We are working with others to help spark a discipleship movement that will encourage a culture of discipleship in churches and in individual believers. We are praying that God will raise up leaders and send the Holy Spirit to re-energize the church in America and around the world.
How We Define Discipleship:
A disciple is someone who has believed the message of the gospel, responded to the call of God in repentant faith, been baptized and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is seeking to understand and obey all that Jesus taught his first disciples. (Matt 28:19)
Why the need for discipleship:
“When a person makes a confession of faith and is never taken through a formal discipleship process, there is little hope of seeing genuine spiritual transformation.” - Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary
“The American church is dying, not from lack of effective evangelism, nor from lack of resources, but from lack of effective discipleship.” - Michael Ramsden, Director of The OCCA.
“The church cannot grow if Christians are not actively discipling new belivers.” Ed Stetzer, Pastor, Church Planter, Professor
“I think the trend is clear and it’s not good! Although there are some wonderful churches i.e. ‘islands of strength and health’, the statistics indicate that the Church in America is in a poor state and is heading the same way as Europe.” – Gerard Long, Executive Director, Alpha USA
“Evangelicalism, particularly American evangelicalism, is failing the modern church. ...[It is] failing to provide believers with approaches to living that keep them going and growing in spiritual relationship with Him. A…balanced path of growth -- changing the mind and heart in order to change the outward actions -- keeps us from the deadly trap of self-deception in which we believe, but do not grow, in Christ.” - Dr. Bruce Demarest, Author, Educator
Our Approach to Catalyzing Discipleship:
- There needs to be a sustained effort – it can’t be a one time thing, but a minimum of ten years
- It needs to be broad-based – many denominations
- It needs to focus on each key stage of life – it’s not a program and you graduate, it’s a life long process
- It should focus on the heart and mind – if we can’t help people connect the intellectual with the heart, we won’t see much real progress
- It needs to include mentoring – through one-on-one mentoring, huge change takes place over time
- Programs are necessary, but not enough
- Awareness needs to be raised – across churches, ministries, individuals who have a heart for discipleship
The C.S. Lewis Institute is developing effective discipleship resources and programs for churches, small groups and individuals, but we encourage all ministries and churches to do the same.
Excellent Resources to Learn about Discipleship:
We’ve heard from many pastors, ministry leaders and others that they understand the need for discipleship, but they’re not sure where to start. We’ve identified several books that provide essential information for help to address the discipleship deficit. Each book outlines a different approach, but they all focus on heart and mind discipleship and are excellent resources.
In Transforming Discipleship Greg Ogden introduces his vision for discipleship, emphasizing that solutions will not be found in large-scale, finely-tuned, resource-heavy programs. Instead, Ogden recovers Jesus' method of accomplishing life change by investing in just a few people at a time.
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard.
In Real Life Discipleship, the overriding goal is to show how to train disciples who know how to make more disciples. This book offers proven tools and strategies from Real Life Ministries, one of America’s fastest-growing churches.
Building a Discipling Culture is the product of 25+ years of hands-on discipleship practice — developed in a post-Christian context, tackling how to make the types of missional disciples Jesus spoke of.
In Crazy Love, Francis Chan says the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts--it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love you will never be the same. Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
The Multiply Material is a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study scripture, and be the church. This material is available online and includes coaching videos and additional resources. The Multiply Movement is the brainchild of Francis Chan and David Platt.