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Day 01

Questions for Discussion from the Book, More Disciples

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The Revised and Enlarged Version of More Disciples (now available at Amazon) adds significant text, including Questions for Discussion. For the benefit of any who bought the “1.0” version of the book, we’re including those questions here in full so you don’t miss out.


Chapter 1

Why Make More Disciples

  1. How might you have previously answered the question, “What is a disciple?” Do you agree or disagree with the definition provided in this chapter?
  2. How did you view disciple-making before reading this chapter? Compare and contrast your prior understanding with any nuances you’ve picked up from this reading.
  3. This chapter pointed to the fact that the early church seemed all the more to thrive in the midst of persecution. Would you say there is persecution where you will be making disciples? Has the church thrived? Offer some theories as to why or why not?
  4. How might you have previously explained the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15? As a result of reading this chapter, how has your understanding changed, if at all?
  5. If a friend were to ask, “Does making more disciples somehow add to the global voice offering glory to God,” how would you answer? Explain the basis of your position.

 

Chapter 2

A Way Forward

  1. Roland Allen’s books weren’t published until some 50 years after he wrote them. Why do you suppose it took a while for others to see value in his writings? (Try doing some research online about this question.)
  2. Some have ventured that Patterson’s approach was remarkably similar to CPM/DMM approaches used today — and it was plainly very effective for his time. Yet it can be said that relatively few churches/workers implemented his strategies. Why do you think it’s seemingly difficult for churches and leaders to change the way they do disciple-making? How might we shift the future?
  3. McGavran witnessed whole villages and sometimes entire districts coming to Christ at once. Try to picture being involved in something like that. How would it change the way you felt about evangelism and church growth? Explain.
  4. Pick one of Garrison’s universal elements that you believe is commonly misunderstood or about which people today have a misconception. Offer some ideas as to why.
  5. Garrison is a researcher. He found that the 10 Universal Elements were present in every movement toward Christ that he studied. How many of these elements might exist in the church that you attend or in the field where you hope to make disciples? How might you be a part of changing the future there?

 

Chapter 3

Disciple-Making Works

  1. Describe the growth you’ve seen so far in the church you attend or in the field where you hope to make disciples. Compare or contrast this with the case studies illustrated in this chapter. Why might God bring about such movements in one part of the world but not in another? Explain as best you can.
  2. Some of these stories seem almost beyond belief. Yet researchers like Garrison have actually visited and verified the fruit. Imagine how you might feel as you interview members of the 27th generation of disciples in a rapidly-growing movement toward Christ. How would that impact your faith in or walk with Christ? Explain.
  3. Does it bother you that the Global South might end up sending more missionaries than historically mission-active regions like the USA, Europe and Australia? Why or why not?
  4. Does it bother you that the church is growing faster in the Global South than in the Global North? Offer some of your own theories as to why this might be taking place.
  5. Do you believe movements like these can happen in North America? Why or why not?

 

Chapter 4

Prayer is the Catalyst

  1. If Jesus wants all people to be saved, why do you think prayer seems to be a universal element in launching disciple-making movements? Why do you think God seemingly waits on us to pray?
  2. How might we motivate believers to understand the potential power behind prayer? How could you do so for the initiatives that you are imagining for the church you attend or the place where you hope to make disciples?
  3. If you were asked to pray for an unreached people group, never before engaged with the Good News, what would be some of your requests to God?
  4. Take a moment to look up an unreached people group at www.JoshuaProject.net. Read about their needs and the opportunities for the Good News to spread there. Now take a few minutes actually to put into practice the concept of praying for the people about whom you’re reading.

 

Chapter 5

Obedience as the Command

  1. Describe a church you have previously attended. (It could be your home church or the one you attend now.) In what ways do you feel this church has emphasized knowledge and attendance? In what ways has this church emphasized obedience and accountability?
  2. Now that you’ve read this chapter, if it were up to you to design the perfect church, how might you recommend that we do church differently? (Note: Please avoid “trashing the bride of Christ.” Please give respect to the church leaders who have gone before us and have done the best they can with what they understood.)
  3. Have you seen churches which have emphasized teaching knowledge more than requiring obedience? If so, in your opinion, what is the root cause for this behavior?
  4. This chapter compared obedience to breathing. What was difficult or helpful for you in looking at obedience in this way? If possible, explain your answer by giving an example?
  5. This chapter opens the door to the concept that we might hear God’s voice in the present rather than merely in the past. Is this concept troubling or encouraging to you? Do you agree or disagree with the idea?

 

Chapter 6

Discovery-based Learning as the Method

  1. Assess why discovery-based learning might provide a better solution for training leaders in a fast-growing movement? Has your church or organization tried to use this approach? If not, venture guesses as to why not.
  2. Some have said that utilizing the same set of questions about each new Bible passage would become formulaic (the pattern would “get old” or become too mechanical rather quickly). Do you agree or disagree?
  3. What would it mean to you to study the Bible using discovery-based learning? Would you feel you were somehow “missing out” on the insights of a great teacher that you respect or know? Explain.
  4. You’ve probably heard before that “active learning” increases our chances of retaining information. Yet, would you agree or disagree – most churches have retained the form of teaching known as “the sermon.” Offer some best guesses about why the church has retained this approach down through the centuries. Does it create a moral dilemma for you to ponder the possibility of transforming this approach to a new paradigm?
  5. For you personally, does it bother you that discovery-based learning isn’t mentioned per se in the Bible?

