Archives For Discipleship

DiscipleShiftDiscipleShift: Five Steps to Help Your Church Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Zondervan/Exponential) by Jim Putman (with Robert Coleman and Bobby Harrington) releases this week at Exponential 2013! The signature book for Exponential ’13, DiscipleShift walks readers through five key “shifts” that churches must make to refocus on the biblical mission of discipleship:

  1. From Reaching to Making
  2. From Informing to Equipping
  3. From Program to Purpose
  4. From Activity to Relationship
  5. From Accumulating to Deploying 

In DiscipleShift, Putman, Robert Coleman (The Master Plan of Evangelism) and Bobby Harrington focus on discipleship as relationship versus information, using the Acts 2 church’s example of discipleship.

 

“In Acts 2, you see that the people lived in relationship,” Putman said in a Church Planter Weeklyinterview, “and in that relationship, they’re devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to breaking bread and fellowship, to caring for the hurting, even being willing to sell what they have and give it away. Jesus taught them to do all of these things. Live out that model, and you will see it actually works for all people in all cultures for all time.”

DiscipleShift goes beyond theory to equip and guide readers with practical counsel. The authors draw from real-life stories and examples of how…

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FriendshipWhen we look at Scripture, we can see that Jesus continually spent time with people.  It wasn’t Plan B for him, it was his whole mission.  He had a desire to be with people and could often be found in small and large gatherings.  Somewhere in our culture, we have lost site of the fact that God works best in and through relationships.  We build programs and we create environments that are designed to ‘reach people’.  However, we have become great at trying to reach people at arms length.  We focus on the big picture without realizing that eternal differences are made one relationship at a time.  We are often so busy in this culture that it becomes very difficult to carve out time to just love on people.  And as a result, organizations are formed, but relationships are distant.  We can’t expect to make a difference in our communities if we aren’t willing to spend time with people in real life, day-to-day environments.

I want to give you four reasons to invest time in cultivating personal relationships.

1. Ministry equals Relationships.  Ministry is the ability to touch people at their needs.  It is…

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Easter will be here in just fourteen days and this is one the greatest seasons for growth in the life of the church.  The weeks leading up to Easter give us an opportunity for our own spiritual growth and renewal plus they offer us an unparalleled opportunity for inviting unchurched people to come to church.  Let me share with you three steps that every Christian can take to experience Spiritual growth and renewal during the next several weeks.

1.) Renew- The days leading up the celebration of Easter provide us with a great opportunity to examine our own lives and experience a personal renewal in our spiritual lives.  I find that in my own life, the lead up to Easter is always a time of growing spiritual intensity and spiritual sensitivity, therefore, this is always a good time to concentrate my efforts on spiritual renewal.  Here are just a couple of suggestions for how you can pursue this in your own life:

  • Take a Spiritual Inventory- Before we can experience renewal and revival in our spiritual lives we need to take an honest…

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Small Group GatheringHow do you answer the question, “What does your group do?”

Probably the most common answers would be, “Our group…

  • meets to discuss their pastor’s last message
  • works their way through a book of the Bible
  • always has a DVD-driven study
  • eats a meal together twice a month
  • chooses a service project to do together
  • etc.

Healthy Groups Integrate Four Components into Every Gathering

One of the many helpful insights that Carl George introduced with the Meta Church model is that four components are present at every gathering in healthy groups.  These components are love, learn, decide and do.  The balance between the components are determined by the purpose or function of the group (for example, a small group that focuses on Bible study might be 20% love, 70% learn, 5% decide, and 5% do, while a serving group might be 20% love, 10% learn, 5% decide, and 65% do).

The key to the insight is that for a group to be healthy, all four components must be present.

Remember, designing your group for life-change is much more than simply choosing the best activity or study.  The way you spend your time together is a key element.  If you want your group…

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Windshield TimeIn the American church, we tend to think of leadership development as a classroom and curriculum-based process, but Jesus had a better idea: spend time with people. Jesus allowed His life to rub off on His chosen leaders and to pour His wisdom into them, and we can do the same. Sometimes it’s a matter of spotting the natural opportunities that come along while at other times, its an intentionally-planned conversation.

Here are some simple ways to make leadership development a part of your life…

  1. Schedule three to five informal meetings per week – coffee, lunch, etc. – with people into whom you want to invest.
  2. Take potential leaders on trips with you. I’ve heard great leaders talk about the mentoring power of never traveling alone. My Worship Pastor calls it “windshield time.”
  3. If you’re a Pastor, take a partner as you do pastoral care – hospital visits, etc. Just the time in the car on the way is a great opportunity.
  4. Buy and send books to leaders. I’ve received and given books that have shaped who I am.
  5. Check in with a phone call. Have a list of potential leaders into whom you’re pouring,…

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OrphanJustice

By Russ Rankin

For too long there has been a disconnect between the church and issues surrounding orphan care, according to Johnny Carr, national director of church partnerships at Bethany Christian Services.

Carr addresses the issues in “Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting,” a book from B&H Publishing Group designed to provide education about and action plans to care for the estimated 153 million orphaned and vulnerable children in the world.

