Bob Logan's Posts (7)

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9570815657?profile=originalFor discipling people, I like to use the analogy of rubber bands and shoelaces. People need both enough stretch (rubber bands) and enough support (shoelaces) to be able to move forward. One without the other is incomplete. People need to be stretched and challenged in order to grow. They also need the connectedness of being tied in with others for support.

The writer of Hebrews outlines the dual needs of stretch and support in the context of community:

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25, NRSV)

Let’s unpack this rich passage, as it has a great deal to say about how we are to disciple one another:

  • “let us consider…” The word consider implies intentional thought about how to help another individual. We are to take our time, sit down and consider the best way to spur one another on, recognizing that it may look differently for different people.
  • “how to provoke one another…” This phrase speaks to the very nature of community. Some translations use the phrase “spur one another on,” which implies both challenge and encouragement. Community is designed so that we might encourage one another on toward growth. That growth happens in the context of community, and we help move each other toward it.
  • “to love and good deeds…” And toward what end are we spurring one another on? To love and good deeds. Not just love, not just good deeds—both. Here we see the highlighting of both the internal and the external, the being and the doing. That’s holistic discipleship.
  • not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…” Consistent meeting together speaks to the intentionality of the relationships. In any community of people, relationships can fade out if we’re not careful. We need to be intentional about maintaining our discipleship community.

Too often when we think of discipleship, we think of the practices of an individual. Yet Jesus never intended discipleship as something to be done alone. What are some of the specific ways we can support one another in community—as rubber bands and shoelaces—as we go about our journeys of living as disciples of Jesus?

I personally think of three categories: relationships, environments, and processes. As leaders whose goal is to make disciples of Jesus, our work is to create the kinds of environments, relationships, and processes that facilitate discipleship.

  • What kinds of environments facilitate discipleship?
  • What types of relationships facilitate discipleship?
  • What kinds of processes facilitate discipleship?
  • And lastly, what can you do to make these types of environments, relationships, and processes readily accessible to anyone touched by your ministry who wants to grow in their walk of discipleship?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

*This blog entry was originally posted on

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9570814687?profile=originalOften churches send their people out on mission trips. The purpose is to serve others and reach out with the gospel—to be a light in the world. Yet there’s a secondary purpose we often miss: How can we use mission trips as an opportunity for discipling the people who are going? Ideally, mission trips accomplish both.

Missions is Discipleship

To make disciples doesn’t only mean the people you’re serving: it means those on your team as well. Mission trips can be a critical time of discipleship for them, with rich opportunities for growth and development. Missions is discipleship. It's about making disciples and growing as disciples at the same time. There’s a dual benefit.

We see this reality reflected in Jesus’ earthly ministry as well. He made disciples on the go. As he was working to advance the Kingdom he also used every opportunity to shape his followers along the way. Consider his questions and statements to his disciples in the midst of everyday ministry situations: “Some say this, some say that... who do YOU say that I am?” “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven" (after they had just seen a real life example), and “Let the children come to me.” In fact, many of Jesus’ recorded teachings were underscoring realities the disciples were running up against. 

So your role leading a missions trip is as a discipler… not just as a tour guide who gets people there safely. Your role is not just the logistics and service, but also have a discipleship hat on so people come back as better followers of Jesus than they were before. As a mission leader, you are serving as a discipler for your team members.

Here are a few concrete ways to naturally integrate discipleship into your missions endeavors:

Things happen while you’re on mission

Mission trips put people under stress: everyone is tired and jet lagged, sometimes dealing with culture shock. More conflicts arise as people have fewer filters under stress and the team members are spending a lot of time together, often in close quarters. Team dynamics sometimes results in conflicts that are misinterpreted as spiritual warfare. On the plus side, these conflicts provide an opportunity for character growth if people are guided through dealing with them well. People need to ask forgiveness, deal with unmet expectations, flex with changing plans, learn to trust God in the midst of unexpected difficulties. All of these things are discipleship opportunities for you team. Consider how you will handle these challenges as they arise: difficulties, conflicts, unfairness, relational stress, changing plans.

