The Missionary Church and Generate, their ministry supporting US churches, encourages a focus on making disciples. Many different tools or approaches (Discipleship Engines) can be taken to do this and Generate is familiar with most and does training in a number of these.
In the book, Simple Church, Thom Rainer described a process to get back on mission with what God has called the church to be. The four words he used for this process can be applied to the disciplemaking process as well:
Clarity. To “make disciples” we have to understand what one looks like. 1 John 2:6 tells us to “walk as Jesus walked.” Clarity is defining what a disciple needs to know (Head), the attitudes of a disciple (Heart), and what a disciple is to do (Hands). Ultimately it is obeying everything Jesus commanded.
Movement. As we work with people in the church we will find four groups: pre-Christians (those who have not accepted Jesus yet), new believers, growing believers, and multipliers (able to make disciples who make disciples). Our goal is to move everyone towards obeying Jesus to be a multiplier. Movement is defining the linkages to help people mature to become a multiplier.
Alignment. Often, church programs are a confusing collection of differing visions, purposes, and values. The result is often stunted growth as momentum is lost moving from one program to another. Alignment is ensuring that everything done in and through the church is designed to help make disciples and move people towards being a multiplier.
Focus. There are many seminars and books available to pastors all calling for the church to use their program or approach. When clarity, movement and alignment are present the challenge is to say no to those programs and approaches that do not help the church move forward. Focus helps the church stay on mission.
Specific approaches (Discipleship Engines) to focusing the church on making disciples are detailed below under their various titles.
Take a look at this document for resources for helping you create a discipling culture: Creating a Discipleship Engine.
Summary of some books that describe possible Discipleship Engines:
- Building a Discipling Culture, Mike Breen & Steve Cockram
- Real-Life Discipleship, Jim Putman
- T4T (Training for Trainers), Steve Smith & Ying Kai
- Guidelines for Discipling, Logan Leadership
Generate Ministries, through the Strengthening Local Church area, helps churches stay on the mission God gave us to make disciples who make disciples. Here are some of the areas we help churches with:
- Embracing the Mission of Jesus. Looking at how Jesus made disciples to give us clues how to do this. Recapturing the idea of training and sending, not just preaching and teaching.
- Changing What We Care About. To stay On Mission requires several attitude shifts about the church and its people. We look at some of these, along with how we can best set an environment where God can transform minds, hearts and behavior.
- Recognizing the Responsive. Going off the four kinds of seeds Jesus talked about, we apply this to working with people: how can we connect with those seeking God, how do we help people discover the real Jesus, how can we help people grow as disciples of Jesus, and how do we mentor and train disciples to go into the harvest.
- Intensifying Multiplication. In On Mission we deal with two areas: how do you change your church without blowing it up and how do we take the church to where the people are: apartments, neighborhoods, schools, businesses, hangouts, etc.
- Unleashing Communities. There are multiple approaches to going to the community, like multi-site (yes, even small churches), church planting, home groups, etc. There are also many kinds of expressions for doing this, like The Table Network, Xcellerate, Field USA, Real Life Discipleship, Missional Communities, etc. We help leaders in established churches see what might best fit their context and vision.
Here is some of the support system we can deliver:
- Training. Training events help people build awareness to new concepts. This training can take many different forms: weekend training events, one day training events, workshops at local churches on various topics, web training events for leaders, etc. Training can be customized to fit the time frame and need. Our two main training events which touch on most of the On Mission topics are On Mission Basic and On Mission Advanced.
- Pastor Clusters. Monthly coaching events on video calls to encourage and equip pastors to be On Mission.
- Short term (3-6 months) individualized sessions for pastors to help them work through a selected On Mission area or to consult on a church assessment.
- Coaching for local church leadership teams. These sessions are a couple of hours monthly either on site or by video call to help leadership teams work through the On Mission principles.
(317) 448-8568 or [email protected]
The following two websites will give you great resources for your ministry:
Verge Network. This website has a large variety of articles and videos on discipleship, disciple making and missional communities. Many are free when you create a free account. You can also take online courses on disciple making featuring some of the well known pastors, speakers and leaders in this area. These usually have a fee.
Building Church Leaders. Anything related to the church can be found here. With over 500 training tools, this is usually the first stop when looking for resources to lead the church forward. Each training module is around $15, but the best deal is an annual subscription for $149.95 because you will have unlimited downloads all year.
