Monthly Archives: September 2017

43 posts

Strong Leaders Mine “Crisis” Moments

Leadership is a funny thing. Often it requires little more than looking at a situation from a different angle. Good leaders do this well.

When dealing with “crisis” moments we can either let them beat us up, or we can mine them for the gems hidden within. Leaders act. Others react. If you take control in the crisis you set yourself apart as a leader.

Find the Benefits

Most of our crises hold potential benefits. To find them, we just need to look a little harder than everyone else…

I spent an hour talking with a young pastor this morning. His church just lost their lease on a movie theater. The need to get out very quickly. Coincidentally they found a bargain on a building in the small town where they worship. The crisis of the move creates a fund-raising opportunity. People give more generously when faced with a common threat.

But that isn’t what bothered my friend. His problem is that he must organize a hasty move into a public school. He was worried about building teams to set everything in place for portable church services.

This is a minor crisis. Panic is a common reaction. But, it conceals an opportunity.

Blog Reader’s Discount on the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum

When Pulpit Announcements Actually Work

You can plea from the pulpit for help and normally see very little response from your people. Under normal circumstances, face-to-face recruiting works best. But inject a little crisis and your members will respond to a general call for assistance. So far so good.

But crises change people. When threatened, people usually rise to the emergency. Be it a flood, a power outage or an automobile accident, bystanders get involved. In church, this means that folks who normally qualify as spectators will rise to the occasion. Wise leadership finds ways to hang onto these new volunteers after the crisis passes. My point is that the difficulty helps identify people who may have resisted serving in the past.

I’ve been at this for a long time. We’ve been forced to clear out of a building with short notice. A power outage twice left us worshipping in the dark. Part of the roof of our converted bowling alley, in California, collapsed during a rainstorm while we held service. Several times we constructed buildings with volunteer labor (an intended crisis that brought loads of new volunteers to our team). Whenever we plant a church we create two crises:

A. Lots of vacancies in the mother church.

B. Tons of things to learn and do in the church plant.

We even found a way to turn potential church splits into healthy church plants (refuse to fight and keep loving them).

Find a Need and Fill It

My young friend came into the conversation burdened by a perceived need to build a team that could cover every detail. He left determined to gather just a few leaders. He will assign each oversight of a portion of the job. After that, they will be on their own to work with whoever responds to the call from the pulpit. Of course, they will also recruit people personally. A lot of what they will do is challenge people to “find a need and fill it.”

Chaos will visit this church for a few weeks. But a wise leader finds opportunity in chaos! Think of this—many people got rich by betting against the stock market in 2000 and 2007. They acted while others reacted.

This blog was written by Ralph Moore and published here with permission. To view the original post, click here.

Ralph Moore is a church planter and disciple maker. He planted Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach in California, Anchor Church in Hawaii, and Hope Chapel in Honolulu. He help start the Hope Chapel movement, which began with just 12 people, the ‘movement’ mushroomed to more than 2,200 churches worldwide. See his books here, download his sermons here, and visit his website here.

This Year’s 14 Tracks with Top Disciple Makers from the USA

I cannot overstate the opportunity that is available at this year’s National Disciple Making Forum in about six weeks on November 9-10—it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

Many of the nation’s top disciple makers will gather to share their best teachings. We are hosting 14 independent tracks (perhaps even more to come). Each one of these tracks will feature five hours of presentation by these top leaders. That is an opportunity to hear from 50 leaders teaching over 70 hours on disciple making and how it addresses every area of life. Yes, disciple making is a solution that can help every problem in our world today—all by the grace of God.

We offer these tracks in addition to the three main forum sessions led by Jim Putman, Thom Rainer, and Trillia Newbell, when everyone at the Forum will gather in one room.

Check out the tracks at this year’s Forum:

