“We have generated a body of people who consume Christian services and think that that is Christian faith. Consumption of Christian services replaces obedience to Christ. And spirituality is one more thing to consume.” -Dallas Willard
My Youth Pastor and I were at an EFCA Discipleship Cohort last year when I had my ‘aha moment.’ The realization began to sink in that many churches do a decent job when it comes to helping people to grow as disciples. Preaching, programs, Life Groups, are all geared to help people to become more like Jesus Christ. But how much time and energy do we spend as leaders in the church helping people to become disciple makers?
Jesus’ master plan was not to merely help people become more spiritually mature, his plan also included mentoring them so that they could go out and make disciples once he was gone.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:16-20
The point I am trying to make is that we must go beyond making disciples and make disciple makers. Jesus showed us the way by spending large amounts of time with his disciples. Jesus invested his life into a small number of men so that they would go out and do likewise. We as leaders in the church today are fooling ourselves if we think we can devise a better strategy than Jesus for changing the world.
We have had Life Groups here at New Life Church for a long time, and we will continue to do them. What we have begun to do that is new is what we are calling Life Transformation Groups. The primary goal for putting together these Life Transformation Groups is to see men and women go beyond thinking about their own spiritual growth and to begin investing their lives into others so that they too will become more like Christ. This mission of making disciple makers is not just something for pastors, missionaries or paid staff. This Great Commission is something that every single person can do. I will take it a step further. I believe it is what every single Christian is called to do.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and questions!
Our mission at New Life Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus made the mission for the church pretty clear in Matthew 28 when he left these marching orders, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
I am excited that the denomination that our church is a part of, Evangelical Free Church of America, is working to develop a culture of discipleship within their churches.
This year I, and our Youth Pastor, are going to begin an EFCA Transformational Cohort that is all about discipleship.
Here are the details:
BUILDING A DISCIPLEMAKING CULTURE – LED BY DAVE RHODES AND SHANE STACEY
Clarify and design your church’s unique disciplemaking language, vision, practices and strategy in your local context. In this cohort, you will:
Assess and evaluate your current disciplemaking culture.
Gain access to 18 different training exercises to use with your leadership team that will move you beyond information to aligned implementation and intentional application.
Develop your own transferable tool kit for training others.
Create a 5-year disciplemaking vision and executable plan for your church.
The homework for this cohort involves leading your team through exercises to help you build out your discipline culture.
I am looking forward to what God is going to teach us and how we can have a greater impact here in South Dakota when it comes to making disciples of Jesus Christ!
Recently the EFCA, the denomination that I am apart of, had a Missional Summit and one of the topics they addressed was pornography. Below you will find a couple resources that should serve to help anyone who who is struggling when it comes to the pornography epidemic.
“A growing number of young men are convinced that their [physical, inperson]
sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were
virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents. Their generation
has consumed explicit content in quantities and varieties never before
possible, on devices designed to deliver content swiftly and privately, all at
an age when their brains were more plastic–more prone to permanent
change–than in later life. These young men feel like unwitting guinea pigs
in a largely unmonitored decade-long experiment in sexual conditioning.
Porn has always faced criticism among the faithful and the feminist. But
now, for the first time, some of the most strident alarms are coming from
the same demographic as its most enthusiastic customers.”
Belinda Luscombe, “Porn and the Threat to Virility,” TIME
Purity and Pornography
Above pic taken from wwwdotchalliesdotcom
I am super excited to let you all know that my family is moving to South Dakota! I have accepted the call to become the Senior Pastor at New Life Church in Watertown, SD. New Life Church is part of the Evangelical Free Church of America.
I feel refreshed, renewed and ready to walk through this door that God has opened. Since you are here, reading this, can I ask you to do me a big favor?
Here are a few things you could be praying for…
- Safety for my family as we leave the DFW area and move to South Dakota
- For Marcie to have the strength and endurance to finish her first year of teaching
- For us to find a house to rent or buy. We like the idea of renting so that we can really get a feel for the area before we purchase a home. If we found a great deal we would be willing to buy right away! We definitely want to be centrally located (close to schools, church, friends, etc…)
- That my family would build deep, life-long relationships with New Life and the residents of Watertown
- That as we immerse ourselves in ministry we would create margins in our life to rest and to quietly abide in Christ
- That the gospel would saturate our church and the city of Watertown
- (And when the prayer request above is answered…the result would be…) That Watertown would know that New Life (and Jesus) loves them like crazy
- The lost are saved
- That disciples of Jesus Christ are made