On churchleaders.com, Bobby Harrington asks ten disciple-making questions for churches in an article entitled 10 Disciple-Making Questions You Need to Ask. I encourage you to read the entire article. Many good questions are in his list:
- How does our church define discipleship?
- What does a disciple look like?
- Do we have an intentional process of discipleship?
- Does our church know this process?
- How does this process relate to the purpose of the church?
- Has our church prioritized distinct practices that relate to the discipleship process?
- Does our church practice the principle of abandonment based on the idea that activity doesn’t always mean productivity?
- How does our church measure maturity?
- How does our community describe our church?
- Do our church families spend more planned time in a week at church with each other or in the community with non-believers?
Gather a team to start the conversation, assessment, and planning. Pray. Start small. Make disciples!
For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these posts:
At the National Disciple Making Forum, I received a sampler (two chapters) of The Disciple Maker’s Handbook: 7 Elements of a Discipleship Lifestyle by Bobby Harrington and Josh Patrick. Because I have been around Bobby at the discipleship track at Exponential and this year’s Forum, I look forward to reading the complete book when it becomes available on November 9.
The sampler list the seven elements:
- Jesus—the original disciple maker and centerpiece of discipleship.
- Holy Spirit—fuels the disciple-making process.
- Intentionality—making disciples utilizing a strategy and a roadmap.
- Relationships—creating a loving, genuine connection with others who trust and follow Jesus.
- Bible—using the Word of God as the manual for making disciples.
- Journey—forging a traceable growth story from a new birth to spiritual parenthood.
- Multiply—reproducing the discipleship process so that the disciple becomes a disciple maker.
I frequently write and talk about six of these seven disciple making elements. I look forward to discovering more about one of them, “journey.” Do you have a disciple making plan? Does it include each of these seven elements? If not, how can you tweak or change your plan so they are fully integrated into the plan?
Making disciples of Jesus is the greatest cause on earth. Then how should we equip people to do it? Order copies of this book. Gather a planning team. Read it together. Build a strategy. Make disciples!
For more ideas about disciple making, check out these posts:
The local church in America is realizing she needs Jesus-style disciple making. Leaders know they are in trouble without it. Jesus commanded it. And everyday Christians are increasingly expressing their need for it.
There already exists an unorganized group of men and women committed to this focus in America. They bleed for the cause of disciple making. They have started good efforts, but they have natural limitations. The dispersed movement needs a national voice, a rallying point. This is why Discipleship.org will host the first ever National Disciple Making Forum, at Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, TN (Nashville area), on Thursday and Friday, October 6-7, 2016.
The forum will bring together leading voices and practitioners from around the country. With God’s help, we seek to create a stronger and clearer voice. We will aggregate the best speakers and practitioners. We will collaborate and show how much more we can do together than we can do separately. We will forge a collaborative community. We will seek to be a rallying point for a national tribe of discipleship-first people.
10 leading voices from around the country have already committed themselves to partner together. They are giving their resources to this gathering and rallying the people in their network to join it.
- Bill Hull & Brandon Cook – the Bonhoeffer Project
- Jim Putman – the Relational Discipleship Network
- Randy Pope & Monte Starkes – Life on Life Ministries
- Robby Gallaty – Replicate Ministries
- Dann Spader – Sonlife and Global Youth Initiative
- Dave Buehring – Lionshare
- James Forlines – Final Command Ministries
- Kennon Vaughan & Ariyana Rimson – Downline Ministries
- Craig Etheredge – DiscipleFIRST Ministries
- Brett Clemmer – Man in the Mirror
For details and to register, go HERE.
DEFINITION. What is a spiritual discipline? Think about it this way. Just as regular rest, good diet, and regular exercise strengthen you physically, spiritual disciplines are actions you take regularly which strengthen you spiritually.
LISTS. There are many lists of spiritual disciplines. Donald Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Cchristian Life lists: Bible intake, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline includes the following:
- Inward disciplines: mediation, prayer, fasting, and study.
- Outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service.
- Corporate disciplines: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
PURPOSE. Our purpose in doing spiritual disciplines makes a difference. Are we meditating or praying because it is part of our routine, or are we doing so to understand God, His Word, and His ways better? Are we submitting and serving in order to be seen or out of our love for God, others, and self? Are we worshiping because of how it makes us feel or because God is awesome and deserves our praise and worship?
FREQUENCY. Notice the word I used for frequency in the definition: regularly. Some disciplines will be daily (or even hourly). Others will be weekly, monthly, or periodically. But the word, discipline, begs for regularness in order to contribute the most toward spiritual strength, relationship, and progress.
Balance is often helpful. Personal reflection and assessment are needed from time to time. Don’t just study the disciplines. Practice them. Grow as His disciple. Make disciples.
For more ideas about discipleship, check out these posts:
At the end of the day (or beginning of the next), stop. Stop to review. Ask yourself some questions:
- What did I learn about God?
- What did I learn about people?
- What did I learn about myself? How did I grow closer to God and man?
- Did I make biblically-based decisions and take biblically-based actions?
- Did I sin or make mistakes? Whose forgiveness should I seek?
- What decisions and actions are coming tomorrow? How can I ensure they are appropriate for a disciple of Jesus?
- How will I grow closer to God and man tomorrow?
What would you add to this list? Spend a few minutes reviewing each day for Him. Be a disciple. Make disciples!
