Discipleship

What Makes a Church a Church?-Part 1

church what is it

When people typically think of church, they think about a building, pastor, pulpit, church members, and a weekly meeting.  Sadly, this is what the definition of a church has become. Even Merriam-Webster defines the word church as “a building for public and especially Christian worship.”  This definition, though a commonly used one, is sadly not biblical.

Church – What Is It?

In the New Testament, the original Greek word for church is ekklésia.  It means those who are “called out of the world to God.”  To the Greeks it meant an assembly of people.* read more

5 Things That Destroy Discipleship Movements

Death Factors

Some months ago I wrote about 6 Factors That Get Your Movement Moving.  It’s always good to look at positive things we can do to see greater fruit and growth!

It is also important to be aware of what kinds of things kill a Disciple Making Movement(DMM).  Sometimes we call these “Death Factors.” These are things to be extremely careful about.  While seemingly normal or innocent, if your goal is a multiplying movement, they will definitely “sink your ship.” When these things start to happen, you can be sure that the movement will stop growing.  If you are just getting started, the movement can die before it every really starts.  There are other “death factors” to consider, but here are five of the most common. read more

3 Things That Increase Bold Evangelism

bold evangelism

“I have tried and tried to get the believers in our fellowship to share the gospel, but they are fearful, shy and just don’t seem able to witness.  Bold evangelism just isn’t happening!”

This is not unusual to hear from the church planters I am coaching.  What can we do to increase boldness and help the disciples we work with to overcome their fears?

3 Things That Increase Bold Evangelism

1. Receiving the Holy Spirit

The classic biblical example is Peter in Acts Chapter 2.  When Jesus was being tried, three times he denied even knowing Him.  He certainly wasn’t witnessing at that point!  But after he received the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, he stood in front of thousands and boldly proclaimed the gospel with authority and conviction.  If your church members aren’t witnessing, pray for them to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.  It will make a world of difference. read more

When God Restores- Women Get Included in the Inheritance

women in missions

God created women in His own image.  They hold a special place in His heart. God is using women in missions today like never before!  It has always been His intention to uplift and release women into their full potential. It is part of His salvation and His restoration process that women receive their inheritance in the Kingdom.

At the end of the book of Job, we see a picture of restoration.  He has been through testing and trials and now God blesses and restores.  When He restores, He doubles all Job had.  Job 42:10 says, “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.  In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!”  read more

Baptism Questions- Are They Ready?

baptism are they ready

There is a question many disciple makers face with new believers. It centers around baptism- are they ready?

In the last few blogs, we have been looking at questions and issues around baptism.  baptism-are they ready?People often delay baptism thinking the new believer is not ready to take this step. They need to grow more in their faith first, they say.  Maybe we are waiting for new believers to stop certain bad habits like smoking or drinking. Sometimes we wait to baptize because we want a large group to be baptized together.  Others delay for a long time because they are hoping a spouse will also believe and they can be baptized together. Some delay because the person isn’t yet a legal adult. Perhaps we don’t want to have to fill the baptism tank too often, or take time out of our church service to include this ceremony more than once or twice a year. read more

Baptism Questions- Who Can Baptize?

who can baptize

Here is some water!  Can you baptize me?

Ever been asked this question before?  There are some big questions around the issue of baptism.

  • Who can baptize others?
  • How do you know if someone is ready to be baptized?
  • Can someone be considered a “believer” or “disciple” if they don’t desire (or are not willing to take) this the step of obedience?

These are very important questions for someone trying to start a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). In the next few blogs I’d like to address these one by one.

Who Can Baptize?

We’ll start with the “Who can baptize?” question. Let’s consider some scripture as we begin.

35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [[i]And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the [j]chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”(Acts 8:35-38 NASB)

In this passage, Philip baptized the eunuch immediately after he shared the gospel with him.  Was Philip an apostle? No. He was an ordinary believer who shared good news and then took the next natural step.  He didn’t wait for Peter, John, or James.  The eunuch was ready and he knew his authority as a priest of God.  He didn’t hesitate to baptize this government official. read more

Discipleship Accountability: Avoid or Embrace?

One of the things I appreciate about the T4T (Training for Trainers) approach is how every meeting begins in the first section with reporting in on what you have done the past week to apply what you learned before.  Likewise, every meeting ends with the setting of new goals. How are you going to obey and put into practice what you learned in the lesson or story?  This accountability loop is a very important part of making obedient disciples.

Friendly accountability

It goes much further than this though.  We must develop an appreciation, even an embracing of friendly accountability in our lives as leaders personally.  As we model this, our disciples see it.  They begin to value it as well. read more

Do We Need To Live Among Them? Incarnational Ministry Questions

incarnational ministry

My kid’s school is far away from my ministry field.  How important is it that I live among the people I’m trying to reach?  If I can’t live “on site” how much will that affect my fruitfulness? It is important to consider the significance of what is called incarnational ministry.

Jesus was incarnational.  What that means is though He was God, he took on human flesh and became a man. He left heaven, came to earth, lived among us and through that, that helped us to see what God the Father was like.  He is our model. How important is it that we do this?  This article addresses, not the issue of adapting to culture, but the question of living among the people we serve. read more

In The Beginning- Prayer Cells or Training Groups?

prayer cells

Many disciple makers hope to see God do something great among the unreached, but they follow a strategy that eases slowly into evangelism and discipleship. They start with beginning prayer cells.  People they meet are invited to attend a worship time of some sort and to receive prayer.  As God begins to answer their prayers, they are more interested and slowly they begin to believe.  This is not a bad model, but it is not the model to use if you want to see a Disciple Making Movement.

Why? You may ask.  It seems good.  People encounter the love and power of God.  This approach doesn’t scare off interested seekers.  “No one seems to persecute us if we are just praying for people in a new place,” you may say. read more

6 Factors That Get Discipleship Movements Moving

movement

What makes a disciple making movement move?  How can you get multiplication growth to happen (and be sustained) as you make disciples? There are certain movement growth factors to keep in mind in your ministry.

The following are the most important keys to pushing your disciple making into multiplicative growth.  Some are obvious.  Some are more easy to ignore.

VISION CASTING movement growth factors

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV)

How deeply ingrained in the heart of each disciple is the vision to see lost people around them come to know the Lord?  When we talk about vision as it relates to Disciple Making Movements, we are specifically talking about the vision for lost people to meet Jesus and be saved.  This passion, this vision for lost souls must be spoken out repeatedly in every meeting and in multiple ways.  It has to become a part of the “talk” of the movement.  It has to move beyond something only leaders think about and become ingrained in the hearts of all.  This happens by creative and consistently motivating people to reach the lost around them.  Cast vision to see your movement move! read more