News and Events

DiscipleMaker Stages – Resource Spotlight

I want to take today’s post to spotlight one of the resources from the toolkit that are available here on the website. The DiscipleMaker Stages app and now a website with an online assessment that we are adding to the toolkit.

These tools have been produced by our partners in Canada and I highly recommend them to you as a valuable resource for making disciples in your place of ministry. This week I got a chance to visit with several folks who are using this tool in ministry and making disciples and their stories were powerful and inspiring ones of God’s work in the lives of people amidst the messiness of life and discipleship. One of the big takeaways I got from our time this week is that if we are making disciples, we will have stories of how God is at work.

I want to encourage you to take a look at this resource and see if it fits within your strategy for making disciples. If you aren’t sure, or would like to talk more about how to develop your strategy, evaluate your strategy, or adapt this tool or one of our others to work within your context and strategy; contact me by phone or email and let’s get together to make a plan. Together we will see the story that unfolds in the lives of those we disciple.

Dakota Discipleship Podcast Episode 10 – Interview with John Flowers Part 2

This is the conclusion of a conversation with John Flowers of Living Hope Baptist Church in West Fargo, ND. Our discussion covers discipleship and evangelism and some of the experiences gained from ministry in the Dakotas over more than 30 years of ministry here. Stay tuned for the next 15 minutes and feel free to comment below to continue the conversation. Subscribe on the right hand side of the page to get new episodes and blog posts delivered to your email when they are posted. Thanks for listening and may you be blessed.

Below is a copy of the disciple’s wheel referenced in this episode and the previous one.  
complete disciple wheel

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Music bed credits: “Groundwork” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/



The Same Page and the Same Play

Every church should be on mission to go and make disciples. This is something we can all agree on I am sure. However I have found that when meeting with a church or a group of individuals, the definition of disciple is far less universal. Hence, while the mission is agreed upon, the actual objectives indicating the mission has been achieved are not. This failure to define a common outcome in discipleship is one of the things holding many churches back in their mission.

I have been using an illustration for a few months now regarding discipleship strategy. It comes from the world of football. Hang in there with me for a minute if you aren’t a sports fan. Back in 2016, Washington State lost to Eastern Washington in their first game of the season. It was an upset to be sure, and a couple of years after the fact Gerard Wicks, a WSU running back, shed some light on at least one of the reasons why.

One thing the fans don’t know is our defense had on different wristbands, so we had half the team on defense with a different wristbands. Say if they would call ‘Play 4,’ one side of the defense would be running Cover 3 while the other side would be blitzing. It was something crazy and we were wondering how was Cooper Kupp getting so wide open. He’s a great player, he’s outstanding, but he was wide open. It came to halftime and we figured out half the defense had on white wristbands and the other had on black wristbands, so everybody wasn’t on the same page. We blew the coverages a lot in the first half

emphasis added

One of the reasons discipleship can be confusing or hard to pass on in a church is because we aren’t always on the same page. If we want to make disciples and be able to pass on the process to others to continue to make disciples, then the people in your church need to be speaking the same language. Find a model and a way to communicate it that the people in your church can understand, remember, and will use to make disciples of Jesus. You can see a good example of one in last week’s podcast post or look for others in our resource page. We have provided a template to help with the process of creating your own version for your church to use to start calling the same play from the same page.

Dakota Discipleship Podcast Episode 9 – Interview with John Flowers Part 1

This is part one of a conversation with John Flowers of Living Hope Baptist Church in West Fargo, ND. We talk about the church’s transition to inter-generational ministry and discipleship and the role of the family in making disciples. Stay tuned for the next 15 minutes and feel free to comment below to continue the conversation. Subscribe on the right hand side of the page to get new episodes and blog posts delivered to your email when they are posted.

Below is a copy of the disciple’s wheel referenced in this episode.  
complete disciple wheel

Download Episode

Music bed credits: “Groundwork” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Want Healthy Discipleship? Check Your Pulse

I was introduced to a pastor of another church here in town a couple of weeks ago and the conversation turned to what do I do. I said I am serving in the areas of church health and leadership development and he asked, “what makes a church healthy?”

It’s a great question and in a moment of inspiration I said, “making disciples.”

Sometimes it may seem as though this is said over and over again, but given the power of repetition,this can never be said too often. The mission of the church is to make disciples. Period! Discipleship is the core, the engine, the purpose, the point of it all. Go and make disciples! Everything else in the life of the body is wrapped up in the mission of doing this well.

The next great question will serve as a bit of a health check up, “Is our church making disciples?” When you go to see the doctor, they check your vitals. They know the expected benchmark measurements to determine if your body temp, or blood pressure, or other vital signs are in the proper range. As a church body, we need to recognize our vital signs as well.

