FREE Five Habits of Effective Disciple-Making Webinar – August 5th

FREE Five Habits of Effective Disciple-Making Webinar – August 5th

I want to share about a key upcoming opportunity about which I am very excited. My colleagues, Micah Dodson of Thrive Church Planting and Kevin Robert of Lockstep Ministries and I are hosting a free one day webinar on the Five Habits of Effective Disciple-Making. We call this the “Discipleship Collective,” and it is happening August 5th from 10am-3pm PST, completely free. Register HERE

In the webinar, we will emphasize how you can engage in making disciples of pre-Christians and seeing that process multiply for generations of disciple-making. As we focus on building a prayerful dependence, we are confident that you will see fruit from this webinar.

Following this webinar, we will be offering coaching triads that will serve you as you seek to make disciples that make disciples. This coaching is designed to help you architect and implement your discipleship cycle that will lead to generations of disciples being formed.  A cost of $475 is required with this portion, which will include 5 coaching sessions from top- notch coaches. You can register for the coaching sessions HERE.

Interested in learning more about raising up disciples using a coach approach?  Check-out the FREE Discipleship Webinar!

Curious about your unique strengths as an apprentice of Jesus? 

Take our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz today!

What to Do When the Urgent Overshadows the Important!

What to Do When the Urgent Overshadows the Important!

What if your vision has reached a point that leaves your people frustrated?  You have launched your ministry – a new church, a network, or an organization (coaching, or a business as mission).  Or you are in an established ministry and you are stuck!  The initial excitement has begun to taper off.  

You have trained leaders in coaching.  The first round there was a lot of excitement.  Those coaches have seen encouraging signs in those they are coaching – disciples are being made, leaders developed, and new ministries ignited.  But now what?

One of the realities of momentum is that there is a constant need for innovation.  When you are the primary vision caster for a movement, the need for more coaches is always front of mind.  But the urgent overshadows the important!  You might be wondering why your leaders are not excited and seeing fruit.  But when you reflect, the answer is clear.  Leaders without a coach will eventually hit their lid and stop growing.  That is why you must always be developing more leaders in their capacity to empower others through coaching.

What to do when the urgent overshadows the important!  

  • Slow down
  • Reflect on what’s important
  • Remind yourself what helped you get where you are
  • Refocus and prioritize training 
  • Focus on the issues that matter most
  • Recruit a new cohort of leaders to train in coaching
  • Create a plan with your key influential leaders

How do you proceed to train the next generation of leaders in coaching?

You will have leaders that are now experienced in coaching, and leaders who have been coached.  These are the two groups you should look at first to conduct a new round of coach training.

  1. Experienced Coaches

From this pool you would consider your highest-performing coaches.  These are your potential coach mentors to train the next generation of coaches.  We recommend that you assess your coach mentors using the Christian Coach Assessment for an objective evaluation of your high performers based on the 9 competencies of a Christian Coach.

  1. Leaders who have been coached

This is the pool that you can assess to become coaches.  Based on the feedback you receive from the leaders that have coached them, you can identify those who are ready for your next round of coach training.

How do you train coach mentors?

This is a pressing need for those who are training leaders in coaching.  You want leaders who are competent coaches, plus, have the capacity to train others.  Not all competent coaches are competent mentors.  Here are 5 questions to ask about training coach mentors.

Five Questions to Reflect on how to train Coach Mentors:

  1. What is my vision for raising up more coaches in the next 3-5 years?
  2. How can I train leaders in coaching to attain that vision?
  3. How many coach mentors will I need?
  4. How can I objectively assess who will be excellent coach mentors?
  5. How can I train a coach to become a mentor to train other coaches?

Where do apprentices of Jesus need to use a coach approach?

  • Making more and better disciples
  • Cultivating leaders
  • Planting churches

Interested in learning more about raising up disciples using a coach approach?  Check-out the FREE Discipleship Webinar!

Curious about your unique strengths as an apprentice of Jesus? 

