God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.
C. S. Lewis
The idea of separating conversion from discipleship is a bad one. The Great Commission is about both. Jesus did not mandate conversion but He did discipleship (through transformation). There are many converts to Christ because of evangelism. And there are many unfulfilled and disappointed converts because they were not discipled. Perhaps, that is why someone has said, “Converts make the best agnostics.”
The legacy of the church in the last 25 years has been about church growth. Jesus never mandated us to make the church grow (as if it could do so apart from him). He didn’t mandate church plants (though He did say He would build His church). But He did require us to “make disciples.”
In this section, you will find Biblical incentive for making disciples, character transformation, spiritual formation, missional discipleship and best practices for discipling others as well as growing deeper in your faith.
These articles and links will provide insight into the discipleship model of Jesus and the early church. They serve to remind us of the primary mission of the early church and the forgotten ways in which they went after the mission Christ gave them.
Making Disciples: The Key to Movements
Make Disciples Like the Apostles Did by George Patterson | Video @ VERGE
The Deal - Disciple Making Video by Ed Waken
Life Transformation Groups
The Forgotten Ways Website
Disciple Making for Jesus Movements - Video by Alan Hirsch
Disciple-Making Movements - David Garrison | Video @ VERGE
Making & Multiplying Disciples - Neil Cole | Video @ VERGE
Preparing Disciples to Make Disciples - Neil Cole | Video
How Jesus Sees Lost People - Neil Cole | Video
Matthew 10, Luke 10 and the P.O.P.'s - Neil Cole | Video
Discipling Viral Disciples by Roger Thoman
Duck Discipleship by Mike Jentes
Making God’s Good News Make Sense
10 Minute Witness
Blog: Models of Discipleship Throughout Church History
I am Second: Inspiring the Revolution of Second
The Alpha Course
Every Home for Christ
The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series)
Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference
The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ (The Navigators Reference Library)
Follow: Learning to Follow Jesus
Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship (Shapevine)
Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture
Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time
Classic Tools for Discipleship
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Ivp Classics)
Evangelism in the Early Church
The Lost Art of Disciple Making
The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives
“Deep calls unto deep.” This phrase is most often used to refer to the deep, personal experience of the Lord ministering to the faithful — from the depths of God’s heart to the depths of their own.
This segment of the website (in development) will point you to discipleship tools that take you to deeper levels in your personal relationship with Christ in order that you may love Him more deeply, serve Him more completely and be the fully devoted disciple He is calling you to be.
AND MANY OTHERS...
Spiritual formation is about character formation. It is the same thing as discipleship but the starting point is not what you do but who you are.
The concept of spiritual formation is used to distinguish it from the contemporary way of thinking of discipleship as something you do like training people to win souls or praying or attending church or protesting or serving in homeless shelters or doing good deeds.
Spiritual formation then answers the specific question: What kind of person am I going to be? It is the process whereby the Holy Spirit and the Word of God establishes the character of Christ in a person.
The term missional has become a popular buzz word recently. Some confuse it with short or long term mission programs in the church i.e. something that a church does when it sends out missionary associates or when it sends missionaries to foreign fields. Others view it as the latest Christian fad that will soon pass when the next trendy topic comes along. Still others see it as the latest church growth strategy, or a better way to do evangelism and get people in the door of the church.
Those who view it in this way have not fully grasped the magnitude of the missional conversation. While it may sound like semantics, the move to missional discipleship is no less than a complete and total recalibration of the form and function of the church and how it carries out the Great Commission.
The missional conversation is a significant paradigm shift from the ecclesiological discussion of the last 25 years. There are three major theological distinctions that make it different. The conversation wraps its self around…
the missionary nature of God and His church.
the incarnational life of the church in a post-modern context.
the active participation of the church in the missio dei of God.
Without understanding the missional concept, the idea of missional discipleship will seem foreign to most. So, here is a brief overview.
First, the missionary nature of God and His church.
That God is a missionary is not a stretch for most of us. God became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Himself was sent by God to be the Savior of the world. God the Father sent His Son; the Father and the Son, send the Spirit. And, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send us into the world.
Scripture is replete with ”sending” language that speaks of the “sentness” of God. But it is important to make clear that God and Christ see the church as a vital part of any missional work in the world. By church it is meant the local, universal, invisible body of Christ and not a denomination.
The church must not be seen simply as an entity that sends and supports missionaries overseas as important as that is. But rather the church must recognize its purpose is related to a sending missionary God, who sends ordinary people, both individually and collectively, into a fierce conflict bringing life to the dying, rescuing the lost, and alleviating the plague of human suffering in the world.
Second, the incarnational life of the church in a post-modern context.
Those with a missional church viewpoint, no longer see the church service as the primary connecting point for those outside the church. For some, this is unbelievable and intolerable. While there is nothing wrong with attracting people to participate in various meetings in the church, the missional church is more concerned about sending the people in the church out into the world, even as “sheep among wolves.” They see this as more important than getting people of the world into the church building. Some have described the missional-attractional distinction as a challenge to “go and be” as opposed to “come and see.”
The attractional model of church has dominated the church in the west for the past several decades. It seeks to be relevant and draw people into it. However, this approach only works when there are no significant cultural barriers to overcome when making the move from outside to inside.
As the western culture looks more like a cross-cultural missionary context, the attractional model of the church is more and more self-defeating, according to many astute observers.
On the other hand, mission churches and missional leaders see their primary function as one of actively moving into a community to embody and flesh out the life and ministry of Christ.
This incarnational impulse represents the imbedding of the Gospel into a local community context. It resembles the intent of Scripture similar to what we read Eugene Peterson’s rendering of John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”
Third, the active participation of the church in the missio dei of God.
Often we wrongly assume that the primary activity of God is in the church building rather than in His world. The church is God’s instrument sent into the world to participate in His redemptive mission.
The key difference is between a church with a missions program and a missional church. A church with a missions program usually sees missions as one activity alongside many other equally important programs of the church. A missional church, on the other hand, focuses all of its activities around the participation in God’s agenda for the world. God’s mission must form and inform everything we do. All the churches activities must be shaped and organized around the mission dei of God—not the other way around.
The missional church and the missional disciple understand its fundamental purpose as being rooted in God’s mission in the world. The church is not the starting and ending point. The church must be seen as the result of cooperating in God’s mission. In the word of South African missiologist David Blosch: “It is not so much that God has a mission for the church in the world, but that God has a church (and disciple) for His mission in the world.”
Missional discipleship is the sending and incarnating of the life of Christ in the very same way as God sent His Son into the world. It is a the call of God upon every believer to be sent, to serve, to pick up the cross and move in on Satan’s turf in a real and tangible way, corporately and individually.
NOTE: This description has been adapted from KC Central Website and an explanation written by Christopher Wright.
Missional Discipleship for the Church
The Tangible Kingdom
Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship by Alan & Debra Hirsch
Embrace the Missio Dei
Feed Yourself Spiritually
Catch the Luke 10:2 prayer virus
Learn to Obey Jesus
Pray for Lost People
Own the Good News
Simple Skills to Practice
Be A Blessing!
Share a Meal
Think Missionally in Your Neighborhood
Do Life With Others
Practice Your Values
Think and Act Like You Were Sent By Christ Personally
What Role Has God Given You?
Know Your Turf
Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
Teach Others to Obey Everything I Commanded
Be the Church, Not Do Church
Be A Life Long Learner