As some of you may know, I attend and volunteer at our church here in Post Falls, Idaho, called Real Life Ministries pastored by Jim Putman. Recently, I attended a lunchtime meeting as part of Real Life Ministries conference series called DiscipleShift. The overriding theme of both Discipleshift and the mission statement of RLM is this: Making disciples who make disciples.
What does that mean to you?
Given the sheer number of pastors, staff and volunteers who attended the DiscipleShift conference (held monthly: information here), it depends on who you ask. And just as importantly it seems, it depends on where they’re from.
Ask a church pastor from Oregon and he’ll tell you that it’s important for the church to live out the intentionality and focus of small groups; for the church to expand beyond its four walls, embracing the Acts 2 mentality of “devote[ing] themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Adding to their numbers through pouring the Word into each other, as well as the fruits of the Spirit; raising up disciples who can then branch off into their own groups to then repeat the process.
Ask a church pastor from Africa and he’ll tell you of the great thirst for the Word in his country. Furthermore, he adds, teaching people about the importance of small groups is surprisingly unnecessary because that is simply how church is done throughout the towns and villages of his community. “Every day is church day,” he says with a broad smile, “we just get to meet together on Sunday’s.” Continue reading Having a DiscipleShift