Disciplemaking - Lesson 3

Discipleship Concepts

This lesson, Mary Jo Wilson discusses the approach to church planting based on the teachings of George Patterson. Patterson's approach emphasizes the importance of building obedient disciples through a focus on the Gospels. The course uses the Biblical Imagination Approach series by Michael Card to bring both head and heart to the study of the Gospels. The video outlines a four-part structure for the course, with each part focusing on a specific Gospel: John emphasizes intimacy with God, Matthew emphasizes identity and the Kingdom of God, Luke challenges paradigms and emphasizes multiplying disciples, and Mark emphasizes action and serving others.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Discipleship Concepts

Introduction to Discipleship Concepts

I. The Importance of the Gospels

A. The Great Commission

B. Building Obedient Disciples

C. The Seven Obediences

II. The Biblical Imagination Approach

A. Head and Heart Engagement

B. The Informed Imagination

C. Michael Card's Approach

1. Biblical Imagination Approach Series

2. Holistic Approach to Following Jesus

3. Engaging with Scripture through Imagination

4. Understanding Historical Context and People

III. Conclusion

  • Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley introduce themselves and express their excitement about the upcoming discipleship course, which aims to enhance participants' relationship with God and their work in the world, and encourage them to bring transformative change to their church and ministry.
  • Joe Handley outlines the elements that they will be covered in the Disciplemaking course: what is a disciple, the great commandment, becoming a disciple, being a disciple, fruitfulness, and multiplying disciples.
  • The lesson discusses the approach to discipleship, which is focused on the four gospels and building obedient disciples through the seven obedience; it emphasizes a holistic approach to following Jesus and the informed imagination, and the course will focus on the gospels of John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
  • Mary Jo Wilson emphasizes the importance of understanding the role of suffering and persecution in discipleship, as it is a recurring theme in the Gospels and is also a part of the early church experience, and discusses how enduring such hardships can be a formative experience for Christians.
  • The lesson discusses the importance of abiding in Christ as the key to joy in life, bearing fruit in one's life, and becoming a disciple of Jesus through a deep and communal relationship with Him.
  • Discipleship is not a program but a relationship. Abiding in Christ is the key to joy in life and bearing much fruit and is achieved through having a deep communal walk with Jesus and allowing Him to prune us to make us stronger.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of a posture of repentance and dependence on the Holy Spirit in the discipleship process, and highlights the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, guiding in decision making, and forming believers into Christ.
  • The instructors and students discuss their thoughts and experiences on what it means to be a disciple, including the importance of maintaining a growing relationship with God, the internal aspects of discipleship, abiding in God, the role of inviting God into everyday life, and the significance of pruning.
  • This session discusses the importance of becoming a disciple of Jesus and our identity in Christ, illustrated through the example of churches in Japan becoming centers for relief goods after the 2011 disasters and being seen as representatives of Christ by the community.
  • By taking this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God, including the importance of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and how they relate to the mission of the church and the call to discipleship.
  • The lesson discusses the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, where Jesus describes the Kingdom of God and how his followers are to live as salt and light in the world, raising the bar on the interpretation of the Old Testament law and calling for inner righteousness, forgiveness, and love for enemies.
  • This lesson reviews the importance of becoming like Jesus and displaying his characteristics, such as humility and generosity, to become authentic Christ-centered people in our communities, and emphasizes the need for communal support to grow in our faith.
  • In this group discussion about discipleship and the Sermon on the Mount, the students and instructors reflect on the Beatitudes and how they challenge and contrast with the values of the world, and discuss how Jesus lifted up marginalized people and called all his followers to be salt and light in the world.
  • In this lesson Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley discuss transitioning from becoming a disciple to being a disciple who makes disciples, with a focus on the overflow of abiding in Christ into the lives of others.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of spiritual conversations and how to approach them in our daily lives through the example of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4.
  • Joe Handley discusses the idea of being a disciple of Jesus and how to share one's story and witness through different tools, including prayer, social media, and engaging with others through layering of interactions.
  • The class discusses the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, highlighting how Jesus approached the woman with humility and respect, treating her like a real person and engaging in a conversation with her, despite social and cultural barriers. They also discuss how Jesus challenged his disciples to adopt a Kingdom way that breaks down barriers and recognizes the value and dignity of all people.
  • This session focuses on the importance of reproducibility and sustainability in disciple-making, drawing on examples from the book of Acts and personal anecdotes.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of a reproducible culture of discipleship in the Kingdom of God, drawing on the idea of the mustard seed and how small actions can have a big impact, and provides examples of how this can be implemented in different contexts such as micro churches.
  • This lesson provides information on small groups in discipleship, including their definition, anatomy, purpose, characteristics, steps for starting one, the role of the leader, the discipleship process in small groups, and their importance in discipleship in general.
  • Instructors Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss with students their visions of the Kingdom of God, with one sharing their goal of sharing their story to help others understand the word of God, while another likens the planting of seeds to the growth of faith, stressing the importance of patience and trust in the process of nurturing them.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss the importance of creating a practical plan for discipleship and ministry, encouraging listeners to reflect on what they've learned, and write a strategic personal plan for following through on their learning.
  • This lesson teaches how to pull together the different sections of a discipleship plan using the model of vision, intent and means, and suggests including a vision, introduction, conclusion and rule of life, while encouraging reflection and sharing with others.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of creating a "rule of life" as part of a personal discipleship plan, which helps to balance and organize different areas of life, including spiritual, social, intellectual, and physical aspects.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson close their discipleship course by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow together, and offer a prayer of blessing for their students to continue on their lifelong journey as faithful followers of Jesus.

