Resource, Lesson or Study

Leaders have been asking: "Will there be new Discover Your Bible studies ready for next fall?" The answer is: Yes! 

May 10, 2016 1 1 comments
Q&A

I am wondering if anyone has suggested small group Bible study materials for adults who are seeking resources on caring for aging parents, parenting adult children, and other similar issues.

April 14, 2016 1 3 comments
Blog

How do your groups use Discover Your Bible, Infuse or Discover Life Bible study series? That's what we would like to learn more about!

March 10, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

In 2006-2010, Community CRC, Kitchener, Ontario embarked upon a visioning process during which we adopted a new vision: Growing our relationships with God, each other, and our community.

February 9, 2016 0 2 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

Enjoy this recording of a webinar on how to lead English as Second Language (ESL) Bible study.

December 21, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

In this free webinar, Barbara Hampton will share skills, methods, and best practices for leading ESL Bible Study groups.

November 10, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or Booklet

Come face to face with the Christ of Christmas and discover the real meaning of the Christmas story. Discover Christmas is a four session study that's great for small groups, families, and more! 

October 26, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

What can a Bible study or Coffee Break leader do to encourage the influence and impact of the Word in the lives of group members? Here are a few of my ideas; I'd love to hear yours, too!

October 19, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

The Forest City attendance graph showed growth but the home group graph showed plateau. They began to ask, “Why are small groups not growing at the same rate as our congregation?”

October 8, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or Booklet

Discover Nehemiah, a new 2015 study in the Discover Your Bible series, is now available and ready to be ordered. 

September 29, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

In this webinar, Ruth Kelder leads a conversation on the factors that help—or hinder—creating a safe place for people to grow in their faith.

September 25, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

Learn—with others—ways to enhance small group prayer. Listen at home or with your leaders! This webinar took place with about 12 leaders from across the US and Canada. 

September 21, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Leaders are asking questions about developing and growing adult small group discipleship ministries. What are your questions? See how the questions fit together with other leadership questions.  

September 8, 2015 1 0 comments
Discussion Topic

What should be included in a new member's class? Please share your ideas, best practices - and maybe things to avoid - in developing a new members class.    

September 2, 2015 1 6 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

In this new webinar, Marian Lensink shares the basics of leading the Coffee Break Bible discovery process. Engage with this resource from your home computer or use it as a training tool. 

August 19, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource

Follow the links to see a sample of the new Discover Isaiah study guide and leaders guide. Discover Isaiah is available in the new digital format or the well loved book format. 

August 13, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

 A brand new study in the Discover Your Bible series will be released mid-August, 2015! Based on Isaiah, the authors' hope is that this study "will provide comfort and hope to all who use it.”

August 5, 2015 1 0 comments
Blog

As a roving reporter at the Korean Coffee Break Conference near Los Angeles, I'm meeting with Coffee Break champions from around the world. Let me introduce you to one of these champions named Hannah.

July 2, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Four new Coffee Break webinars are scheduled for August. Join from the comfort of your own home or as a group!

May 12, 2015 0 1 comments
Blog

People often think that we must make a decision, "Do we serve our families or serve the church?" Daphne Kirk's blog, The Day of Joshua, helps us imagine how we can serve WHILE discipling children.

April 28, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Take a look at North American Christian community through the eyes of Latin theologian, Goizueta. And, let's consider how our culture impacts the church.

March 9, 2015 1 6 comments
Blog

When making disciples in a church context, it’s important to use the right tool for the job. Our church is focusing on 2 specific tools: Triads and Huddles. Which tools do you use?

February 23, 2015 1 4 comments
Blog

If you “feel the need for speed,” then starting a movement of discipleship in your church is probably not for you. Discipleship is not a fast process.

February 16, 2015 1 5 comments
Blog

Jesus used questions to engage people in God's story. This article, from the new Coffee Break newsletter, provides helpful ideas for all types of small group leaders who lead Bible discovery conversations.

February 3, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

More and more adults know less and less about the Bible. What curriculums or strategies have worked well for you in teaching adults an overview of the Bible?

