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Dear Discipleship-first Friends,

We are grateful for Dan Leitz, CEO of The Bonhoeffer Project for sharing the Five Keys to designing a Discipleship Gospel:
  1. Start Upstream
Any time we jump in the water downstream, we find water that has been polluted by everything it runs through before it got to that location. The same thing happens with the Gospel we teach. We must go back to the headwaters of Scripture to ensure we are in clean water. The Gospel you proclaim determines the disciples you produce.
  1. Find the Truth
The western church has created a lot of gospels, mostly meant to suit their needs and desires. We must study the real deal (see #1) to recognize the counterfeits. The gospel Americana is making a mess of things.
  1. Engage the Holy Spirit
Nothing we do will work if we don’t fully engage the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent Him to guide us, and to comfort us as we walk through the mess of life with those that we disciple.
  1. Know It Is a Long Game
The Bonhoeffer Project understands that discipleship is not a quick fix for the church. We model the long obedience of following Christ in our cohorts, discipling one another as we move you through the process.
  1. Find the “Who”
Not everyone has the desire to embark on the journey of discipleship. Look for those who are 4th soilers, ready to grow and put in the hard work.
Join The Bonhoeffer Project breakout sessions at the National Disciple Making Forum on October 5th and 6th in Nashville, Tennessee and for The Bonhoeffer Gathering the day before.
The Bonhoeffer Project breakouts include:
Track 1:  Intentional Gospel
Track 2:  Words Matter
Track 3:  Refresh and Reset
Track 4:  Intentional Multiplication
Click here to register for the 2022 National Disciple Making Forum*


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  • Dear Discipleship-first friends,
    This week's show in the collective highlights the ministry of the Navigators Church Ministries. Wednesday's show will feature Justin Gravitt and Tony Miltenberger talking about "Four truths that grow a disciple making culture." Thursday's show is with Bill Mowry on how to practically walk alongside those you disciple. These shows will play live in the Auditorium this Wednesday & Thursday (September 7th & 8th) at 2PM Central.

    Also, don't miss the recent show we did with Alice Matagora on the pitfalls of making disciples. She has a new book out that uses research from Barna. It can be hard to find work that is data-driven and practical. She has a great combination of both! You can find many other great shows in that recent show link as well!

    Navigators Church Ministries is one of our Breakout Track Leaders at the Forum in October. To find out more about the forum and register to attend you can click here - National Disciple Making Forum. You can see their track info on the mobile site here.

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    How to Make Disciple Making Churches
    Jim Putman

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    For the Struggling Parent Who Wants to Disciple Their Kids
    Melissa Swain


    Don't Waste Your Time
    Danny Heiberg


    Copyright © 2022, All rights reserved.
    You were subscribed to the newsletter from

    Our mailing address is:
    1101 Gardner Drive
    Franklin, TN 37064
  • Dear Discipleship-first friends,
    We had a great first day of the National Forum! We are going to give you a recap of the main stage sessions each day and we had some powerful main stage sessions today. If you aren't able to watch these live, you can watch it later with the Digital Access Pass.

    Here are some highlights from each of today's main sessions:

    Main Session #1 – Renee Sproles: New Cultural Challenges & Jim Putman: The Senior Pastor’s Leadership in the New Cultural Challenges


    Renee spoke on the cultural erosion that stands against much of God's Kingdom priorities and purposes. I was personally moved by her talk on the need to take risks and the possibility of actually changing a culture. Often that seems like an insurmountable task but it is possible with God's help. But...or should I say "and" will most likely only take place when God's people stand up and go through some kind of suffering because it will be risky to try to stand against the evil we see in the world. But if we don't, who will and what will the future look like for the generations we pass the baton to?

    Jim Putman gut punched many of us by calling on pastors to make sure that we are life-on-life and in real time discipling real people. It isn't about preaching discipleship. It is about making disciples as leaders. Like Renee, he mentioned that it is going to be uncomfortable but how do we call your church to do an uncomfortable thing if we aren't willing to be uncomfortable first? He called us to stop caring so much about church growth and care more about just being faithful and let God set the size of the church.

    Main Session #2 – Tim Hawks: Countercultural Families: The Challenges Facing Families & Matt Markins: The Old Maps of Family Ministry

    As a parent of 11 and 13 year olds, this session really got to me.

