Leaders Call Followers


“Jesus very deliberately called certain men and women to follow Him. And He taught them to invite others as well. Good leaders raise up other leaders. Jesus made disciples of ordinary people. He disciple them to faith in Himself as the Son of God – He didn’t wait for them to come to faith before discipling them. And as they grew in faith, He taught them to disciple others also. He met them as they were fishing and working and doing life, then took time to connect with them personally.

When assembling His leadership team, Jesus personally invited them to follow Him.   He reached out. Don’t be afraid to say to people, “I want you with me. I need you.” Show them that they are important to you. When calling followers in this personal way, we focus on the few to reach the many.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to invite others to join me. I learned this skill through…”

Want to read more?  Click here to find 'Leading Like Jesus: 40 Leadership Lessons from the Upside Down Kingdom' on Amazon Kindle at a reduced price!

What About Teaching and Preaching in Disciple-Making Movements?

Check out davidwatson.org for great resources on making disciples and church planting.


“What about Teaching and Preaching?” is the number one question I receive when talking about Disciple-Making Movements, the Discovery Bible Study and Discovery Groups (which are inductive and self correcting through a coaching process); and to the uninitiated, do not appear to have teachers or preachers. There are several aspects to this question I want to explore with you in this post.

A certain percentage of those who ask this question are really saying, “I feel that teaching and preaching are my gifts, and I see no place for me in the Discovery process.” The problem with this response is that the question is focused on the teaching/preacher, not the students who need to know God. I call this the talking-head syndrome. People who have this syndrome think they are such good orators/teachers/preachers that the sound of their voices and the content of their messages will somehow miraculously become permanently imbedded in the minds of those who listen. They will proof text their position, somehow thinking that modern teaching and preaching were the norm in the First Century.

If they would take even a moment to look at the ministry of Jesus or Paul, they would realize that lecturing was a very small part of their ministries. From Scripture, it seems that they would spend days in direct contact with people making disciples for every few minutes of lecture. It is not that they didn’t lecture; it is that they didn’t just lecture. They prayed together, meet needs together, when on ministry trips together and separately, reported what was accomplished, dialogued with each other and the opposition, taught others what they were learning, and obeyed (put into practice) what they were learning. The idea that teaching and preaching were just talking did not even occur to them and certainly was not their usual practice.

The following diagram is from page 95 of How the Brain Learns by David Sousa, 2001. It is based on research done by the NLT Institute of Alexandria, Virginia.

Note, that if one just lectures, then there is only a 5% retention of information after 24 hours. This goes down even further as more days pass. On the same page, Dr. Sousa also writes, “Lecture continues to be the most prevalent teaching mode in secondary and higher education, despite overwhelming evidence that it produces the lowest degree of retention for most learners.”

Modern teaching and preaching are lecture styles that cannot and do not produce Disciples, regardless of how good the orator feels about his or her skills or content. There is certainly a place for lecture, but it is minor in the overall process of making a disciple.

Disciple-Makers cannot just be teachers and preachers. They must spend significant time with their potential disciples in dialogue, demonstration, encouragement to teach others what they are learning, and exhorting them to obey (do) what they are learning. This is how one effectively moves knowledge and practice from one person to another and one generation to another.

In the typical teaching/preaching setting, listeners are encouraged to do three things.

Listen to the Scripture as it is read, which may or may not be heard Listen to an explanation of the Scripture, which may or may not be understood Listen to how they might apply the Scripture to their own lives or circumstances, which may or may not be obeyed To enhance retention, the teacher/preacher will use lots of examples and stories, and sometimes, guilt. But the reality is that most listeners cannot tell anyone about what they heard, unless they took notes and refer to those notes. Within a few weeks no one remembers anything that was said, unless it was a good joke or story they told to others several times. There is zero accountability for the content or the behavior changes it may require. Even the teacher/preacher is hard pressed to tell us in any detail what they spoke about in the last few weeks.

Modern teaching and preaching has failed to produce obedient Disciples of Jesus.

The methodology of Disciple-Making Movements (DMM) was designed to produce the highest levels of understanding, retention, obedience, and reproduction of the process. It all starts with a committed and obedient Disciple of Jesus who is also a Disciple-maker. By the way, one cannot be a committed and obedient Disciple of Jesus and not make Disciples. A Disciple is one who knows and follows (obeys) the teachings of Jesus, which includes the command to “make Disciples”.

