Favorite Post: Disciple-Making Goals for the Year Ahead

RoadRollerWhere are you headed and how will you get there? Have you prayed? Our Lord has promised to be with us, and He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV). You don’t have to ask what to do. Making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20) is our task. But knowing how and where to start is worthy of intentional and serious prayer.

After praying alone, gather a team and pray together. Continue in faithful pursuit of disciple-making while you are praying. In other words, don’t quit making disciples while you are praying. But be open to new ways, new directions, and new focus for the year ahead.

In a recent article on pastors.com entitled 5 Big Goals for Each New Year of Ministry, Rick shares 5 goals that could also be worthy goals for your disciple-making efforts this year.
  • ATTENDANCE.We will increase our…attendance. Work to increase the numbers of men, women, teens, and children who are being discipled. Increase attendance in your courses and groups. While attendance is only one number, it is one indication of disciple-making. Extend personal invitations. Use social media. Mobilize your disciple-makers. Capitalize on your gatherings and events to invite new people.
  • CONNECTIONS.We will help attenders get better connected. An ember pulled out of a fire, goes out. The body of Christ needs each other. Those with friends in class tend to stay connected. Those without drop out. It is difficult to disciple those who are cocooned and not connected. Notice and pursue irregular attenders. Care for those who miss a group meeting. Connect people with common affinities. Pay attention to people and their relational connections–or lack thereof.
  • MATURITY. We will help our members grow in spiritual maturity. Our goal is more than knowledge. Our goal is spiritual progress of every member. That is all the more reason why attendance and connections are important. How can you help each member take steps toward spiritual maturity this year, this month, this week? How can you help them to grow in their relationship with God and man? How can you help them grow in the fruit of the Spirit? How can you help them live obedient, Christ-like lives? Make courses and disciple-making relationships practical.
  • MINISTRY AND LEADERS.We will deploy more people in ministry and develop more leaders. Seek to involve every member in service. Focus on getting new members involved with you. Enlist a ministry involvement leader to lead members find places of service and ministry. Meet needs together. Train them. Discover their gifts, abilities, passions, and experiences. Mobilize them into ministry and leadership opportunties.
  • GREAT COMMISSION. We will fulfill the Great Commission locally, globally, and cross-culturally. Make disciples of all nations. This can be launched from disciple-making relationships, small groups, Sunday School classes, or other groups. Carry out projects in the community, nation, and world. Think Acts 1:8. Pray. Identify needs. Find areas of common passion and interest. Serve. Give. Go. Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs. Serve together.

All five of these goals are worthy of attention this year. Pray about where to start and how to pursue them. Make plans. Set deadlines. Make assignments. Carry out the plans. Check on progress. Adjust if needed. Making disciples is a huge goal that we cannot do alone and will seldom be accomplished accidentally. Make disciples this year!

For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these blog posts:
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The Three Who’s of Disciple-Making

WhiteOwlThere are three important “Who’s” of disciple-making. Let’s look at each of them:

  1. WHO: Jesus. When we follow Jesus, He promises to make us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). We are all apostles (sent ones) who are sent to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). But we should never attempt to do this work alone. He goes with us–or we fail. Our disciple-making efforts spring from our relationship with Him, and our power comes from the Holy Spirit.
  2. WHO: Self. Our Lord has made each of us unique to be useful to him in a way no one else can. He wants to use our personalities, abilities, spiritual gifts, passions, and experiences in disciple-making.
  3. WHO: Our Timothy. He has given each us unique relationships. Even twins tend to have different friends. In fact, our families are a very important part of our focus for disciple-making. So are friends and neighbors. But every relationship and encounter is an opportunity to live for and speak for Jesus.

If any one of the three who’s are missing in your disciple-making, you are failing. You cannot make disciples without Jesus. You cannot disciple anyone well while ignoring who God made you. Without focusing on someone in your relationships, you will not be effective in disciple-making.

Commit the three who’s to the Lord in prayer. Ask for His help. Make disciples!

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

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EQUIP Tour 2016

Equip2016During August 2016, the Kentucky Baptist Convention EQUIP Tour is coming to a town near you!  The EQUIP Tour could be described as a mini-Super Saturday.  The goal of the tour is to provide helpful, practical training that will equip believers to serve their KBC churches with confidence and excellence.

LOCATIONS. On weeknights, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. (local time), we will provide training at eight locations (listed below).  There will be at least one EQUIP Tour stop within an hour’s drive for most churches in Kentucky:

  • August 15 in Prestonsburg
  • August 16 in Russell
  • August 18 in Bardstown
  • August 22 in Somerset
  • August 23 in Glascow
  • August 25 in Walton
  • August 29 in Paducah
  • August 30 in Hopkinsville

For the host church and address for each location, go to the EQUIP Registration page.