    Tim unpacked the issue of busyness in our churches by our parents and that it isn't a scheduling issue. It is an issue of priority and what young parents view as to what it takes to make their kids "successful." Parents now believe that their kids will be a success in life apart from intentional faith development and discipleship. He talked about how we as parents often outsource our kids to the influence of the world for the world to disciple our kids in our place. We must resist that and get hands on with our kids' faith again.

    Matt Markins used the illustration of old vs new maps. Old maps served their purpose but are less useful today. The old map for faith development in children for church ministries had to do with: Attracting through entertainment, being relevant and having "Bible lite". The fruit of that approach has been found wanting.

    Instead, he offers a new map that consists of formation, community, and a steady diet of Bible and Gospel teaching.

    Both talks were intensely practical.

    If you would like to watch these for yourself, you can check out the Digital Access Pass here where you will get all 4 main stage sessions and 4 track sessions.


    Dear Discipleship-first friends,
    We had a great second day of the National Forum! If you weren't able to watch these live, you can watch it later with the Digital Access Pass.

    Here are some highlights from each of today's main sessions:

    Main Session #3 – Alice Matagora: Discipling Broken People: Discipling is Healing & Myron Pierce: Discipling Relationships in the Inner City


    Alice started with her testimony to illustrate how God can bring healing to anyone and use them to expand the Kingdom of God. She gave us a call to enter into discipling relationships to bring life and healing to broken people.

    The reality is, the landscape is changing and we need to equip ourselves to reach this generation. Alice gave us three practical ways to reach hurting people and how it doesn't require expertise or degrees in counseling but is something simple that God can use us to do:

    1) We help people break free from lies by showing them the truth of God's Word.
    2) We get them into the spiritual disciplines to commune with God and connect God with their issues. This helps them "develop the muscles to hear from God" on their own.
    3) Get to the root of the issue rather than dealing with symptoms.
    4) There are no quick solutions. Quick solutions can push people back into hiding.

    We can all give the gift of presence and safe space to those who are not okay. The "crisis of loneliness" can be helped by our gift of presence.

    Myron started with a powerful story about a friend who was shot and left for dead...died...was resuscitated and is now serving God! Disciple making in the inner city comes with challenges and challenging people...but is that any different than Jesus and his followers? "Broken people matter to God...beautifully broken."

    His first key point was about proximity.
    In a similar point to Alice, he pointed out that "proximity is the key." God didn't "change theworld from heaven" but used proximity...putting his people into broken situations with broken people. Do we need a savior if there is no brokenness? "Proximity establishes equity in relationship...for us to trust God he has to become us. He warned us against "Discipling from a distance." He powerfully pointed out that evangelism works both ways - the way we are used to (going to broken to people) and them coming into proximity to us and teaching us something.

    Second, Myron talked about durability.
    We have a call to endure when we disciple people. Even Jesus asked "How long?" We are in the long game. The people we disciple are going to "get it" some day and not on other can be frustrating and we have to endure. Here is the secret to enduring - "keeping your eyes on why you are doing it." We are here for God first. It is critical that we finish. People are watching and it builds faith to see people finish.

    Third is "hopeability"
    The currency in hard communities is hope. "Show me someone who don't have hope and I will show you someone who died a long time ago." We have to have the ability to see things in people that they cannot see for themselves...don't get caught up on who someone is not. If we can see in them what they cannot see for themselves then they can find hope.

    Main Session #4 – Dan Leitz: Revival in the Local Church & Shodankeh Johnson: Revival and Disciple Making Movements

    Dan Leitz started off the final session talking about aging and the need for physical revival and how that has parallels with the need for spiritual revival among the people of God. Sometimes we realize something needs to change.

    Question 1 - What needs to be removed?
    We have to think about what needs to be removed. Dan is asking us to take inventory about what needs to be removed in order for revival to take place. Luke 10:4 - the sending of the 70 - he told them what to leave behind so that they knew the needed Jesus. What is hindering revival that needs to be removed?

    Question 2 - What needs to be renewed?
    Renewal will require boldness and will involve suffering. "Revival stalls when we forget the source of where it comes from." We must ask God for boldness and be obedient to what God has said. Maybe we are seeking an emotional revival than a spiritual one. This is going to mean emphasizing obedience to God.