December 8, 2014 0 0 comments

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Love the materials available. have used them in prisons for 16 years with great success.

Prison is my men's group and Bible study all in one.

Disability Concerns has a number of resources on the Network that you may find helpful. 

You might check out a ministry called YES! (Young Enough to Serve) at http://www.yestoserve.org/about-yes/.  Their resources seem to encompass a variety of opportunities and challenges we all encounter.

 

Hi Cindy! A book that I've been meaning to check out (I keep hearing great things about it) is Max Lucado's You'll Get Through This. Those who have read this book say it is a great reminder that though life is full of transitions, challenges, and painful struggles, God is WITH us and is working in all things. The book is full of scripture and hope for when life gets overwhelming. It's not necessarily a Bible study book but a great resource nonetheless. 

 

Thank you Chris for sharing your vision, goals and practices. I find this helpful for what we are doing. We are at an earlier but similar place in restructuring elder/deacon districts. It is our goal also to move to a new place of being church for one another. Community, every member caring for the body, is a model we are intentionally following based on I Corinthians 12 (Church=the BODY of Christ).

Jim Poelman

Redeemer CRC, Sarnia On

Thanks for your contribution to the conversation about mission and community. Good stuff!

Sounds great Pete. Would you be willing to share your document? It would be fun to see a few membership class samples! 

Sounds great Pete. Would you be willing to share your document? It would be fun to see a few membership class samples! 

Something I designed years ago has served me well even with adaptations in different churches.   A four-week (4 hour) class entitled "Believing to Belonging"   Week #1 -" Believing"  Basic on faith.  Verses from Ephesians and Romans.  I also teach "the Bridge" and have them place themselves someplace around the great Chasm.  Week #2 - "Believing part B"   This week I go over Reformed thought and doctrines. I review the Creeds and Confessions.  Week #3 "Belonging part A -   What does it mean to belong to a denomination and what is the CRC?    Week #4 - "Belonging part B"   - I talk about our specific church... its dreams, vision, and ministries.  Practical stuff.      Each week we keep it highly relational and tell some stories and most participants ask a lot of questions.  NO lecture.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your great ideas and experience!

 

Allow me to share our experience on the mission field in Mexico where we work with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. We constantly offer a new members class called "Inicios" or "Beginnings" at our 11 a.m. Sunday School hour. The class runs for four months so we offer it three times per year. 

 

The course starts with the big questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? Who is God? What is our problem? Who is Jesus? What does Jesus do? How to receive salvation? We teach on justification, sanctification, adoption. From there we move to some sessions on the denomination and some Reformed history. From there we move to our local church: our values, how to grow in grace, areas to serve, our ministries, meaning of sacraments, importance of covenant, etc. And we end with the membership questions to asked at one's public profession of faith.

 

The course neither guarantees membership nor obligates anyone. If, at the end of the course, people would like to make their public profession of faith and be baptized (if not baptized before), then they fill out a membership sheet, meet with the elders and then set a date. We have almost all new folks go through the same course: new believers and those from other churches, although the needs are different. Also covenant youth raised in the church take the course prior to their profession of faith.

Rev. Ben Meyer

Seymour CRC (Grand Rapids, MI)

Missionary to Guadalajara, Mexico with CRWM

 

 

 

Thanks, Sam, this is a great topic and one that I hope people will comment on. When I revised our membership process a little while ago there was a dearth of materials about the topic. I found one very good book, called Membership Matters, I think, but not a whole lot else. 

My "working" process (always open to change) is based on CS Lewis' image of the Christian faith as a great house with many hallways and rooms. The first session is about belonging to Christ and is a presentation of the gospel. The second is about the biblical nature of the church and what it means biblically to be a member of a church. The third session is about the "hallway" of Reformed theology, history and practice and the last is about the "room" that is our own church. I also sometime show a video about infant baptism if this is a topic of discussion. I would love to hear what others do.

I'm a little surprised that our denomination doesn't have a simple "welcome to the CRC" type of video that could be shown to prospective members, at least not one that I've found. This wouldn't have to be a big DVD production, just a simple Internet video. I think it would fill a real gap.