The books below will help give you a deeper understanding of On Mission topics. Many of these resources will also give practical implementation ideas to help you live the concepts out in your life as well as equip others.
Believe Series (30 Key Areas for our Christian Life)
- Believe: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus, Randy Frazee.
- Believe Study Guide, Randy Frazee.
- Think, Act, Be Like Jesus: Becoming a New Person in Christ, Randy Frazee.
9 Arts Series (Q Place)
- The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations: Walking Alongside People Who Believe Differently, Mary Schaller and John Crilly.
- Practicing the 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, Q Place Primer.
- Starfish Movement: Unleashing the Unstoppable Mission of Jesus, Dan Grider.
- Crucial Conversations: Bridging the Awkward Spiritual Gap, Dan Grider.
- Real-Life Discipleship: Building Churches That Make Disciples, Jim Putman.
- DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church Make Disciples Who Make Disciples, Jim Putman.
Stay the Course: Seven Essential Practices for Disciple Making Churches, Grandon Guindon.
Strengthening Local Churches
While no church is likely to ever say, “We’ve arrived!” when talking about their spiritual journey, there are churches happy to say, “We’re moving in the right direction!”
But how do you know where your church is spiritually if you have no means of measuring the issues that bring transformation to lives and communities? Fortunately, quality church assessment tools can help leaders identify strengths and weaknesses in your church and where your church is following Christ and living on mission.
Here are four that can help you:
Transformational Church. In 2012 hundreds of churches participated in LifeWay’s Transformational Church initiative, giving their congregations an accurate look at where they believe they are in their spiritual journey. LifeWay developed Transformational Church by surveying thousands of churches from multiple denominations that are leading examples of spiritual transformation providing a biblical framework for the Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT). This framework helps churches evaluate how they are doing with a new scorecard. The TCAT helps churches get an honest look at how their members perceive they are doing in relation to spiritual transformation. The results provide them with a snapshot of perceived strengths and perceived challenges based on the seven elements of a transformational church: missionary mentality, vibrant leadership, relational intentionality, prayerful dependence, worship, community and mission. The entire congregation is invited to participate. There is a cost.
Reveal. Churches are in the business of partnering with Christ to see lives changed. Often though, it is hard to measure their effectiveness since spiritual growth is very hard to quantify. REVEAL for Church: Spiritual Life Survey measures spiritual growth. Born from state-of-the-art research tools and the expertise of our veteran research professionals, the REVEAL for Church: Spiritual Life Survey provides you with a proven way to know whether or not your people are growing—in their relationship with Christ, and in their Love of God and others. The entire congregation is invited to participate. There is a cost.
Evaluating Church Readiness for Change. The Change Readiness Assessment is designed as a practical tool for church leaders to ascertain how much “pain” they can expect from any improvement plan they intend to implement in a church. This has been field tested in numerous congregations around the country, but is not based on hard research. The goal is primarily to use it as a rough estimate as well as a discussion starter for church leadership teams. Free.
Natural Church Development. NCD started and continues as the largest biblical and empirical research project into the principles of healthy church growth in the world. It is about the non-negotiables of church development when all else is stripped away. It aims to put a stop to the toiling and spinning that so often pervades church life and replace it with unforced healthy growth based on the lessons we can learn if we take the time to ‘see how the flowers of the field grow’.
The NCD Survey for local churches draws upon the research and implementation learnings from over 70,000 churches in 86 countries. In doing so, it is able to lighten and simplify your ministry workload by showing you exactly where your time, treasure and talent would be best spent right now for maximum fruitfulness. For example, it will show you which of the following essentials of church life currently come most naturally to your church, and which do not…
- Empowering leadership
- Gift-based ministry
- Passionate spirituality
- Effective structures
- Inspiring worship service
- Holistic small groups
- Need-oriented evangelism
- Loving relationships
Rather than conforming your church to a particular model, NCD’s principle-based approach brings out the unique identity and purpose of your church so it can be all that God intends it to be. Just like a beautiful healthy forest, a healthy church is unique and rich in fruitful diversity. A selected team of 30 individuals is invited to participate in this survey, attempting to get a cross section of the church body. There is a cost.
The Ignite Church Network is an aggressive church planting, disciple making network. Church planters are trained and encouraged to identify and raise leaders who can plant a network of churches.
Most of us want to look for external solutions and changes to fix our church. We know it’s not what it should be, but we hope that we could just make a slight adjustment or tweak and we would “crack the code.” Is there really such thing as a magical solution that could make everything different? The good news is yes! But it will only come when we can finally learn to change what we care about.
It’s often times frustrating when we read our Bibles and see on every page the story of amazing life transformation and radical growth in the early church. Then we look around at our own experiences and feel the pains of disappointment connected to where we are. Why is what happened in the New Testament not going on in our churches? Perhaps we’ve been too focused on growing a church organization instead of growing Jesus in the lives of people who are far from him.
What if we stop worrying about a roundabout billboard strategy, creative sermon series, or finding the perfect worship leader and start engaging people that walk through our doors in spiritual conversations and sharing the story of what Jesus has done in our lives? And then what if they did the same with their friends and family? What if we cared more about the people in our churches living their lives on the mission of being a disciple than warming our seats, being on our volunteer teams and small groups? What if we could truly care about what Jesus cared about – making disciples who make disciples.
Paul reminds us that life change begins with us. We must change what we care about in order to fulfill our lives and the great commission. He reminds us in 1 Timothy 2:3-4 that “There is a way that our Savior wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved… and everyone to get to know the truth that we have learned…”(The Message). Paul concludes, “And for this purpose I was given my assignment.”
The very nature of church planting requires that the work of God must begin in the church planter: us. That’s why God must first birth the church in the heart of the church planter. The very work of church planting starts with life change. The process of life change begins with making disciples. That’s what Jesus focused on. The only way that life change will happen in your church is for you to be the first to initiate the change process. The answer resides in us, not in some external solution.
We are the ones who will make the greatest impact on the church that we are leading. When we change our mindset to growing and discipling people instead of building the monstrosity called the American church we will find the results that we’ve dreamed of having.
Jesus never asked us to plant churches, he instead asked us to make disciples. He even took the pressure off when he said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). His focus was that he would build the church out of our disciple-making results. What Jesus was saying in effect was, if you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you might not get disciples.
Most of us have not seen churches birthed out of a movement of disciples who make disciples. This begs the question, are disciples the only thing that Jesus seems to care about? I would go as far as to say it’s the only thing that Jesus is really counting. While we count our attendance, or budget, or acres of land, Jesus would ask the question, “are you making disciples, who make disciples, who are living transformed Kingdom lives?”
Most of us would have to admit that we are not making disciples, or the disciples that we have made are not making disciples. Further more, most of us are not living lives focused on the Kingdom of God. At best most of us are only focused on doing church. What will it take for us to shift the focus of our churches to making disciples the way that Jesus made disciples?
People desperately need their lives to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This occurs when you make disciples who make disciples. There is no task that you will undertake that is greater than being a part of launching a disciple-making church in your community.
The purpose of the Ignite network is to help you to build a culture that produces and reproduces disciples. We do this through an initiative called Xcellerate.
We’ve embraced a process of leadership/discipleship development that empowers followers of Christ to live in a fashion that can produce a movement of life change much like the early church witnessed. This is a two year process that includes coaching, training, and application that results in significant life and church transformation.
Xcellerate has 3 parts. Read More
In a practical way, the network offers monthly network coaching either online or within close proximity of the church planter. These network meetings will assist you in creating an environment that produces discipleship multiplication. Read More
At Lark we believe the renewal we all long for in this life, and thus the world at large, flows from the table Jesus set before us. Out of this foundational principal we provide training and tools to anyone who longs for everyone to know the freedom and family found at the table Jesus prepared. Then we are, as a people, a tribe for those who love the comradery found in working with others to see a table of grace and belonging on every street.
Since our start in an old Chicago apartment in the Winter of 2014, this has been our story. Seeing church families form and multiply in various places across the U.S. has been the natural result.
We utilize a contextual model in our commitment to launch disciple-making movements. The church families within the Lark Collective range from smaller churches forming in homes, restaurants and bars to larger church families made up of missional communities spread throughout their context with weekly worship services that provide a place for all to gather/celebrate.
With a heart to see a shift in what the church is saying and doing in the West, the Lark Collective’s primary values are freedom and family. FREEDOM: our dependence on Jesus defines us and frees us to stop pretending we are impressive. We call it grace, an invitation to rest in the finished work of Jesus as we wait, watch, and walk in the fruit He bears in our lives. FAMILY: Jesus rejects no one. We are free to offer others a place to belong on their way to belief, and we are free to see new church families form and flourish along the way.
