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.

Download Episode

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

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


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


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.

What Are You Going to Be in 2019

Discipleship is a buzzword these days it seems. But what do we mean when we say we are going to BE a disciple of Jesus Christ? What does it mean when we say we are going to make disciples for Jesus Christ?

I keep a quote on the top of my big workflow chart on my office wall:

Culture will eat strategy for breakfast

The quote is usually attributed to Peter Drucker, so I want to give him proper credit here. What does it mean for discipleship though? I would guess that each of you who sees this quote might have your own take on the implications. I would invite you to leave a comment and have a discussion about it at the bottom of this post. Here is my take on this statement.

What we are as a disciple influences the ways we will choose to make disciples. In a church, the culture that we create for discipleship is going to determine the kinds of disciples we make. So, we need to ask a few key questions. What does it mean to BE a disciple? Do we get there by studying the right things and knowing certain answers? Do we get there by doing the right things and exhibiting certain behaviors? Is it really a combination of both of these?

What we will be is determined in large part by whatever foundation we build upon in our lives. We know from Scripture that there is only one foundation we can build upon as disciples: Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). So, what does that look like in practical terms? Let me suggest that we begin with the basics of dedicating time to reading God’s Word regularly.

Robbie Gallaty posted this to Twitter a few days ago:


We need to BE people who read God’s Word regularly. The result is we will BE disciples of Jesus Christ as it impacts every area of our walk with Him.

Discipleship Strategies

Strategies for Making Disciples

The power of the Word: According to research, the number one indicator for spiritual growth in both children and adults is simple: regular Bible reading (note this does not say daily although that is certainly a good regular interval to use). Consider developing strategies for encouraging people to read their Bibles.

  1. Providing a church-wide reading plan for people to adopt and follow. There are many options available to choose from.
  2. Emphasizing the importance of regular Bible reading in sermons and group times.
  3. Choosing a memory verse for the entire church to learn together on a regular basis i.e. quarterly or monthly.

The Word of God is powerful and active (Hebrews 4:12) and we can see that power at work when we are all reading God’s Word regularly.

The power of a vision: Make sure everyone is seeing the same picture. Define what it means to be a disciple and use a simple model that everyone can remember and repeat. It can be something like Be a Disciple by Knowing God’s Word and Doing What It Says and using the keywords: Be, Know, Do. It can be an extensive model that describes growth from Newborn (new believer) to Child (growing disciple) to Young Adult (maturing disciple) to Parent (making disciples) like the Real Life model. There are plenty of other models and ways to define the process, but the important part is making sure that everyone is on the same page. We can help you define the process that would work best in your place of ministry.

The power of process: Always keep in mind that this is a process and not a program. Think of it as a road-map. It will work best when you have an idea of where you are going as well as where you are in the process at any given time as a disciple. Define a way to measure where a person is as a disciple to know where they need to go next. We have provided a couple of online assessments that can be used for this. We can also help you create your own.

The power of community: Discipleship is made easier in community. As Scripture says, two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9ff) and the power of a small group to provide encouragement and challenge to grow as a disciple is well known. Start a new group whose primary focus is on discipleship. We have included a resource that can help with this process called Go Disciple.

The power of intentionality: In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. – Proverbs 14:23. No matter what plan you choose, the real key will be seeing it through. You can do it. We can help.