President of Life on Life Ministries
This is an Introduction for two series: Making Disciples and Training Disciples. Jump to the start of either series below!
Well, by the fact that you are watching this tells me that you have an interest of some sort in what we call discipleship. You know, discipleship is a term that has been used widely for many, many years. You know, it’s not a biblical term, nothing wrong with the use of it, but it’s actually not a biblical term.
The word disciple is, which means follower, but discipleship as a term is now being used in a lot of different ways, nothing wrong with that. My view of discipleship is that it’s anything that helps a non-follower of Jesus to either become a follower or to follow in a stronger way. That’s at least the way I’m going to be using it through the videos that will follow.
And as we talk about discipleship, I think we all agree that we ought to, as Christians, be devoting ourselves to both making and training disciples. Which is, the early part of leading people to faith and then helping people grow, respectively. Here’s the question—How do you do that?
How do you lead people into faith? How do you lead people into strength in their walk with Christ? There are going to be a total of fourteen videos. Seven are going to be dealing with the issue of making disciples. They’re going to be subtitled “Walking with non-Christians in their gospel journey.” There will be seven that follow those. And those deal with training disciples, subtitled “Walking with Christians, in their gospel journey.”
Now these are going to be very short videos, and I’m talking 2, 3, 4 minutes. A few will go a couple of minutes longer, but they’re designed where you can sit down and watch one at a time if need be. Or, you could watch them consecutively as each series tells an entire story. So, I hope you’ll find that to be very helpful.
Now here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to be telling you along the way, a bit of my story.
It was 55 years ago that I began a journey of my own. I was a young adult who came to me and said, “Hey, would you like to be a part of discipleship?”
And I said, “What in the world is discipleship? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
And this guy said, “It doesn’t matter. Just you come join.”
And I found myself with a handful of peers, my same age, and this man began to literally pour his life into us. He began to work with us and helped me come to the place that I could share my faith in a helpful way to others and could help other people in their personal walk of faith.
After 42 years of being the pastor at Perimeter Church, I think it’s fair to say that the ministry of Perimeter has been known for discipleship. And I certainly say this with confidence—the greatest passion in my life is to make and train disciples, and help others do the same. I’m beginning now my 54th consecutive year of laboring in the lives of just a few. And I’ll tell you, each year as I do this, I learn more and more. It’s a learning experience, but I’ve been so thrilled to be able to see these men grow in their relationship with Christ and learning how they too can make and train disciples.
I realize that a very few of you know me personally, but I can tell you this, this is truthful. If you had known me in the earlier days, as I was being exposed to the things that I’m sharing with you, you would be saying to yourself, you know what, if he can do this, making and training disciples, then you would be saying that you can too. Because, I’ll explain more later, but as an introvert, I found it very difficult to even think about doing what I’m sharing with you now.
But let me do this as I close—I’d like to say a word, particularly to you that are pastors. For you that are, I want you to know this. As you think about your own church and you hear about Perimeter and what we’re doing, you may find it very easy to conclude that it’s a one church phenomenon. It really is not. And I can say that with great integrity.
We have trained and coached hundreds and hundreds of churches globally. And I’m telling you, whether it be the size of the church (that varies in every way), denominational affiliation, theological backgrounds, are all as diverse as you can imagine. And it’s had the same type of response wherever we have gone. So, I don’t want you to think that that would be the case.
Now two concerns that I do have. I would be concerned that you would hear what I’m saying and think that I’m saying is that we, the people of Perimeter Church, have it together—you come see how we do it, and you’re going to see the right and best and only way to do it. That is not the case at all. It really isn’t.
The second concern that I would have is very similar. And that is that you would maybe believe, by what you hear that I’m saying, that this is the model. Let me tell you, there are a lot of models to express the same biblical principles. I think the biblical principles do stand, and we want to certainly find that as our foundation, but there are a lot of ways to go about this thing called discipleship.
So, we just hope that you find in this something that’s very helpful. If it is helpful, at the end of each of the two sets of seven videos I’m going to give you some instruction as to how we might be able to come along and help you if you’re interested. And so, at the very end of each of those series, I’ll make that very clear, but thank you for even checking it out.
I hope you find life-on-life discipleship to be a great benefit to you.
If you would rather read this series, you can download the Making and Training disciples booklets here.