Archives For Discipleship

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…

Continue Reading

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…

    Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

    Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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,…

Continue Reading

Gooder

I overanalyze things. So, when my son told me the other day that nap time at school is “badder” than recess, I laughed –for a second. That is, until my mind raced twenty years into the future as Bryce is interviewing for a job and says, “Thank you for considering me for this position. I’ll do a gooder job than you could ever imagine.” So I quickly corrected him to use the word, “worse” as a comparative adjective instead of “badder.” I’m fairly certain he will use the incorrect word again.

So, I wondered, what is the best way to teach him? Should I quickly put together a chart on irregular comparative and superlative adjectives? Or, should we practice using “worse” in sentences for about ten minutes? Maybe I should just trust that in time, he will hear me use “worse” enough times in natural conversation that he will catch on. So, which way is the best way for my son to learn? I actually think it is all three.

There is a place for charts and chalkboard teaching (Classroom/Lecture). There is also much to be said for practicing scenarios (Practice/Mentor). And, there…

Continue Reading

Discipling Skeptics and SeekersIf we are serious about the Great Commission and making disciples, then we need to be serious about evangelism because evangelism is the discipleship of skeptics and seekers of Jesus, say InterVarsity ministry leaders Beau Crosetto and James Choung. In this new FREE eBook, the authors help leaders understand two things: 1) Why every believers needs to be doing evangelism and leading people to faith: and 2) How you can create a culture of witness in your church or faith community. For too long, we were pressuring people, and now we have become passive in evangelism. Crosetto and Choung say the time is now to seek a third and better way! Download the eBook.

Key highlights:

  • Inspiring stories of people leading others to faith in Christ.
  • The difference between pressure, passive and proactive evangelism.
  • Why the church has become more passive in its approach to evangelism.
  • Four insightful reasons why we need to disciple skeptics and seekers.
  • Why evangelism is “the discipleship of skeptics and seekers.”
  • The role of the gifted evangelist in the Great Commission.
  • Four rhythms that will help you create a culture of discipling skeptics and seekers in your church.
  • What it…

    Continue Reading

Discipleship Is

Biblical, Jesus-empowered, Gospel-centered, grace-infused discipleship transforms a person’s mind and emotions. This beautiful, God the Holy Spirit-enabled act results in a life that progressively reflects Jesus.

I graduated Magnum Cum Laude with a Masters of Divinity Degree, with a concentration in Apologetics, from Southern Evangelical Seminary under Norm L. Geisler, Ph.D.

I am currently a doctoral student at Northern Seminary under Scott McKnight, Ph.D. My doctoral emphasis is the ‘New Testament in Context.’

I share this with you not impress you, but to you let you know that I value the life of the mind.

I am a full-fledged, card-carrying theology nerd. But I’m also a spiritual romantic in that being loved by and loving Jesus is my highest treasure.

But if all my theological, philosophical, apologetic learning is not integrated into my life by faith in Jesus to mature me holistically as a person, then I have wasted my time.

It’s possible to be a biblical literate and emotionally immature.

The overarching goal of discipleship is to partner with the Holy Spirit to produce communities of love:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ…

Continue Reading

Evangelism-and-Discipleship-Cover-Final-copyEvangelism or Discipleship: Can They Effectively Work Together? by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull Evangelism and discipleship are not two things; they are one. Jesus has commanded us to “make disciples.” In this new eBook, veteran discipleship leaders Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull focus on the need for leaders to bring together discipleship and evangelism and plant churches with that mindset. The two authors offer Bible-based insights into how evangelism and discipleship work together to accomplish the Great Commission, sharing stories and examples of leaders and churches that have successfully brought the two together for kingdom impact.

Jesus’ Matthew 28 commandment included the expectation of reproduction—that new disciples would become well-taught disciples who would in turn embrace the mission and make other new disciples. Anything less is to sabotage the master plan. Evangelism is simply a form of pre-conversion discipleship. When we engage in this disciple-making process, Jesus tells us that He will be present with us—to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). Download the free eBook.

Key highlights:

  • Helpful observations of the state of evangelism and discipleship in the West
  • The theological significance of discipleship and how it encompasses evangelism.
  • Experienced perspective from…

    Continue Reading