 

Chapter 7

Peer Accountability

  1. Perhaps you’ve already participated in a Bible study in which you were held accountable to make decisions about your actions then follow through with them. (If not, then try to imagine it.) Does it – or would it – annoy you to have someone ask you, the following week, if you followed through? Explain.
  2. The author held that accountability works not because we want to look good (pride), but rather, because we don’t want to look bad (disobedience). Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  3. This chapter gave some very practical ways to implement accountability at the close of a Bible study. Analyze for your life – does this concept seem too rigid or cult-like to you? Why or why not?
  4. This chapter provided an example of a Bible figure sharing his plans or next steps prior to implementing them. Do you agree or disagree that this is an example of peer accountability? Why or why not?

 

Chapter 8

Multiplying Groups

  1. This chapter doesn’t criticize a church for meeting in large gatherings. Rather, it points to a way forward that focuses on multiplication rather than addition. Can you think of an example of this in a church or campus ministry that you’ve attended? How might multiplication be a help?
  2. Think hard about your own life. This chapter speaks of regularly being part of two churches – one church or group for our own spiritual worship and a second church or group that we’re helping launch. Ponder this thought for your own life. What would it take for you to implement this concept?
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of a church or group that you’ve attended compared to the paradigm presented in this chapter. Compare and contrast.
  4. Assume for a moment that multiplication is the best way forward. How might we help the church at large to grasp this paradigm and do it?

 

Chapter 9

Maximizing Fruit

  1. Compare and contrast the “SOAPS” Bible study approach to the one you’re using now. What are the advantages or disadvantages of each?
  2. Do you believe that being in an accountability group (such as the one described in this chapter) would be helpful for the typical believer? Do you think the typical believer is in such a group? If not, can you venture some guesses as to why or why not?
  3. What would concern you most about participating in a 3/3 group, as described in this chapter? Explain what you think might be some benefits and also some risks.
  4. This chapter offered two key approaches for increasing our own involvement in prayer. (Can you remember them both?) How do these approaches compare or contrast with typical prayer approaches used in churches you’ve attended? Give examples.
  5. Consider the town, city, people group, or country where your church is located or where you hope to make disciples. How does it change the way you think to ask the question, “What’s it going to take for all these people to hear the Good News and follow Jesus?”

 

Chapter 10

Im pacts on Disciple-Making

  1. Offer some of your best guesses as to why you believe the church seems to flourish in the midst of persecution.
  2. Examine your own life and the amount of time you have to add activities or approaches. When you read the ideas in this book and process the time it would take to implement them, is it sobering for you? Why or why not? How will you personally decide about your time priorities?
  3. Have you ever experienced cross-cultural confusion or “shock?” Give an example.
  4. The author wrote in this chapter that the church can expand rapidly within a common language and/or culture. Is there a language or cultural group that you wish could know and follow Jesus? If so, describe it.
  5. This chapter presents the concept of filtering for a “person of peace” to help introduce you to another culture. Have you ever experienced anything like this (someone introducing you to a new group or crowd)? If so, describe how it worked. Analyze how it might work with the Good News of Jesus.

 

Chapter 11

Templates for Training

  1. This chapter provides several formats for introducing CPM/DMM strategies in your church or in the place where you hope to make disciples. Imagine for a moment… why would you think the author would offer these formats? What were his intentions? In your opinion, are those intentions valid? Most importantly, how effective would you say his proposed formats might be in your church or in the place where you hope to make disciples?
  2. Evaluate the question: “Is it sneaky to start the organic way?” (In other words, must we gain the approval of our church or organization’s leaders in order to experiment/experience CPM/DMM approaches?)
  3. In your opinion, does the multiplicative approach remind you of network marketing? How is it similar? How is it different? Does it bother you to think of Jesus as asking us to “market” (i.e., persuade people to follow) the Good News? Why or why not?
  4. In your experience, where do these ever-expanding chains break down? In other words, offer some guesses as to what might sabotage a movement.
  5. Based on your learning style, would you rather be involved in a “live training” with an “expert” (an experienced disciple-maker) or would you be comfortable using a web-driven tool like Zúme as your learning approach? Explain.

 

Chapter 12

Tools and Tips for Im plementers

  1. This chapter presents 17 tools or tips for those wishing to launch CPM/DMM in their particular context. Pick out the top three approaches that would seem the most practical and effective for you, in your church or context. Explain why you chose those three.
  2. Consider the idea of making a list of people for whom you will pray. Does it bother you to think you might be on such a list (that someone else made)? Explain why or why not.
  3. For your learning style and preferences, would you rather learn “Creation to Judgment” (C2J) or the Three Circles Life Conversation? Explain why. What would it take for you to learn such a tool well? Would it be helpful? If so, what’s stopping you?
  4. This chapter mentioned that it might feel, at first, intimidating to think of baptizing someone. Does it seem that way to you? Why or why not?
  5. Is it hard for you to lead others? (For example, are you afraid you’re not good enough to do so?) Explain your answer by referencing the section, “Duckling Discipleship.”

