Discipleship.org was created to pour fuel on authentic discipleship by championing Jesus’ way of making disciples. We were honored to convene a meeting with fifteen national leaders at the end of January, led by Discipleship.org’s Bobby Harrington, and including Jim Putman, Robby Gallaty, Bill Hull, Todd Wilson, Doug Nuenke, Gabe Lyons, Pat Morley, Dann Spader, Kennon Vaughn, Dave Buehring, Craig Etheredge, Jean Klughart, Ryan Pazdur, Don Pape, and Doug Daugherty (observer). We had three goals for the meeting:
1. To develop relationships with one another.
2. To clarify the most important or critical issues in discipleship today.
3. To explore collaboration under discipleship.org, especially for national forums/conferences on discipleship.
There was a great spirit in the room, along with a surprising degree of common perspective and passion. Several commented that it was the most meaningful meeting they had attended in years. As a group, there was a consensus that the following are the top challenges to a discipleship-first emphasis in the church and among Christian leaders:
I. Pastors and every day Christian’s not embracing discipleship as Jesus’ method of discipleship.
II. A poor understanding of Jesus (Christology), Jesus’ method (methodology), and the gospel.
III. Lack of clarity on the meaning of Jesus’ command to make disciples.
As a group, we established the following as the top solutions (in order of priority) for those seeking to turn to a discipleship-first focus:
I. Converting pastors and every day Christians so they embrace and live out Jesus’ method of discipleship.
II. Clarify, uphold, and promote clear and solid definitions in regard to making disciples.
III (tie) Convert pastors to embrace and live out Jesus’ method.
III (tie) Teach the joining of conversion and discipleship.
III (tie) Mobilize the disciple-making reality of everyday believers (the disciple-making ministry of all believers).
National Discipleship Forum. There was a consensus in the room to move ahead and lead a national discipleship forum (conference) within the first three months of 2016. This forum will be beyond the current national discipleship forums discipleship.org leads at Exponential, and will create a larger, national aggregating event. The purpose of this forum, as an aggregator of disciple making leaders and movements will be threefold:
1. To inspire people to embrace Jesus’ way of disciple making.
2. To inform everyone of the practical ways of following Jesus’ method of discipleship by bringing together the top speakers/practitioners at the forum.
3. To introduce practical disciple making models that are utilized by the various national and regional leaders, disciple making networks, and churches.
In summary, we are trusting God to lead us to work together on an early, radical dream – that God would bring those who champion Jesus’ method of discipleship together and use us to help turn the North American Christianity (and the world) back to a discipleship-first focus!