 

 

Getting church-goers to become engaged in scripture. What a novel idea.

One might start by removing all of the Bibles from the church pews. Have folks bring their own to worship that they can mark up and wear out. Smart phones will finally have a place in worship as parishioners -- especially young people -- become exposed to their favorite Bible app.

We as Reformed Christians have become lazy when it comes to opening up scripture. We've been conditioned to depend on the pew Bible, and that -- sad to say -- if often the only exposure that we have to scripture through the course of the week. We need to get trained to actually choose our favorite Bible translation and then take it with us to worship, to Small Groups, to work, wherever.

Biblical engagement is a huge issue within our churches, simply because we haven't grown up with the need to have an intimate relationship with our very own Bible. Without that intimate relationship, how can we expect to have meaningful small group discussions around biblical content?

 

 

 

I am using Seeking God's Face for the third year, and I love it!  The scriptures are so effectively related to the beautiful prayers which also refer to one of our creeds or confessions. I use Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions, also available from Faith Alive, as a companion to Seeking God's Face. It's made me more aware of all that's in our confessions and creeds, some of which I haven't reviewed since high school catechism classes. I highly recommend use of both books for personal devotions. 

I'm so glad we get to make us of helpful technology to do Coffee Break training. As one of the presenters I'm wondering, "What questions would you like to have addressed on these webinars?"

For the last hundred years, "believing on" has been a dispensational insider word for, "It ain't enough to believe IN Jesus. You gots to believe ON Jesus."

At the risk of being ex-communicated, scriptural covenants are accumulative, not substitutionary. The Noahic Covenant is applicable to all humans. The Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants only apply to Jews - the people who came out of Egypt with Moses.

In Acts, the Jerusalem Synod observed the 613 commandments and didn't know what to make of Paul. They told him to teach gentiles to observe the Noahic Covenant and hoped he would stay far from Jerusalem. There is sarcasm and irony in Acts.

Neo-Christianity is the religion of Paul and Constantine. We have to work with what we have. Rev. Punt is correct in his interpretation (as far as he went), was cleared and then totally ignored. 

To paraphrase a 1st century Saint, "I've been "believing in Jesus for 70 years, Jesus has always taken good care of me, and I will not now turn on him now". As for the theological details, 80% is circular, assumes hard facts not in evidence, simply logical opinion.  I have no dog in that fight. Another 25 years or less I will know which theology is correct or I will know nothing.

How about if we read scripture not through the lens of our culture, or the lens of the Jewish culture, nor through the lens of the Greek culture, but through the lens of the gospel?  Then we will not get lost in an either-or proposition for community vs individualism, but rather embrace both.  Jesus emphasized believing on him, and loving God and your neighbor with the clear direction that we must be born again.  These things are not something the community can do for you, no matter how deeply you are imbedded in the community.  On the other hand, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches, part of the body of Christ the community of the body which is celebrated in communion.  And then, the flip side, if the branch does not bear fruit, it will be pruned, and separated from community, separated from Christ...   This is the community we ought to be concerned about.   The rest is not about community vs individualism, but about obedience to what Christ would have us do in our relationships with others, as well as in our private closets.  

This is a valuable perspective on US church culture as a whole (though dangerous to generalize). The prevailing US cultural environment of individualism, is counter-Biblical. While the solution may not be classic liberation theology, it does require for some of us a radial re-reading of Scripture, not through the lens of our own dominant culture, but through a 1st century Jewish cultural lens. That's why I've appreciated Tom Wright's work so much (even if he isn't right about everything!)

Thanks Michael. I agree with your view point on his theology. I was waiting for someone to bring that up!

I did think his description and perception of North American culture was insightful. So, in what ways is the western church bringing Christ's love to all people? I wonder if the missional community movement is one example. What other examples do we have? 

I understand that there are many things we can learn from other Christians in other cultures, but part of that learning has to be done with an understanding of who Jesus is. Unfortunately, Dr. Goizueta’s Liberation Theology criticisms of the Western church fall a bit short because we do not share the same view of Jesus, his salvation or his kingdom.

