Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Future of Spiritual Formation: Transforming Discipleship and Mission

The church has never had more Christian discipleship resources for spiritual growth…and yet leaders everywhere are concerned about the real spiritual depth and breadth of their congregants. From ancient texts to modern authors, we are drowning in content and yet strangely superficial as crises rock of faith of many and failures of the institutional church cause some to question the Gospel itself.

Spiritual formation includes the great disciplines of biblical study, prayer, contemplation, solitude, congregational worship, generous giving and more. The problem is that many believers still have distinct categories for the dimensions of their lives, separating sacred and secular, spiritual and practical, and creating lists of priorities (God, family, church, work, etc.).
What is needed is a clear vision of integration, with body and spirit, Sunday and Monday, God and work, service and friendship all part of a cohesive picture of life under the leadership of Jesus Christ.

The Discipleship Dynamics Assessment™ (www.discipleshipdynamics.com) is the first biblically grounded and scientifically verified assessment that offers a snapshot of a disciple’s health and a profile of a group. All five dimensions of human experience are evaluated, with 35 outcomes measured by the responses of the believers taking the assessment. What is revolutionary is the integration of all the outcomes and the clear picture of health that emerges.

Transformational discipleship begins with a vision of the biblical outcomes, followed by programs and resources that help foster growth and healing. If the vision is clear, the methods can be adaptable, and celebration of progress is measurable. Here are five simple questions that reflect the dimensions of the assessment and offer and foundation for a fresh vision in every church and organization. Leaders, how are you offering help in the following?
• Am I (are we) growing closer to God, enjoying his presence, hearing his voice and loving the Word?
• Am I becoming more whole, receiving healing from my history and hope for the future? Am I caring for my emotional and physical health?
• Are my relationships healthy, from my family to my friends, to my colleagues at work?
• Do I have a sense of purpose and clarity about my gifts, skills, and ability to contribute to the world?
• Am I doing today’s work well, including caring for others?

Imagine every local church articulating a whole life vision that touches all of life so that every believer wakes up on Monday with purpose. And, just as exciting, these dimensions are a great tool for evangelism as we share with pre-believers what a healthy follower of Christ looks like!

Will you join this peaceful and powerful revolution? With these outcomes in mind, all the great resources and tools now have a place, from our websites to book tables, classes and personal mentoring. And these outcomes apply to all classes and cultures and offer a way to unify the church in this age of polarization.

COVID Stole My Job

I was driving to my office on Monday morning when the phone rings. One of our church members tells me a family member tested positive for COVID, so they’re quarantined for 14 days. They call me back 45 minutes later and said they were let go from their job. A staff member walks into my office and says another one of our members is completely out of work because their company is shut down because of COVID. I get a call from an entrepreneur who says the market has virtually dried up – they’ve got zero work coming in.

It’s a terrible Monday morning. It may be true that COVID stole their jobs.  But for a disciple, COVID can’t steal their vocation for their occupation. Read more …

COVID-19, Discipleship, and Death

I have experienced quite a bit of loss through death in my life; parents, grandparents, close friends, and then six years ago, completely unexpectedly, my wife of 44 years! At my age, when you hear of someone who has died, you unconsciously take note of how old they were (and then secretly calculate the difference between your age and theirs!).  I have lost a friend to COVID-19 and several more friends who are terminally ill from various other diseases, and they know they are dying. Death is much closer to me than it ever was, and it tends to pose some interesting discipleship challenges.

There’s a lot written about how to live a life of discipleship, but very little is written on the death process of a disciple of Christ.  I had a father-in-law who was a great man of God, who loved to minister to people, and lived his life focused on the less fortunate. When he was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer, his progress towards the end of his life was an amazing example of godly dying. Read more …