  1. Relational DiscipleShift: How to Create a Disciple Making Church Culture (Jim Putman and the Relational Discipleship Network)
  2. Creating Disciple Making Leaders (Bill Hull and The Bonhoeffer Project)
  3. The Holy Spirit and Transformation (Dave Buehring and Lionshare)
  4. Church Planting and Disciple Making (Todd Wilson and Ralph Moore from the Exponential Conference)
  5. Discipling Millennials: Engaging the Next Generation of Church Leadership with the Gospel (Kennon Vaughan and Downline Ministries)
  6. Women’s Discipleship (Joanne Kraft from Grace and Truth Living)
  7. Student Ministry and Disciple Making (Dann Spader and Sonlife)
  8. Invest in a Few: How to Raise Up Reproducing Disciple Makers (Craig Etheredge and discipleFIRST)
  9. How to Disciple the Heart (Monte Starkes and Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship)
  10. How to Mature People through Disciple Making (Daniel Im and the LifeWay Team)
  11. Disciple Making Theology Matters (Tony Twist and the TCM Seminary)
  12. Family Discipleship (Ron Hunter, Jr and D6)
  13. Men’s Discipleship (Regi Campbell of Radical Mentoring and Nate Larkin of the Samson Society)
  14. Crockpot Church Cultures in a Microwave World (Roy and Margaret Fitzwater of Navigator Church Ministry)

We are quickly approaching 900 people who have signed up, and when we reach this number, we will add at least one more track! As you can tell, we’re excited about what’s coming.

Reserve your seat by registering here.





Bobby Harrington, Cofounder and Executive Director

Learning to Live into Love

This is part of The False Promise of Discipleship blog series from The Bonhoeffer Project. Read the blog that came right before this one by clicking here.

To learn to live into the next question, and to develop a movement of discipleship based on this question—that is the work ever-present before the church. It is the reason we cannot divorce “discipleship” from “mission,” as so often happens, as if they are two different things. The end point of a disciple-making movement, simply, is disciples who have reoriented their lives around loving and serving others. We have to learn to live into this third question, and we have to learn to make disciples who do the same.

Bill Hull and Brandon Cook, authors of this blog and eBook, will be teaching at this year’s Forum. Meet them and get more content like this in person at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum.

This is one of the largest gatherings of disciple makers in North America with 65+ workshops, 15+ speakers, and 10+ tracks. Join us to learn practical ways to make disciples of Jesus this November 9-10 (Thursday-Friday). Register for the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum here.

The urgent work of the church is to rescue discipleship from the clutches of The Human Paradigm. Notice how seldom discipleship in the church is intentionally oriented around loving others. Most of what we call “discipleship” is not Jesus discipleship. Most discipleship programs, as such, fail because they’re still built on the assumption that “getting close to Jesus” is our goal, our X, and that we can get close to Jesus “if we just do these things.”

If your goal as a church leader is to get people into a discipleship program that’s founded on the question “How are you doing?,” you won’t get mature disciples unless you’re orienting them around loving and serving others. We need a radical reorientation to our approach to discipleship. We have to start with the ending, as it were, and design discipleship processes that start with “you are already close to Jesus” and end with loving others. And we have to design discipleship processes that compel people to reorient their lives around others now, not waiting until they’ve arrived at some “ready point.” That point will never come! We have to throw people into the deep end of the pool. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did when He said to His disciples, “You give the people something to eat?” He taught them that everything He did was about loving others. This is our work, too.

*Stay tuned by coming back to our blog for the next blog in this series, which will be coming soon!

This is an excerpt from the free eBook written Bill Hull and Brandon Cook of The Bonhoeffer Project. You can download the full eBook on their homepage here.

Bill Hull is a Co-Founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Bill’s passion is to help the church return to its disciple making roots and he considers himself a discipleship evangelist. This God-given desire has manifested itself in 20 of pastoring and the authorship of many books. Two of his more important books, Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, and The Disciple Making Pastor, have both celebrated 20 years in print. Add his third in the popular trilogy, The Disciple Making Church, and you have a new paradigm for disciple making.

Brandon Cook is the lead pastor at Long Beach Christian Fellowship and a co-founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he studied at Wheaton College (IL), Jerusalem University College, Brandeis University, and The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He worked as a professional storyteller before joining a transformational training organization and moving to SoCal in 2006, becoming a pastor three years later. Over the course of five years of pastoring, he became convinced that his work—and the work of the church—is to become fully committed to discipleship and making disciple-makers. The Bonhoeffer Project is for him a quest to live into the question “How are people transformed to live and love like Jesus?”

How to Identify People to Disciple (1 of 3)


This blog is an excerpt from the free eBook, Invest in a Few: Giving Your Life to What Matters Most. Download it free here.

Are They Devoted to Christ?