Take note of in-the-moment teaching opportunities

Use the circumstances you and your team are facing as learning opportunities: "You ran into X today? What do you think is going on there?" Sometimes situations lend themselves to illustrations of spiritual truths or guideposts to what God may be up to. To do this, you'll need to keep your eyes and heart open... listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and look for what he may be up to.

Be intentional about reflection

Set aside time for people to reflect on their learnings. Do this both individually and as a team, as different people process in different ways. Be sure to schedule reflection time and processing time in advance. The following five questions can start you off in the right direction:

  • What's working?
  • What's not working?
  • What are you learning?
  • What needs to change?
  • What's next?

By taking some time to focus on the discipleship of those on your team, you will not only be on mission serving others and making disciples, but you’ll be serving your team members and helping them develop in their own discipleship journey as well.


Guide for Discipling- Take the next step closer to Jesus and bring others along on the journey. Each section of this discipleship study is packed with scripture and questions designed to inspire thoughtful reflection on your relationship with God and how it spreads into daily life.  Click here for a FREE Overview.

Becoming Barnabas- A Barnabas creates a ripple effect, empowering others and spreading outward into the broader community. Becoming Barnabas focuses on practical – how – questions: How can you serve as a Barnabas – a son or daughter of encouragement? How can you disciple, develop, and support those around you? How can that relational investment lead to a powerful impact on the church and on the surrounding community?

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

*This blog entry was originally posted on

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Digging down to the roots of leadership problems

9570814883?profile=originalSometimes there's a disconnect in ministry between what we say and what we do. For instance, I have always said compassion ministry is important-- but the question is what am I personally doing to engage in it? So I began praying to ask the Lord for some guidance. The turning point for me came when an opportunity surfaced to lead an anger management class at the Salvation Army. I engaged in that, and it led to several other avenues of involvement as well. The greatest impact of those involvements was the character changes in myself. It's not that I was so spectacularly great at serving in that role, but more that it helped me immensely and helped shape my character. As leaders, we can be tempted to talk beyond our experience, saying things that may be true but that we haven't personally engaged.

Most leadership issues are actually discipleship issues. We need to be more genuine in recognizing the gaps between what we say and what we do.

What can that look like in real life? It looks like…

  • The leader who won’t admit it when he doesn’t know the answer
  • The team member who always shows up late
  • The supervisor who is micromanaging others
  • The admin who is subtly correcting everyone

I’m sure you could come up with a dozen more examples. Each of those instances, while certainly having bearing on a person’s leadership capacity, is primarily a character issue. It’s an issue of discipleship.

That’s why we need to take discipleship seriously if we want to do all we can to address leadership shortcomings. First, we need to develop leaders only from among those who are already disciples. That doesn’t mean people who are perfect, but it does mean people whose hearts are open to change and repentance and are actively focused on character growth.

Second, it means continuing discipleship practices and guidance among leaders. That means discipleship doesn’t end when a person becomes a leader. In fact, it takes on even more importance because the stakes are higher. Consider your leaders. Who are their coaches or mentors? What peers can they share freely with? Who is holding them accountable? How are they setting aside time for reflection and listening to God? What discipleship practices are they currently engaging in?

Make sure you create an environment in your organization where discipleship is a priority. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever run into leadership problems—you will. But you’ll have a much better basis for addressing and resolving them.

If you found this blog post helpful, you may also be interested in my books The Leadership Difference and Becoming Barnabas.

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

*This blog entry was first posted on

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What’s Holding Back DiscipleMaking?



What’s Holding Back DiscipleMaking?

What’s holding back the acceleration of disciplemaking movements around the world? Someone asked me this question recently and I thought hard about the answer. Here are some notes I took on some of the obstacles I see holding back the acceleration of disciplemaking movements around the world.

Lack of a reproducible process:

We need structures that can support a movement—simple, easy, reproducible ways to keep making disciples at a grassroots level. Without structures, even the most powerful movements of the Spirit fade over time and lose their apostolic edge. A good structure can come alongside people to keep the movement going forward. 