The answer to our over-commercialized, consumerist western ecclesiology is not to find Christ in poor people, but to be found by Christ and witness his love to all people.

My son was baptized on Sunday. It reminded me again that we belong before we believe! I agree that we get that backwards too often. While preaching on the great commission (which he called the ordinary commission, because it applies to all of us) a pastor recently asked, "who do you know that needs community?" What if the church really was a place where people found a sense of belonging? Would there be more belief? 

Charles, I suppose this charge could be levied against anything we do in the church - sermons, sacraments, other spiritual disciplines.  Without biblical content and the Holy Spirit, all forms or methods (including huddles and triads) will only strengthen a person's commitment to a religion or philosophy.  The goal of huddles and triads is to strengthen one's commitment to Jesus through Scripture and mutual support and accountability, not to a system or philosophy.  I fail to see how pointing willing participants toward Jesus could be considered manipulative or unethical.

What alternatives would you suggest?

posted in: Huddles and Triads

I suspect that these methods would help strengthen a person's commitment to other religions or philosophies if the content was altered accordingly. If that is the case then it might not be the Holy Spirit at work here, but rather psychology. Doesn't it concern you that you might be employing psychological manipulation under a deceptive cover of spiritual rhetoric, and wouldn't that be unethical?

posted in: Huddles and Triads

Absolutely, Michael.  It seems like adding intentionality and small community to the spiritual journey accelerates it.  Of course, it's not the formula that makes it happen.  But it seems like God has created us in such a way that these things create opening in our lives for the Spirit to work powerfully.

What I like most about this is that one doesn't have to be spiritually gifted to grow.  A person just needs to be committed and have a few committed friends alongside him or her.  I think about the first Beatitude - the kingdom is available to even the poor in spirit.  No spiritual pedigree required.  Good news indeed!

posted in: Huddles and Triads

Thank you Nathan for your concise summary. It is my experience that triads & quads and I expect focused huddles of 5-7 as well, are very helpful to move the many folk who are stuck at the good friends with Jesus stage of spiritual growth to the close friends of Jesus stage--moving the gospel more deeply to the heart, as well as the head.  Is that yours as well?

posted in: Huddles and Triads

Thanks for your comments, Gilbert.  I agree that discipleship is not about a tool or method.  I refer to it as a culture, and I'm thinking specifically about how to help people in the community of faith grow to be more like Jesus.  I realize that discipleship extends to people at all spiritual places.  So I'm admittedly using that term more narrowly.  

I also must confess that I have been impacted by the instant gratification culture we live in.  I hoped this article would show that the slow speed of discipleship makes it a counter-cultural practice.  It's a call to embrace the speed of discipleship and reject a worldly definition of success.  Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

"Another fruit/joy is seeing the changes in the lives of those we are discipling."

Thanks for mentioning this.  One of the biggest sources of encouragement in my own journey is seeing the Spirit at work in others.  Discipling people gives us a front row seat to God's work in others' lives.  Very satisfying!

I appreciate what Nate wrote -- about patience etc.

However, I think his whole blog article misses the point.  Discipleship making is not a matter of getting the right tool, finding the right approach.     Biblical discipleship, it seems to me, is much more radical and exciting.   It amounts to something like this:  

There is a vibrant community, rooted in tradition, practicing scripture-informed habits:  worship, sacraments, welcoming strangers.  This community is not designed to meet the perceived needs of the world.  rather this community lives the truth, practices the truth.  Is a community at heart that is not of this world but in it.    this community in its evangelism zeal practices 2 traits:  invitational and subversive.     We invite people to become part of a community that they can see is different than the world.

The focus of "Slow or Fast" in terms of making disciples smacks too much of the culture of consumerism:  we measure 'success" by how we perform.

Let's rethink evangelism with a Biblical mind:  a living, healthy community of folks whose social interaction displays to the world a "people set apart."

 

Thanks for your testimony. 

Being part of a discipling group and then beginning my own group I agree that there is no way to go fast.
We tried that in the first one and it did not work.
Learning new practices is one thing,
Actually using the new practices is another thing entirely.
One needs time and the encouragement of others on the same road.

