At the tail end of his earthly ministry, the resurrected Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and commanded them to "make disciples."
I know. You've heard it a thousand times. But this time, I dare you to stop and ponder it for a moment.
How would Jesus' eleven disciples have understood his command to "make disciples"?
If you'll graciously allow me more than a little poetic license here, I'd like to take a shot at answering that question. When Jesus commanded his original eleven disciples to "make disciples," I suggest that they would have heard something like this:
- "Guys, you know what I've done with you for the last three-and-a-half years? Repeat that in the exact same way over and over again! Starting right now as you go about your lives, do exactly what I did with you... with others... and help them do it with others without ever stopping. When you tell others about me, some will believe and follow me. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Be sure to pull them close--like I did with you--and show them how to love God, love people, and make disciples... until every ethnic group in the world has disciples who are making more disciples. As you live my disciplemaking way of life, you can have full assurance of my presence, power, and provision--for I am always with you."
So how did the eleven disciples respond to Jesus' command to "make disciples"? Did they understand? Better yet, did they obey? The Bible is clear. Together, as they went, they sought to live and replicate Jesus' pattern for disciplemaking... in the exact same way as Jesus... over and over. And a Jesus-like disciplemaking movement was born. About 25 years later, the Apostle Paul (not one of the original eleven disciples) wrote about his Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life this way:
"Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."
–1 Corinthians 4:16-17 (bold mine)
It started with Jesus who showed the original eleven disciples how to make disciplemakers. In the pattern of Jesus, these original eleven disciples made more disciples of Jesus. Later, this Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life transformed Paul. It was precisely because Paul was imitating Jesus' disciplemaking way of life that he could say to others, "I urge you to imitate me" (see also 1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul passed this Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life on to many others including Timothy, the church at Corinth, and "everywhere in every church." These cadres of Jesus-like disciplemakers were the very first Disciplemaking Learning Communities--the disciplemaking genius of Jesus at work. And they changed the world.
Stop and think about this for a moment.
Would you say that the disciplemaking pattern exemplified by Jesus, his disciples, and Paul is clear and primary today? Of course, Jesus-like disciplemakers and Disciplemaking Learning Communities have been present in some way, shape, or form in every age since Jesus. But somewhere along the way--over the years--across the cultures, have we drifted away from the clarity and primacy of the disciplemaking genius of Jesus?
Let's get personal. Have you lost sight of what Jesus means when he commands you to "make disciples"?
Dream with me for a minute.
What would happen if you became obsessed with loving Jesus and living a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life?
What could God do if you gathered together with just a few others who are passionate about living a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life?
It's this gathering together with a few others who are passionate about living a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life that we want to explore with you. We call this gathering of aspiring Jesus-like disciplemakers a Disciplemaking Learning Community--or DLC for short.
Why is a Disciplemaking Learning Community so critically important? The life of Jesus shows us that the delivery conduit for disciplemaking is a Disciplemaking Learning Community. STOP! Go back and re-read the first sentence again. It's really important. Think about it. A Disciplemaking Learning Community is not simply an ingredient for making disciples like Jesus--it's how Jesus made disciples. (See Mark 3:13-15.) Let me say it again: The life of Jesus shows us that the delivery conduit for disciplemaking is a Disciplemaking Learning Community.
But what does a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community look like in our 21st century Western culture?
Now that's a great question. Short answer: I don't fully know. I know it's not likely that we'll all quit our day jobs and travel around for miles on foot together--like Jesus did with his disciples. My wife and seven kids would prefer a van. While I don't fully know the answer to that question... I know it's the right question and I am learning. For years I've been prayerful and intentional about doing life in a Disciplemaking Learning Community. And I'm constantly failing, reflecting, and tweaking as I go. From time to time, I experience some aspect of a 21st century equivalent of a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community. These have wrecked my life... in wonderful ways. I'm hungry for more. Way more.
So I invite you to join me on an adventure of trying to wrap the arms of our hearts and minds around what a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community looks like in our 21st century Western culture.