“Many churches have started orphan ministries, but this movement among churches is still very much in its infancy,” Carr said in an interview. “It is my hope that this book challenges churches to take their involvement further.”

Carr said he wrote Orphan Justice based on his own journey in understanding the instruction for “pure religion” defined in James 1:27, which calls believers to care for orphans. As a former pastor, Carr said he believes the church — not government programs or social service agencies — has the most potential and the mandate to take the lead in addressing the world’s orphan crisis.

Adoption is only part of orphan care, he said. HIV/AIDS, human trafficking and poverty are all…

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heaven&earth.proclaimBy Russell D. Moore

I have long suspected that many Christians dread not just death but heaven. We won’t admit that, of course. Our hymnody, of whatever era, is filled with songs about the joy of the afterlife, and “what a day of rejoicing that will be.” We’re glad we’re not going to hell or to oblivion. But most of our songs and sermon mentions are about that first few moments in heaven: when we see Jesus, when we’re reunited with our loved ones, and so on. It’s like the happy ending of the story. And that’s the problem.

The Gospel tells us that Satan keeps unbelievers bound by fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Believers, too often, dread death also, though not as much from fear as from boredom. We see the story of our lives as encompassing this span of 70 or 80 or 100 years. The life to come is our “great reward” in “the afterlife.”

But just think about that word “afterlife.” It assumes eternity is an endless postlude to where the action really happens. It’s “after.” Our “reward” happens after we’ve lived our lives. Here’s why this…

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McFatridge.PrayerActionBy Claude King

Years ago, while reading one of my dozens of books by Andrew Murray, I learned that our modern posture of prayer (kneeling with hands clasped with head bowed) didn’t come from Judaism but from a medieval ceremony. I undertook a study of that ceremony while writing a booklet, “Consecrate the People: Renewing Our Covenant Commitments to Jesus Christ.”

The homage ceremony

In the homage ceremony a king, lord or landowner would call his vassals or subjects before him to pledge their loyalty and obedience to their lord. The king would hold out his open hands. The subject would kneel with bowed head and place his hands inside the hands of his king. Then he would say these words, “I am your man.” (The name of the ceremony comes from the Latin word for man.)

That simple statement essentially meant, “I belong to you.” It included the obligation to obey any request of the king, even the call to battle. That pledge of obedience also included a readiness to obey even if the assignment would cost the life of the subject. It could become a pledge of obedience even…

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Hank Hannegraaff chats with Bobby Conway of The One Minute Apologist about why Christians need to be part of a church. This is the kind of clip that’s great to share with people on the fence about the role of the family of God in the life of the believer.

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By James A. Smith Sr./Florida Baptist Witness

IMG20132224761HIPornography is the “pink elephant in the pew” — the embarrassing, big subject no one wants to talk about — and that silence is feeding a “bubonic plague” harming churches, pastor Jay Dennis told state Baptist convention executive directors and editors gathered in Oklahoma City.

“Our enemy has found the perfect tool to deliver temptation to men — men who love God, men who love their wives, love their children and love their churches,” Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., said Feb. 14. “Yet their involvement in looking at pornography has virtually duct-taped their mouths closed and taken them out of spiritual leadership in the home and in the church.”

After his presentation, Dennis told the Florida Baptist Witness newsjournal he was burdened to address the issue — even though he didn’t want to — when a growing number of women in his church sought pastoral counsel for husbands and sons who were struggling with pornography.

“I resisted … because I knew that the spiritual warfare component of this would be immense — and it has been,” Dennis said,…

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Spontaneous BaptismsWhen a new believer is baptized, it’s a momentous event. A life’s been changed for eternity! Try these fresh ideas to make baptism a true celebration:

  • Smile. Express true joy. Baptism is a holy ordinance, but it’s also a joyful event. I love it when the church breaks into spontaneous cheers or applause.
  • Get personal. One church invites their entire small congregation to walk to the front and gather around the baptistry. It’s very touching (and makes great photos!) Some churches invite family or friends to stand during baptism.
  • Invite everyone. Create a Facebook event. Provide printed invitations so the new Christian can invite everyone he or she knows. Make an e-invitation they can forward to friends using NAMB’s www.baptismcelebration.org or the website www.evite.com. Put a notice on the church website. Remind their Sunday School class to attend.
  • Assign members with Décor talent to update paint color, art, towels, hair dryer, etc. to assure the baptism dressing area is nice enough for a new “child of the King.”
  • Prepare mementos. Take a quality photo to post to the church website so they can forward it to friends. Present a photo and…

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Helping HandBy Jimmie Davidson

“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)

As a new member of the Saddleback staff, I know I’m here because of the principle of stewardship. Saddleback Church poured into me and the church I pastored for 18 years; then I passed onto other churches what I learned from them. You don’t have to be big to make a big splash for the Kingdom; you just have to be willing to help someone the way God helped you. There are no perfect models or churches — just growing ones!

I remember inviting a neighbor to my small group once, and his reply was honest and revealing: “I don’t need a small group,” to which I replied, “Maybe one needs you!”

I have no doubt there is a church near you or far away that desperately needs your help to learn what God has taught you.

So, where do you start?

1 – Begin by recognizing your own need. My first step in…

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