start the plan. Keep your commitment to be obedient.
  • Review your sermon notes: After 3-4 days, check your notes to see how you are doing at carrying out the commitment to obedience.
  • Adjust as needed: Get busy if you have not started. Ask for God’s help. Adjust the plan if needed.

What would you add to these thoughts? Every sermon can be a discipleship encounter for you. Make it so. Make disciples!

For more ideas about discipleship, check out these blog posts:

Posted in Discipleship, Sermons, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth | Tagged , , , , | 2 Responses

Disciple-Making Strategy Questions

flowchartPray. Gather a team with passion for disciple-making. Work through these questions. Don’t be afraid to launch disciple-making actions while working through strategy development. But keep things fluid so adjustments can be made.

Consider these questions as starters:

EVALUATE:

  1. What is the current state of disciple-making (strengths and needs)?
  2. What programs, ministries, and events are accomplishing a portion of the work of disciple-making? Which part? How well?
  3. What are the challenges and hurdles facing disciple-making?

MISSION:

  1. What are we supposed to be doing in disciple-making? What is our mission?

VALUES:

  1. Why do we do what we do in our disciple-making efforts? What do we value?

VISUAL:

  1. How do we do what we do in our disciple-making efforts? What would our disciple-making strategy map/flowchart look like?

MEASURE:

  1. When are we successful in our disciple-making efforts? How could we measure effectiveness of our efforts?

DIRECTION:

  1. Where is God leading us in our disciple-making?
  2. How will we know we are heading in the right direction?

SUPPORT:

  1. How will be build church support of the disciple-making strategy?
  2. How will we communicate the disciple-making vision in response to congregational questions and concerns?
  3. How do we lead the church to “own” urgency for disciple-making?
  4. How will we lead people to recognize our Lord’s vision for disciple-making?

I want to acknowledge drawing help from an article by Will Mancini entitled, 36 Questions for 20/20 Church Vision from Start to Finish.

What questions would you add? As my church’s disciple-making strategy team has discussed many of these question and read various resources, it has been amazing the common language, ideas, and direction they have discovered. Now is a good time to start!

For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these posts:

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New Year’s Personal Discipleship Questions

time4questionsA new year is an appropriate time to reflect on what God has done in your life during the previous year. It is good to pause and reflect on strengths and weaknesses, progress and challenges, new goals and adjustments needed.

Often a consistent set of questions or review categories are helpful. Here is a set of questions from Don Whitney from a post, 10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year. I want to encourage you to read his entire post because he includes 21 extra questions (making 31) which might be useful to ask one per day for every month of this new year.

Here are his 10 questions:

  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Look and pray through this list. Talk to a friend about this list. Use the questions as you disciple others. Journal responses to the questions. I strongly encourage you to write–helps with commitment and accountability. If one of these questions especially strikes a nerve, post a Comment.

Happy New Year! May God bless and use you this year. Make disciples!

For more posts about discipleship, check out these posts:

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Discipleship Through Church Ministry and Programs

upwardWhat if every church ministry and program…

  • was required to advance individual and/or corporate discipleship and disciple-making?
  • was required to show how it will do so before it could be calendared?
  • was required to show (measure and report) how participants acted, ministered to others, or invited/shared Jesus differently as a result?

In other words, what if every church ministry and program was planned, conducted, and measured according to its discipleship and disciple-making impact? What if we did this for worship? What if we did this for youth ministry? What if we did this for Sunday School? What if we did this for music, women’s ministry, VBS, basketball, missions, and all other church programs, events, and ministries?

How would doing so improve our focus and effectiveness in discipleship and disciple-making? How would doing so help the church in carrying out the Great Commission (make disciples of all nations)?

Think through these questions and share your thoughts or concerns (press Comments)? The church has a mission. The church is struggling with that mission. Could part of the problem be that the church is busy doing things (1) that are not part of the mission and (2) that are not effectively contributing toward the mission?

How can we address this reality? How could the three questions above help? Are there any dangers? I look forward to hearing from you. Make disciples!

For more ideas about discipleship, check out these posts:

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New Year’s Commitment to Growth and Discipleship

newyrThe beginning of each new year is an opportunity to start things, to start over, to start again. It can be a time of commitments and resolutions, a time of review and desire to improve.

At minimum, the Christian should stop to reflect on what God has done in the previous twelve months. This should bring appreciation to our minds, hearts, and lips. Expressions of thankfulness are natural in prayer as well as in conversation with people in our lives.

While attention may be focused upon physical, relational, mental, and life needs and goals, the new year is also an opportunity to consider spiritual, discipleship, and disciple-making goals. What are some questions to consider in these areas as the new year approaches? Consider the following:

  • On which fruit of the Spirit could I grow to be more like Jesus?
  • Toward which person(s) could I be more loving?
  • In which new Christian could I invest and encourage?
  • Which family member, neighbor, or friend could mentor me? (or could I mentor?)
  • What books would help me advance my spiritual goals, plans, and passions?
  • What mission or ministry project could I undertake or lead?
  • For what people, people group, or purpose could I pray?
  • Where and with whom could I serve as a chaplain for spiritual support?
  • What is my Bible reading and study plan?

What additional questions come to your mind as you read these questions? Did one resonate deeply with you as you read the list? I encourage you to write down your plans. Share them with a friend. Encourage each other to grow this year. Make disciples!

For more ideas about growing spiritually and making disciples, check out these posts:

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Stumbling Blocks to Our Spiritual Growth

trippingI read an article entitled 2 Keys for Spiritual Growth. It reminded me of this scripture passage:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).

Too often disciples are weighed down by and stumble over bad things as well as good ones. I often think of Lot’s wife (in Genesis 19) who was told to flee from Sodom and not look back or stop anywhere before the coming destruction. The problem was she looked back and got stuck in the destruction (became a pillar of salt).

I am confident that she was not looking back at that moment whistfully longing for days of sin. She was looking back at her home, at good memories, and hard-earned possessions. In and of themselves, these were not evil things. But when things (even good ones) get in the way of our obedience to God, they are stumbling blocks to our spiritual growth.

The article, 2 Keys for Spiritual Growth, mentioned two potential stumbling blocks:

  • Past Failures and
  • Past Achievements.

Because of forgiveness, failures should not incapacitate us. At the same time, we should not rest on yesterday’s successes. Paul emphasized letting go of the past and reaching for the prize in your spiritual growth.

Pause and take inventory. With what are you struggling the most in your life as His disciple? Where are potential stumbling blocks (good and bad)? Are there past failures or achievements that distract you from what He desires from you today? Confess these to Him. Ask for His help to release them. Focus on the direction forward that He is leading. Grow as His disciple. Make disciples!

For more ideas about making spiritual progress, check out these posts:

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