A disciple of Jesus is like a 3-D image. When you think of something being three-dimensional, it’s fully orbed and lifelike. Three-D images often appear on a movie screen, where characters seem to jump of the screen at you. Think also of how 3-D printers produce fully dimensional products. In the same way, a true disciple of Jesus has three dimensions that make them fully mature, fully orbed, and Christ-like. The first dimension of a disciple is that he is devoted to Jesus. That is, this person has become convinced that Jesus is the Christ and that salvation is found in no one else but him. This is where disciple making begins. It begins when a person turns from their sin and turns to Jesus as the forgiver and the leader of their life. There is no disciple making apart from conversion. Jesus modeled this for us.

This is from Craig Ethredege’s eBook, Invest in a FewDownload the eBook here in your favorite format at no cost.

Born Again

As he picked up the preaching mantle and began to lead the movement of God that John the Baptist had begun, Jesus started preaching a simple message. It only had two major calls to action: Repent and believe (Mark 1:15). The reason? Because “the kingdom of God is near.” With these words Jesus was saying, “It’s not enough to be religious; you must make it personal with me.” A religious leader of his day named Nicodemus helps us understand what this means.

He came to Jesus one night, not wanting to be seen by his colleges (after all he had a reputation to protect). He had a burning desire to know God, so Jesus told him plainly, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Just as you are born into your earthly family, in the same way you must be born into God’s family. Nicodemus was a religious man: he knew facts and he was devoted to ritual and tradition as a Pharisee, a teacher of the law, but Jesus told him, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This is where discipleship starts.

The Gospel at Starbucks

I remember having coffee with a young man at a crowded Starbucks. He had been attending church in his hometown for several years and was feeling an urge to go into vocational ministry, so he asked me to meet with him. As we settled into our seats, I asked about his spiritual journey and how God was moving in his life. He was a lean, sharp-looking young man in his early twenties. He spoke with excitement in his voice. For the first half hour he talked about how much he loved the people in his church and how he really enjoyed serving in his church’s youth group. I listened intently.

Then, I asked, “So, tell me—when you gave your life to Christ?”

He paused and looked at me as if he didn’t understand the question.

So I rephrased my question: “I mean, tell me when you became a Christian—how did that happen?” He mumbled something along the lines of “I’ve always believed in God” and “I was confirmed at the age of twelve.” It was obvious that he was grasping for words.

That night, I spent my time talking to him about Jesus, how much God loves him, and that God created him to know him in a deep and personal way. I explained that our problem is sin, which has separated us from God, and that we are all cut off from him.

What surprised me as I spoke with him was how this man, who wanted to go into ministry, seemed to be hearing some of the basics about full devotion to Jesus as if for the first time.

I remember saying, “Look around this crowded coffee shop.” His eyes scanned the room, briefly glancing at the faces of the people standing in line to order.

“Everyone in this room and everyone in our world has fallen short of God’s design for them. Everyone of us is separate from God and helplessly lost.” I could see his demeanor change as he absorbed the heaviness of those words.

I continued “But that is why Jesus came. God sent his only Son to die on a cross, where he absorbed the wrath of God and paid sin’s penalty on our behalf. He died, was buried, and three days later, he rose from the dead, conquering sin and death and the grave. If you will turn from your sin and turn to Jesus, he promises to forgive you and restore your broken relationship with God.”

I let the words hang in the air.

Blog Reader’s Discount on the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum

Then I asked, “Have you ever done that?” After a good while, he simply said, “No, I haven’t.” In fact, he wasn’t sure if he was ready for that kind of commitment. Going to seminary was one thing to him, but actually following Jesus was altogether different.

As we left the coffee shop that day, I wondered how many other people are just like this young man: churched, involved, and sincere—but lost. The first step in becoming a disciple is coming to faith in Jesus. Paul put it simply, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God that raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NLT). A biblical conversion involves an acknowledgment of sin before God, a belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and a belief that only Jesus’ death and resurrection can pay for one’s sin. At that point, a turning from my sin and trusting Jesus in simple faith is required. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “You must be born again.” A true disciple is one who is devoted to Jesus by being born into God’s family through faith in Jesus.

Written by Craig Etheredge

A gifted communicator, author, and Bible teacher and the Lead Pastor at First Colleyville, a thriving church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Craig Etheredge is the host of Morning Thrive, a radio program that covers central Texas. He is Founder and President of discipleFIRST ministries and a regular speaker at the FlashPoint Conference across the United States. Craig is also Adjunct Professor of Discipleship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and is actively involved in his local community serving on various boards.

Photo by Lloyd Dirks on Unsplash