“Making Healthy Disciples” A Guide for Leaders

Dear fellow-leader,

We have unprecedented resources for spiritual and personal growth, yet the challenges are still daunting: hurting people, broken families, and struggles connecting our faith to daily life, and local communities disconnected from our communities/organizations. All leaders desire maturity, stability, wholeness, and a sense of purpose in their fellow believers.

The Discipleship Dynamics Assessment (DDA)™ offers a new vision and process for disciple-making by focusing on outcomes and seeing the Christian life as dimensional rather than a linear process of classes or programs.

In addition to offering a 12-page personal report to all participants, the DDA offers the leader a DASHBOARD of the group results, while all personal results are confidential. When the leader buys a certain number of assessments and invites people to participate, the dashboard in filled with important data as people complete their surveys. This includes summary score in the Five Dimensions AND specific score in the 35 Outcomes. Here is an example from one local church with about 150 in attendance:

  • Spiritual formation: 57%
  • Personal Wholeness: 62%
  • Healthy Relationships: 54%
  • Vocational Clarity: 67%
  • Economics and Work: 72%

The Pastor noticed that spiritual formation, and especially the outcome of hearing God’s voice, could improve, so he integrated this knowledge into his preaching and small groups, along with a handful of other outcomes. In just a year, scores improved, and people felt that the messages and small groups were connecting. The pastor told his folks: “I rely on the Holy Spirit and trust the Word, but you really helped me with your participation – God used your assessments to help me serve you better.”

We will explore how to connect discipleship and this new resource with the ethos (mission, vision, and values) of your church or organization so everyone has a sense of growing together!

Making Healthy Disciples as a New Normal

Today’s crises offer an opportunity to recalibrate our discipleship and mission. Too often we mistake activity for fruitfulness, proximity for relationships, and meetings for progress. What if we can measure our progress and commission and equip all of God’s people as kingdom assets through their daily activities?

The Revolution: OUTCOMES before Programs!

God is on a mission through Jesus Christ – to reconcile, renew, and restore all of creation (Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:15-22; Revelation 21-22). God created humankind to enjoy his presence and fulfill his purpose. And God has invited us to join him in this mission (2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2). We discover that this cosmic redemption of heaven and earth includes:

  • The Great Commission to make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:18-20 (Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8);
  • These disciples are called to lives shaped by the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40; I John 2-4);
  • And we receive the help and strength we need through Jesus’ Great Invitation that summons us to intimacy and partnership (Matthew 11:28-30).

Hebrews 13:7: “Consider the outcome…” The Bible focuses on fruitfulness, not just activity; on building character, competencies and capacity so that we bear “much fruit.” (John 15)

What does a healthy disciple look like?

Connecting with divine expectations, we discover that there are FIVE DIMENSIONS in developing a whole person (who will join the whole church in taking the whole gospel to the whole world. For a visual of these dimensions: www.discipleshipdynamics.com):

Loving God = spiritual formation: Intimacy with the Lord and integration of community engagement and spiritual disciplines.

Loving our neighbor = healthy relationships: Avoiding codependency and toxicity while loving others deeply and wisely.

Self-respect (the “love…as yourself” dimension) = personal wholeness: This includes managing emotional history and cultivating hope, sexual purity and sanity, and appreciating our gifts.

But wait…two more dimensions!

Vocational Clarity: God’s calling(s): Learning our natural and spiritual gifts and seeing a sense of purpose and service that is more than our current job/tasks.

And all this takes place…the world of economics and work: This is God’s “frontline” for every believer – where we spend our waking hours. Becoming a greater asset where we work, caring for God’s world, and stewarding all our assets well for God’s glory.

And spiritual leaders are the “CLOs” = Chief Learning, Listening, and Landscaping Officers! Leaders create language that shapes the theology, worldview, and expectations of their communities and organizations.

First steps to transformation

Assuming that the church/organization is hospitable and integrating new constituents, here are the practical steps that will transform the disciple-making process and integrate the Discipleship Dynamics Assessment™ (DDA) into the life of the church/organization:

  • Examine the DNA (or “ethos” or “culture”) of your church: your mission, vision, and value statements.
  • Create OUTCOMES that connect real life with the key ideas that God has given that define your identity and mission. For example, if one of your goals is reaching out to the community, then two OUTCOMES would be that every member can share the gospel and they care for the marginalized. If one of your characteristics is spiritual maturity, then define this in ways that are understandable – prayer, Bible reading, application of Scripture to life, etc.
  • Connect the ethos of your church or organization with the Outcomes of the Discipleship Dynamics Assessment (DDA)™. This will not be difficult, but if you desire some encouragement or help, the DD leaders on the website will be happy to assist.
  • Have the leadership teams take the DDA and enjoy a robust conversation on the best ways to engage the congregation.
  • Prepare a plan so that a solid percentage of members take the DDA and plan for an annual invitation. The Assessment is best dome with at least a 9-12-month period for learning in between…and you will see real progress if you have been intentional about your work.

Here is a chart that will help with the accuracy of the group results

ASSUMPTION: a reasonable range of age, gender, culture, race, etc.
This includes at least 85% accuracy and a margin of error of 5%
PLEASE NOTE: We recommend the highest possible percentage of participants – so that as many members as possible have their personal results!

For a church or organization of x number of adults:
50 adults: 40 participants are needed
100: 60 are needed
200: 100 are needed
300: 120 are needed
400: 140 are needed
500: 150 are needed
800: 165 are needed
1000: 175 are needed
5000: 200 are needed

  • Affirm a deep connection between worship and work, devotion and service, with NO sacred/secular divide! All good work is pleasing to God. The Five Dimensions and 35 Outcomes reinforce that all believers are called to the kingdom, have the Holy Spirit and are divinely placed by God in their daily situations.
  • Share a sermon series or series of seminars/learning experiences that offer a fresh vision of outcome-based discipleship, affirming that the DDA is NOT a spiritual report card, but a snapshot of self-understanding!
  • Administrate the DDA to your invitees. When sufficient results are in, share the strengths and areas for improvement with the leadership and the congregation, and invite those stronger in some areas (scores in the 60s and above) to be ready to help others.
    • Be ready to respond to concerns, questions, and surprises! And note that the scoring is 0-100, with most people having scores from the 40s to the 80’s. this is NOT an academic score, like papers in college! Even seasoned leaders will have scores that reflect areas of growth. Here is a summary of the quartiles used in the Assessment:
      • 0-25: this is a new area or one of real struggle.
      • 25-50: there is real growth, with much room for improvement
      • 50-75: the person is solid, with room for growth
      • 75-100: the disciple is mature here and can help others
    • Future steps: Take time to survey members and find out areas of expertise and experience, passion and placement, giftings and desires. Resource a new culture of empowerment: website, book table, small groups, classes (virtual and live), and other creative ideas that will emerge.
    • God’s people are MORE capable that we give them credit for.

This is a revolution in discipleship – seeing life as dimensional and channeling all our resources toward biblical outcomes.