The Discipleship Interview With Dean Bouzeos
Discipleship Pastor, Community Church of Greenwood, IN
Phil Miglioratti @ Discipleship.Network ~ Dean, you have served as a pastor, directed sports ministries, and continue to be a student of Scripture. Share with us...
- Your definition of discipleship
Dean>>> "Discipleship is the life-long journey of following the Lord Jesus Christ thankfully, humbly, obediently and fruitfully, and guiding others to do the same - in their own lives and in the lives of others."
- Your description of a disciple
Dean>>> "A disciple is a person who has been saved from their sins by trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and desires and is disciplined to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21), to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29), to imitate Him (1 Corinthians 11:1), and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18)."
Your assessment of the state of discipleship across the Church today?
Dean>>> "I believe there is a renewed commitment to discipleship in the Church today, in the pattern of "The Master Plan of Evangelism" (Coleman) - of mature disciples pouring into the lives of Christ-followers, and preparing them and sending them to disciple others - to be multiplying disciples - in order to reach the masses. It seems that the pandemic has separated the serious disciples from the nominal ones, and has provided an avenue for more intentional and focused efforts on deeper discipleship."
- Weaknesses /Blind Spots/Concerns/Imbalances
Dean>>> "Unfortunately, I have seen for many, that the pandemic and the political landscape has taken the focus off of "disciples making disciples," and rather on trying to support one's positions in those areas. The lack of love and grace demonstrated by God's people, to each other, at times has been a poor witness for Christ to a lost world, and has dulled the passion to reach the world with the saving message of the gospel. I believe the Church in America needs to repent in order to remember our first love, stay true to the word of God, turn from sin, and be zealous in our service for Christ and His Kingdom (Revelation 2-3)."
Dean>>> "I recognize that the opening up of our churches - post Covid shutdowns - has demonstrated a deep hunger by people to reconnect and engage in meaningful fellowship and community. I believe this provides the church an open door to train Christ-followers on a one on one and small group level in the art of being a disciple that makes disciples. The renewed emphasis on doing life together should be a catalyst to deeper and wider discipleship."
How can congregational leaders learn disciple-making models from how we train athletes?
Dean>>> "Interesting question. Having a playing and coaching background in basketball, I will use that sport to illustrate. A good team sport coach has a master plan for each day's practice, which will include full team activity (warm-up drills, scrimmages, scouting report review...), position breakdown drills (guards, wings, posts...), and individual skill development under the watchful eye and tutelage of an assistant coach. There will also be pre or post strength and conditioning workouts, geared to each individual's size, speed and strength. All of these should develop greater individual skills, which in turn can make the team better. In a similar way, a pastoral team should look, on a weekly basis, to provide "team" development (Sunday services, classes...), "position" breakdown opportunities (small groups, special topic classes...), and individual skill development (one on one and small group discipleship options). All of these should help develop greater individual discipleship skills, which in turn can strengthen the church's outreach to its community and the world.
What are our models/methods missing/ignoring from how Jesus employed to build faith filled and faithful disciples?
Dean>>> "While sermons and classes and books that are geared for discipleship training have their place, they will not take the place of life on life coaching/mentoring. While certainly our Lord taught His disciples in the synagogues and mountainsides, He clearly did His primary teaching as He and the disciples did life together - walking and encountering and ministering to people in Judea, Samaria, Galilee and the surrounding areas. I have taught through Jesus' 4-step approach and His 5 action steps to disciple-making on multiple occasions, and I know His practices stand the test of time:
- Jesus did, the disciples watched → Luke 6:12-1
- Jesus did, the disciples helped → Luke 9:10-17
- The disciples did, Jesus helped → Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
- The disciples did, Jesus watched → Luke 24:50-53
5 Actions Steps
- a) Jesus did it through exhortation → Luke 5:1-11; 6:12-13
- b) Jesus did it through example → Luke 6:17-19
- c) Jesus did it through explanation → Luke 6:20-49
- d) Jesus did it through experience → Luke 9:1-6
- e) Jesus did it through examination → Luke 9:10,18-20; 10:1-12, 17-20
Agree/Disagree (and briefly explain why): We must utilize each of these components as we strive to build reproducing followers of Jesus - Biblical education (biblical truths and teachings) + Spiritual formation (spiritual character and disciplines) + Theological orientation (biblical worldview and calling).
Dean>>> "As a Christ-follower that values biblical and theological knowledge - with application - I personally would agree that all three areas are needed to build well-rounded and equipped disciple-makers. We are commanded to grow in knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), to study (2 Timothy 2:15), and to always be ready to make a defense for the hope in us (1 Peter 3:15). I believe that being equipped biblically, theologically and spiritually makes for more confident disciples in handling the word of God - which is what brings people to a new or deeper faith in Christ (Romans 10:17).
Talk about making disciples (objectives, ideas, resources) in:
Dean>>> "Families should be the primary environment fostering a culture of discipleship. Parents should recognize and accept the role of lead disciplers for their children. The church should be available to support families with resources and training in those efforts, and to step in and provide discipleship opportunities when parents are unable to do so. "God Space," "Family on Mission," and "Shepherding a Child's Heart" have been valuable resources over the years."
- Small Groups/Ministry Teams
Dean>>> "Small groups can play a valuable role in the disciple-making process - both to grow in the Scriptures and to develop opportunities for more mature group members to train those not as far along on the journey toward becoming a multiplying disciple. "Four Chair Discipling" is a solid resource in this area. Note: my other books on discipling are currently in boxes during this assignment transition time ."
- Worship Services
Dean>>> "The importance of worship services in the discipleship process has been mentioned earlier. Through clear teaching and application from Jesus' life recorded in the Gospels, through personal testimonies, and through songs and hymns calling God's people to deeper discipleship, services can emphasize the scope of disciple-making, and can encourage participation in other ministry activities designed to teach and train."
- Evangelism Outreach
Dean>>> "Inviting and bringing people along on ministry trips, or into ministry activities, is a great way to spend time together, and allow newer disciples to listen, observe, and even participate in opportunities to learn and apply principles of disciple-making."
- Prayer Gatherings
Dean>>> "Allowing a growing disciple to be around mature Christ-followers who have a deep intimacy with the Lord reflected in a humble and Spirit-led prayer life, will have a positive impact in the prayer life of that disciple. Having their own opportunities to pray in group prayer settings will help build their confidence and challenge them to have a deeper prayer life on their own, and with others."
Dean, please write a prayer, a heart-cry for church leaders, who are serious and ready to sacrifice in order to prioritize making disciples.
Father, we thank you for calling us to trust Christ and be saved and brought into your family. We thank you for your call to us into ministry, and ask that you would equip and empower us to fulfill your Kingdom purposes through us - as we gratefully and humbly and obediently walk with you. Please forgive us where we have fallen short of being a fully committed Christ-follower, and where we have missed opportunities to help others become multiplying disciples themselves. Please expand our vision for being a disciple who makes disciples who makes disciples. Please help us to follow our Lord Jesus and His master plan to train and release disciples, so that we can take part in making disciples of all nations. In His mighty Name we pray, Amen."
Discipleship Pastor, Community Church of Greenwood
- c) 831.428.2294
- w) firstname.lastname@example.org
“So Jesus said… ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31