The fruit in my life is becoming more intentional in my walk with Jesus. Being able, with His help of course, to actually do the things He calls me to do.
Another fruit/joy is seeing the changes in the lives of those we are discipling.

I agree with these three ancient words, that seem true now, just as they have always been. I would also add that genuine community is a key element of discipleship. We are not called to be disciples alone. All through Biblical history, God has been raising up a people to reflect his glory; we are together being built up into a spiritual temple where he dwells; we are different parts of one body that will grow into full maturity with Christ at the head. And I could go on with "one another" examples and images of our oneness in Christ. The individualism in our culture and in our churches hinders discipleship. I feel so blessed to have a few dear sisters in Christ with whom I have experienced deep, community; we've shared prayer, heartaches, joys, struggles, learning, and also amazing "fiducia" moments. When I think of discipleship, I think of them and what we have together (we do not attend the same local church, but together we have been the church to one another).

Hey, Sam, this looks really good.  Go you!  You've got a good thing going and I like it that you are keeping it fresh.  Keep your faithful followers posted on developments!   Thanks for your work on this.

posted in: Big News!

A missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions recently wrote a blog entry on using a song by Mumford & Sons as an evangelism tool. In the blog, he also quotes Grant Lovejoy who writes, “The best discipling resource among oral communicators is not a printed booklet but an obedient Christian. Oral communicators learn by observing.” I have certainly found this to be true in my ministry.

Like Paul, share your testimony (Acts 26). God has arranged this encounter, your equipped for this work, rejoice, no one is better fit for the task than you are.  

Salvation is personal; Jesus calls his sheep by name (John 10).

As for something to give the person: If the person is into social media, internet etc.

                Link: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-gospel/

 

For pamphlets: Varied just search gospel tracts.

                I have two short works I can put in the mail to you tomorrow if you want them for free:

                1. Ultimate Questions by John Blanchard, 31 pages

                2. Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, Made Easier to Read by John Jeffery Fanella, 32 pages (it has a few notes marked on one page)

The best book I've read on the topic is: 'Evangelism - Outside the Box' by Rick Richardson. He gets at the heart of the matter within us... how to engage the Spirit in the process, and in the end offers some very intriguing ways of presenting the gospel, including Alpha, GIGs, and on a napkin (post-modernly).

Our church has also experienced the struggle with study material for Coffee Break and small groups.  People don't want to put anything INTO the process, they want to come and receive the information because they're too busy to study at home.  But I found that the times I've learned the most is when I was the leader - I HAD to put into the group in order to receive.  If we put into, we receive, and our faith grows.  

This sounds terrific, Keith! My brother is a CRC pastor in Toronto and meets with a group of business people for a lunchtime discussion. I don't know what materials he uses, but I believe the concept is the same. I'll have to get more details from him. But there's one CRC example anyway. :) 

I will try to learn more about the CCBF network and curriculum. 

Thanks!

Hundreds of Christian business leaders -- men and women -- meet monthly across Canada in small groups over breakfast.

They meet to connect their faith to their vocation. The Canadian Christian Business Federation (CCBF) is a 30-year-old network involving almost 4,000 Christians across Canada. It has deep Reformed roots but it has developed into a wonderful ecumenical gathering of Christians who deal with business issues from a biblical perspective. This isn't Bible study; it's leadership development but it is solidly biblical. The foundation for these monthly breakfast discussions -- and there are 35 groups across the country -- is the NIV Leadership Study Bible.

There is a five-year curriculum, dealing with everything from integrity and obedience to God to stress management, courage and risk-taking, communication skills and problem solving.

Among the participants are men and women involved in business, more than a dozen Christian non-profits and a half dozen Christian colleges and universities who connect their business students with business leaders.

A growing number of churches are creating their own CCBF groups, recognizing that the church does very little to provide faith support for their members who are in business or the professions. Interestingly, almost all of these churches are evangelical, Pentecostal or Assembly of God. There isn't a CRC among them, even though the discussion materials focus on the very Reformed notion that 'everything belongs to God' and that 'if you're in business, you're in ministry'.