    Shodankeh Johnson wrapped up our time talking about disciple making movements and 12 shifts we must make to see it happen. Movement will require something to shift in our minds or else revival will not come. We cannot worry about God's part...the problem is with us.

    Shift 1 - A shift from talking prayer to praying prayer via the example of Jesus. Jesus set the example in praying all the time. If Jesus is our coach and mentor then we will pray all the time.

    Shift 2 - A shift from our strategy to the Holy Spirit. We must embrace the Holy Spirit. We often make a plan then take it to God rather than the other way around.

    Shift 3 - A move from professionals to ordinary people. Jesus used ordinary people, fishermen, etc. "Professionals can be difficult to deal with."

    Shift 4 - Move from expensive to cheap. This speeds up replication. You don't need a building. They do it under a tree and don't "pay for the tree or water the tree."

    Shift 5 - Move from slow to fast. The way we are doing it hinders revival because it is too slow. Train discipleship who make disciples who make disciples.

    Shift 6 - Start small to end big.

    Shift 7 - Move from knowledge based to obedience based. So much knowledge but we often do little with it.

    Shift 8 - Move from spectators to participants.

    Shift 9 - Move from evangelism to making disciples.

    Shift 10 - Centralized to decentralized.

    Shift 11 - Move from doing to catalyzing. The African proverb says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others."

    Shift 12 - Move from priority on the saved to priority on the lost. This needs to be reflected in our budgets. Discipleship is not about convenience. There are times you will not be comfortable, like Jesus who came here.

    Let us all pray that we can make these shifts on a personal and corporate level as we look to the future of what God has for His church.

    If you would like to watch these for yourself, you can check out the Digital Access Pass where you will get all 4 main stage sessions and 4 track sessions.

    Thank you for being part of We are blessed to partner with you in making disciples who make more disciples!


    Copyright © 2022, All rights reserved.
    You were subscribed to the newsletter from

    Our mailing address is:
    1101 Gardner Drive
    Franklin, TN 37064
  • Dear Discipleship-first Friends,
    Our 2023 National Disciple Making Forum will focus on the use of scripture in discipling relationships.
    Thank you for reading this post—it is significant because it will help you to see why this topic is so very important for all of us.
    We make disciples by helping people to know and obey the teachings of Jesus in everyday life. (Matthew 28:19-20) Disciple making is practical. We help people to follow Jesus in their work, in their friendships, in their marriages, etc.
    A good definition of a disciple helps us to see the holistic life transformation involved. The best definition that I have found is to use Matthew 4:19 as an outline.
    And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (ESV)
    We divide this verse so that it becomes a framework for the three key parts we find in the rest of the New Testament on what it means to be a disciple. These three parts include:
    (1) “following” Jesus (head)
    (2) “being changed” by Jesus through the Holy Spirit (heart)
    (3) “committed to the mission of Jesus” “fishers of men” (hands)
    Based on these three parts, we recommend the following definition of a disciple:
    A disciple is one who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus and is committed to the mission of Jesus.


    For more, read What Do We Mean by “Disciple,” “Di...

    This definition is very practical. Being a disciple is to live as Jesus would live if he were living our everyday life. It involves our heads (mind), our hearts (goals, desires), and our hands (will, action). Please note the holistic parts. Too many people have made discipleship about knowledge of the Bible only (mind). They equate discipleship just with education--but it is more than knowledge; it transforms the heart and the hands.
    At the same time, we do not move too far away from the mind and study because disciple making requires knowledge of Jesus and His ways.

    Click to Read More
    For King Jesus,

    Bobby Harrington
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    From Attractional to Bible-Centered Church
    Donnie Williams

    Disciple Making Principles for the North American Church (Part 1)
    Shodankeh Johnson & Paul Huyghebaert

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    Spiritual Reproduction Requires Intimacy With God
    Steve Stahl


    A Defining Moment
    Ken Adams


    A Global Family
    Emily Heaton


    Ordinary People, Extraordinary God
    Emily Heaton


    Meeting Community Needs
    Judy Cintron


    Click here to register for the 2023 National Disciple Making Forum

    Copyright © 2022, All rights reserved.
    You were subscribed to the newsletter from

    Our mailing address is:
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    Franklin, TN 37068


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