The “engine” of Lark is centered around what we call A Rhythm of Life in 3 Spaces. The 1st Space is about planting the Gospel in the places we GO to…where we live, work, and play. The 2nd Space is about CONNECTING further with those who are open to us and the things of Jesus. The 3rd Space is about PAUSING with those who are hungry to follow Jesus…encouraging and equipping them to make disciples alongside others. With a commitment to see new church families form among those outside the faith, we set our context to always serve as the filter for where, when, and how these spaces take root and shape.
A highly relational network consisting of training, coaching and regional gatherings keeps leaders connected, informed and equipped. The process works through four phases: Awake, Disciple, Plant and Multiply. The process starts with a one-day training event and a leader assessment. Then leaders move through the three other phases with what we call cohorts, cadres and collectives. Regional Lark Collective leaders help fuel the multiplication process in their areas.
Dr. Tim Roehl, as President of Fit & Flourish and “Itinerant Multiplier,” has 40 years of ministry experience. With his wife Shirley, Tim has served as an urban restart pastor, law enforcement chaplain, suburban church planter, denominational leader, missionary, author, coach and trainer with leaders from over 75 nations and 75 organizations.
Tim, who is on staff in the Missionary Church, helps people find their best fit based on their gifts and then coaches them in how to flourish in that place of ministry. As one individual put it:
With the heart of a shepherd, the mind of a scholar and the voice of a prophet Tim Roehl shares life-giving insights with today’s leaders and their organizations. Gleaning from the crucible of experience, this veteran church planter and pastor offers solutions-oriented coaching, consulting and creative problem solving through his soul stirring writing, passionate speaking and effective training.”
To connect with Tim or learn more about what he can provide for you visit Fit & Flourish.
Field U.S.A. (FUSA) is an organic disciple making network. FUSA groups meet in homes, apartment complexes, work places, on-line, chapels and any place people can gather for community. FUSA uses an adapted Training for Trainers (T4T) approach consisting of Four Fields:
Field One: Connect (Prepare New Fields). Build relationships with those far from God. Invite those that respond on a journey to discover Jesus. Key skills involve finding Persons of Peace and spiritual conversations.
Field Two: Rescue (Plant God’s Story). Share the gospel through Biblical stories called Stories of Hope. Invite those that show interest to accept Jesus as Savior. Key skills are Stories of Hope and a gospel presentation appropriate to your missional context, like telling your story, the three circles, etc.
Field Three: Equip (Cultivate Disciples). New believers are instructed in the Commands of Christ and helped to grow in their relationship with Jesus. As soon as possible, new believers are put in a small group that uses the three thirds process to ground believers and begin the multiplication process. The first third is looking in, asking accountability questions and developing relationships. The second third is looking up, hearing God’s vision through biblical stories. The third area is looking out, practicing skills and storytelling to share with those far from God.
Field Four: Launch (Gather to Scatter). When a group reaches a point of maturity, they recognize themselves as a church and begin to mobilize to go back into Field One and multiply other new believers, disciples and churches.
A relational network consisting of training, coaching, learning communities, regional summits and social media keeps leaders and disciples connected, informed and equipped.
We recognize there is a conversation about the distinction between evangelism and discipleship and whether the former is part of the latter. Regardless it is good to familiarize ourselves with tools in both. Many tools have been used in the area of evangelism specifically such as Evangelism Explosion and Every Home for Christ. Here are some links to some resources that you may consider as you become intentional about reaching your community.
After years of careful study of the Life of Christ, those serving in SonLife are convinced that Matthew 28:18-20 is the most concise summary of Christ’s life on earth. Jesus commanded all who would follow him to enter into the life-changing adventure of making disciples. Passionate Christ followers who live out the Great commandment and Great Commission should be the norm in the church, not the exception.
Sonlife is a training organization that trains, coaches and mentors leaders, providing a fresh encounter with Jesus as their model for making and multiplying disciples. By creating in-depth training and equipping resources, hundreds of thousands of leaders in ministries of all shapes and sizes have been awakened to the power and simplicity of Christ’s strategy. https://www.sonlife.com/
The history of the Missionary Church has been significantly impacted by the ministry of camps. A number are still thriving and seeing lives changed. Here are the ones that are part of the Missionary Church: