Archives For Discipleship

Purpose Driven LifeEveryone in your congregation wants to know if life really matters. Members, visitors, even your staff want to know, “What on earth an I here for?”

They’re asking three basic questions:

First, there’s the question of existence: Why am I alive? For thousands of years people have asked this question. Many people of the Bible did. Jeremiah asked this question, “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow? To end my life in disgrace?”

Second, there’s the question of significance. Is there some meaning and purpose to my life? Is all that I’m doing just a waste of time and energy? Is my life significant?

In Psalm 89, David asked, “I remember how short my life is . Why did You create us? For nothing?”

Job asked the question, “Why should I work so hard for nothing?” If there’s no meaning and purpose, why am I even doing this?

Solomon even questions the significance of pleasure. He says, “Laughing and having fun is crazy. What good does it do?” Is there any significance to what I do? Why keep…

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ThreeWhat Are We Missing in Discipleship?

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so.

I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in many churches. There isn’t a whole lot of discipling going on, even though that’s precisely what we, as Jesus’ followers, were commissioned to do—make disciples.

So leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” There are plenty of successful models that have been tried in a variety of contexts. But how can we best make disciples right where we are?

There are plenty of discipleship books and models. But what can we learn about discipleship from Christ and the early church? In this series of articles, we are looking at four discipleship principles found in Scripture:

  • Maturity is a goal for disciples.
  • God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
  • God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
  • God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.

A Pathway to Maturity

If we can agree that spiritual maturity is the goal for disciples, how do we achieve it? How does God…

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Hidden Discipleship

By Scott Attebery

Here’s a phrase you’ve never read in Scripture: “And Jesus called aside the apostles saying, ‘take up your discipleship workbooks and gather for the lesson.’”

There is no doubt that Jesus was a disciple-maker and there is no doubt that He taught the apostles lessons. However, there is great doubt that he ever announced His discipleship in this way.

Certainly, in calling the apostles to “follow” him, He announced a general call to discipleship. But when it came to day-to-day learning, Jesus utilized a more potent method: hidden discipleship.

Hidden discipleship simply means it was unannounced.  Instead of being situated in a classroom, Christ’s discipleship was wrapped in real life.

For instance, Jesus didn’t announce, “Today I am going to teach you lesson seven: God will supply your every need.” No, instead, He took advantage of a real-life situation where masses of people were hungry. He involved the apostles in searching for a solution. Then, he took their incomplete understanding -five loaves here and two fish- (Matthew 14:13-21) and demonstrated His sufficiency. He even put an exclamation point on the lesson by giving each apostle a basketful of leftovers.

Jesus took advantage of another real-life…

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Bible ReadingA Discipleship Deficit

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so. I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in evangelicalism. Perhaps the elephant in the room is that there isn’t a whole lot of discipling going on, even though that’s precisely what we, as Jesus’ followers, were commissioned to do.

So leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” There are plenty of successful models that have been tried in a variety of contexts. But how can we best make disciples right where we are?

What if, before buying the latest discipleship book, we looked to Scripture to find out what God says about discipleship? In this series of articles, we’ll look at four discipleship principles found in God’s Word:

  • Maturity is a goal for disciples.
  • God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
  • God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
  • God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.

Moving toward Maturity

First, we have to recognize that maturity is the goal of discipleship. Keeping people spiritually immature is…

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RewiredSpiritual growth campaigns have always been a powerful way to move a church forward, and with the rapid adoption of social media by the people in the pews, there has never been a greater opportunity to create, stimulate, and propagate a conversation among your people about what God is doing in their midst. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and a myriad of other online social networks are merely examples of how technology is helping our culture catch back up with God’s original plan for his Good News to be carried via interpersonal communication.

God’s Good News spreads furthest and fastest through personal connections and conversations.

Growth happens with intentional focus, so whether you are simply beginning a new message series or launching a full-blown campaign on the scale of “What on Earth Am I Here For?” you will need a strategy for empowering people to further the conversation with their friends.

Here are some things to consider:

Evaluate and expand your library of content. Content is currency. The people writing the books, blogs, and tweets that offer the most valuable information are ultimately purchasing trust and influence, and no one has better content on hand than…

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Singles

“I don’t belong here.” That was the first thought that entered my mind when I walked into the room labeled, “singles.”

I had recently relocated and was interested in building relationships in my new church home. On that particular Sunday morning, I was greeted in the Church entrance and asked what kind of class I would like to attend. After a short discussion, the greeter led me to a small classroom upstairs.

To be honest, I felt like I had been dropped off in the “lost and found” box for Christians. Other than being single, “What else could I possibly have in common with these people?” I thought.

You see, the term, “single” has multiple meanings. It can refer to a 26-year old graduate student who has never been married, a 43-year old divorcee and mother of three, or a 74-year old widower, or a million different other combinations!

I sat down and waited for the lesson to begin. My mind was filled with curiosity as I scanned the room. “I wonder what his story is?” “What brought her to this class?”

The lesson was great. But what was even better was the discussion. It was during that…

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Springs OcalaAllow me to clarify that this article is an adaptation from Will Mancini’s book Innovating Discipleship!