Take our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz today!

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Learning to Make Apprentices of Jesus from the Celtic Way – 4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Learning to Make Apprentices of Jesus from the Celtic Way – 4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you love to engage with people on their spiritual journey, watch others grow in their faith, develop leaders, and catalyze disciple-making movements?  Are you growing and learning how to improve as a leader?  Do you enjoy examining how different streams of the Christian faith have created disciple-making movements, developed leaders, and planted churches?

If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then you will enjoy studying the historical Celtic movement dating back to the 500s AD and the ministry of Columba.

Columba’s Early Beginnings

Columba was born in 522 AD to parents of royal lineage.  One of Columba’s teachers was Finnian of Clonard, best known for making the Bible the foundation for all education.  This had a profound effect on Columba, who, after a period, left Clonard to plant churches and set up mission stations wherever God led him.  Historians describe him as being incessantly active and perhaps this intensity of energy and a fervent zeal for the truth led him to plant over 300 churches and to found a great number of Bible training schools.  

Columba’s Mission Strategy

The Celtic Way was to establish a thriving, self-sustaining mission outpost to develop people of deep faith.  Part of the mission outpost was a Bible training school attached to a farm, a bakery, and large gardens. A church was birthed as part of the Iona community.  

Columba’s Holistic Approach

The Celtic Way blurred the lines between insiders and outsiders.  By virtue of living on the island of Iona, or being on pilgrimage visiting Iona, you became part of the community.  Last summer, I traveled to Iona and experienced the ongoing life of the Iona community; a trip that forged a lasting memory.  Watch this video if you would like to learn more about Columba and the Celtic Way.

Challenges from the Celtic Way to Modern Missiology:

  • Christian Community
  • Discipleship
  • Distinction between insiders and outsiders
  • Leadership Development 
  • Church Planting

Dissecting the Problem

Expectations for discipleship, leadership development, and church planting are unrealistically high in our current reality (in my humble opinion).  

  • Fast-pace of life so time is not permitted for the slow work of God.  
  • Visions are more aspirational than real.  
  • Results are more attractive than substantive.   
  • Measure the wrong things
  • Breadth over depth.  

This is one reason why it is helpful to look at historical movements like the Celtic Way.

4 Questions to consider in your methodology to make apprentices of Jesus:

  1. Is your vision too small?

The Celtic Way was focused on the whole of life and community transformation to bring the Kingdom of God – here and now.

  1. What is your starting point?

The Celtic Way began where people were at in their spiritual journeys rather than the approach many use today that invites people to the place the ministry needs them to be before you begin the discipleship process –  for example, “into the church”.

  1. What is your process?

The Celtic Way was clear, simple, and reproducible. Think of three concentric circles, mentioned earlier: the community, the church, and the monastery.  

  1. Do you have a complete picture of an apprentice of Jesus? 

The Celtic Way has a comprehensive view on spiritual formation – to read more about the 6 stages of spiritual formation, see Where Discipleship Intersects with Spiritual Formation

Much can be learned about the Celtic Way.  If you would like to participate in a conversation around these principles, I would invite you to consider participating in our Discipleship Collective.  During the FREE Discipleship Webinar, we will identify the principles that have been foundational to disciple-making movements for centuries.

Interested in learning more about the FREE Discipleship Webinar?

Curious about your unique strengths as an apprentice of Jesus? 

Take our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz today!

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Where Discipleship Intersects with Spiritual Formation

Where Discipleship Intersects with Spiritual Formation

Healthy conversation is taking place in the church and discipleship circles today.  One of the questions that surfaces is how and when discipleship intersects with spiritual formation.  This is a really important issue when disciple-making movements are brought up. Behind the issue is the question: Is discipleship synonymous with spiritual formation?

In a sense, “yes,” they are one and the same thing; but in a pragmatic, functional sense – maybe not.