 

Chapter 13

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. This chapter attempts to discuss how CPM/DMM views the existing church. Explain why that question is difficult to answer. (Hint: Remember that “CPM/DMM” isn’t an organization but an organic collection of strategies and life practices.) In light of what you’ve now learned (or learned previously) about CPM/DMM, how do you view the existing church. (Remember — never trash the bride of Christ.) In an ideal world, what would be your perfect design for the church?
  2. Sometimes in the past, the idea of “discipleship” has meant other things than the way the term “disciple-making” is being used in CPM/DMM world. Compare and contrast with some of the meanings you’ve heard previously. How is the CPM/DMM usage helpful or not helpful? Why?
  3. This chapter pointed out that some CPM/DMM trainers emphasize only baptizing groups (never individuals). How do you feel about this idea? This chapter asserted that the Bible gave examples of instances in which individuals were allowed to come to Christ as individuals. Do you agree or disagree? How do you reconcile these two seeming contradictions between some trainers’ philosophy and these case studies from the Bible?
  4. Analyze the difference between emphasizing “works” and accountability (in CPM/DMM strategies). How do you feel about the difference?
  5. Do you think CPM/DMM will, in the end, be a fad? Give your reasoning.

 

Chapter 14

A Call for Unity

  1. Try to think of an example of a new product or movement that began with one individual or one company. In those cases, how did it help or hurt the promotion and acceptance of that product or movement? In your opinion, how does it help or hurt that CPM/DMM strategy wasn’t “invented” or isn’t shepherded, as such, by any one person or organization?
  2. At this point in your understanding of implementing CPM/DMM strategy and life practices, would you rather be bold in your proclamation? … or do you see yourself more “laid back?” How will you react when you meet someone who feels it’s imperative to be more forthright in one’s presentation of the Good News? Explain why.
  3. Can you think of any other examples in which Godly men and women have disagreed about doctrine or biblical approaches? Name a couple and give examples of how this has helped or hurt the growth in Kingdom of God worldwide.

 

Chapter 15

Epilogue: Understanding Faithfulness

  1. Curtis Sergeant feels that two ideas have caused a number of problems in the church today. Which do you think has caused more problems than the other and why?
  2. Does it bother you to consider that you might be following someone who is still “learning to ride a bike?” (In other words, could you see yourself following an imperfect mentor?) Explain your answer.
  3. There have been some disturbing studies recently, like the one referenced in this chapter by Lifeway Research. Can you remember any recent findings about Christendom that shocked you? For example, something about a certain generation falling away or a study about how many people can’t remember what the Great Commission is? How can you reconcile these findings with our current method of discipling believers? In other words, what has gone wrong? How would you fix things if you were in charge?
  4. Where are you on the spectrum of knowledge versus practice? For example, do you believe God can work through a new believer to win or teach others? Why or why not?
  5. This chapter emphasizes a humble spirit for all teachers. Can you remember a preacher or pastor who seemed a bit prideful? How did it impact your willingness to listen and obey?

 

Wrapping up

Questions for Discussion about the book as a whole:

  1. What did you find most interesting in this book? What did you like?
  2. What did you find most difficult? What caused you the most confusion?
  3. What did you learn about people in this book?
  4. What did this book teach you about God?
  5. Is there anything in this book that you feel called to obey? What will you do about the things you’ve learned? What will be your next step? How will you begin implementing these teachings? Explain.
  6. Is there someone you might be able to train about any of these concepts? (Please write down a name.) Who can you tell that might hold you accountable to do that?
  7. With whom can you share this book and these teachings?

29) Practices

By | Day 01 | No Comments

What are the key components of a Disciple-Making Movement, or “DMM?” What if we told you it was an iPppod? Listen to this podcast and see if you can figure out what an iPppod has to do with a DMM?


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Welcome to the GCCC 30-Day Challenge!

By | Day 01 | 7 Comments

Here’s a welcome to this special edition of the 30-Day Challenge, specifically for Garden City Church of Christ (Columbus, IN) from Lead Pastor, Brian Gilroy.

“Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”  – 1 Peter 5:8
When you decided to take this 30-day challenge, Satan and his cohorts took notice.  Why?  Because they know if you are successful many other individuals will come to faith in Christ.  Satan will do anything to prevent that from happening.  Therefore, your challenge for day 1 is to find someone who will stand beside you in prayer.  You need a dedicated prayer warrior to lift you up for 30 days.

Optional Homework:
If you haven’t yet viewed this 4 minute video (below) introducing disciple making movements, please watch it now to catch a vision for where we hope to go during these next 30 days. Either way, feel free to email or call us at the church office if you have any questions about this initiative. And thanks for taking part in the 30-Day Challenge!