The DMM process is:

A well-trained Disciple is sent to a new area to start work. (Teaching and practice is involved) The Disciple practices his/her life in the new community, being conspicuously spiritual while meeting felt needs in the community. (Felt needs may include business) The spiritual life and ministry of the Disciple attracts those who may be spiritually seeking. Casual Discover Bible Studies are introduced and the seeker is encouraged to share these with family, friends, neighbors, and workmates. For example: I verbally introduce a passage of Scripture and ask the seeker what he/she thinks. Then I ask them to share it with family/friends/neighbors/workmates to see what they think. The person who engages the process and introduces me to their family/friends/neighbors/workmates is called a Person of Peace. (These studies may be on a variety of topics of interest to the audience: family, parenting, debt, wealth, and etc.) As interest in the topics increase, there comes a time when it is appropriate to move from an informal to a formal Discovery Bible Study within the context of a Discovery Group. By this point the Disciple-maker should know who the spiritual leader of the group is. It may or may not be the Person of Peace. The Disciple-maker then approaches the spiritual leader of the family/group/neighbors/workmates, and suggests that he/she should lead the group in discovering more about God. Upon acceptance, the Disciple-maker begins a relationship with the spiritual leader and coaches him/her to lead a Discovery Group. Coaching includes teaching and the practice of skills until they are perfected. At this point you may want to review Small Groups that have the DNA of a Gospel Planting Movement. The Discovery Group takes people from not knowing God to falling in love with Jesus. Later, the same process is used to master any topic in the Bible. It establishes the DNA of the emerging church. Here is an outline with the DNA elements in parenthesis: Ask: What are you thankful for this week? (Prayer/Worship) Ask: What has stressed you out this week? What do you need for things to be better? (Intercession) Ask: What are the needs of the people in your community? (Ministry) Ask: How can we help each other with the needs we expressed? (Ministry) Ask: What did we talk about last week? (Review/Accountability) Ask: Did you change anything in your life as a result of last week’s story? (Accountability/Obedience) Ask: Did you get a chance to share the story with [the person they identified]? (Accountability/Evangelism) Ask: We identified several needs last week and planned to meet those needs. How did it go? (Accountability/Ministry) Say: Let’s see what the Bible teaches us this week. Read this week’s passage. (Scripture) Ask for someone to retell the passage in his or her own words. Like they were telling a friend who wasn’t there. (Understanding/Evangelism) Ask the Group: Do you agree with their retelling? Is there something they added or left out that they shouldn’t have? As long as the group doesn’t miss a key component of the passage, continue. If they miss something, read the passage again. If someone states something that isn’t in the passage, ask, “Where did you find [what they said] in this passage?” Reread the passage, if necessary. (Priesthood of Believers/Group Correction/Understanding) Ask: What does this passage teach us about God? (Discovery/Scripture/Priesthood of Believers) Ask: What does this passage teach us about humanity? (Discovery/Scripture/Priesthood of Believers) Ask: If we believe this passage is from God, how must we change? (Discovery/Scripture/Obedience/Priesthood of Believers) Ask: Who are you going to share this passage with before we meet again? (Evangelism/Replication) Ask: When do you want to meet again? This is a practical question. You will never get someone to commit to a 26-week study. But, you can give them the option to meet again next week. If they are really seeking and if the meeting is filling a need, they will tell you they want to meet again. This process is repeated every week until the group becomes Believers and then Disciples in obedience to the Word, which will include baptism and is when we consider a church to be established. Maturing of the church continues with new Bible studies designed to take the church to reproduction. Now, let’s revisit the learning pyramid.

Lecture (teaching) takes place between the Disciple-maker and the seeker who will lead the group. Reading the Scripture for the next lesson takes place between the Disciple-maker and the seeker who leads the group. Reading to the group/listening to Scripture takes place in the group. Demonstration of the process takes place between the Disciple-maker and the seeker who leads the group, and the group practices it weekly. The group is led in discussion of the Word using the questions given by the Disciple-maker. Note that the group leader does not teach, but simply leads a discussion around the Word of God. The seeker/leader and the group practice the process weekly. They also practice what they have learned with others inside and outside the group. Every week the group members are encouraged to share/teach other what they are learning and to put into immediate practice (obey) what they are learning. I hope you can see how every learning process is taken advantage of in the development of the Disciple-Making Movement methodology.

Now, let’s compare the traditional method of preaching/teaching to discipleship to Disciple-making.


Disciple-Making Movements Scripture Scripture Explanation Understanding Application Obedience

Our purpose is not to just teach or preach. Our purpose is to teach and preach with our words, our lives, and our practices in such a way that others can do the same as they imitate us in their groups and among their family/friends/neighbors/work. More than explanation, we want understanding. More than application, we want obedience.

