3 Powerful Tools for Discipleship

7 07 2008

Often when I discuss discipleship with church leaders they point to some program – yearly conferences, small groups, sermons etc. that they see as their attempt to disciple their congregation.  But if you go a step deeper and try and discover if the tools they are using are actually effecting lasting change they’re not sure, they just assume.  It’s almost like they want a program to exist so they can feel like discipleship is happening and get on with what they think of as the “real mission” (growing bigger, maintaining church, planting churches, living in community etc.).

But pulling off a program for discipleship does NOT mean you are off the hook.  If you choose tools that are simply too weak to transform believers into devoted, obedient disciples what difference does it make?  You have not and are not fulfilling our Commission.

I believe discipleship is the mission and I am on a constant hunt for the most POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE tools in existence to create lasting change in the life of a disciple.  These tools also must be accessible for everyone.

Here are the three tools we use in conjunction with each other to disciple the bodies in our city (this 3 part approach also fits into a triperspectival frame work of prophet, priest and king).

1. Teaching Courses (75% content, 25% application)

These are courses like the Story-Formed Life and Koine Essentials where we spend 1.5 -2 hours midrashing and then go into training groups for the last half hour.  These have been extremely effective at building and growing foundational beliefs essential to the disciples life.

2. Traning Intensives (75% application, 25% content)

These are intensives like Rhythm Training and Walking in the Spirit where we teach a concept for half an hour, workshop the specific implications out for each individual that they will follow the next week, and debrief and pray over what happened when they tried last week’s training.  It is not uncommon to see someone’s entire approach to life completely transformed during the 5 week intensive, equipping the disciple with the tools and practices to live out the life of Christ.

3. Mentoring Relationships (50% content 50% reactive to what is going on with the disciple)

Whereas both Teaching Courses and Training Intensives are done at the Training Center level (city church) the Mentoring Relationships happen at the body level and are overseen by the Elders.  Currently we are doing this in groups of 3-4 (one mentor with 2-3 others) and we are experimenting with Greg Ogden’s 25 week process called Discipleship Essentials (you just need a starting point each week so curriculum is not central to but helpful).  After the 6 month process the mentoring is not complete until those going through the process mentor their own group of 2-3 for 6 months (thus a one year process).

Combined these tools are strong enough to truely and completely transform people’s lives.  We have to stop making excuses and focus ALL of our attention on fulfilling the Great Commission (make disciples…teaching them to obey everything) and not get side tracked by some other cool sounding mission, causing discipleship to be side-lined by a competing passion.

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8 responses

7 07 2008
Mike

Yo

I’ve been thinking through these things, structurally, and wonder if the mentoring could also happen at the training center level, involving someone who is part of healthy body life, just not body life directly associated with the training center?

I think you know what I’m asking, but if I need to clarify, let me know.

7 07 2008
Jonathan Brink

Jeremy, what role does community play in your observations? I’m talking about the smaller intensive community, like the disciples who journey together for three years.

8 07 2008
eden2zion

Mike – Yah, I could definitely see that especially when the body(ies) under that training center are more in the “amoeba” stage (without elders and new at gathering etc.) But once you have very strong bodies with mature elders I would give this to them.

Jonathan – What you are describing (if I understand you right) we do more on the 5-fold level. So guys who are apprenticing with me as part of an apostolic team I stay in very close connection with for many years usually beginning with 6 months+ of them living with us in our home.

9 07 2008
Bruce

You have mentioned some materials in your post. Where would I find these materials?

Thanks

9 07 2008
robert

yeah, i was wondering the same thing. where?

10 07 2008
eden2zion

On the materials front we’ll be launching the beta version of the Story-Formed Life course in about 1-2 weeks. When its complete it will include 5+ short videos on how to lead each week (total of 50+ videos), materials for download, and mp3s of us leading the 10 nights.

Our training intensives will be the next thing we’ll put online but that will probably not be for another 6 months.

6 08 2008
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