Category Archives: Discipleship

Hopeful About the Future of Christianity? Here Is How You Can Grow Your Hope…

I recently heard an older Christian say he is the most hopeful he has ever been about Christianity in his entire life and ministry.

That is an idea that I have been reflecting on ever since. I am not sure I would have said that. But given the fact that this Christian is older and more experienced than I am, he got my attention…he challenged my assumptions about how things are going.

Much of our perception depends on who we hang around. If we hang around people who are participating in large movements of God, we tend to find more hopeful people. If we spend our time around those who are bitter and bemoaning the way things are…seeing little movement, little progress, little growth…chances are we will be more pessimistic.

I encourage you to get in tune with those who are seeing growth through the movement of God in the world. There are mission efforts around the world, growing in some very difficult and dangerous areas that are growing like crazy. The center of global Christianity is shifting eastward and southward. We are seeing huge movements of God in places outside our typical thought leaders in the West.

Part of our hope depends on who and where you are paying attention to. If you are focused solely on American Christianity it can be more challenging to be more hopeful. But we aren’t the center and God is interested in so many other people than us. Part of our pessimism may be egocentrism.

Let’s pay attention to the thousands of churches being planted in South America, India, and Africa. Let’s notice the millions of disciples being made each year in some of the toughest and least Jesus-friendly environments in the world. They have much to teach us. The script has flipped…we need to learn from them. Their stories of God’s movement are inspiring and generate so much hope. Like my friend who made the above statement, the more time I spend around those who are working in the middle of kingdom movements, exponential growth, revolutionary discipleship and disciple making, etc the more hopeful I am about the future as well.

If you lick your finger and put it in the wind of social media, chances are you will think the sky is falling. But if you spend more time listening to those who are in the thick of challenging circumstances and watching God come through…you will find your way back to hopefulness.

Who are you listening to in order to determine how things are going? What are you seeing God do that gives you hope?

Why Are We In Decline? What Appears to Be a Math Problem is Actually a Spiritual Problem

Imagine the AAA Widget Company. AAA Widget was started 80 years ago by an energetic team of entrepreneurs. They had a vision and they executed the vision for 50 years with excellence. The problem today is that they haven’t added a new customer in the last 30 years. The only way to add customers isContinue Reading

Is Our Focus on Paul Related to a Lack of Focus on Discipleship?

Here is where the word “disciple” occurs in the New Testament (NIV) Matthew – 78Mark – 59Luke – 50John – 81Acts – 26 Here is where the word “church” occurs in the New Testament (NIV) Matthew – 2Acts – 19Romans – 51 Cor – 222 Cor – 9Gal – 3Eph – 9Phil – 2Col –Continue Reading

Review of “Discipleship that Fits” Chapters 12-14 – The Divine Context

In the final context of “Discipleship that Fits,” chapters 12 and 13 talk about the most intimate and personal context a human being can enter – being in community with divinity. God knows all things. There isn’t anything one can hide from God. In this context, we “are laid bare before him, and he opensContinue Reading

Review of “Discipleship that Fits” Chapters 10 & 11: The Transparent Context

The transparent context are groups of 2-4 people, which is a group size ripe for developing deep relationships that exude transparency and connection. It is impossible to grow deep if you don’t let people know who you really are. It is very difficult (impossible really) to do this in a room full of people orContinue Reading

Review of “Discipleship that Fits” Chapters 8 & 9: Personal Context/Small Groups

The personal context consists of groups of 4-12 people. This would be a small group in most churches. This was embodied in Jesus’ ministry in his work with the 12. As the group size decreases the connectivity increases. Our ability to be more transparent goes up with fewer, better connected people in the room. BobbyContinue Reading

Review of “Discipleship That Fits” Chapter 7 – Missional Communities Demystified

If you haven’t picked up on the rhythm of “Discipleship that Fits” yet, Bobby and Alex devoted two chapters to each of the five social-spiritual contexts. By way of review those include: public context, social context, personal context, transparent context, and divine context. These groups of people get progressively smaller as you work down theContinue Reading

Review of “Discipleship That Fits” Chapter 6 – The Missing Link: Understanding the Social Context

We continue on in Harrington and Absalom’s book “Discipleship that Fits” moving into the Social context. These are groups of 20-70 people. It is not “big church” and it is not small group. It is an in between group and this size group is very important in the discipleship process. One of the most meaningfulContinue Reading

Want to Make Disciples? Start Here

It has taken me over nine months to figure out how to start a solid discipleship ministry. No. I got that wrong – it isn’t one more ministry. Let me try that again. It has taken me over nine months to feel adequate in my approach to launching into discipling relationships with some other men.Continue Reading

Review of “Discipleship that Fits” Chapter 5 – What the Big Does Well

Chapter five in Discipleship that Fits covers the benefits of the Public context – the large gathering. Francis Chan and others have pushed to move away from this. What are we losing in the process? How can large gatherings be beneficial for the overall process of making well-rounded disciples of Jesus? One of the biggestContinue Reading

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