For more ideas about discipleship and spiritual growth, check out these posts:
As followers of Jesus Christ, our ultimate source for examples and teaching related to disciple-making is Jesus Himself. Sometimes we miss His disciple-making actions. The Bible is our source book about Jesus, and as a result it is our source book about disciple-making. The further we get from the source, the greater the possibility for distortion or distraction. Open the Bible. Read passages that involve Jesus.
PRACTICAL IDEA: I want to challenge you to go through the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) with two different colors of highlighers (eg. yellow and green). Every time Jesus speaks, highlight with yellow. Every time Jesus acts, highlight with green. This will help you you focus on His teaching and example. Remember Jesus’ words in the Great Commission, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 19:20a, ESV). Ask yourself what is the disciple-making point of His teaching and example.
Test everything you read in disciple-making articles and books by the source book and by Jesus’ example and teaching. Instead of asking “What would Jesus do?”, ask “What did Jesus do?” or “What did Jesus teach?” Teach what you learn. Teach this skill. Help your disciples pass along this skill. That is disciple-making!
For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these posts:
From the beginning, I want to be clear that what follows are some of my observations of the biblical account of the disciple-making example of Jesus. I am not attempting an exhaustive treatment–though the thought of writing that book sounds enticing.
Before plunging in, I want to invite you to press Comments and list 4-6 descriptors of how Jesus made disciples. Share scripture references if those come to your mind.
What did you list?
I expect my list to stretch out beyond this post. I will share 5 disciple-making attributes of Jesus in Part 1. Consider the following:
- PRAYERFUL. Jesus spent extended time in prayer before launching his disciple-making ministry. He prayed all night before calling his disciples. He prayed with them and for them. He modeled prayer.
- SELECTIVE. He did not make a public announcement inviting all who were interested to come to an information meeting. Instead, He called the disciples by name. He had observed them and was led to them following prayer.
- BIBLICAL. Jesus knew scripture. He connected scripture to life. He responded to questions and situations with scripture. The answers to daily and eternal life questions and concerns could be found in God’s Word.
- VISIONARY. Jesus gave them a picture of the process and end result: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He was a storyteller who connected life object lessons with spiritual realities and potential. He pushed them to see beyond the surface. He raised expectations and hopes.
- STRETCHING. Jesus asked questions, lots of questions. Sometimes he even asked questions in response to questions. He was a great teacher who wanted His disciples to think fresh, deeply, and beyond traditional responses.
What would you add? How do your efforts reflect His attributes? Follow Jesus and His disciple-making example. Make disciples!
Whether you have been discipling for years or are just starting, investment in relationships is important. Discipling and care are strengthened when you invest well in getting to know your disciples beyond meeting time. While doing so takes time, it does not have to overwhelm your schedule and it will pay dividends.
Where do I start? Consider some of the following ideas. Use as many of them as possible to enrich your knowledge of your disciples and deepen your relationships with them.
- Add birthdates to your calendar. Make a 2 minute call that day.
- Add married members’ anniversaries to your calendar. Send a text or email to them that day.
- Invite them to a fellowship or project every 6 weeks. Intentionally spend time during the fellowship with your disciples.
- Visit disciples annually in their homes (or yours), at work, or over a meal (maybe lunch).
- Add each disciple to a day of your monthly calendar. Pray for the disciple on that day. Send a text that day asking how you can pray for him/her.
- Arrive early for your disciple-making session. Spend a few minutes visiting with the disciple beyond your meeting agenda.
- On another occasion, hang around for a few minutes after your meeting. Ask about life, work, and prayer requests beyond what was shared in the meeting.
- Arrange to meet 15 minutes early before Sunday or Wednesday evening church activities. Ask questions and listen.
This list does not have to require tons of time. But the results will greatly enrich your disciple-making efforts. Print out this blog post. Highlight three that you want to work on over the next quarter. Connect. Fellowship. Make disciples!
For more ideas, check out these blog posts:
During August, the Kentucky Baptist Convention EQUIP Tour is coming to a town near you! The EQUIP Tour could be described as a mini-Super Saturday with the goal of providing practical training to equip believers to serve their churches with confidence and excellence.
LOCATIONS. Training will be from 6:30-9:00 p.m. (local time); registration begins at 6:00 p.m. This Tour has already stopped in Prestonsburg and Ashland. Choose one of these remaining EQUIP Tour stops:
- 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 address, go to the EQUIP Registration page.
CONFERENCES. Training will be provided for the following ministry areas:
- Women’s Ministry, Sunday School, Discipleship, Church Finances, Revitalization, Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Worship and Music, Evangelism, and Church Security.
For a list of conferences titles/descriptions, check out the EQUIP Conferences List. For a list of the EQUIP faculty, check out the EQUIP Registration page.
DISCIPLESHIP CONFERENCES. Here are the 2 one-hour Discipleship conferences offered at every location:
- No Destination = Lack of Discipleship. Many leaders and churches are immobilized due to lack of a discipleship picture or definition. Defining what a disciple looks like clarifies your target and destination. As a result, you can develop a plan for moving in that direction. Let’s start at the beginning. This is a disciple.
- Steps Toward a Personal Discipleship Lifestyle. Does your discipleship lifestyle include these six elements: Jesus, intentionality, relationships, Bible, journey, and multiplication? Answer six questions to start discipling someone this year with confidence, understanding of, and practical ideas for these discipleship lifestyle elements.
REGISTRATION AND MORE INFORMATION. Register on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.