5 Early Reflections on the First National Disciple Making Forum

The forum just ended this past Friday and it was great success. Well over 600 pastors and leaders (from more than 30 states) joined 10 independent disciple making networks from around the country to focus on Jesus’ style disciple making. Here are five early reflections about the forum.

1. The UNITY around Jesus’ method of disciple making was palpable.


The forum began early Thursday with a private meeting of the leaders of the 10 networks. We reviewed the statements that formed the basis of our unity, heard about the ministry of each group and we prayed for each other. It was cool to see how God brought together leaders from such diverse geographic areas (from California, to Idaho, to Florida, etc.,) and such diverse theological tribes (Calvinists, Arminians, Charismatics, non-Charismatics, etc.,). We had tremendous unity and red hot passion with a focus on Jesus and his method of disciple making together.

Sign up for the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum by clicking here. This year, we’re adding tracks to make this one of the largest gatherings of disciple makers in North America.

2. MANY PASTORS were impacted.

The forum was held from Thursday afternoon until 4 pm on Friday to make it easier for pastors to attend. Hundreds were present. A leader from one church sent me an email that said: “Something truly miraculous has come out of our pastor’s time at the Forum” and that on Sunday, he made public commitment to “pursuing being a disciple making church.”

3. There is almost a UNANIMOUS CALL to keep it going.


Shortly after we began people started coming up to me talking about how great the experience was and how they wanted to bring more people next year. This was especially true of the leaders of the 10 disciple making networks. Randy Pope (Perimeter Church in Atlanta) put it this way: “It was so encouraging to see 10 ministries and hundreds of believers gathered together in the pursuit of seeing life on life discipleship being brought back to the local church – a dream come true for many of us.” We hope to expand and have other disciple making organizations join us.

4. RESOURCES were created to help inspire a movement.

We sought to capture the audio recordings of all the sessions and video recordings of the 3 main sessions (and each of the forums that were part of the tracks). We plan to publish these resources and others on Discipleship.org. We also plan to promote eBooks, published books (through our partnership with Zondervan and discipleship.org resources) and create like video courses. Look for a video course to come out in the next couple of months where Robert Coleman personally presents the principles of Jesus’ method of disciple making, from his classic book, The Master Plan of Evangelism.

5. Something SPIRITUALLY SIGNIFICANT happened at the end of the forum.



At the end of the forum there were a lot of tears shed. Robert Coleman, with a lucid mind at 88 years of age, shared how his wife’s life is drawing to an end and how disciple making, in light of heaven, is such an important pursuit. The old revivalist preacher in him then came out! Then he brought the event to an end by praying over leaders of the 10 disciple making networks and everyone in the audience. The picture of Dr. Coleman’s prayer over everyone captures only a part of the special moment that we experienced.

Both Bill Hull and Dann Spader – two highly respected veterans in the disciple making movement, described the event as “truly historic” – the first of it’s kind in US history (because of all the diverse groups that were pulled together). A special thank you to Long Hollow Baptist Church and Harpeth Christian Church for the facilities and great volunteers. If God wills, we are working and praying that it will be pour gasoline on the fires of a new reformation.

Dr. Bobby Harrington
Executive Director


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  1. Mike G October 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    For those of us who where unable to attend the conference, do you intend to make recordings available like they were for the previous forum?

  2. Joel Riehle October 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for the conference. It is the best I have ever been to in my 11 years in ministry. And now I need to take our whole church leadership to it next year.

  3. Jeff Kisiah October 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    It was an honor for Man in the Mirror to be invited as 1 of the 10 ministries to participate…

    The Kingdom Networking that occurred will greatly enhance the discipleship movement…

    We can accomplish so much more together than any of us can alone…

    Already looking forward to next year in Nashville!

  4. Barry Brace October 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    I spent almost the entire event wishing others from my church were with me to experience and hear what was shared. It was a significant time for me and I know it will impact my church. The hardest part was choosing from the many breakout opportunities made available to us! Thank you to these ten organizations for coming together in unity and investing their resources in us. I hope to be back next year with many others from my church!

  5. Stuart Harris October 12, 2016 at 12:20 am - Reply

    So encouraging, and it would have been wonderful to have been there too but it’s a long way to come from Australia! I was a part of the Discipleship Forum where Robert Coleman, Francis Chan, Jeff Vanderstelt and others spoke. It was a blessing to have been a part of that event, and now to see what God is stirring up in reviving discipleship in the US and around the world. These resources, when they’re available online, will be a blessing to us overseas too. Thank you.

  6. matthew munn October 12, 2016 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Please keep me informed when the resources are made available. Matthew (Perth, Australia) and can we host the next meeting? 🙂

  7. Michael Scherer October 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I can’t thank you guys enough for the conference. I was personally impacted by the practical information. Things that you thought you knew but revealed as if new through some veteran leadership! I feel a renewed spirit as I see the spiritual significance of sticking to the Jesus model of disciple making! Sometimes the “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” statement is a worthy reminder that the way Jesus showed us did not need to be “tweeked” to fit our personal or our church’s circumstances, but rather we fall back to the original!
    Thanks again Bobby, for what you guys put in to this conference! God Bless!

  8. Mark Johnson October 13, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Bobby thanks to the vision, leadership and legwork to put this together. I concur with your observations. As a one year old believer in the Lord who was being discipled it baffled me why parachurch ministries were more effective at disciple making than the church. I have been praying for this dynamic to reverse for over 30 years. I believe this forum is a historic moment to see this trend reversed. There is much work ahead but the process has begun. Thank you Lord Jesus!

  9. Jon Sherwood October 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks for an incredibly encouraging time together! Please see the article about my experience here: http://www.jonsherwood.com/single-post/2016/10/13/National-Disciple-Making-Forum

  10. Paul Cheek November 7, 2016 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    I thank the Lord for my Pastor inviting me to this awesome gathering of disciple makers. God ignited a fire in my very being on the urgency of becoming intentional disciple makers. Upon our return from the conference, we started praying that God would lead us to young men that would consider committing to a weekly D-Group. The seed has been planted into 4 young men. We also prayed that He would lead young men to seek us out desiring to be discipled. We KNOW that God is moving in our church, we want to jump onboard with Him.
    Please Holy Spirit keep this fire stoked!!

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