Favorite Post: Support for Six Expectations of Disciples

I recently reExpectationsad an article by Thom Rainer entitled 6 Characteristics of Disciple-Making Churches on Outreach Magazine  In the article, Dr. Rainer listed six common expectations of churches who are effective in making disciples. In these churches, members are expected to…

  1. attend an entry point class,
  2. attend an open group Bible study,
  3. be involved in one or more deeper studies throughout the year,
  4. attend corporate worship service each week,
  5. be involved in at least one ministry or mission activity each year,
  6. read and study the Bible daily.

Making disciples is not optional. Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:19-20). How, then, could we begin to lead in the direction toward these expectations? What could we do to encourage and support these expectations? There are many possibilities, but allow me to offer two examples:

SUNDAY SCHOOL or SMALL GROUPS. What if adult and youth Sunday School group leaders were the champions for these expectations? What if groups organized themselves to encourage disciple-making by leading group members in pursuit of these expectations?

  1. For instance, what if new class members were encouraged to attend a new member class with another class member?
  2. What if the age-appropriate class welcomed and invited the new church member at the end of the service in which he/she joined?
  3. What if the class talked together about discipleship studies needed by class members and encouraged attending together?
  4. What if classes sat together in worship?
  5. What if every adult and youth class had a class leader who encouraged serving in a church ministry? Or what if the class pursued, sponsorted, and carried out a church ministry or mission activity?
  6. What if class got into groups of two or three to encourage one another to read and study the Bible daily?

ASSIGNMENT TO AN EXISTING MINISTRY. Another possibility for supporting these expectations would be to assign each of these expectations to an existing church ministry. Rather than pulling people in even more directions by adding new ministries, why not strengthen your existing ministries by giving them disciple-making responsibilities? Think about which ministry could best champion each of the expectations. Consider the following:

  1. new member class:  could be assimilation or discipleship ministry
  2. open group Bible study:  could naturally be Sunday School or small groups ministry
  3. deeper Bible studies:  could be men’s and women’s ministry, discipleship ministry, or other
  4. corporate worship service:  could be worship team, Sunday School/small groups ministry, or other
  5. serving in ministry or missions:  could be missions ministry, men’s/women’s ministry, Sunday School/small groups ministry, or mobilization or nomination team
  6. read and study the Bible:  could be men’s/women’s ministry, Sunday School/small groups ministry, or other.

Church ministries should support disciple-makers’ efforts. Without support for these expectations, most will never produce results or fruit. Someone must lead. Someone must expect. Someone must champion and encourage them and even check on progress. Where do you need to start in raising expectations and providing support for them this year? Make disciples!

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

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Favorite Post: Disciple-Making Decisions

KeyQuestionsAs you put together your personal or church plan to make disciples, allow me to offer some questions for you to consider:

Group size. What size(s) will you include? Content delivery is possible in large groups, but disciple-making is nearly always accomplished in smallest groups:  one-on-one, one-on-two, one-on three, etc. Small groups and Sunday School classes can also contribute to the process of disciple-making. Think strategically about using group sizes.

Relationships. How can you encourage relationship-formation to encourage disciples to remain involved in the process?

Schedule. When is the ideal time and duration for each major element of the process you envision? If they cannot be there, it is a poor time–even if it is ideal for you. And some steps and practices of the disciple-making process, take time. Don’t unduly rush but don’t drag things out either.

Multiplication. The process should be able to be reproduced. If it is too complicated, reproduction will be limited.

Goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What changes do you desire to see? What knowledge do you want gained? What practices/behaviors do you want to be understood and learned?

Materials. What resources (books, articles, handouts, etc.) will you use in the process? When possible, think low-cost to avoid multiplication issues with those who may not be able to afford the materials.

Simple. Think simple. Make the process easy to understand and the steps easy to follow. The more complicated the process and the more steps involved, the harder it will be for multiplication. Help everyone to be able to complete the process.

What would you add to these ideas? Share your thoughts. Make disciples. For more ideas, check out these blog posts:

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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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