Just as there are Coffee Break groups for women, I would love to see even one CRC consider creating a small group for the men and women in their congregation who are involved in business or the professions.

While I embrace the notion that we need to have more small groups that deal with Bible study, we also need to have small groups that practically apply those biblical principles to the challenges facing the Christian business community: How do you balance your corporate long range plan with the will of God? How do you handle power and influence? If all that we have belongs to God, isn't tithing robbing God of the other 90 per cent?

Keith Knight

Executive Director

Canadian Christian Business Federation

This is, I think, a tough issue. I agree, and I think we all would agree, that we need more engagement with the Bible. I've been participating in small groups for many years, and I still find it difficult to stick to Bible study with a group (and without, but that's a different topic!). 

One common challenge I find over and over is your bullet point "Group members come prepared to participate." Even with the best of intentions, people just have a hard time doing the preparation needed - reading the material before the meeting, or filling in answers to questions, etc. It just doesn't happen! When I have seen at least some success with Bible study in a group, it's been with books or guides that can work with having people "read" the material at the meetings. Either the material is very brief and able to be read aloud together at each meeting, or the leader has prepared ahead by finding key passages for the group to read together, enough to facilitate discussion. Like it or not, that's been the reality over and over.

Today I read a quote from John Suk's Twitter feed where he said, "People look for community before they set off on a search for God." It made me think of a recent decision I had made regarding the small group I am leading. Right now I have a lot of other commitments at our church and Christian school. I found myself really dreading the preparation I'd have to do for leading our small group Bible study, so I changed the format to be only a social/community format. We meet for coffee and dessert and share and prayer. At a later point I'll probably go back to including Bible study, but for right now this gives us a community of supportive, caring fellow believers.

I would not call it pure Bible study, but I have seen some success in a kind of theological book club that I was a member of. All of us find theological books interesting, and we had a book club where we read only those. Now that worked all right. And it speaks to another of your bullet points, "Group members understand the purpose of the group is Bible discovery. Relationship building and support will take place but are not the primary purpose." We were there to discuss books we read; it was not a small group or community in the sense that we would often think of them.

These are some random thoughts of mine. I would be interested to hear what others have to say and have experienced, too.

Our church is using a book by Larry Osborne, "Sticky Chirch", as it's basic small group format. Larry does suggest the mentoring of new leaders, so there is some splitting in a sense. But he also has a chapter in his book on why the grow and split model does not work (in North America) well. I highly recommend his book. He hits the nail on the head with so many issues I wasn't sure about. 

Thanks for the additional resources! 

Loved the book and did a 4 part series on Covenant and Kingdom at Discovery Church.  By the way there are free preaching resources on covenant and kingdom from 3DM.  Also used this book as an introduction to the bible and reformed theology.  

Thank you Dannell for sharing this. At CrossPoint you have done what most churches have not. You have created a unified and clear description and path of discipleship. It is very easy to understand and to understand where to go at Crosspoint to grow in one's next step with Jesus.

I would love to write a case study of CrossPoint some day. Have you all taken Reveal? It would be a helpful, statistically valid analysis of CrossPoint and to give a base to compare against fin the future to show amount of improvement--something for others interested in effective discipleship in the local congregation to see.

I realize that from one blog post I may not understand the whole picture. If I understand it correctly, I would challenge you to think more about the loving God with one's "mind" piece. I appreciate that you do not simply define mind as what one memorizes cognitively. Yet, loving with one's mind is more than becoming like Christ. It also contains the cognitive element. Various studies have shown that at least core theological beliefs such as God as a personal God and the authority of Scripture are an important part of a disciple's growth.

While you do not spell it out completely I expect that you would define "discipleship" as the act of growing greater/deeper one's love for God. If that is your definition of discipleship, I am not sure one can say worship and service each IS discipleship. They are each actions which are a result of one's growing deeper in love with Jesus--the result of discipleship. For some people service and/or worship are strong tools for growing as lovers of God. but not for everyone. We are each shaped differently and service for example is not as strong a discipler for some as it is for others.

