But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:10b-11
The Barna Research Group conducted a study and found that many converts make a decision to follow Christ, but most of those will walk out the back door of the church within 8-12 weeks. Sobering thought. Barna did not say some new converts will walk out the back door—not even half—but most. Why? Because it takes more than a sermon or program to make a fully devoted follower of Jesus.
What can be done to help close the back door of the church, and more importantly, make fully devoted followers of Jesus? Well, that’s what you will find in the M28Toolbox. Some of these tools are ancient practices taught by the church. Others are new conventions that harness Biblical principles and technology. The goal is to provide useful resources and walk alongside young and old disciples as Christ is formed in them.
A skilled disciple maker with the right tools, just like a skilled carpenter, can help a younger disciple gain traction (or stickiness) to move them forward in their faith and commitment to Christ.
Are there tools to help them gain traction? Some would say there is no one size fits all method or system. The best tools must be easy to use, viral, incarnational, transformational and universal. The following websites and models fits this criteria and are recommended for immediate use.
The KISS principle (Keep It Simple & Sticky) is essential if we are to make disciples. If it is not simple, people will think it difficult and grow weary. If our approach is complex, people will give up. Less is more.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point the viral nature of a thing is dependent upon its “stickiness factor.” In other words, the thing that is important must stick with people, capture the imagination and tug on the heart. If it doesn’t stick, it won’t be transmitted. If it is not transmitted, it cannot transform.
The goal of discipleship is transformation—not information. The simple and sticky tool we are modeling to inspire a movement of disciple makers is the Life Transformation Group.
What does disciple making utilizing the transformation tool look like?
Here is a simple and very brief overview.
The group meets once a week for approximately one hour.
They are groups of 2-3 people (the addition of a fourth person is the beginning of the second group and multiplication is imminent)
The groups are not coed (hence, both men and women ministry leaders could be involved in this), but gender specific
It is not leader dependent
Only three tasks are to be accomplished in the group
1. Scripture is read repetitively in context and community
2. Our helplessness and dependency upon God is confessed in mutual accountability
3. Lost people are prayed for strategically, specifically, and continuously.
Who could/should be in a transformation group? Short answer. Everyone. And specifically, people who are desperate for Christ and people who are faithful to the process itself. These two factors balance one another to keep the participants on track both with hope for desperate people and health for helping people. To compromise either of these principles will slow down or derail the effectiveness of the group.
What are these groups called? They are called many things from Life Transformation Groups, Bible Impact Groups, Anchor Groups, Growth Groups, and many other things. It doesn’t matter what they are called. It only matters that they transform people into disciples.
Again, the power of this approach is in the unleashing of God’s Word in the lives of people in an interesting and innovative way. There are other important features. This is a simple overview that without an explanation of the biblical principles could seem like another rigid attempt to manufacture a method (which is far better than what many have now) but that would be a disservice. Again, there isn’t a method that will change a life. It is the Good News of God’s Kingdom that changes a life. The LTG (Life Transformation Group) is a simple tool that can easily be passed from one rescuer to another.
For a more complete summary of this viral approach to discipleship go to ToolBox tab.
Caution. While we need to keep the focus on what is simple, sticky and viral, the discipleship tools offered found here should not be more important than Christ or take away from His majesty and reputation. If people are more impressed with our wineskin—methods, systems, strategies—that they stop noticing the wine in the wineskin (Jesus transforming life and power), there is a big problem and we have missed the mark.
The LTGroup is one of many tools in a disciples tool belt, easily learned and handed over to others. We believe it is a fundamental tool for discipling others. It does not require extensive training or even professional leadership. LTGroups can work in any ministry environment and not bound to a single model of church. They pose no threat to existing ministries. It is hard to imagine any church leader being opposed to LTGroups.
What is an LTGroup? It is comprised of two or three people (preferably triads), all the same gender, who meet regularly and do three things: Put on Christ, Put off their sin, Pray for the Lost.
For a complete explanation of an LTG, read Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference
Also, a summary of a Life Transformation Group is available at http://www.cmaresources.org/files/Cultivating-NeilCole-chap8.pdf
If you wish to see how different churches are using this tool, go to:
I am Second Groups
This is a cool tool for starting conversations about faith. There are many ideas about evangelism, discipleship, films, discussion guides, groups in the area or around the world. It is another tool for outreach and relationship building.
Learning to Follow Jesus: A Step-by-Step Discipleship Guide By Daniel McNaughton involves short lessons which teach core spiritual disciplines while combine one-on-one mentoring with a spiritual coach and the dynamics of a collegial relationship in a small group. This can be purchased at www.learningtofollow.net
Ogden challenges every church leader to stop thinking just about church growth and start paying attention to discipling the people we already have. His two chapters on Transformation and Practicalities of Disciple Making are critical tools for every disciple maker.
Links to Preferred Discipleship Resources
Starting Seeker Bible Studies
First Steps: A simple 6 week guide
Core Discipleship System for Your Church
Lyfe: Spiritual Formation Resource(s)
Renovare: Spiritual Formation Resources
Passing the Baton
Into Thy Word
Student and College Ministry Resource
Disciple Young Children Like Jesus
The Bible tells us that children are blessings. However there are many teenagers who are not blessings to their families. Is the Bible wrong? Absolutely not! Biblically speaking, teenagers are adults. However, it is possible that teenagers can be blessings too. The key is to start early with our children and to make disciples of them. This book will share practical tips with parents of young children about how to experience the abundant life with your children now and in the future!
Passing the Baton
Family Discipleship Tools
Family Discipleship Ministries
Disciple Like Jesus
Drive Faith Home
More Website and Resources
The Marriage Course