Good thing is, it’s not about me

By | Day 01 | One Comment

“I have no idea what I’m doing.” It’s the one thought that most repeats in my mind since my wife and I said ‘yes’ to reaching the unreached in our city. Refugees from closed, Islamic countries are here in need of, well, pretty much everything, and He has placed us in a position to help. After watching the video for day one, I’m feeling rather “first century”. The check list I see to be like an early disciple is: uneducated, check; no social power, check; no organization, check. Some of our own community has even been hostile to our activities. So, that’s good, I guess. I don’t want to make too light of how God has been drawing like hearted people to join us. Churches, community groups, and some businesses have committed to coming along side with time and material resources. Most importantly, prayer. People from different churches meet twice weekly and consistently pray for us as part of their prayers for our city. The favor that we see in our daily lives among our new friends has been, in no small part, due to prayer. So, day 1, find someone to pray for you… yes, please!

Why Just One?

By | Day 01 | 2 Comments

I’m very excited to start this new adventure and growth opportunity! For the past four years or so, I’ve felt like the enemy has had a huge target on my back, so I know God is up to something. THANK YOU, JESUS!

A few months ago, the Lord just kept showing me that to be His disciple, I need to be able to leave it all to follow Him:

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26 & 27 NKJV

I stepped away from my full-time office job to be available for whatever it is He wants me to do, as He asked, and I’m trusting Him every step of the way. I would have never guessed that He had planned an invitation to participate in this 3o-Day Disciple Making Challenge and blogging for my future! It always amazes me how God orchestrates everything to get us right where He wants us. The invitation came from a woman I met at my first 5K Run a year ago that benefitted Missions, of all things! GOD IS SO GOOD!

When I asked the Lord who he wanted to by my prayer partner for this journey, He actually brought two people to mind. He asked, “Why just one?” I know how big of a spiritual fight against the enemy I go through every single day without participating in this challenge, so Him choosing two different women to pray for me is like Him telling me, “I got your back!”  Both women are awesome prayer warriors that have gone through or are currently going through major trials and persevering. They’ve always personally had my back, as well, and I know this experience will be a blessing and growth opportunity for all three of us and even more!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 1

By | Day 01 | One Comment

My Life Group Leader and her husband challenged me to begin this 30 Day Challenge and even though it has just begun I already see God moving in His mysterious and magnificent ways.

Discipleship has been on my heart for the past 6 months now. My interest was sparked after listening to an older friend speak about  the importance of discipleship. She challenged me with the questions “Is someone spiritually pouring into you?” and in return “Are you spiritually pouring into someone else?” After listening to her I felt challenged to take some form of action but I wasn’t sure what. I now feel that God has been preparing me to begin this Disciple making journey and I’m so excited to begin. Partnering with me in prayer through this journey is my friend Annie.

Annie and I went to high school together but our friendship has really just began to bloom following our graduation (May 22, 2016). Since graduating a few weeks ago we’ve met twice to “Get breakfast and Jesus Talk” as we like to call it. Through our meetings we’ve unearthed a friendship that has been divinely orchestrated. We both feel that God has brought us together during this time to disciple and pray for one another. We met this morning, actually, and as I asked what God had been teaching her over the past few weeks she told me about this Bible study she was going through called the Anatomy of a Disciple and how God has been showing her what it looks like to truly be a Disciple. To which I responded.. “Dude, I’m starting this 30-Day Discipleship Challenge Today!!! Will you be my prayer partner through it!?” Wow, God’s so cool and ironic, sometimes.  Annie cheerfully agreed and is super interested in doing the challenge herself and I’m just so thankful for this new and growing friendship that God has placed in my life. Annie and I have decided to make our “Breakfast and Jesus Talks” a weekly occurrence so that we can continue to disciple one another throughout the summer.

Who are you Battling?

By | Day 01, Day 05, Day 11, Day 23, Day 26 | One Comment

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

Think of the most difficult person, most pressing problem, and/or most overwhelming circumstance you’re facing in your life right now.  Think of several if you like.

Whatever it is you’re thinking about, whether a person or a circumstance – whoever or whatever it is – it is not your real problem.  Hear that again:  IT is NOT your REAL problem.  The most troubling things in your life, things that you perceive with your five physical senses, are not your real issue.  Though you may be wrestling with them verbally, emotionally, financially, even physically, you are wasting your precious time and energy that needs to be reserved for the real culprit – the one who is behind the scenes, striving to direct the details of some of your most acute difficulties.  Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world.  Sounds like a movie, huh?

But Paul’s words, directly out of Ephesians, tell us that we wrestle not against man but with the ruler of this world which is Satan.

Your real enemy – the devil – wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind the physical one.  Because as long as you’re focused on what you can see with your physical eyes, he can continue to run rampant underneath the surface.  The more you disregard him, the more damage he is free to do.  The enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional.  He is very real, and very persistent, waging war against us constantly.
Our enemy celebrates lethargic Christian living.  When we’re giving up on relationships, disregarding the purity of our reputations, yielding to our appetites without putting up much, if any, resistance, he can basically go unchecked.  Ultimately, the enemy can hamstring the church from achieving the purposes of God.  That’s why he works so hard to beat you down with discouragement.  Make you discontent.  Lie to you about who God is, causing you to doubt the Lord’s all-good intentions toward you.  Hammer you with accusations that place a burden of shame and guilt on your shoulders too heavy to carry.  Trick you into thinking your situation will never change, and that God doesn’t hear you or care when you call out to Him.  Soon your fire of passion starts to burn low.  You become disinterested.  Low in spiritual fiber.  Your spiritual armor goes unworn and unused.