What follows are eight leading indicators that you could be experiencing a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community. I offer these--not as definitive or exhaustive--but simply as indicators--to help you begin to wrestle what a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community looks like for you. Note: It takes a minimum of two people to wrestle. And a real wrestling fan knows the best wrestling matches have more than just two people in the ring at the same time. So put a few people into the ring with you and dig into this... together... with Jesus.
Stay tuned to Cadre Connection for part 2....
Pause, Ponder, and Discuss
How do you understand Jesusʼ words, "make disciples"?
In your own words, explain why a Disciplemaking Learning Community is required for making disciples like Jesus?
In your opinion, what might be some of the essential indicators that someone is a part of a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community? Make a short list. Discuss.
A volunteer youth leader writes to his DLC...
Being a part of a DLC with all of you is great. I was very nervous at our first gathering. I didn't know why I had been invited seeing that I was just volunteering in youth ministry and my main deal is being a full time floor guy. After our first DLC, I was excited about what was to come. Now, I can say that I have never been so encouraged and challenged in my spiritual growth the way I am at our DLC. We study the Bible, memorize a verse each month on disciplemaking, pray, connect on a heart level, get our hands equipped with a piece of training, and report back to each other about how we shared what we learned with others. Because we have honest times of checking in with each other on our spiritual health and how we share what weʼre learning, I consider you accountability partners. I enjoy having the lunches and coffee's, getting to know you a little better, hearing your stories, meeting your families....the time laughing, crying, and praying for each other.
|This Cadre Connection is also available as a FREE PDF, get it here:
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Disciplemaking Is Relationships
Disciplemaking Is Relationships is training that helps you and those in your ministry explore the disciplemaking genius of Jesus together.
If you're interested in pursuing a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life, this training is for you-whether you're a stay-at-home mom, volunteer, or a paid church leader.
In the Disciplemaking Is Relationships training experience you'll explore D3 disciplemaking, mutual community, kavanah, haver learning, Disciplemaking Learning Communities, and much more. The manual includes Learning Labs for Disciplemaking Learning Communities. The Disciplemakers Journal is 25 biblical studies to help you wrestle the disciplemaking genius of Jesus together with your Disciplemaking Learning Community. And here's a cool fact: The Disciplemaking Is Relationships training was originally developed in Disciplemaking Learning Communities.
For more information about bringing this training to your church or ministry, contact Cadre Ministries.
For more online information about the above training materials, go here.
Your Best Summer of Disciplemaking Ever
This summer could be your best summer of disciplemaking ever. But it won't happen by accident. You are going to have to be very intentional about leaning into the disciplemaking opportunities presented by mission trips, camps, retreats, family vacations, etc. Here's our special way of helping you make this your best summer of disciplemaking ever...
Here are 25 studies on loving God and loving others-and a FREE Small Group Ideas book that will help you and your team/family make this summer your best summer of disciplemaking ever.
|Buy 10 or more of these at bulk price...
||we'll send you this for free!
Here are 25 biblical studies on loving God and loving others who don't have a relationship with God-and a FREE Small Group Ideas book that will help you and your team/family make this summer your best summer of disciplemaking ever.
|Buy 10 or more of these at bulk price...
||we'll send you this for free!
Important note: This special offer ends May 31, 2011.
We're your Cadre missionaries! As Ephesians 4:11-12 missionaries of encouragement and equipping, we live by faith and trust God to financially provide for our families and our ministry with Cadre. We know we can't do this wild and wonderful Cadre adventure without God and crazy friends like you.
Cadre Ministries: Equipping Local Churches to Make Volunteers WILDLY Successful!
Cadre Ministries is a [501(c)(3)] not-for-profit ministry.
To be trained to take Cadre training to your church/ministry, contact email@example.com and ask about Cadre's certification process.
For information about bringing a certified Cadre trainer to coach and train the volunteer teachers, leaders, and youth workers in your church/ministry, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Cadre training resources visit www.cadreministries.com/store. Cadre's fun-loving staff serve as support-based, God-dependent missionaries who can only do this ministry with Cadre because of generous friends like you. To make an online, tax-deductible donation to Cadre Ministries:
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