There are no words to describe the gratitude that springs from knowing Jesus as my source of Life! I see His goodness in 100’s of ways in my family, the church & the world.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. John 1:4
The team at Exponential is asking church leaders what their personal working definition of a disciple is. Here were my thoughts…
What is a disciple?
The word disciple refers to someone who is an apprentice, learning a way from a teacher they adhere to. A disciple is one who follows another in their ways and teachings. So, discipleship happens all the time. Everyone is a disciple of someone or something. Discipleship is unavoidable.
We are all being discipled and we are all discipling others. The question is: To who or what am I discipling others?
As the leaders of this church, that means either we will disciple our people to Jesus or they will continue to be discipled by our culture. Jesus created the church for this purpose: “Therefore go and make disciples.”
The term Christian, which is much more commonly used, was actually a name given by the Romans in Antioch (Acts 11:6) as a term to describe the disciples of Jesus. That term only occurs 3 times (Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16) in the NT. The term disciple appears over 250 times. In other words, disciple was the main identity Jesus fostered in his followers!
Disciple-making is not a department, it is the driving mission, including everything else we do as churches. A disciple of Jesus is someone who is learning to apply the gospel to every part of life, learning the way of Jesus in every area of life.
In Missional Moves, we discuss how “Jesus is Lord” is not just another box I add to my life, where Jesus is the first in a sequence. “Jesus is Lord” is the hub of the wheel, where Jesus is first in everything. To be a disciple is to let Jesus live increasingly through you. How do we know if this is happening? Here are the two greatest indicators of maturity.
1) Maturity = Love. If your discipleship is working, your maturity will show up in love. You will become a more loving person, loving God and others.
2) Maturity = Reproduction. In addition, to be a disciple means to make more disciples. Jesus said to every disciple, “Go and make disciples.” So every disciple of Jesus is designed to become a disciple who can make disciples. This is the truest sign of maturity is reproduction. Check our Founding Pastors thoughts on reproduction. Brilliant stuff!
How does your eBook, Transformational Partnerships” Church to Organization add to the national conversation on discipleship?
Discipleship must happen at a micro level, helping individual’s become disciples. In addition, discipleship must happen at a macro level. As God’s people, we are called to “seek the welfare of our cities for in its welfare, you will find your welfare (Jer 29:7 ESV).” In other words, how do we disciple an entire neighborhood or even a city? If a local church wants to disciple a neighborhood, community, or city, they can¹t do it alone. That kind of community transformation will require the local church to partner with players from every domain of society, including parachurch organizations, NGO¹s, business, school corporation, health care providers, and government. If your church has a vision big enough to believe the Kingdom impacts all these areas, then high levels of partnership skills will be required.
Our current free eBook, Transformational Partnerships: Church to Organization, dives into the practical realities of how we can build transformational partnerships across the domains of society without compromising, but rather advancing the mission of the church. We’re hoping it will add real value to church leaders who are seeking to disciple at this macro level.
90 seconds on the Gospel as our nuclear core and more thoughts from Missional Moves. Also, another FREE supplemental ebook came out this week, Transformational Partnerships: Church to Church.
What’s Church to Church about?
No one congregation can transform a city or community without the rest of the Church in that city or community? So, how do we move beyond a “pulpit swap” to real partnerships that transform our communities with the gospel? If that grabs your heart, check out the Missional Moves and this free ebook.
What is Church to Church about?
How does that church here in the West partner with the local church around the world without paternalism or codependency? If you’re interested in mutuality, sustainablity, and building capacity in indigenous leaders, then check the ebook here.
Our ebook Transformational Partnership: Church to Church Partnerships is available for free download today!
Making disciples is a team sport. If a local church wants to disciple a neighborhood, community or city, they can’t do it alone. That kind of community transformation will require the local church to partner with other churches. When we say “church-to-church,” we’re not talking about swapping pulpits one weekend a year with a pastor friend. We’re talking about a network of churches, both local and global, working together to impact every domain of society.
In this eBook, you’ll discover hard-fought lessons like:
- What exactly is church-to-church partnership?
- How a network of churches can lift an entire community.
- The danger of pipeline relationships that most local churches fall into.
- The process of developing a church-to-church partnership.
- Practical tools we’ve used like community mapping and community-led prioritization. Learning how to build the right foundation for a long-term, high-impact partnership.
- How to develop specialized teams for customized solutions in each community.
- How to develop not only an entrance strategy, but also an exit strategy for partnership.
Transformational Partnerships: Church-to-Church is a free supplemental eBook for Missional Moves (Exponential, Zondervan), but can be read on its own. Missional Moves describes 15 tectonic shifts that unleash missional energy and have the power within them to transform churches, communities and the world. These shifts are explored through the compelling story of Granger Community Church, one of America’s best-known attractional churches that is on a 10-year journey toward apostolic movement.
A prayer that says it all. Make this your own today.
O Lord my God, to you and your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and let me by my life and speaking set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my salvation; in praises heighten my love and gratitude; in speaking of You give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn to your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.†
Prayers for the morning. Make these your own.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens;* you have done great things; who is like you, O God? You have showed me great troubles and adversities,* but you will restore my life and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth. You strengthen me more and more;* you enfold and comfort me, Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your faithfulness, O my God;* I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will sing with joy when I play to you,* and so will my soul, which you have redeemed. My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long,* for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought to do me harm.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.†
What lies beneath?
“In silence we face and admit the gap between the depth of our being, which we consistently ignore, and the surface which is untrue to our own reality. We recognize the need to be at home with ourselves in order that we may go out to meet others, not just with a mask of affability, but with real commitment and authentic love.”
Thomas Merton. Love and Living. (New York: Harcourt) p 41
We’ll never escape double-mindedness, if we don’t find solitude and silence. In the silence, as we reflect on the events of our lives, the Spirit will show us what lies beneath. Often what lies beneath are lies about God, ourselves, and the world. Until we discover those deeply embedded scripts by which we interpret our lives, meet Jesus’ healing presence there, and then let His Word and Voice renew us, we’ll continue in the same old same old.
Find a place of silence and solitude. Let a key memory resurface. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you how you interpreted that event. Identify the lies. Meet Jesus there and ask Him to tell you the truth. Renounce the lies. Embrace what Jesus says.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
Missional Moves has only been out a couple weeks, we’re already hearing from church leaders from around the world. I love that we live in a time where a conversation with the global family of God is so accessible.
One new friend, Ali Crompton, a church leader from the other side of the pond, has been tweeting his way through Missional Moves. We’ve been chatting back and forth. He’s about halfway through the book. Here’s what stood out for him so far.
Hab 2:14 ‘it is a tsunami of transformation, where the eternal realities of heaven & earth meet’ #missionalmoves #letitflow
‘tectonic plates of life & death collided into one another..the power of death slid under rule & reign of Christ’ #missionalmoves
The resurrection is more than an escape hatch.. it was a generative event, the beginning of a new world #missionalmoves
What if I told you that the gospel if so big you could pull the transformation & healing of the entire cosmos out of it? #missionalmoves #BOOM
Jesus created the church for the universal mission of making disciples in all nations & manifesting the Kingdom in all the earth #missionalmoves
“Mission as specialisation is one of the most powerful ideas suppressing the mission if Jesus in the church today” #missionalmoves
Mission is the sweeping force that runs through everything we are and all that we do’ #missionalmoves
‘God is building a family, a global family that will join him in the healing of the world’ #missionalmoves
The church was never designed to be a fortress for the righteous but a flood of revolutionaries into every dark place #missionalmoves
‘God uses the small and powerless to uproot the powerful and defeat the giants.’ #missionalmoves
God will take and use bottom-up, intentional, strategic, small interventions to make a huge impact’ #missionalmoves
Jesus came to train fleets of x-wing pilots to take down the Death Stars of our day’ #missionalmoves #starwars
We need to remember that each community & every person in that community has God-given resources’ #missionalmoves
It is better to go 30ft deep in 3 locations than 3” deep in 30 places #focus #intentional #lastingchange
This ltd focus gives us great liberty to invest in ideas & opportunities with laserlike, permanent, indelible impact on places’ #missionalmoves
‘Many put quantity first in their mission effort & never get the quality they want. Activity & results are not the same thing’ #missionalmoves
‘we create our own monsters, and once we’ve created them, we must deal with them’ #missionalmoves #frankenstein
‘Dependency does not lead to growth’ #missionalmoves
By the way, Leadership Network is giving away a free copy of Missional Moves today. Get in on it here!
Thanks, Ali…especially for the #BOOM
100 seconds on how we hope #MissionalMoves will add value to your life. Watch this to find out how it will help save you from a bear attack. Also, we’ve got a free gift for you here.
Again, some naked thoughts from my journal.