Lifeway research came up with 8 signposts or indicators for growing disciples. These are incorporated into the Disciples Path study series (which we included a sample of in the toolkit). You can use these vital signs or make your own version for your church, but I do want to encourage one in particular.

Regular Bible reading!

Think of it like your discipleship pulse. Research showed that those who regularly engaged in Bible study also grew in all the other vitals as well. This the key to being a growing disciple and making growing disciples. So, check your pulse and the pulse of those you are discipling.

Dakota Discipleship Podcast Episode 8 – Interview with Jeffrey Mueller Part 2

This is part 2 of a conversation with Jeffrey Mueller from Restore Church in Yankton, SD. We talk about some stories of discipleship in their church and community and also about the importance of raising up leaders in our churches. Tune in for the next 16 minutes or so and interact with the content by leaving a comment or emailing us. We are looking to further the conversation about making disciples in the Dakotas and beyond. Be blessed and have a great day.

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Music bed credits: “Groundwork” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

3 Commitments to Making Disciples

Commit to your plan! We have talked about the need for a discipleship plan. We have resources available for helping to make a plan of your own which is biblical and intentional. Your discipleship plan doesn’t need to look exactly like mine does. It needs to fit in your church and community and context, and it should be solidly biblical and focused on making disciples who look, live, and love like Jesus.

Commit it to your schedule! Set a time for your discipleship group to meet on a regular basis and stick to it. Life will happen and things will not always work according to plan, but make sure you stay the course of meeting regularly together as a small group.

Commit to a time frame! Part of your plan should be the next phase, when the ones you are discipling today, become the ones making more disciples tomorrow. Have an idea of when that tomorrow is and aim for it. You may need to make adjustments of course and some may be ready sooner and some later. Having a time frame in mind helps keep the process on track. Jesus certainly knew he had a limited amount of time to work with the disciples He had chosen. We do as well.

This is the heart of our commission and this is the basis of our commitment. Go and make disciples!

Dakota Discipleship Podcast Episode 7 – Interview with Jeffrey Mueller Part 1

Had a great conversation with Jeffrey Mueller from Restore Church in Yankton, SD about discipleship and intentionality. They have created a template for discipleship in part using the Discipleship toolkit from the DBC and have over 50% of their church participating in a discipleship group. This is part one of our conversation about the 4 Cs model they have developed and about making disciples like Jesus did. Tune in for the next 17 minutes or download the episode and take it with you to listen later. Be blessed and have a great day.

Download Episode

Music bed credits: “Groundwork” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Some News at Dakota Disciple

Most of you who read here are aware of the Discipleship Toolkit produced by the Dakota Baptist Convention. We have distributed most of these to our churches already. If you are a Dakota Baptist church and haven’t received yours already, please contact me to get one.

I also wanted to update everyone one when to expect posts here at the site. During our spring training times, through mid May, I will be doing a blog post and a podcast on alternating Fridays. This Friday will be a podcast featuring part one of an interview with Jeffrey Mueller of Restore Church in Yankton, SD. We talk about the plan they have developed using 4 Cs to create intentional discipleship in small groups (Connect, Coach, Care and Celebrate). We talk about being intentional and passing on discipleship to others.

Be sure and subscribe to get each post or episode delivered to you by email as it comes out. If you have ideas for things you would like to hear in future podcasts, let me know. Thanks for reading and listening and be blessed.

Learn by Doing

I have a go to response over the years when anyone gives a compliment about my preaching. Essentially it is, go and thank the churches that had to listen to me learning to preach when I was younger. They are the ones who had to endure a young preacher who wasn’t sure when to stop talking or how to end a sermon. One who had not yet heard the rule of beginning with the ending in mind for instance.

We know the phrase, practice makes perfect. It is a tried and true axiom and applies to discipleship. The more we do the things that discipleship calls us to; the better we will get at doing them. No one starts out understanding their Bible flawlessly. I am pretty sure none of us end our days understanding it flawlessly either, but we definitely improve little by little as we do it.

The doing part of discipleship can sometimes be scary for the person who is leading a new disciple. There is concern for all of the ways something could go wrong. Let me free you up a bit of concern. Something is sure to go wrong at some point. Learning well often involves failure. I have never forgotten the advice to “begin with the end in mind,” thanks in large part to the ending of my very first sermon. I made all of the points on my outline and didn’t know what else to say, so I looked at the pastor who had allowed me to preach that Sunday night and said, “that’s all I have.” I didn’t know what to do in that moment, but I made sure I was better prepared the next time because of it.

We should always look for opportunities to let those we disciple have a safe place to fail and learn from those failures. We should look for ways to give those we disciple a place to succeed. Above all, we should look for ways to give them a place to learn as they do.