Teaching and preaching are much more than lectures that exhort people to change their behavior. Real teaching and preaching are part of a Disciple-making process that engages the lives of a community, and bring real hope and change to that community. Success is found when the community does the same thing again with others. The real teacher in this process is the Holy Spirit, as seekers are taught to listen and learn from God as they are guided in exploring Scripture.


David Watson Irving, Texas Be Sociable, Share!


Spiritual Fathers and Mothers in the Lord

There is a cry in many people’s hearts for someone to father or mother them. There are many spiritual orphans who have never had the opportunity to be loved into wholeness. Fatherlessness is a curse on a nation, and the result of that curse is wounded people carrying an orphan spirit.

The pain in the lives of spiritual orphans empowers five lies:

• The Rejection Lie – I must protect myself from others

• The Fear Lie – I must hide myself from others

• The Performance Lie – I must prove myself to others

• The Blame Lie – I must defend myself from others

• The Control Lie – I must manage myself and others

Spiritual fathers and mothers are mature fathers and mothers because they are not controlled by these lies, nor do they fall into the trap of modifying the behavior of those who believe these lies. They go for the heart. They know that lies are empowered by pain and that Jesus is the truth to heal the pain and dispel the lies.

Fathers and mothers in the Lord do five things well*:

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Enable Others to Act – They foster collaboration and build life-giving teams. They actively involve others. They understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and dignity, of faith and vision. They strengthen others by sharing information and providing choice. Their give their own power away, making each person feel capable and powerful.

• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Inspire a Common Vision – They inspire people to believe they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what their spiritual family can become. Through their passionate appeals and quiet persuasion, they enlist others in the dream. They breathe life into the shared vision and get people to see the exciting future possibilities.

• Fathers and Mothers Challenge the Status Quo – They search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative was to improve their church. They are learners and they encourage others to ask questions and think for themselves. They are always looking for what God wants to teach them. They experiment and take risks. And since risk taking involves mistakes and failure, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities. They believe there are no failures, just learning.

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Model the Way – They create standards of common values and then set an example for others to follow. They establish values about how members of the community and staff should be treated. Because complex change can overwhelm and stifle action, they celebrate small wins. They unravel or remove bureaucracy, put up signposts for the way forward, and create opportunities for victory. They celebrate failure if people try, and rejoice in little obediences as the way to get to big obediences.

• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Encourage the Heart – They provide opportunities for healing wounded hearts. They get extraordinary things done in their church or movement by doing lots of hard work based on grace, not performance. They keep hope and determination alive. They honor contributions that individuals make. And because every spiritual family needs to share in the rewards of their efforts, they celebrate accomplishments. They make everyone feel like a hero.

There are seven reflection questions that allow us to assess our level of maturity as spiritual fathers and mothers:

• Does our leadership and discipleship restrict or liberate people?

• Does it lead to conformity or does it promote creativity?

• Does it bring dependence on us or on God?

• Does it produce servility or servanthood?

• Does it build on rules or grace?

• Does it undermine or build a person's confidence?

• Does it produce fear or faith?

In closing, consider Paul’s message to the Corinthians about being a spiritual father or mother:

“I'm not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I'm writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father. I'm not, you know, asking you to do anything I'm not already doing myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 The Message

In the NKJV translation of verse 15 it says, “...though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ...”

The Greek word used for instructor is a word used for those who supervise children until they reach adulthood. Paul is saying the Corinthians have had a lot of baby sitters but it’s time for them to grow up, and the key to that is having a spiritual father or mother in their lives.

Spiritual fathers and mothers are not instructors for spiritual babies. They are fathers and mothers in the Lord who know God.

*NOTE FROM FLOYD: I am indebted to Larry Kreider for his book, The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers. I have adapted the five characteristics of spiritual mothers and fathers from the book, The Leadership Challenge, by Posner and Kouzes. I have written more extensively on spiritual fathering and mothering in my book, The Father Heart of God, and in You See Bones – I See an Army.

Seven Marks of Disciple Making Churches in the Muslim World

Note: This article is from Joel News International

Write to info@joelnews.org

West-Africa: Seven marks of new churches in the Muslim world

For more than seven years Jerry Trousdale studied disciple making movements in the Muslim world, especially in West-Africa. In that period more than 6,000 new Muslim-background churches were started in 18 countries, comprising 70 different Muslim people groups. Trousdale found that ‘church’ is being done in a specific way:

1. Groups are kept small. The average church size is 31.2 Christians per church. In extremely high-risk areas this is approximately 15 Christians per church. Church buildings are uncommon as they only increase the risk of persecution.

2. Every member is expected to participate in ongoing ‘discovery Bible studies’ in which people together learn how to obey God and help one another grow in faithfulness to Him.