Now you’re exactly where the enemy wants you – where you no longer want to fight for peace and passion in your marriage, where you no longer believe your child can be restored, where you no longer hope for healing in your body, where you no longer see any path to freedom from your addictions, where you just don’t see the purpose in praying anymore….so you don’t.   You don’t ask or seek or knock.

Did you know that more than 4,000 churches close each year?  That the 5th largest unchurched nation is the United States?  Could this be because His Church, the Bride of Christ, is not standing together, a vast army, united in prayer?  The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.  God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless.  The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive the world.

So what if our world is morally declining because our generation fails to pray?  What if this generation has been too busy or too unbelieving to pray?  What if God’s conquering days are when the Church has given herself to prayer – praying for the advancement of God’s cause?

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Ask of me is the condition – a praying people willing and obedient.  The strongest one to stand against the enemy is the one who is the best knocker.  The secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray.  To stop the advancement of the enemy we must stand together and fight in prayer.

 

Portions adapted from:

  • EM Bounds on Prayer
  • The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
  • Moving Mountains by John Eldredge

Prayer Partners

By | Day 01 | One Comment

John and I go way back, as in the first day of freshman orientation at CBC. We roomed together for two years, we were the best-man in each other’s weddings — we even both married great gals named “Brenda.” We’ve shared a lot of experiences; most good and some heart-breaking. We’re even planning a Holy Land trip together! BUT, what we’ve never done is really commit to praying for one another! That changed today with Day-1 of the 30-Day Challenge.

He knows I will, and I know he will! We’re both busy in ministry and with life. In fact, John’s daughter gets married this month. All the more reason to pray! Prayer isn’t something you do when you have nothing better to do. Prayer is something you do because without God’s help we’re vulnerable, exposed.

What to pray? Why not, “Lord, may your Kingdom come, and your will be done in my roomie’s life today! Lord, use John mightily; help him make the most of every opportunity to be a light for you! May he defeat the devil at every turn through the power of the Spirit. And, Lord, bless his family in amazing ways that everyone will see clearly comes from You; a testimony of their dependence and reliance on the ‘Giver of all good things.’  All in the name of Jesus — so be it!”

Day 1: Prayer? I don’t have time for that, I’m far too busy

By | Day 01 | One Comment

Many times I start making a plan to do great things for God and end up using prayer as a last resort.  This is a good challenge to start with prayer.  I love it that the first day focuses on not only prayer, but prayer with someone else.  Too many times we as men(but also everyone in general) try to go about things by ourselves.  We need others to spur us on toward love and good deeds.  Many people around me, myself included, often say we don’t have time for prayer.  You see I thought the same thing 8 years back and that lead to a question my wife and I asked “How do we hear God’s voice better?”  That leads us to getting rid of TV and diving in the word and prayer like never before.  You know what happened?  God lead us on a crazy adventure. God wanted to speak to us, and we needed to create the space to hear Him.  Prayer should not just be a good thing we do, it should be, along with scripture, the fuel for our fire.  

In figuring out who my prayer partner would be I had a hard time deciding, a little indecisive I am, but I got an email from someone in my discipleship group.  It said

 

I started the 30 day challenge and I am recruiting a prayer partner (1st day assignment).  I’ll be yours if you’ll be mine.”  

 

I was excited because I know that this person WILL pray for me daily!  So pick someone you know WILL pray for you daily.  Pick someone who WILL pray bold prayers for you and will uplift you daily!  But don’t stop there.  Be the person who WILL be that same type of person.  I am going to email, text, and call this person a few times a week to pray and want to try get together as well to pray together.

 

So as I start this 30 day challenge I found myself a prayer partner but I am also realizing I have to say no to some things.  Months back I used a time tracking app called Toggl.  I tracked every 15 minutes of my week and at the end of the week I looked at my time report.  Wow! It really showed my priorities and I realized I had the time, I just needed to be more disciplined.  So as you start this look at how you spend your time.  Figure out the one thing or habit that is keeping you from experiencing God better and try to not do it, or limit it for these 30 days.  My time sucker can be Facebook and ESPN so I am going to limit them to a 30 minute window at night.  Here we go.

Equipping for the Task

By | Day 01 | One Comment

Can you relate to any of these common experiences?

  • Discovering a great-sounding recipe only to find that it calls for some obscure (but deal breaking!) ingredient that you don’t have?
  • Planning to build something only to realize that there’s a necessary tool or piece of hardware you haven’t got on hand? (Though this can be a welcome reason to buy a newly discovered “essential” tool)
  • Being told, “Go make disciples” or, “Lead people to Jesus,” but sensing that you either haven’t seen that process done, or aren’t equipped to do it yourself, or maybe both.

