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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Building a Disciple-Making Church

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Developing the Method – Part II

For those who accept the four visions of getting started in discipling, it will only be logical to meet as a group at the direction of the discipling teacher. The use of the Disciple’s Sermon Worksheet, the Disciple’s Learning Application Exercise and the Disciple’s Reproductive Training Exercises uses the scriptural spiritual growth principle of meditation as found in Psalm 1:1–3. For the details in the use of these sermon enhancing exercises, see Chapter 5 in A Manual for Developing Leaders for Disciples Fellowships by E. F. Lundwall, Jr. 

Method 1

Build Your Own Disciple-Making Convictions.

Study all the passages where the words: disciple and disciples are found. Read reference books on the historical development of the method and use of making disciples, both in Greek society and Jewish groups. Discern the relationship between water baptism and discipleship, even in reference to Moses (1 Corinthians 10:1, 2). You cannot infuse disciple’s lifestyle or convictions that you do not have from your own investigation. You cannot convince them that being disciples is the will of God if you are not really convinced yourself. For when things become difficult you will abandon Christian apprentice training as a lifestyle for the old ineffective habits of ministry. While the Lord commanded us to preach (Mark 16:15), He also commanded making disciples with all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18, 19).

Method 2

Preach And Teach What You Discover.

As you begin to discover things about disciple making, preach and teach on the basis of "sharing" your investigations. Contrast the soils in the parable of farmer sowing seed. Trace the development of the twelve disciples and contrast their lives with others in the Gospel stories. Cite Romans 8:28, 29 along with Luke 9:23–25 and teach that the purpose of being a disciple is putting into one’s life experience what was seen in the life of Christ and taught by Christ Himself. Experiencing “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is to reach for maturity in faith and practice.

Especially point out the methods that Christ used with His disciples: meditating on the meaning of His sermons, observing personal work, teaching through encouraging questions on their part as you ask questions also. Then, observe how the Apostolic Church was marked as disciple makers and used small groups in developing their members. Point out the different types and ministry purposes that these small groups preformed. Preach on passages that speak of spiritual development and stewardship. Hebrews 11 is a fertile place to find characters that illustrate life-long spiritual development. Call them to imitate the Apostle Paul’s heart especially as found in Philippians 3:9–15. Exhort them to seek God’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15) and fellowship through getting and practicing Christ’s commands (John 14:21, 23). Paul’s instruction to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:2) for ongoing ministry in his disciple-making church can be shown to be a restatement of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20).

Method 3

Start A Pilot Growth Class.

After inviting your people to commit to lifestyles that reflect the worthiness of the Lord (Romans 12:1–3; Ephesians 4:1), ask for volunteers to conserve (record and meditate and discuss) the benefits of sermons in twelve weeks of meeting with the purpose of putting them into practice. You may use the Disciples Sermon Worksheet to begin and, later, as appropriate to the nature of the message, use the Disciples Learning Application Exercise. (See Manual)

When the twelve weeks is over, challenge them to another for the purpose of becoming regularly "sharing" disciples and church promoters. A sharing disciple differs from a witnessing Christian. The nature of a witnessing Christian is usually in a short time and often times an uninvolved relationship. Too frequently, there is no design to have a continuing ministry to the person to whom they witness. In contrast, a sharing disciple first establishes some kind of personal and friendship relationship, usually upon some common interest. This may be being a neighbor, or business associate, or something related to children, school or political or social interests, it can be any number of common interests. Once established, sharing spiritual things begins like sharing any common interest or possible interests. Shared spiritual things would begin one of those things that you are interested in but they may or may not have had interest in. The pattern or design to become a “sharing disciple” is found in the “Disciples Reproductive Training Exercise” in Chapter 5 of A Manual for Developing Leaders for Disciples Fellowships by E. F. Lundwall, Jr.

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