WORKING WITH DISCIPLES

Helping someone reach the DISCIPLE stage may take a while but once they are there they may not stay long. The DISCIPLE who is spending time in prayer and the Word does not need a lot of convincing that they should be investing in others.  They may just need some prompting and modeling.  For more tips for working with a DISCIPLE, click here.

Here is what a DISCIPLE might say…

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  1. LEARN HOW TO HELP OTHERS EXPLORE JESUS
  2. SERVE IN A COMMUNITY
  3. KNOW HOW TO DIG DEEP INTO GOD’S WORD
  4. DEVELOP FRUITFUL DISCIPLINES

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THE WALK

The Walk by Stephen Smallman would circle back and cover both many of the lessons in the Commands of Christ and a rereading of the Gospel of Mark.  It would also introduce the reader to Romans and a deeper understanding of the gospel.  Each chapter has its own assigned biblical reading and exercises.  Use this guide to help you with your time together.

4.1.1. TRAINING

4-1-1 Training was created by the #NoPlaceLeft crew and it is designed to answer 4 questions in 1 hour on 1 sheet of paper.  The questions are:

  1. Why make disciples?
  2. Who should we talk to?
  3. What should we share?
  4. When should we do it?

People may have been exposed to this training in previous stages.   Disciples should be encouraged to start learning how to pass this training on to others.  There is also a 4-1-1 app that can be download that summarizes the training but without an immediate application time (going out and sharing) it is not as effective.

READING FOR GROWTH

There may be a few areas of understanding that need to be reinforced in the life of a disciple.  Although needs will be different for different people we recommend you address the following: 1. Identity, 2. Idolatry, 3. Spiritual Disciplines.  You need to find resources you are comfortable using for these issues.  Here are a few suggestions.

imagesIDENTITY: Caesar Kalinowski’s book Transformed explains how our identity in Christ becomes the basis for our life change.  We are family, servants, missionaries and life long learners when we become Christians.  We have to let our identity transform or behavior, not try to make our behavior transform our identity.  Here is a preview video of the book.  Other resources on identity can be found here.

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IDOLATRY:  Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods deals with discovering and rooting out deep idols in our life.  Keller explains how idols aren’t always bad things, in fact, they are usually good things that become ultimate things.  You can see the preview video here.  Other resources on idolatry can be found here.

 

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SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES:  There are plenty of options in this category.  Don Whitney‘s book  Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life covers: Scripture Reading & Study, Prayer, Worship, Scripture Meditation, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship of Time and Money, Scripture Application, Fasting, Silence & Solitude, Journaling and Learning.  Other resources on spiritual disciplines can be found here.

DIGGING DEEPER STUDIES

My good friend Paul Johnson, the creator of STAGES, wrote some helpful guides on how to help someone dig deeper in their study of scripture through either a word, verse, character or chapter study.  Another resource to help someone know, love, trust, and obey what they are reading in scripture is the Digging Deeper Guide pdf.  These should not be replacements for daily readings but rather weekly projects you can review with the person you are working with.


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It can’t be stressed enough that spiritual growth is…well…spiritual and not a natural process we can tangibly observe, label and manipulate. But we see in scripture some principles of growth that help us peek behind the curtain of divine activity. Here’s one way to illustrate the disciple making growth process:

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We often discover or are given new growth areas that challenge us.  It’s helpful to create a benchmark of our understanding and obedience in those areas.  We then need to make some important connections that God uses to grow us.  God transforms us through this process which results in new rhythms in our life.  Finally we re-assess so we can celebrate what God done and move on to a new growth area.

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Every time we encounter a new growth area like a spiritual discipline we are trying to strengthen or an idol’s influence we are trying to weaken, we should start a process like the one pictured and described above. Here are examples of some possible growth areas with a linked in resource for that area.  Make sure to download this LEADER’S PREP GUIDE to help you think about how to lead someone through these growth areas.

THINGS TO KNOW

THINGS TO FEEL

  • GET PASSIONATE
  • LONG FOR INTIMACY
  • DETERMINE TO OBEY
  • HATE SIN
  • DESIRE DISCIPLINE
  • EXPRESS COMPASSION

THINGS TO DO

  • WORSHIP JESUS
  • BATTLE WITH SIN
  • PRACTICE DISCIPLINES
  • DO LIFE TOGETHER
  • WALK IN THE SPIRIT
  • SERVE OTHERS SACRIFICIALLY

Choose a new growth area with the person you are discipling and begin the process described below.

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Take an early assessment of “knowledge of” and “attitude towards” each growth area before you start.  It may feel a bit tedious or formal but it will create a benchmark that will help you record progress and hopefully lead to celebrating growth.  Just like journaling helps us record where we are spiritually in different seasons, assessments and reassessments act as a relational journal between disciple makers and the people they’re working with.  You can ask these questions yourself when you get together but make sure to keep a record of their answers to use later.

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There are FOUR VITAL CONNECTIONS  to be made to help someone work through a new growth area:

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As the person you’re working with makes and deepens these life-giving connections, you should start to see some transformation in them. Authentic, Christ-driven transformation will show itself in new rhythms of life like new ways of thinking, feeling and acting. In a beautiful way, those new rhythms push us further into more transformation as a part of our growth.  As a disciple maker, not only will it thrill you internally to see this growth in the person you’re working with but you should affirm it and “fan it to flame.”

It helps if you know what kind of transformation to look for.  Answer these questions to help you find it:

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Don’t skip that last question!  You can accidentally train them that the gospel is only behavior modification when we know it is more identity change that leads to new behaviors.

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A re-assessment process after a set period of time will either allow us to see the growth in a particular area, celebrate it, and point us toward a new growth area or it will help us stay put till God is done working with us.

It’s important to keep someone’s initial assessment handy so that you can measure (and celebrate growth). Ask the same questions as before. Review the the answers they gave in their first assessment together. See what has changed.

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IF THERE HAS BEEN ANY GROWTH, TAKE TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!  Even the most smallest steps forward show that God is working and you’re enthusiasm in regards to it will be contagious.  Whether it is a special dinner, a personalized Certificate Of Achievement or a warm hug, take time to celebrate.

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After celebrating, go tackle a new growth area together.

STAGES is a disciple making pathway developed by Paul Johnson of the Canadian National Baptist Convention.

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