“How do you want your church to be different two years from now?”  The typical answer is, “We want more people!”  That can be expressed in different forms such as; “We want our auditorium full!” or “We want to start more small groups!” or “We want to see our attendance grow by 10%!” or “We want to start additional services so more people can attend!”  Everyone wants more people and more people is good.  Jesus wants more people and we should count people because people count.  The problem is when the numbers become the end result.

It is interesting that we do not hear the following very often: “We want to see more people desperate for Jesus!” or “We want to see our homes strengthened and more families having devotionals together!” or “We want to see our students on fire for God and living on mission to reach their campus for Christ!” or “We want to see more members building meaningful relationships with people who are far from Christ!”  Yet, despite a…

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Small Groups

Yesterday I asked the question, “What have you designed your groups to make?”  Answering my own question, I said, “Our small groups are designed to make followers of Jesus.”  And I must admit that my answer begs the question, “what kind of group will make disciples or followers of Jesus?”  See also, What Have You Designed Your Groups to Make?

What kind of group will make disciples…or followers of Jesus?

We could also ask, “What would have to be true about a group for it to make followers of Jesus?”

Good questions…don’t you think?

I’m sure there are more than these 5, but I don’t believe you can actually make followers of Jesus without these.  See what you think.

5 essential ingredients of groups that make followers of Jesus:

  1. The presence of a person who can say, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).”  How far ahead must they be?  A step or two.  Note: This person (or these people) may not need to be the leader of the group.  See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader and Groups of All Kinds and the Essential Ingredients of Life-Change.
  2. A curriculum focused on learning…

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Churches DisciplingThe church where I formerly pastored, Wyatt Baptist Church of El Dorado, Arkansas, is one of the most mission-minded churches I know of. Every year they send a large percentage of church members around the world in partnership with various missionaries. One of the missionary families they partner with is Oscar and Tamy Gaitan of Centro De Vida Church in Catarina, Masaya, Nicaragua.

Centro De Vida naturally became Wyatt’s sister church. In fact, over the years, several of the members of Wyatt have moved to Catarina for periods of time and likewise, several members of Centro De Vida have moved to El Dorado for periods of time. We even had a Wyatt girl and a Centro De Vida boy get married!

But Centro De Vida became more than a sister church to Wyatt while I was there. Centro De Vida became a mentor to Wyatt.

Did you know it is possible for churches to disciple other churches? While the Bible doesn’t explicitly use that terminology, it is evident that churches have the privilege of influencing and edifying one another for kingdom work.

One great example is in I Thessalonians 2:14 where Paul writes to the church in…

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Have we forgotten that the gospel mandate is actually to “make disciples of the nations”? Missiologist and author Alan Hirsch believes that we have. In this new eBook, Hirsch highlights the missional priority of discipleship and helps leaders reframe their understanding and practice of evangelism in the context of disciple making. By reframing mission and evangelism around discipleship, not only do we grow more obedient, but also make space for long-term, authentic, loving relationships with the people in our lives. Hirsch points out that if every follower of Jesus simply did this with just two or three people in their lifetime and asked those people to do the same—disciples making disciples making disciples—in just a few generations we would accomplish what we have sought to accomplish through most of our reductionist evangelistic efforts. “Disciple making lies at the very core of the church’s ‘sentness’ and mission,” he writes. “It has never been an optional extra.”

Key highlights:

In this eBook, Alan Hirsch helps us discover/rediscover:

  • Why reimagining evangelism through the lens of discipleship is crucial to the local church and accomplishing the Great Commission.
  • The theological significance…

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ClassroomIn the American educational system, from first grade all the way up through high school, we’re taught to memorize INFORMATION, and then take a test. If we pass the intellectual test, then we move on to the next grade.

We’ve transferred this learning pattern to Christianity. We’re trained to learn Bible concepts, principles and doctrines intellectually. And the more Biblical information we know, the greater disciples we are deemed to be.

I think this is killing the church in America, just like it hurt the Pharisees.

Let’s remember that the Pharisees, an elite group of well-educated men in Israel, knew the Scriptures, but they missed the main point of the Scriptures: to KNOW Jesus personally and intimately (Phil. 3:5-11).

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me!” John 5:39 NLT
Knowing the Bible doesn’t give us eternal life. Knowing Jesus does (John 17:3). Some people love the Bible more than they love Jesus.

HEAD, HEART, HANDS

I’m all for learning about Jesus and the Christian faith. I have a Master’s of Divinity with a Concentration in Apologetics (Magnum Cum Laude). I’m currently pursuing my Doctorate of Ministry with…

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Footprint

You’ve done it. Stepped over the line and accepted God’s free gift of love and salvation, deciding to become a follower of Jesus Christ. You may feel different, forgiven and ready to start a new life. Or you may feel pretty much the same, but with a whole lot of new questions that come with a decision to do life God’s way.
Either way, the next question is…

Now what?

For new Christians, walking from their “decision” on wobbly spiritual legs, the next few moments, hours, and days can seem bewildering. There’s new vocabulary confusion, or “Christian-ese” that’s easier for theologians to understand than those who have just begun their journey spiritually. And it may seem like every Christian veteran has unsolicited advice for you.

So Every Man Ministries wants to provide some “crawl” steps on your way to what we pray will be a strong walk with God.

S – Start developing your relationship with God.

The entire “Christian” conversation, and the most distinctive part of our faith, is focused on God’s desire to have a relationship with us. He wants to be your friend and heavenly father. He wants you to know him,…

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