CONFERENCES. Training will be provided in the following areas:

  • Women’s Ministry
  • Sunday School
  • Discipleship
  • Church Finances
  • Revitalization
  • Children’s Ministry
  • Youth Ministry
  • Worship and Music
  • Evangelism
  • Church Security

For a complete list of the conferences offered, check out the EQUIP Conferences List. For a partial list of the EQUIP faculty, check out the EQUIP Registration page.

REGISTRATION AND MORE INFORMATION. Registration opens on June 10 at the EQUIP Registration page. For more information, call the Church Consulting and Revitalization Team at (502) 489-3571 or toll-free in Kentucky (866) 489-3571. Or email cheryl.frerman@kybaptist.org.

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Disciple-Making Materials

DisciplesPath2What materials are you using for one-on-one disciple-making? What materials are you using for D-groups (small disciple-making groups of four or less)? Please press Comments and share what you are using and how you are using those materials.

This blog is not in the business of promoting or selling products, but there is a lot of interest in one-on-one or one-on-small-group disciple-making right now. In response to that interest, I want to share three sets of materials that can help.

Billie Hanks Series:

Disciples Path Series:

Growing Disciples Series:

Use these materials to invest in 1-4 disciples who will be prepared to invest in 1-4 disciples (think 2 Timothy 2:2). Then when you and your disciples have worked through the materials, you each invest in one or more disciples.

Each of the above sets could be worked through in a year. So by the end of the second year, you have four disciple-makers ready to invest in four more. This may seem slow, but consider this:  with multiplication efforts continuing annually, you could impact over 4,000 people by the end of the twelfth year!

What is your strategy for disciple-making? What materials are you using? How are those efforts going? Let’s start a disciple-making movement. Make disciples!

For more ideas about making disciples, check out thee blog posts:

 

 

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What-Does-the-Bible-Say Discipleship

Bible2You are having a conversation with another Christian. He says, “My boss expects me to lie to my customers. I don’t know what to do.” The conversation is a teachable moment, a discipleship opportunity.

What if you seriously asked, “What does the Bible say?” What if you sent him home to study on his own before your next conversation where you will listen to what he discovered? (He might need some guidance of where to start.) And then what if the two of you considered relevant scripture verses and passages together?

Do you believe the Bible is relevant for all of life situations? Do you believe daily prayer and Bible study are essential for navigating decisions and demands of life? Then we cannot lead them to wait on us. We must teach them to feed themselves. We must teach them how to plumb the relevance of God’s Word for their lives.

This may take some initial guidance but is well worth the time invested. Ideally some of these skills will be taught in Sunday School as well. But conversation often leads us to see needs and gives opportunity to disciple “as we are going.” Listen. Ask them what the Bible says. Guide. Pray. Celebrate biblical understanding and application.

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

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Is There a Sacred Discipleship Space Problem?

TinyRoomI am attending the Discipleship Track at Expoenetial in Orlando, Florida. The Forum panel includes some major names in discipleship: Robby Gallaty, Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, Alex Absolom, Ariyana Rimson, and Bill Hull. Their focus has been walking through discipleship aRena’s/spaces (from Discipleship That Fits): public, social, personal, transparent, and divine.

Conversation today made me stop to think. Could we be teaching people that all discipleship should be  done at the church? Could we be applying this to personal discipleship as well as our efforts to discipline others? Are we undercutting our Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) by focusing more on the place of a church building than upon relationships and “going?”

What might happen if we intentionally decentralize and mobilize disciple-making? Do we need to give our people permission AND an example (with leadership) for this shift to occur?

Add a Comment. Ask a question. Let’s talk.

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

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Start and Result of Discipleship

FishersSTART. When does discipleship begin? In the Great Commission Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples….” Going is the first step. A few may come to us but most are waiting for us to go.

I remember a night it was pouring but we went visiting for our Sunday School class anyway. We were soaked when we stood at the carport door. I knocked and a 26-year old man came to the door. After introductions, he said, “You know. I’ve known for some time that I needed Jesus.” We had not shared scripture or a plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit had been at work. We had taken the first step to discipleship by going.

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” We cannot become fishers of men by study without practice. We spend time with Jesus, allow Him to “make us,” and are sent out to do it. Then we become fishers of men when we go.

RESULT. At the same time, the result of our discipleship will be “going” and leading others to Jesus. We will follow Him and He will make us fish for men. A sign of our discipleship will be our passion for Him and our concern for the lost. He came to seek and to save the lost. And He leads us to continue His mission.