In this class, you will explore the foundations, methods, and models of disciplemaking, drawing from biblical principles, historical perspectives, and theological insights. You will examine the disciplemaking approaches of Jesus and Paul, as well as modern examples and strategies. Additionally, you will learn how to develop a personal disciplemaking plan through the assessment of spiritual gifts and identification of ministry opportunities. Finally, you will delve into disciplemaking in the local church and beyond, including church-based strategies, cross-cultural disciplemaking, and equipping and multiplying disciplemakers.

Mary Jo Wilson
Discipleship Concepts
Lesson Transcript

As I said in the introduction, my background is in church planting in Japan and such a privilege. We learn from many different trainers and use different approaches. And one that I love was George Patterson, and some say that he is one of the best church planters in the world, and we've learned so much from him, and we loved his approach as we were starting a new church, especially in an area where the people that came to our church or our wasn't, it was the churches. I would really just start with a small group. Some of them did not even know that Jesus was someone that was a historical figure who actually walked on this planet. They thought kind of like a Greek god of some sort. And so it was really fun introducing them to Jesus. And George Patterson emphasized that in the work at Discipleship, it focuses on the four gospels and that obviously from the Great Commission, when Jesus said to his disciples that to go and make disciples of all peoples and baptizing them and teaching them everything he had commanded to those first followers, and so that's captured in the Gospels. And so he had actually the seven obedience and that our work was building obedient disciples and that focused on who Jesus was. And so he pulled seven. Obedience is kind of out of the whole of four gospels. And so that was the basis of our as we started a church there. And then it was about helping them to understand what that meant as obedience. And so also in this course, we want to emphasize the Gospels. And so your first textbook is your Bible, and we want you to soak in the Gospels and just enjoy learning about Jesus. And we also have four textbooks that are written by Michael Carr. This is Matthew of the Book of Matthew. And so as you're going along and reading and soaking in the Gospels, we wanted to bring his commentaries. This approach, it's the Biblical Imagination Approach series for the for the four Gospels. And the reason we brought this in is that he works to bring both head and heart, and we want this or desires that. This is very much a transformative exercise and learning experience and not just something that kind of critically observes a word and an academic approach, he writes. Our approach is to engage the text at the level of the informed imagination. This method takes seriously the impact of the fall on every dimension of human experience, including the fragmented and fallen way. We listen to the Bible on one side, or those who study Scripture with all their minds. They are engaged intellectually puzzling over the text as if it were only a cipher to be solved. They tend to be to gravitate toward theology. They revel in being right. And on the other side are those who engage in the Bible predominantly with the heart. They lean toward the emotional, even mystical understanding of the Scripture rather than the theology theological. I would describe them as devotional in their approach. Neither approach is wrong, but both are incomplete. And this is what we want to emphasize, that we want to see a holistic approach to our following Jesus. God has given us hearts with which to feel and minds for reasoning. He longs to recapture them both with the truth of the word. And so Michael Card's approach is what he calls the informed imagination, biblical imagination that is grounded solidly in Scripture and in scholarly input, but also invites us to engage with it with our imagination, imagining ourselves there, imagining what's happening, understanding the context, historical context, and understanding the people. Because it's really stories about people. And his parables are about an emotional impact, too, to kind of spark and even to shock people sometimes to understand the truth, the dramatic paradigm shift of the kingdom of God. And so we hope that you enjoy this as you go through it. We have one for each of the