Yesterday morning, at our volunteer debrief, it was said “when you look back on this conference in 50 years, and look at the eternity impact it will have, hundreds of thousands of people will be impacted by it.” Exponential is changing lives. It is helping churches get ready to plant and be successful in their communities. It offers great resources and information for church planters to take home. The discipleship forum presented by DISCIPLESHIP.ORG helps church planters understand their impact through discipleship.
The panel, led by Bobby Harrington, included Bill Hull, Jeff Vanderstelt and Jim Putnam. The group embodied the quote that said, “discipleship brings together different tribes and organizations.” At the heart of the forum was the desire to see a revitalization in the American churches to see authentic discipleship happen. That first we must become better disciples of Jesus ourselves and then make disciples. Defining what a disciple was and getting back to biblical understanding was a large component of the discussion early on.
The different roles of the discipleship process was discussed. The role the Holy Spirit plays in our transformation to be more like Jesus. The same Holy Spirit that guided us towards conversion is now guiding us towards discipleship. The there is the role of a “spiritual parent” that needs to take responsibility to help disciple people. To show other followers of Jesus how to disciple people. It has to be both intentional and organic. An organic system that allows for “life-on-life,” relationally based discipleship to happen. Discipleship is a process, not a curriculum, that takes time. You never graduate from the discipleship process.
The panel continued into great practical ways to create a disciple making culture. Jeff Vanderstelt and the panel discussed how the disciples we make will be based off of the Gospel that we preach. Forum discussion by participants in small groups further capitalized on the information and strategies to better help churches in the discipleship process.
Discipleship is in the DNA of all people who follow Jesus. The desire to first be a better disciple of Jesus that then can make disciples of Jesus. We have to experience it, and when we can experience it in relationship, discipleship becomes who we are. It invades our lives. A person who consistently thinks like Jesus and acts like Jesus will increasingly look like Jesus.
I am excited for the conversations that are happening in the church. That discipleship isn’t a curriculum but process. A process that needs relationship and is intended to be in community. We must go back to the roots of discipleship. The way Jesus did. A process over time, in the context of our lives and in our tribes, that allows people to be more like Jesus.