DDA

From Revival to Awakening

We are thankful to God for every personal, local church, and community-wide spiritual revival. It is wonderful when God’s people reignite their passion for love and truth, consecration, and evangelism. It is a joy seeing new converts baptized and added to our churches. American and global church history are filled with seasons of spiritual refreshing and renewal.

But the Lord has even more in store for us as we pursue God’s glory and the good of others. In special moments of history, the reviving work of the Spirit also overflows to social and spiritual transformation of neighborhoods and nations, touching every people group and domain of society. Put simply, the people of God have influence and impact in economic and social structures. We call this overflow awakening. Read more …

Welcome to Discipleship Dynamics 4.0: A New Era

Friends, we are so excited to share with you all the new developments with the Discipleship Dynamics Assessment (DDA) and the mission we are on with you to transform discipleship. We are calling this new era beginning today, “DDA 4.0.” Why? Because we have learned so much in the last decade that we can confidently declare that our vision is clearer, our assessments are more refined, and the new resources we are offering make our entire mission more complete.

A little history, from 1.0 to 4.0: We introduced the DDA in 2013 with five Dimensions and 40 Outcomes. It was met with approval and many joined us in this unprecedented vision and evaluation of whole-life discipleship. In listening to users, they asked if it could be more streamlined and have an outcome focused on physical health. We heard you and the DDA 2.0 was born a couple years later. Since 2016, we have been refining this tool that offers a unique snapshot of a believer’s current walk with the Lord. Read more …

Online Discipleship during COVID-19

Discipleship has always been a challenge for the church.  We have traditionally been excellent at gathering people together, at delivering anointed preaching, and producing amazing worship experiences.  We do prayer meetings and small groups and invest in Sunday School programs, all as organizational strategies to somehow produce disciples.  After all, making disciples was the “prime directive” that Jesus left for us (with humble apologies to my Trekkie friends!).  Jesus said He would build His church; our task was to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

COVID-19 has severely disrupted our organizational strategies.  But even if they had been highly successful in producing mature disciples who understand the ways of the Lord, we will not be able to utilize them for the foreseeable future. Read more …

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.). Read more …

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 …

A Time of and for Change: A Word for Leaders, Part 2

As we endure through and emerge from this pandemic, there are some practical steps leaders can implement so that their people are ready for a world that has changed forever. Pastors and spiritual leaders (elders, deacons, staff, volunteer leaders and so many others): Thank you for your love, sacrificial service, and tireless concern for your congregations and communities. These thoughts are intended to relieve burdens, not add to them! Here are four first steps in forging a new future.

Take care of yourselves. Self-care is not selfish; it is a vital starting point for having capacity to care for others. Nourishing intimacy with God, receiving healing in our hearts, physical exercise and rest, and relational wholeness are all part of being prepared for service. Jesus’ great invitation of Matthew 11:27-30 is an offer of pacing and rest we can embrace.

Read more …

A Time of and for Change: A Word for Leaders, Part I

The current pandemic is bringing untold suffering – and an unprecedented opportunity for re-calibrating discipleship and mission. In this two-part series, I want to offer some insights how we can refine and even transform how we see the equipping of God’s people.

No one knows the future of our global and local economies. “V-shaped” (fairly rapid); “U-Shaped” (slower) and “check-shaped” (quick descent, slow ascent) visuals are all presented, but only time will tell the full effects of the pandemic.

The case for integrating faith, work, and economic wisdom for human flourishing, church vitality, and community thriving is now stronger than ever, and few are arguing for any sacred/secular divides. This said, the need for wisdom is paramount as spiritual leaders empower their congregants for a new economic world.

Read more …

For Such a Time as This

This moment of coronavirus crisis is a great opportunity to re-calibrate our discipleship efforts, thinking more about outcomes than programs, and more about resourcing one another than having meetings.

There is much discussion on the best ways to make disciples and see true maturity, stability, and vitality in believers. All leaders are emphasizing both relationships and sound doctrine, practical disciplines and inner transformation.

What is missing is a clear vision of flourishing, of health in all dimensions of life. The Discipleship Dynamics Assessment offers this vision and the ability to measure progress. As the Lord is leading your community in making disciples, consider offering clarity about what health looks like! Read more …

The Assessment: History and Hope

When we were creating the Discipleship Dynamics Assessment (DDA), we listened to the insights of hundreds of leaders in all fields of work who were committed to discipleship. We found that everyone was on board for assessing spiritual, emotional, and relational dimensions.

What makes the DDA revolutionary in the INTEGRATION of Vocational Clarity (calling and purpose beyond today’s daily work) and Economics and Work (ALL daily tasks and the fact we are part of various economies) with the spiritual life!

There is no “secular” employment for the people of God – only God’s work in us and through us in everything we do! It is TODAY’s discipline that is tomorrow’s destiny. Yes, there is much injustice and toil in our work – but it is the place where God’s purposes are lived out. Read more …