Gospels. And so I actually went through these for a year and just focused on the gospel and so much enjoyed just listening to his input, but also my own reflections in this process. So we invite you to soak and use these textbooks and we're going to follow a flow in our first, as Joe described it, was we focus first on the intimacy, our intimate relationship, love relationship with God. And so we want you to go deep into the gospel of John, which is all obviously emphasizes this a great deal. The gospel of John is where we start. And the second is a focus on how we are being a disciple and how that shapes us. And so we chose the gospel of Matthew. With you as you soak in that area. And Matthew really emphasizes our identity, the a gospel of identity and the kingdom of God. In the Sermon on the Mount and what that looks like. And so it's about our formation and understanding how being a disciple of Jesus changes us and makes us more like Him and that Kingdom of God for you and he. Joe also mentioned the Vim model, the vision intent means. And so having that vision for the Kingdom of God is so important. So Matthew really goes into that. And then the third section is about an now as we go out and we're making disciples. And so in that when you're studying that section, we invite you to really soak in the Gospel of Luke. And Luke obviously was a Gentile writer. And Luke really challenges us. Some of the paradigms takes it outside of those roots of Judaism and pushes out into the Gentile world and brings in people who are on the fringes. Luke is a wonderful way as we wrestle with those ideas of multiplying disciples. And then in the last section, we invite you then to focus on the gospel of Mark. And Mark is the first gospel that was written and the shortest, and it was heavily influenced by Peter. And so you see a lot of Peter's energy and what we say a quick, quick movement and his emotions. It's the most emotional gospel, most of the most language of emotion is there. And so we pick up a little bit of the flavor of Peter as a as a maybe the closest disciple to Jesus, the one that was always mentioned first. And so we'll let you explore the gospel of Mark in that final section as we discuss Ecclesia and the starting of communities and seeing this multiply into our churches. And in addition, we're going to go into the Book of Acts and look at a little section in the one of the first missionary journeys and see how the disciples then took the life and teaching of Jesus as they are making disciples and forming that into a church and seeing how that takes root in different settings, in different cultures and the messiness of that. And they're dealing with things that are brand new and how they take the life and teaching these commands of Jesus and flesh that out in that context. And so that that be an exciting journey. Then also to look a little bit at the Book of Acts. And so the other textbooks, I'm going to go through some of the other textbooks after these four gospels and these books of Michael Cards and the Biblical Imagination series, we have some other texts to kind of encourage you and challenge your thinking and stimulate your process. The first one is The Kingdom Life, and this is an anthology. There are a number of different authors and we love bringing different voices into the subjects. And so you'll have an opportunity to read from different people and they're speaking in their area of expertise. And so it's a it's called a practical theology of discipleship and spiritual formation. They bring in that spiritual formation piece as well. And so we will reference chapters as we go along and hope that you enjoy that reading as well. The additional book is called The Discipleship Difference, and it's the subtitle is Making Disciples while Growing Disciples. This is written by Robert Logan and Charles Ridley, and Bob is a good friend and someone who has worked a lot and invested a lot in the church in Japan. We've learned a lot from him and we've seen him on the ground. And so his writing is really grounded in on the ground experience and multiplication and in different contexts, different cultures. And so we have a lot to learn from Bob on that practical and Charles on the practical piece of discipleship. So we didn't want this to just be concepts that you're wrestling with, but then it's actually going deeper into our formation and that out into our world. And so Bob will give you a lot of great insights and practical advice in that sense. And then we also pulled in another