“And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.” – Mark 3:14
“Amazing as it may seem, all Jesus did to teach these men His way was to draw them close to Himself. He was His own school and curriculum.” – Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism
We’ve written a new workbook entitled, Life On Life Discipleship. This is not just another discipleship program or curriculum, it is a 21-session plan for making disciples in the Jesus’ way. After a year in testing, we are excited to release this plan to the whole church this coming Sunday!
The idea for this new emphasis on “life on life” disciple-making came to me during my study break at the end of 2015. As I considered Christ’s command to “make disciples,” I prayerfully evaluated how our church was doing in this regard. Looking back on 25 years of ministry, I realized that the ones that had demonstrated the most spiritual growth and maturity in our church, were the ones that had received the most one-on-one discipleship. This had happened in more of an accidental way, but I wondered how we could become more intentional about it.
When I came back from my study break, I shared this desire for a more intentional “life on life” discipleship emphasis with our staff. They were enthusiastically supportive, so we began to look at various discipleship plans that we could purchase to get started. However, none of them seemed to fit with what we had in our hearts for our church. After one particularly passionate explanation of what I thought we needed, the staff encouraged me to write our own discipleship plan. I agreed, but only if they would agree to help me with edits and testing.
We decided that I would write one lesson at a time, present it to the staff, then they would offer feedback from which I would write an edited version, and then we would each “test” it by teaching the lesson to someone else. We called this gradual rollout an “MVP” (Minimum Viable Product). We didn’t worry about how polished it looked, we just wanted to get it out there and start testing it, to see how it worked. After a year of writing, editing, and testing; we’re ready to release it to the whole church!
The 21-sessions are divided into an introductory challenge, followed by four sections of five sessions each: “BELONG (First steps for the new Christian), BEHAVE (Learning the practices of spiritual behaviors, disciplines and conduct), BELIEVE (Growing in the knowledge of Christian doctrines and creeds), and BECOME (Growing in maturity to be more like Jesus in character).” These sessions are to be taught by an individual “discipler” to a “disciple.” Each session is only three pages long and is designed to take around 60-90 minutes to complete. Perfect in length for a meeting over breakfast or lunch, so that it fits neatly into today’s busy schedules.
Ideally, meeting every other week with your discipler, and every other week with the one you’re discipling, this plan will take around a year to complete. Yet, it never really ends because there is always someone new to disciple and there will always be a special relational connection with the one who discipled you.
Although my name is on the front of the workbook, I am merely the researcher, organizer and editor of this material. I have depended heavily on our staff for input. I have borrowed freely from the discipleship materials that I was discipled in, especially materials from Campus Crusade for Christ and Navigators, but also from many other sources. I have tried to give sources where direct quotations were used, but again, this is a “MVP,” and even now we’re still fine tuning it.
Of course, everything is borrowed from God’s Word and the example of Jesus and His disciples. As I wrote on the cover of our workbook: “Jesus called his disciples that they might “be with him” and that he might “send them out” (Mark 3:15). In the same way, we are called to be with others in a life on life, relational way, in order to make disciples that also make disciples. This plan is designed to help in this process.”
This workbook will not be for sale. Nor will you be able to just get a copy. The only way to receive this workbook is to have it given to you, one lesson at a time, from your own personal discipler. This means that you will have to express interest and say “Yes” to the challenge of being a disciple who makes disciples, in order to get started.
Don’t miss this Sunday and the opportunity to get on board with “Life On Life Discipleship!”