Becoming inwardly focused:

All disciplemaking movements begin with an outward focus—loving people and sharing their stories of faith. When those movements fade is often when they shift from an outward to an inward focus. We can help maintain an outward focus through coaching relationships where we ask each other questions about serving, using our gifts, and sharing our faith.

Lack of structures for compassion movements:

On the flipside, some movements can become so overly focused on external compassion ministries that they lose the heart of discipleship—the why for why we’re serving. When this happens, we have care ministries but with no disciplemaking going on. Discipleship leads to compassion and serving, but it doesn’t end there. By creating structures for both discipleship and compassion ministries, you can ensure they run alongside one another, both moving forward.

A relational approach to discipling younger leaders:

Although there currently seems to be a greater sense of interest in the discipleship of younger leaders, the approach taken with that needs to be more relational and personal. Younger leaders don’t want to be pressed into anyone else’s mold. They want to be developed to focus on what God has called them to do particularly. The only way to develop leaders in this way isn’t through classrooms, but through intentional relationships and real-life ministry experience.

What other obstacles do you see holding back disciplemaking?

Did you find this post helpful? Check out these resources:

The Discipleship Difference- This book lays out an intentional, holistic, and relational approach to discipleship that is individualized to meet each person wherever they are.

The Leadership Difference- This book focuses specifically on key leadership skills you need to be effective as a leader

Finding the Flow- This book helps small group leaders experience the power small groups have to allow members to wrestle with questions, create a space where people know and are known by others, and to open people up to encounter God more deeply.

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash


*This blog entry was first posted on

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My recommendations for discipleship processes

This blog post is adapted from an excerpt from my latest book, The Church Planting Journey, and was originally posted on

9570815058?profile=originalIn any healthy ministry, there needs to be a strategy in place for passing discipleship along from one person to the next. Here I cover a few of my most important recommendations and options for discipleship processes.

Make the method easy to pass on

Whatever type of system or approach you take, ensure that it’s something easy to pass on. You need a simple, reproducible disciplemaking process. You can create your own process, or you can borrow one of the following options.

Focused discipleship conversations:

Any discipling relationship must be intentional and developmental, with both an inward and outward focus: 1) helping people celebrate where they’re at, 2) listening to God together to pinpoint where he may want them to grow, and 3) thinking about how they can disciple and serve others outside of themselves.

Life Transformation Groups (LTGs):

Another option designed for two to four people is the LTG. I've found it to be a helpful way to empower ordinary people to make disciples (free downloadable handout). These groups meet weekly to challenge each other in the reading of Scripture and for accountability in life choices:

• Describe your interaction with God this week.
• How did you share Jesus with others?
• What temptations did you face this week? How did you respond?
• What did the Holy Spirit teach you through your Scripture reading this week?
• What next steps does God want you to take personally? With others?

Guide for Discipling (Logan Leadership):

As Jesus discipled people, he expected that there discipleship would touch all aspects of their life, relationships, and even society as a whole. Along with Dr. Charles Ridley, we developed a picture of what a disciple looks like:

• Experiencing God
• Spiritual responsiveness
• Sacrificial service
• Generous living
• Disciplemaking
• Personal transformation
• Authentic relationships
• Community transformation

There are 40 guides can be used as a resource for focused discipleship conversations, or in a peer discipling group. People can read Scripture together, pray together, and ask one another questions about their growth (Hebrews 10:24–25). You can download the free overview and a sample guide here.

Discovery Bible Study (Cru):

This study has a simple structure with three basic parts. The first is connection, thanksgiving, and prayer. The second is reading and engagement with Scripture. The third is committing to living in obedience in response to what you’re hearing and learning. Check out the details here.

There are many, many others...

Precisely which discipleship processes you use doesn’t matter, as long as it includes both an inward and an outward journey—a way of personal growth and a way of reaching out to others. Choose one that is simple enough to be reproducible, but flexible enough that people don’t feel forced into a mold.