Few things are more exhilarating than being used by God to draw people into His kingdom. Yet few things can be more disheartening than the sense of defeat that results from being recruited or assigned to a task you see yourself as completely unqualified or unequipped for.

My wife has reflected on the fact that so often, the big challenging things we look at and say, “Wow, that’s amazing; I could never do that!” are actually the cumulative result of a series of simple steps.

She does leatherworking and sews handbags, and I appreciated the connection here when she shared that it all starts with a pair of scissors or a rotary cutter. Then she begins by cutting some simple squares. That’s not so hard, right? All the exciting and complicated stuff seen in the final product comes from the simplest and humblest of origins. Then incremental development leads to a stunning final creation.

Sort of like just saying, “yes.”

Yes.
I’ll sign up for a 30-day Discipleship Challenge.

Yes.
I’ll invest some of my energy to make a list of 30 people to pray for and with.

Yes.
I’ll brainstorm a list of 25 people who are distant from the kingdom, and pray for them too.

Yes.
I’ll carve out a block of time in my day to connect with God and absorb His Word.

Yes.
I’ll engage in something a little uncommon and uncomfortable and go with a friend or two on regular prayer-walks.

Yes.
I’ll cut out the simple, basic squares, and ask the Lord to stitch them together into a stunning final creation.

What I love (and think you will too) about the 30-Day Discipleship Challenge, is that it arms you with incremental growth steps, steps that become cumulative. They add up! Not sure what it would even look like to “Go make disciples”? Don’t worry, it’s simply but thoroughly sketched. Not sure what tools or ingredients are required? Don’t worry, they’re sprinkled throughout, with Scriptures, videos, and insights.

These simple “cut squares,” become springboards for lives lived more ready for and responsive to our call to make disciples. And rather than a sense of defeat at being asked to do something you feel unequipped for, you may find yourself instead with a growing sense of confidence and expectancy:

Just what might God do today through my simple, consistent act of obedience?

Sign up here to start the 30-Day Disciple Challenge yourself:
http://moredisciples.com/signup/

Discipleship When Life Is Busy: Day 1

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Last weekend, at a prayer retreat, the president of Team Expansion approached me to ask if I would consider taking on a 30 day Disciple Making challenge and blogging about my experience.  I smiled and politely told him that I would consider it, but really in my head I was thinking: “You want me to do what!? Do you know how much is already on my plate? Like I need another thing…”  You see, my husband and I are foster parents and currently have a 1 year old and a 4 month old living in our home.  We both work full time and are heavily involved in our church.  On top of all of that (I know, there’s more…), our 1 year old foster son has medical and developmental delays that require weekly OT, weekly PT, and weekly speech therapy.  We see some sort of doctor as little as every other week and as much as 3 times a week, and our youngest foster son has weekly visits with his biological parent.  That doesn’t include the monthly foster support team meetings, every other month court hearings, monthly case worker visits, quarterly licensing worker visits, etc.

Well, I really did consider his invitation.  I looked through the website and prayed about it a lot.  I really felt that it was something that God would be able to use.  I am so excited to begin this journey (busy as I may be) and to see what the Holy Spirit is able to do through the situations put in front of me.

So, that brings us to Day 1: Finding a prayer partner.  I have to admit that I feel as if I sort of cheated on the “challenge” part of this day.  You see, when I was considering the invitation to complete this challenge I looked through a few days just to see what it involved.  So, I already knew what the challenge for Day 1 was.  I had already been praying about who God wanted me to ask as my prayer partner.  God showed me a wonderful lady from my church, Olivia.  If I hadn’t considered who God wanted me to ask, Olivia might not have been my first choice.  You see, Olivia and I are in different small groups, we sometimes attend the same service (but not always), so really there isn’t a lot of reason for our paths to cross much so I might not have thought of her immediately.  But Olivia IS someone who I know to be a prayer warrior.  She is also someone who has a heart for the nations and for discipleship.  I am excited to have her fighting spiritual warfare with me through this journey and encouraging me along the way!

Expectant Faith

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What God desires, according to His Word, is that we have “expectant faith,” as if we could already SEE what He’s bringing about, even before it comes to pass. If we can muster that kind of faith, we will not only be very optimistic about the future, but, in addition, we’ll be excited about the present. Here’s Curtis Sergeant, trainer in launching disciple making movements, explaining what all this would mean:

Help YOUR Church figure out How to Make More Disciples

By | Day 01, Day 05, Day 06 | No Comments

If you tuned in with Curtis Sergeant for our webinar at noon on Feb. 24, it will come as no shock that Curtis shared a LOT of information. Looking for written summary? So were a lot of others! Well guess what: Elisha is here to serve you! Forgot about the Eastern Time zone thing and mised it? No problem. Elisha’s got your back! Here’s a rough copy of her notes from the meeting. (Thanks Elisha!)

webinar2-notes

webinar_notes-2016-02

Introducing Multiplication Concepts: the Course

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Throughout MoreDisciples.com, we feature trainers who share and elaborate on the concepts we’re presenting in the 30-Day Challenge. These trainers will help you pick up on key topics such as how to facilitate a Discover Bible Study (or Three-Thirds Group), principles in launching disciple making movements (or DMM’s), and becoming a disciple worth multiplying. Here in a very brief introduction to these concepts of multiplication is Curtis Sergeant, a trainer we’ll feature again and again.

