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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'll follow to! Can't just have two nuts out there. Now it's three and we're a crowd! And let's take this a step further. What would a CRC church multiplication movement look like?


We're learning along with everyone else. 3DM has been a great resource for us with the Launching Missional Communities: A Field Guide as well as Building a Discipling Culture. I just orderd Multiplying Missional Leaders. I like 3DM's simple, reproducible huddle concept for leaders and we're using this as a framework to disciple our leaders. Everyone is being discipled and everyone is discipling someone. Simple questions like "What is God Calling You to Do?" and "What are You Doing About It?" make this reproducible for multiple generations. Also, they use language effectively to create culture with their life shapes. This is still a learning curve for us.

In addition to 3DM we have also greatly benefited from Mission Houston's Faithwalking training. They focus on both personal transformation (101 and 201) and community transformation (301 and 401). On the personal side they use a lot of Dallas Willard material and also family systems and inner healing. And they do all this to talk about how we get "stopped" in the discipleship journey. They teach on integrity and authenticiy and then help you live a life of radical obedience in a missional context. My wife and I can personally testify to the power of this. The only other time I've had similar personal transformation was when I took the Sondship course with Drew Angus.

One the community transformation side, Faithwalking has a compelling kingdom vision and they talk about shalom in every sphere of life. They talk about this more effectively than anyone else. And they don't just talk about it. They get you doing it. They set up the training so there is high accountability. Action transforms. Not just information. They present a mental model of discipleship that has at its core a robust missional theology. Missional communities can be launched by the church (e.g. 3DM) but also in the work place with other believers from other local churches. A truely kingdom approach.

They have been working with the RCA and CRC the past six years in West Michigan doing a congregational version of this called the Ridder Initiative through Western Seminary. Here in Houston they are calling this Congregational Faithwalking. They also have contact with the CRC in Nicaragua with Transformational Networks. They are seeing lots of success just line 3DM. Very inspiring and very life-giving. What's even better is that Faithwalking is Free! Hope this helps!

In Him,


Hi Andrew,

My input would be to contact 3DM and either get into a coaching huddle or sign up for their learning community. I think for you, this will be the best way to move from idea to planning/action. I'm open to having some kind of forum, etc. but I think this step will get you to where you and your congregation want to go the fastest. My two cents...

In Him,


Great post Larry. One way I see God compelling us to tell the story today in the U.S. is that he's brining the nations to us, especially in our cities. If we're not going to go to the nations, he's going to bring them to us. We don't always need to go oversees. God seems to be compelling us to tell the story by being able to share this with our neighbor across the fence!

Thanks for a good review Diane! The ten months my wife and I spent going through the Sonship material with Drew Angus was one of the most profound experiences in our spiritual growth. As a pastor of 15 years and student of discipleship and leader development, I highly recommend this course. The material is solid, reformed in its approach, and carries out its goal of personal transformation. I wish more CRC folks were aware of this rich resource. As Drew pointed out, WHM's more recent "Gospel Centered Life" is also an excellent course and more user-friendly for small groups and newer Christians.

Great article Larry. And thanks for the comments about Texas cities Mark. As a planter and cluster leader in Houston, the fourth largest metro area in the US, yet with only three established CRCs, the challenge often feels massive and overwhelming. Yet, God is good and we're building momentum with three new plants with a fourth on the way. We're also praying for Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin as well. Will others come and help? Will you respond to God's call to help transform some of the country's most influential cities with more and more people moving here each day? There is a saying in Texas that I've grown to love... "I wasn't born here but got here as quick as I could!" Mark and I and the rest of the Texas crew would welcome any help or partnerships from our CRC family. Show Texas the love folks :--)

The Pastor by Eugene Peterson; Building a Discipleship Culture by Mike Breen; Christ-Based Leadership by David Stark; Church Unique by Will Mancini; The Making of a Leader by Bobby Clinton; The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory by Roberta Gilbert and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.

We have used Ascending Leaders' materials in our church in a variety of ways - formal discipleship courses, informal triads and small groups, individual study and supplement for preaching series. The flexibility of the material and the rich content make for a wonderful resource to help people grow in their character, something that is really lacking in our churches today. I have grown in my faith using AL's materials as well. I highly recommend "Christ Habits", "Spirit's Fruit" and the other AL resources for spiritual formation in your church.

Rod, thanks for the reflections! Amen to everything you said. It was great to "waste time" together with God and each other. Blessings... Andy

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