book will reference following Jesus is the Spirituality of Disciples. It was written by Young Hoon Lee and he is a scholar and a leader in in Korea as well. And yet his book really is a, I'd say, a pastoral voice. And you see his ministry and leaning in the pastoral and he weaves in beautifully the passion of following Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. And so we hope that you will enjoy that. I do not know if it's available on Amazon yet, but we will provide some PDFs of some chapters if that's necessary. So enjoy that as well as just another little flavor, another taste of our view of discipleship. We also reference. Upward, outward, inward muscle Fukuda, who is another small book. So we'll be referencing some little things and give you different flavors. And we'll have lots of conversations from some of our leaders across Asia to also give input into this experience of discipleship and their stories. So we're thrilled to include that as well. So your first assignment then, is to write a definition of discipleship, and we want you first to read in chapter three in the Kingdom Life. There is a chapter that wrestling with that topic of discipleship, and it addresses some misconceptions and misunderstandings. He talks a little bit about the tendency, some people to just focus on our salvation experience, and it's kind of an event that is focused on and from there we kind of flow. We live our faith in our church, but it's not something that is really informing who we are and shaping our identity and affecting our engagement in the world. So he addresses some of those misunderstandings and also not jumping to, oh, then it's a big acts of activism. He talks a little bit about that, but rather it's this process. And so we invite you to read that and then we'd like you to write your definition of discipleship. And this can be something that you work on as you read in the Gospels and as you're learning about being a follower of Jesus. And I'll just add a couple of maybe hints as you as you process that, that as we think of discipleship, it is more of the a sense of an apprentice. And so it's an it's an experience and it's grounded in a relationship. And so it's not as much the head certainly context reading study is important, but it's really a lot about fleshing that out and walking with Jesus and leaning on the Holy Spirit and living that out and we never get it perfectly. And so there is a lot of grace in that and we want to avoid legalism because that would just kill the life of our spirituality. So we want to be sensitive to times when we move into that and it is always grounded in the love of God that is never deserved when we never come to a point where we deserve that. And so that sense of gratitude and that are the grace, the gift of our salvation never changes. That is always a grace gift. We never get to a point that I am good and I have earned this, but rather it's always that grace, that sense of God's gift to us. But at the same time, we know that He is shaping us and he is making us to reflect him increasingly in the world. I think it's Dallas Willard that talks about how in this formation of process that you may think as we grow in Christ, we feel better about ourselves and we feel like we're getting it right. But the reality is, as God walks with us in this journey, He begins to reveal more about things in our life that are out of out of alignment with the Kingdom of God, lifestyle and life and ways that we have at the core. It's really selfishness, self-centeredness. Dallas Willard Mentors is the core of kind of what pulls us away from God. And so it's shifting from self-centeredness to Christ centeredness. And so along the way, it's not like we get better and better and better, but rather that as we're growing, we realize more how we need to grow. So that is an exciting challenge, but it does keep us humble and it keeps us in the process of saying, I am a follower of Jesus, I'm being transformed. You're a follower of Jesus, you're being transformed. And we're all in this journey together. And I hope to you'll bring in that community element of how we are growing together and how important that is as a disciple of Jesus that were with other disciples, and that we're learning and growing together and fighting them into their our lives, which is also so important for our formation. So welcome you to read that chapter three right out. Start to write out your definition of discipleship and then keep that handy. You may want to make changes as we go along.