Making the Most of Your Prayer Partnership

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Ask God that your prayer partner…

… will realize his present exalted position in Christ.

Paul places the utmost importance on the child of God entering into a mature partnership with the Father partially achieved by realizing his present exalted position before God in heaven now through the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. It is only as we acknowledge who we really are in Christ that we can live that new identity. Many believers seem to be ignorant of this. Pray that others will get their true identity and self-worth from who they are in Christ and not from success, failure or what others say or think about them.

… will present himself as a living sacrifice.

In Romans 12:1,2 Paul presents the ultimate and totally necessary step of Christian dedication. This is presenting our bodies and all we have and are as a living sacrifice to God. This commitment is not essential to salvation, but no progress will be made in the Christian life without it. Pray that others, like Paul, will cry out, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” and then do it.

… will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Lord commands us to be filled (Ephesians 5:18). The filling of the Holy Spirit is not optional equipment for the Christian. Nothing in the spiritual life is accomplished without His power and in-filling. In the measure that we are not Spirit-filled we are self-centered, selfish and carnal. Pray that the believer will allow the Holy Spirit to work daily in his life.

… will be regular and systematic in the study of God’s Word.

It is essential for us to pray specifically that the one we are praying for will take the word of God as his food, guide, companion, only source of information about God and the spiritual life, only authority, and the ultimate fountain of joy in this life (Psalm 119). Pray, too, that as he is in the word he will appropriate it and obey it, let God’s word guide him, show him his blind spots, and keep him balanced.

… will have the mind of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 the spiritual man is seen as having both the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. Thus we pray for the believer, that having supernatural life in Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit, he may appropriate the mind of Christ in all matters of life. Pray that he will choose to make Christlike decisions in regard to priorities, goals, and guidance, with sharpened insights so as not to waste time on good things and miss God’s best. Pray that he will constantly live with eternity’s values in view, an attitude impossible to attain without the realization that the Christian life is a miracle life from beginning to end (Galatians 3:1-3).

… will grow daily in Christian maturity.

Nothing is more tragic than a twenty-year-old infant! Many today are in that spiritual condition after having been saved for a number of years. Pray that the believer will see that after the crisis experience of being born again there is the lifelong process of daily growth in Christ that takes patience, time, discipline, and the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:10; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12 and 13). The mature Christian must have a spirit of forgiveness with no root of bitterness because of any treatment of himself or others. He must learn to handle stress, frustrations, and unfulfilled expectations in a Christlike manner.

… will appropriate the full armor of God.

Pray that the believer will have his eyes opened to the dangers of certain satanic attacks and will put on the full armor of God. The armor plus the skillful use of the authority he has in the victorious Christ insures full protection (Ephesians 6:10-18; Colossians 2:1-15). Pray that the one for whom we are praying will fulfill his responsibility as one born for battle, resist temptation and repent promptly of any sin in his life.

… will be alert to Satan’s strategy.

Pray that the believer will not only be kept from sin but also that he will be aware of the threefold satanic temptations: the lust of the flesh, (fulfilling any of our desires outside the will of God) is Satan’s effort to get us out of the will of God; the lust of the eyes (coveting that which God does not allow at a particular time or place) is Satan’s effort to get us to distrust God; the pride of life (self effort or independence from God) is Satan’s effort to destroy our confidence in God (1 John 2:16). Also he must realize that he is incapable of meeting Satan in his own strength. Victory comes only as he takes the victory of Calvary as his own (1 Corinthians 15:57, 58). Pray that he will discern between satanic pressure and Godly chastening, and remain keenly alert to all satanic deception.

… will not love the world system.

Pray that the child of God will have mental, emotional, doctrinal and moral stability in a day in which the pressures from peer groups, the media, and the world are increasing in their opposition to biblical standards. The believer must know that love of the world is not consistent with loving God (1 John 2:15-17). Pray that he will realize that his love for God is expressed through obedience. (John 14:15, 21, 23)

… will have a spirit of brokenness and humility.

Pray that the believer’s pride will be broken and that he will deal with his sins through repentance and seeking forgiveness. Psalm 51:17 says: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Pray for willingness to give and take, willingness to change, and willingness to see another’s viewpoint. Pray that the believer will have an understanding spirit in place of a judgmental one. Pray that instead of looking for someone to blame in various situations he will be willing to say, “I am sorry,” or I was wrong.”

… will have a servant’s heart.

Pray this believer will be convinced of the Lord’s desire for him: that he be a servant of God and of his brothers in Christ. (Mk. 10:44-45)

… will build a Scriptural family.

Pray that the one for whom you are praying will look neither to the world nor to carnal Christians but to the word of God, and that he will fulfill his God-ordained place as head and spiritual leader of his home. Pray that his wife will be submissive and seek the Lord’s approval as did Sarah when she called Abraham, “Master” (1 Peter 3:6). Pray that as parents they will be firm, yet loving, realizing the absolute necessity of being godly models for their children. Pray that the husband and wife will maintain a balance among family, ministry, and job responsibilities (Ephesians 5:14 to 6:4), that all in the family will love each other with agape love, seeking the highest good for each other, rather than demanding their rights. Pray for those who are single that they will look to the Lord for his choice of a life partner; or pray that their lives will glorify God as singles.