All-in-all though this model is clear and easy for people to apply. Keep working it! Thank you for sharing.

Great review Rachel and good words Ben! The two things I would add is first, what Mike Breen says over and over again about how discipleship is the engine that drives missional living and missional communities. There's a lot of focus on MCs these days, and rightly so. But Breen is right that without discipleship at the center it's hard to have the power, sustainability or reproducibility you want to see in your missional work. A second comment is how much we're resonating with the biblical framework they provide for discipleship in their book, "Covenant and Kingdom: The DNA of the Bible." Very reformed! Very refreshing! Like Ben, we're using huddles and life shapes as one of our tools for discipleship with great response. As we live missionally these tools are helping us be like Jesus and do the things he did. 

I just started a Huddle this past week! I had a little anxiety as I started the huddle as it is a much more directive form of discipleship than what I've done in the past. But the four guys in my huddle responded well and seem excited to grow. I think Breen and co. are totally correct that there is a discipleship crisis in our church. It is one of our primary callings as pastors (along with preaching the word and administering the sacraments), but we tend to put all our eggs in the Sunday morning basket, and spend the rest of our energy on programs, while actually doing very little discipleship. I also think its clear that Sunday school and Christian school (even Christian college) are no substitute for the kind of discipleship that Jesus had in mind for us to be doing. You can go to Christian schools your whole life and not really be a disciple. I'm an example of that. I don't think I really learned how the gospel applied to my life in a practical way until a mentor discipled my wife and me during my first year in full time ministry (after seminary). This is not to say I didn't know my theology or know the Bible. Discipleship is more than learning information, right? It's walking with Jesus, obeying him, and becoming more like him as you enter into relationship with the Triune God.

This sounds wonderful! Please post a sample lesson for us to see!

Hi, I would like to hear more about this or if Mrs. Shirley is able to post or email a lesson that would be great. I found this through a google search when looking for information in how to start a story group for survivors of sexual abuse. I thought about this after reading "To be told" by Dan Allender. Also, I ran across the "Telling the stories of life through guided autobiography" by James Birren  and these are basically what I envisioned. I like the simple format of the Hook. Book. Look. Took. and obviously from the great turnout many others did as well. 

I like that this is not just a small groups story, that Danell explained how this is just one part of how this vision for Discipleship is implemented across multiple ministries. Thanks, Danell!

I organized one of these last August, a few weeks before several our our ministries re-started for the Fall season. A few weeks ahead of time, I contacted all the leaders of ministry and asked them to participate, and nearly all did. I created signs with bright colors with the "Fair" concept and purchased inexpensive ($1) plastic table cloths in assorted colors to place on the tables and suggested everyone have candy or some kind of giveaway to entice visitors to stop by.

I encouraged the leaders to provide information (a display) about their ministries and required them to have a brief "job description" of what is involved for someone volunteering in that ministry (our office staff helped with these, and we saved them so this will be easier next time!). I provided sign up sheets for each ministry so they could collect names of people who were interested.

Some ministries had clever giveaways, for example:

- "Free hairnets!" - from our ministry that helps serve meals at a local organization

- "We can always use 'S'MORE' volunteers" with a S'mores snack mix

- Our Sunday School ministry made a posterboard with a sample lesson plan so people could easily see what it would be like to teach.

- Our Cadets team brought out some of their activity gear (bows & arrows, tools, etc.)

We encouraged all church attenders to consider visiting the fair, not just because they might want to sign up, but to learn about the other ministries at the church so they could help direct guests or friends to a ministry that might serve them.

Overall, we did not end up with a lot of sign ups this time around, but overwhelmingly people appreciated the opportunity to learn about ministries. 

I also planned lunch for all the ministry leaders afterwards as a thank you for their service to the church and for helping with this event in particular.

Our Prayer Summit for Classis Alberta North is happening on the first Sunday of 2014.

More details at www.discovertrinity.net . On Facebook, look for "Lord, Hear Our Prayer: CAN Prayer Summit 2014"

 

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Abby VanderMeulen