The #ReimagineFORUM @ Discipleship.Network

Equipping Your Reimagine Journey

My church is waking up to the steady decline of participation, commitment and membership. We want to redefine our "purpose" as a church, and along with want to start a group to learn to be true disciples of our Lord Jesus.

Can anyone share what has worked for you? What did you do? What materials did you use? Any ideas are appreciated!

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Comment by W. Don Seaborg on April 11, 2012 at 11:13pm

Our best results were with the Navigator's 2:7 discipleship series.  With the support of our pastoral staff, my wife and I started up a program at our church WAY back in the late 1980s, after having first been introduced to the program and then completing it as a y0ung married couple.  The way we worked it, the program not only met a real need and hunger in our church for adult discipleship, but also provided a type of small group fellowship that was superb.  All told, I think the program ran about 100 adult couples through the rigorous two year (then) program.  I can highly recommend this program to any church that is interested

Comment by Gerald Polmateer on April 11, 2012 at 7:25am

I had the privilege of studying at one of the most prestigious schools in the world in my field. We spent 8 hours each day being under the tutelage of the master and two other assistants who helped him. It was clear that the goal was to make each student well prepared to work on his own later. There were few lectures and a lot of hands on training. A lot of attention was given to the details of each step to ensure a quality result.

The results today speak for themselves. The majority of people who have their work published in some of the most prestigious magazines were trained at that same school.

Studies show that students who are well prepared in the fundamentals are able to achieve higher levels because they were prepared in the details.

So it is with discipleship. The preparation is in the details of how we help people to grow. The details are not obtained by mass lecturing and classes as we do in the American educational system pumping students up with head knowledge and hoping they get "it", whatever "it" is. Discipelship is more like how we would train people in a trade to ensure they can do the work and not just pass tests to get a grade.

Comment by Joseph Kwan on April 11, 2012 at 2:23am

We should not under value the importance of systematic teaching. Following a pattern of sound teaching that have been developed by our church leaders and proven over the years in the lives of individuals is of tremendous value.  Everyone in our church goes through the same basics of the Wheel Illustration as a primer for our entire Christian walk.  Both transferable and can be imparted by disciples of every age group is extremely practical.  Just as in any education system, following a particular syallabus is essential to assess progress and to develop individuals at different stages of their learning.  We have developed from the Bible what we believe and have been using for the past 40 years that have seen transformation of lives from spiritual birth to victorious Christian living.  Every church should adopt some kind of systematic teaching and training methods and materials but at the same time depend on the working of the Holy Spirit to bring about growth.

Comment by Gerald Polmateer on April 10, 2012 at 7:39am

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that discipleship is accomplished in a variety of ways which point the same direction--living for Christ. While many emphasize various things and materials I am convinced that three things are necessary: 1) one on one meetings, 2) small groups, 3) corporate worship.

One on one allows an individual to open up with someone and be helped in a more intimate way. Small groups can help to correct what may come about as a person reads his Bible in private. It also allows the person to interact and practice love among others. Too many young Christians read their Bible and tell others, "God said, ________" when it may miss the correct interpretation by a mile. For example most of scripture was written by Jews and to Jews with the possible exception of Luke. In the early church discipleship occurred within the context of a community of believers. The corporate worship service allows one to worship in the context of a larger body and to learn in interact with people of all levels of maturity and even those they disagree with.


When one looks at what a disciple under a rabbi demanded we should not require so little from people in churches today.  Discipleship is peddled as though he were some kind of brand among many and that discipleship is optional. Discipleship is a lifetime of walking with Jesus.

In the context of ancient Judaism a disciple was to have a comprehensive knowledge of Scripture, tradition , and be questioned by the rabbis who were on an ordination council before a final decision was reached to determine if he could become a rabbi. The early apostles knew that when Jesus chose them and said that he chose them.

Comment by Joseph Kwan on April 10, 2012 at 2:06am

I am from Malaysia Discipleship Centre, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.  Our teaching material is based on Files 1-4.  File 1 is adapted from the Wheel Illustration by the Navigators comprising lessons that includes Christ the Centre, Word, Prayer, Fellowship, Witnessing, Marks of Disciple and Follow-Up.  File 2 is "Let us Go on to Maturity" that includes Stewardship and Practical Christian Living topics.  File 3 is on "Go Make Disciples" ...the emphasis on evangelism, teach, train and transmit.  File 4 is Ministry Leadership that includes topics on Teachability, Availability, Faithfulness, Servanthood and Accountability.  I am more than wiling to send you a free copy of the File 1 The Basics of the Christian Life if you would email me your address to skwan@beckman.com.  We are part of the Dawson Trotman legacy through Dave Dawson, Richard Soo who discipled our paster Rev MGGeorge, who graduated from Singapore Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary (USA).  We believe and practise one-on-one discipling or maybe what was known as man-to-man ministry in the early days!

Comment by Gerald Polmateer on February 2, 2012 at 12:38pm

Jim Putnam has some very good books out. He entire focus is on discipleship in the church he pastors.

Comment by Susan Navage on February 2, 2012 at 9:26am

Amen Brother / Jesus great command was to go and preach the gospel / yes / but also to MAKE DISCIPLES of them once they commit to Jesus / and I feel that today the church is a mile wide / because of seeker friendly churches   / but only an inch deep  because of the lack of Discipling new converts and Disciples make the best church members / because they see that they have a purpose and that God wants to use them in the church with their gifts etc etc.  ...........pray all goes well with you as you seek God on which direction to take / but Discipleship to me is the Key to the answer you are looking for /   these days it's amazing how many will NOT commit to a study of God's word..... :(

Comment by Jeff Christiansen on February 2, 2012 at 8:52am

I have shared the same struggle, and over the past 3 months, have become convinced that the answer is in growing "Deep committed followers of Christ".  That statement comes from the three things that have impacted me most recently.  The book "Going Deep" by Gordon MacDonald, "Not A Fan" by Kyle Idleman, and the C3 material at http://coregroups.org/core3strand.html.  I am not promoting any one thing, but the concepts of all together makes total sense. 

I can see how we have tried "Selling Church" instead of creating committed followers, and letting the Church sell itself.

Comment by Susan Navage on February 2, 2012 at 8:02am

I taught 2:7  Navigators   and it was WONDERFUL    we are doing something else right now called DISCIPLE  becoming discioples through bible study / by Abingdom   it's a 4-5 year study !   Be Blessed

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