… will become an effective prayer warrior.

Pray that the believer will have a vital and effective prayer life from a clean heart. It is absolutely necessary to keep short accounts with God. “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). See also 1 John 1:9. Pray that his praying will be Biblically based, specific, consistent, steadfast in the Spirit, in faith, and with understanding.

… will know God’s hand on him in physical and material things.

Pray that the one you are praying for will have the measure of health that will best glorify God. Pray that when set aside by ill health he will learn the lessons God has for him and draw upon divine resources. Pray also for safety in travel, financial provision in keeping with God’s plan for him, and proper use of the time and money God entrusts to him.

… will engage in prayerful worship.

To truly worship is to truly serve. Pray that the believer will not be on a treadmill of activity, substituting it for time with the Lord in true worship. Pray, too, that he will learn to praise the Lord, that he will give thanks for who he is in Christ, for spiritual growth, and for the fact that “God is a living God, he has spoken in the Bible; he means what he says, and will do all he has promised.” (J.H. Taylor)

… will be involved in an accountability team.

Pray that he will not be deceived into thinking that he can stand alone and grow spiritually. Pray that he will select a group, or at least one person who is spiritually mature and committed to walking with God, to whom he will be especially accountable and faithful in all areas of his life. Pray that this commitment will be characterized by openness, honesty and teachableness. Pray that above all he will recognize his accountability to God: “So then, everyone shall give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)

… will reach out to the unsaved.

Pray that others will love the lost as the Lord Jesus does and will reach out to a lost and dying world with the message of salvation. The Lord loved the unlovely and the destitute; his disciples should do no less. This love will best be communicated to the lost by a sacrificial sharing of the good news of Christ, sharing of themselves, and at times sharing materially with the hungry and needy. Pray that as God reveals his will as to the type and place of service at home or abroad, those who are his own will respond without hesitation.

(Thanks to Dr. Will Bruce, OMF. He has asked that this material be reserved for personal use only and not published for profit.)

This Amazing Journey

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I remember the first few times I heard about “DMM.” Frankly, it sounded like some kind of “latest fad.” To be honest, I avoided tackling the material because, I justified, I was already involved in “ministry.” (What does that mean, exactly? I worked full-time in an office for a missions agency. And I’ve previously served overseas as a full-time missionary. But — how was I truly “ministering” now?) Truth be told, I was rationalizing. Because my job as president of a missions agency keeps me hopping, I guess I somehow thought I deserved a free pass — an exemption from being a “normal disciple maker.” After all, lots of our missionaries focused on church planting (all of them?). Didn’t that make me a disciple maker vicariously?

What’s more, the training for “DMM” (Disciple making movements) always seemed to take too long. And beyond that, it just seemed… too ethereal. I needed a way to get started — to get over the hump. I needed a way to “break it down” into bite-sized chunks that my racing mind could manage. I needed a compressed format — with uncompressed results.

The breaking point for me came in conjunction with a CHE course (CHE stands for Community Health Evangelism) at a megachurch in Indianapolis. Somehow, I ended up accepting the responsibility of facilitating the final day of the course, with a specific focus on how to take CHE methods/principles to the next level of disciple making. I could avoid the topic no longer. I dived in to Trousdale Watson, and Curtis Sergeant. And suddenly, I was hooked.

But what helped me more than anything was when a colleague suggested we just take it one “bite” at a time. Basically – 15 minutes per day. She agreed to brainstorm with me about this website and, before I knew it, she thought of the idea of an automated series of emails over the course of 30 days. The 30-Day Challenge was born. Others had followed similar paths. We were sure of it. But what made it different this time was that we owned it. We embraced the additional work of dissecting all the material into 30 “chunks.” And before we knew it, we had fallen in love with the principles, the practices and the potential for staging Discovery Bible Studies (DBSes, also known as three-thirds groups) with the hopes of launching Disciple Making Movements (DMM’s).

This journey… this amazing journey… will not be at all easy. Distractions will try to crowd it out of your life. You’ll need to make it a priority. Our hope is that, if you can keep it as a priority for 30 days, the habits will be somewhat ingrained for life. That’s our prayer. Because if we can just make these habits happen on a regular basis, we’re convinced we’ll start seeing local, regional, and global repercussions. And those repercussions will be epic in proportion.

So fasten your seatbelts — and get ready to see God’s power unleashed in your life. Welcome to the amazing journey that is the 30-Day Challenge at MoreDisciples.com!

Tell your Prayer Partner story here…

By | Day 01 | 2 Comments

Do you have a story about finding your prayer partner? Has your partner been of particular value in helping you through the 30-Day Challenge? Just click “Comment” below. If you’re willing to become a regular blogger about implementing the 30-Day challenge, just say so in your reply. We’ll elevate your status so you can create regular blogs about multiplying disciples.