Pitfalls to avoid

Avoid the temptation to scatter your efforts. To be effective, just start with one—or maybe two—approaches that work. When you have too many options and too many activities, it’s easy to overwhelm a newcomer or a new believer. They may try to attend everything rather than focusing in on one thing that will facilitate growth and outreach.

Also, while curriculum can be helpful initially, there are also risks to becoming curriculum-dependent. It can feel intimidating to laypeople if it’s too complex to pass on. It can also be viewed as a course or class that, once completed, is never revisited. You’ll need something transferable, ongoing, and relational. You also need something flexible enough to allow people to listen to the Holy Spirit—sometimes people need to address issues in a different sequence than traditional curriculum allows.

Journeying together

Listening to the Holy Spirit and responding in loving obedience—that is the essence of discipleship. We tend to give people more direction when they’re younger in the faith and less when they’re more mature, but we want to encourage people to take responsibility for their own growth at all times. We are not “gurus” —everyone is on this journey together.

Good discipleship processes focus more on facilitating the reproduction of the message than about teaching specific information. The responsibility goes beyond one generation:

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2 and what
you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people
who will be able to teach others as well. (2 Timothy 2:1–2)

Consider what type of simple and reproducible method you might use to create a disciplemaking pathway that moves people from not knowing Jesus to following and helping others follow Jesus.

More resources...

The Church Planting Journey- This newly released book is a comprehensive guide for the church planter. It is the culmination of experience that includes being a church planter myself, and coaching and consulting church planters for more than 40 years. Within the pages of The Church Planting Journey, you will find wisdom, systems, and processes that can help you launch well as well as sustain your unique vision and call.

The Discipleship Difference- This book lays out an intentional, holistic, and relational approach to discipleship that is individualized to meet each person wherever they are.

Finding the Flow Small Group Leader Training: Training your leaders to listen well, recognize the Holy Spirit at work in people, and respond accordingly is an essential component to all discipleship processes. Adapted from the book, Finding the Flow, this downloadable training kit maximizes your small group leader training, equipping facilitators for a myriad of circumstances.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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A simple, successful ministry flow outline

9570816487?profile=originalRecently I was trying to think through the most simple way to represent what happens in successful ministry. What is the fewest number of things that need to happen for the basic ministry process to be complete?

Here’s are the seven elements I have so far:

Living and loving like Jesus

Followers of Jesus must live like Jesus, showing God’s love to others and doing the work of the Kingdom of God. This is the great commandment, and is foundational for everything else.

Inviting people to follow Jesus

Those who are following Jesus then invite others to follow him. This is the great commission.

Starting new believers in the faith

 New believers must be established in the faith through baptism and through community with other believers.

Growing as disciples while making disciples

All believers are both being discipled and discipling others. In this way, new believers grow, and those who have been in the faith longer also continue to grow.

Gathering in groups

Believers have always gathered together for encouragement, worship, and prayer. This is the commandment given in Hebrews 10.

Developing leaders for ministry

We need leaders to serve the church. Just as disciples develop other disciples, leaders develop other leaders.

Sending leaders to plant new churches

Some of those leaders then go on to reach out beyond the church and develop new communities of faith in new places, bringing Jesus to the next neighborhood and next people group.

I’d welcome your thoughts on this simple ministry flow. Is there anything I’m forgetting? Anything essential to the church that doesn’t fit under one of these categories?

*This post was first published on


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The Discipleship Cycle- A free resource

9570806889?profile=originalHow can we make and grow disciples - all the way from harvest fields to full maturity in Jesus? And how can we do that in the content of a larger community, ensuring that people are not isolated from one another but moving forward together on their spiritual journeys?

How can we do that in a way that relies on the Holy Spirit and allows us to meet each person where they are currently on their journey?

The Discipleship Cycle is an overview of the six stages of discipleship. This short PDF includes an action plan you can use to determine the next steps you want to take in growing and multiplying disciples.


9570807063?profile=originalAt you can find many resources related to discipleship, leadership, church development and more. By combining biblical principles with social science insights, we help leaders sharpen thinking skills, focus strategic actions, contextualize solutions, and create reproducible processes increasing their ministry capacity. - Dr. Bob Logan

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