I have seen brand new Christians who recognize what Jesus has done for them who immediately tell others. They share His passion and mission even with little knowledge or time following. Their passion is Jesus.

Why is it that many followers of Jesus struggle to fish for men? Sometimes it is a loss of the passion for Jesus and His mission. When we depend on a past relationship without keeping it fresh through time together and communication, that relationship deteriorates whether it is a marriage or our relationship with the Lord.

The start and resuslt of discipleship is “going” and leading others to Jesus. Spend time with Him. Fall in love with Him and His mission. Spend time with them. Fish for men for Him. Make disciples.

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

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Simon Says Discipleship

FrancisChanWatch this short Francis Chan clip about discipleship.

How Not to Make Disciples

Chan asks some serious questions. Why do we believe that mental/verbal discipleship is enough? What does Jesus expect? How will we be judged?

For more ideas about moving toward obedience, check out these blog posts:

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Spiritual Discipline: Journaling

JournalingWhat is a spiritual discipline? It is a tool, method, or process which deepens your relationship with God. A spiritual discipline can practiced one-time, occasional, or repeated.

Journaling will usually fall into the repeated or occasional practice. There are a couple major categories of journaling: (1) life journaling and (2) quiet time journaling. Allow me to describe each.

LIFE JOURNALING. Life journaling is more than keeping a historical record of what happened daily or on certain days. As a spiritual discipline, life journaling is reporting God’s interaction in life. It is recognizing His presence and work during a period of time. Such journaling may record spiritual insights, stretching, praise, thanks, hurts, etc. Such journaling may naturally at times include insights from Bible study and prayer, but life journaling will tend to look through the lens of God’s intersection with life.

QUIET TIME JOURNALING. Quiet time journaling will begin with Bible study and prayer. As a spiritual discipline, quiet time journaling includes insights from passages studied as well as prayers requests made and answers given. In an overly simplified way, it is listening to what God is saying and responding to Him in prayer through jouraling. Jouraling will often include questions, concerns, realization of personal application, commitment, and even accountability. Personally I discoverd much benefit from journaling as a young Christian teenager.

Here is a simple quiet time journaling outline:

BIBLE STUDY (read, listen, examine)

  • Orignial context: What was the main truth/point of this passage in the original context?
  • My context: What truth/point is God communicating to me?

PRAYER (praise, agree/confess, request)

  • What is my response to what God said/expects?

COMMITMENT (agree, commit to change)

  • Am I willing to do what He wants?
  • How do I need to change/respond?

OBEDIENCE (accountability, check back over the next few days)

  • What did I do as a result of my encounter with God in His Word and the commitment I made to Him?

A journal entry will usually have the scripture reference and the date. Writing often leads to deeper processing and insights. Writing can be reviewed later to recognize spriitual progress or needs as well as to help keep commitments made.

Not every spiritual discipline has to be fun. (We are talking about “discipline” here.) But if you are going to try journaling, I want to encourage you to try it at least 3-5 times per week for a month. Many who give it a healthy trial find great spiritual benefit from the spiritual discipline of journaling. Keep in mind that journaling is a great disciple-making tool.

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

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Assemble the People Disciple-making

NetFishingIn Deuteronomy 31:12 (ESV), we read some disciple-making instructions:

Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law…

There are three instructions I want to point out in this verse followed by few comments:

  1. Assemble the people…that they may hear…the LORD your God. When we gather the people, we should be careful that they hear Him. That means we will open God’s Word and lead them to encounter Him in His Word.
  2. Assemble the people that they may…fear the LORD your God. Those who have a relationship with Him will be careful to help those gathered to meet Him in Bible study in such a way that they are changed as a result. We will appropriately communicate how big and awesome He is. We will show Him the respect and “fear” or awe He deserves. We will point to what He has done and what He deserves from us.
  3. Assemble the people that they may…be careful to do all the words of this law. Out of hearing and fearing come a relationship with God made possible through Jesus Christ. As a result of what God did through Christ on the cross and out of the grave, that relationship will be lived out in the world by following where He leads (Matthew 4:19), being obedient to what He commands (Matthew 28:19-20). We will show them in our lives and words.

Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) told us as His disciples to go. We must go in order to assemble them in our disciple-making efforts. We must meet them before we can disciple them. Who are we to meet and disciple? Men, women, and children and even strangers and foreigners (sojourners) living among us.

How large should our disciple-making groups be? In this verse, the word “people” is plural. That would mean groups of two or more. But many of our efforts to “go” will lead to connections with individuals. Start with one and connect them with another individual or more. Relationships, encouragement, and disciple-making efforts matter. Make disciples!

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

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