Tag Archives: discipleship

What is All This Life-on-Life Stuff?

What the typical model of “church” and “relationship” has devolved into today is more akin to disciple-making through imparting information. In other words, if I tell you something, Biblically speaking, that is “true,” I am discipling you. Doing life together means that we know each other well enough that we can speak truth to one another, regardless of time, regardless of distance, and regardless of circumstance. This truth does not have to be doctrinal, though it will be Biblically based. This truth can be social, it can be relational, and it can be speaking into a struggle, an addiction, or a conflict. It can be any number of things, spoken honestly and, at times, courageously, into the life of another person.

Courage flows both ways though in this type of relationship. Of course there is the courage to say what may need to be said rather than what the other person wants to hear. But there is also courage within the heart of the listener in order to be receptive and responsive to what may be said in love and honesty. We may not agree with what is being said, but we also don’t automatically lash out in anger or defensiveness simply because the person is speaking to us what may be difficult for us to hear. There is a certain level of superficiality that permeates a good amount of today’s church culture. I may see you in church and know you well enough to say, “Hi,” or maybe ask, “How’s it going?” You would likely respond, “Fine, praise God!” Then our families might sit with one another during the service, and afterward we would go our separate ways. And we would call this interaction “friendship,” maybe even “relationship.” Turning that into a life-on-life relationship, or for us to “do life” together, means that you and I know each other to the point where we’re actually going to be honest with each other about how we’re doing in our marriage, how we’re doing with our kids, how I’m doing in my walk with the Lord, how my prayer life is going, and what am I struggling with. We’re going be honest enough to be able to talk with each other about these issues and help each other through them by pointing each other to Biblical truth and holding each other accountable. It means when my wife is physically sick or mentally down, your family might bring us a meal. It means when your child is injured and in the hospital, we come and visit you there, consoling and praying, offering help or whatever it takes to usher you through this crisis. It also means having fun together, going to dinner, or going to ball games or to a concert, whatever our shared, common interests may be. It means that if you have to call me at 3 a.m. because of something that has come up, you can do that. In fact, I would want and expect you to do that. In other words, this deeper form of relationship means helping each other through this journey called “life,” and focusing on how we are doing at being disciples and how we are doing at making disciples.

~ from “Disciples Unleashed”, my first venture into non-fiction, co-written with Dave Campbell, World Missions pastor for Real Life Ministries, AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON.COM, PAPERBACK HERE FOR $11.99, OR E-BOOK HERE FOR $2.99!

A Growing Desire

DUFrontCoverFinal 2“I believe there is a growing desire within all of us who’ve made “church” a vital, ongoing practice in our lives to do more than merely attend. Warm bodies in empty seats don’t solve the problem of how to bring people into a central, lasting bond with Jesus, active and mature, unleashed into the world to live in relational discipleship with one another, and making more in the process. Those warm bodies have inquisitive hearts, hearts that have been hardened by an overwhelming, suffocating world, and there is a crucial difference between a church leader simply harvesting more lukewarm church attendees and his desire to cultivate active and eager disciples of Jesus.”

~ from “Disciples Unleashed”, my first venture into non-fiction, co-written with Dave Campbell, World Missions pastor for Real Life Ministries, AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON.COM, PAPERBACK HERE FOR $11.99, OR E-BOOK HERE FOR $2.99!

How to Teach One Another as Jesus Taught

DUFrontCoverFinal 2“Jesus was all about bringing people into relationship with Himself, and He was all about compassion for the hurting and mercy for the sinful, but He also pulled no punches when it came to the role, and the cost, of those who chose to follow Him. To use a fishing analogy, most churches today cast a wide net that can potentially “catch” the interest of a good many people, but inevitably the congregation seldom bothers to venture beyond the shallow water of where they were first caught.

What Jesus asks us to do is to abide in Him, and in each other, through intentional connection and relational discipleship. This is what Jesus calls for in Matthew 28 and can be seen through the actions of His disciples in the first chapters of Acts—intentional connection through relational discipleship.

Somewhere along the way we, as a corporate body called “the church,” have lost the definition of how to teach one another as Jesus taught—through both compassion and intentional relationship. More importantly, we seemed to have forgotten how to be disciples and how to make disciples as He did it.

These are not things that the pastor needs to preach about once a week to whoever comes through the front doors of a building. These are the things that we, as Christians, are called and compelled to do every day. With everyone. This is our Great Commission if we choose to call ourselves followers of Christ.”

~ from “Disciples Unleashed”, my first venture into non-fiction, co-written with Dave Campbell, World Missions pastor for Real Life Ministries, AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON.COM, PAPERBACK HERE FOR $11.99, OR E-BOOK HERE FOR $2.99!

Discipleship, Relationship, & the One Thing

discipleshiftSitting at lunch the other day, surrounded by pastors from Idaho, central Washington and western Oregon, on a break from one of the two day-long sessions that make up Real Life Ministries’ “DiscipleShift training, I asked them what was the one thing they hoped that both they and their groups got out of the training and ideas behind DiscipleShift*.

Unanimously the answers revolved around “relationship”.

“I came with a group of pastors,” said one, “some on paid staff, some volunteer, who’ve worked with each other for years but who know very little about one another beyond the fact that we’re all co-workers.  It’s all very surface and superficial.

“And it’s really through no one’s fault,” he continued. “I mean, everyone is busy with their lives, their families, their jobs; but there’s been no intentionality of relationship with each other.  It seems like there’s never been the time, because it’s never been a priority.”

Intentionality of relationship—a recurring them, and one of the central focuses of DiscipleShift: the need to create a core group of people who you can trust and respect; who you can “do life together” with; who you can pour into each other both the Word of God and the significance of a lasting bond.

But what does that look like? Continue reading Discipleship, Relationship, & the One Thing