As an apprentice of Jesus you are learning to be like Jesus.  I like what John Mark Comer has written about in “Practicing the Way: Be with Jesus, Become like him, Do as he did”.  In his book, he highlights stages of “The Critical Journey” from Dr. Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich.  

These have become very familiar.  Let me share these with you again.  

You can read more about the six stages in ARE YOU HITTING A SPIRITUAL WALL?

When you follow the narrative of the evangelical church in the West, most agree the church has done a good job on stages 1-3, not so well with stages 4-6.  Using the diagram as a backdrop, it appears that discipleship is a subset of spiritual formation.  

And, some might suggest the Catholic church does a better job in Stages 4-6 by emphasizing the ancient practices the Reformation deconstructed.  

Naturally, there is a ton of church history that one would need to research to argue the point.  My goal is not to argue; but instead, to synthesize the current reality and what I believe the popular line is on spiritual formation so together, we can fill in the gaps.

In summary, authors like Pete Scazzero (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality) and John Mark Comer (Practicing the Way) reinforce the six stages.  Both emphasize the need for a Rule of Life.  A Rule of Life is a wonderful tool to potentially advance your spiritual formation, assuming you implement and practice a Rule of Life that uniquely fits you.  

The bridge between let’s say, stages 3 and 4, is moving from information to application.  For instance, reading about the Rule of Life is important. The next step demands more – living into a Rule of Life.  Understanding and knowing are two different activities; one is information-based vs. the other, which is experiential.

So, this raises the question, “How?”  

Glad you asked.  

In a real sense, writing out a plan is half of the challenge, which is what Scazzero and Comer do so well.  In coaching leaders for the last 35+ years, part of the battle is won by having a written plan in place.  If you, an apprentice of Jesus, take this step, the authors have achieved part of their purpose behind writing a book about spiritual formation.  However, implementing the plan is up to the apprentice of Jesus, and requires a different orientation–a depth of understanding and motivation.  

This is where the hard work begins.  

Challenges apprentices of Jesus face moving from a plan to taking action:

  • Intrinsic Motivation – deeper levels of motivation have not been tapped 
  • Priorities – there are other “important” issues competing for attention 
  • Sustainability – the level of complexity may be too great
  • Accountability – finding a person or group that will provide a level of accountability 
  • Perfection over Progress – if perfection is the goal, you will fail; aim for progress

How to move from Stage 3 to Stage 4 in the Critical Journey

Following is a list of best practices I have discovered in moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4.  It is not exhaustive, nor is it always the case in every situation.  It should be considered as a list of suggestions that could help you sustain the shift from what evangelicals are generally strong in (Stages 1-3) and into the later stages (Stages 4-6), beginning with the shift from Stages 3-4.  What I am trying to say is that I am an apprentice, just like you, and here is one apprentice sharing with another apprentice some things I’ve learned along my journey.  See what resonates with you.

  1. Pray for a Spiritual Friendship

Preferably a person trained in spiritual direction who can be a discerning listener to hear you process your experience through the exercises

  1. Find a Road Map 

I found that I benefited tremendously from a directive and detailed tool that has passed the test of time.  The Ignatian Exercises (Journey With Jesus by Larry Warner) has been a helpful guide as I learned how to put my Rule of Life into practice.  

  1. Embrace the Long-Term

Don’t rush; just take the next step. The “intent to do” your exercises is as important as the actual exercises.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up

You will go through seasons when it is easy to do your exercises and other seasons when it is challenging.  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, or have to cut it short; just pick up where you left off.

  1. Be patient

Growth doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time.  Set realistic expectations.  The beauty is that the journey we are on will take a lifetime.  Don’t be in a rush; enjoy the process

Curious about your unique strengths as an apprentice of Jesus? 

Take our FREE Disciple Coach Quiz today!

Interested in learning more about the FREE Discipleship Webinar?

Become an InFocus Partner

Invest in leaders who are transforming lives and join the InFocus community. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of faith and love.

Click here to learn about joining the InFocus family to start your ripple effect!

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash