There’s also a third thing I’d do — I’d make DISCIPLESHIP A BIGGER DEAL.
In my first few years in Jerusalem I devoted much of my time to one-on-one mentoring with potential leaders. The primary goal was to help equip them to become pastors and planters. By God’s grace a good number went on to become effective ministry leaders in Israel and beyond.
Eventually, our personalized leadership training morphed into Israel College of the Bible, which we planted in 1990. Today, the College operates under local Israeli indigenous leadership. ICB offers Bachelor’s and Master’s level programs. Over a thousand Israelis and internationals have studied in the College.
I’m thrilled how God enabled us to develop nation-wide leadership training. Yet, as I look back, I realize that I put too little effort into the basics of the GREAT commission: to “make disciples….” (Matthew 28:19)
Developing leaders is crucial, but it’s disciples from all ranks of life that are the salt and light that can penetrate most effectively into unreached corners. You see, leaders, especially pastors, tend to become so consumed with shepherding their own flock, that they lose touch with lost sheep outside their own fold.
Several years ago we made a mid-course correction; and now discipleship is on our front burner. Yes, I still meet one-on-one with burgeoning leaders and from time to time I still teach a leadership course in the College, but our ministry team is now fully engaged with making disciples who make disciples.
Currently, I’m writing a discipleship manual called, LIVING THE SPIRIT-EMPOWERED LIFE. Each week at our discipleship gathering we cover another chapter in the book. I plan to share some of these chapters in upcoming posts.
You may be curious about the method we use in our weekly discipleship gatherings. Men and women gather together as one large group for about 45 minutes of teaching. Then we break up into separate groups of 4-5 men and 4-5 women. There we talk about how we can apply what we’re learning, keep each other accountable, and pray for one another.
We’ve found that in single gender small groups we’re able to be more transparent — especially when we deal with sensitive issues.
We’ve not found the perfect method, but we’re carrying out the ABC’s of what our Master modeled and commanded us to follow.
Tell me about your experience. How were you discipled and how are you discipling others? I’d love to learn from you.