(This is Part 5 of our series on Disciple Making in Transient Communities. Read Part 4 here.)
Disciple making is most effective in the context of genuine and personal relationships. Jesus and Paul both illustrated the effectiveness of focusing on the few. In the context of genuine personal relationships both Jesus and Paul were able to adapt their discipling to the needs of their disciples. The personal relationship is more organic than the classroom and affords itself to adaptability and tailoring to fit the needs of individual disciples.
Programs and classrooms are typically synchronized and regimented. Disciple making in the context of personal relationships can be personalized and customized. The smaller the number of people the more flexibility to personalize the discipling. From a purely logistical perspective it is much easier to schedule meetings between two or three disciples than to schedule classes to accommodate dozens of people at the same time.
Information vs. Intimacy
The curriculum for Jesus’ and Paul’s disciple making process was the teaching of God’s Word and modeling it in their life and ministry. This teaching-modeling approach is best accomplished in the context of personal relationships. Programs tend to be focused on information. Relationships can be focused on intimacy and accountability. This is more likely to lead to greater internalization, transformation and ultimately multiplication.
While disciple making is more effective in the context of relationships than in programs, there needs to be some programmatic elements. There should be sequenced knowledge and skill acquisition. There should be a systematic approach to learning doctrinal content and developing spiritual disciplines. This should all be done in the context of personal relationships for the most effective transformation to occur.
About the Author:
Darryl provides vision and leadership to CATALYST…the church multiplication movement of the International Baptist Convention. Prior to his current role, he served as planter/lead pastor of Frontline Community Ramstein, Germany from 2004-2014 ministering to the American military families in the area. Before full-time ministry, he served 22 years in the United States Air Force. He is a graduate of Liberty University, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and most recently completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in Global and Contextual Leadership with Bethel Seminary. Learn more about Darryl here.
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