3. The leadership of the church is somewhat collective, but typically includes a facilitator who is receiving ongoing biblical training and mentoring. This is done two to four times a year, without extracting them to other regions. The facilitators support themselves financially.

4. Many churches set aside special times every week for prayer and fasting.

5. Between 60 and 70 percent of the churches report a dramatic healing or deliverance that usually causes the church to suddenly accelerate in growth.

6. More than half of the Muslim-background churches are planted among people who are considered totally unengaged by the gospel. About one quarter of the churches are in Muslim-dominant regions where persecution is very common. In some areas, the sheer number of churches that are planted changes the spiritual environment, which in turn gives Christians much greater freedom.

7. Disciples reproduce disciples, and churches reproduce churches in ways that are biblically informed and culturally appropriate. There are not many programs, but quite of lot of genuine transformation of individuals, families and whole communities.

Source: Jerry Trousdale

Changing the City With the Gospel Takes a Movement

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/03/changing-the-city-with-the-gospel-takes-a-movement/ Changing the City with the Gospel Takes a Movement

When a church or a church network begins to grow rapidly in a city, it is only natural for the people within the ministry to feel that God is making a difference in that place. Often, however, what is really going on is "Christian reconfiguration." When churches grow, they typically do so by drawing believers out of less vital churches. This can be a good thing if the Christians in these growing churches are being better discipled and if their gifts are being effectively deployed. Nevertheless, if this is the key dynamic, then the overall body of Christ in the city is not growing; it is simply reconfiguring. Reaching an entire city, then, takes more than having some effective churches in it, or even having a burst of revival energy and new converts. Changing the city with the gospel takes a movement.

When a gospel city movement occurs, the whole body of Christ grows faster than the population so that the percentage of Christians in the city rises. We call this a movement because it consists of an energy that extends across multiple denominations and networks. It does not reside in a single church or set of leaders or in any particular command center, and its forward motion does not depend on any one organization. It is organic and self-propagating, the result of a set of forces that interact, support, sustain, and stimulate one another. We can also call it a gospel ecosystem. Just as a biological ecosystem is made of interdependent organisms, systems, and natural forces, a gospel ecosystem is made of interdependent organizations, individuals, ideas, and spiritual and human forces. When all the elements of an ecosystem are in place and in balance, the entire system produces health and growth as a whole for the elements themselves.

Can we produce a gospel city movement? No. A movement is the result of two sets of factors. Take for example, a garden. A garden flourishes because of the skill and diligence of the gardener and the condition of the soil and the weather. The first set of factors---gardening---is the way we humanly contribute to the movement. This encompasses a self-sustaining, naturally growing set of ministries and networks, which we will look at in more detail below.

But the second set of factors in a movement---the conditions---belong completely to God. He can open individual hearts ("soil") to the Word ("seed") in any numbers he sovereignly chooses. And he can also open a culture to the gospel as a whole ("weather"). How does God do this? Sometimes he brings about a crisis of belief within the dominant culture. Two of the great Christian movements---the early church of the second and third centuries and the church in China in the twentieth and twentieth first centuries---were stimulated by crisis of confidence within their societies. The belief in the gods of Rome---and belief in orthodox Marxism in China---began falling apart as plausible worldviews. There was broad disaffection toward the older "faiths" among the population at large. This combination of cultural crisis and popular disillusionment with old ways of belief can supercharge a Christian movement and lift it to greater heights than it can reach in a culture that is indifferent (rather than hostile) to Christians. There can also be catastrophes that lead people of a culture to look to spiritual resources, as when the Japanese domination of Korea after 1905 became a context for the large number of conversions to Christianity that began around that time.

In short, we cannot produce a gospel movement without the providential work of the Holy Spirit. A movement is an ecosystem that is empowered and blessed by God's Spirit.

What is the ecosystem that the Holy Spirit uses to produce a gospel city movement? I picture it as three concentric circles:

First Ring --- Contextual Theological Vision

At the very core of the ecosystem is a way of communicating and embodying the gospel that is contextualized to the city's culture and is fruitful in converting and discipling its people, a shared commitment to communicating the gospel to a particular place in a particular time. Churches that catalyze gospel movements in cities do not all share the same worship style, come from the same denomination, or reach the same demographic. They do, however, generally share much of the same basic "DNA": they are gospel centered, attentive to their culture, balanced, missional/evangelistic, growing, and self-replicating. In short, they have a relative consensus on the Center Church theological vision---a set of biblically grounded, contextual strategic stances and emphases that help bring sound doctrine to bear on the people who live in this particular moment.

Second Ring --- Church Planting and Church Renewal Movements

The second layer is a number of church multiplication movements producing a set of new and growing churches, each using the effective means of ministry within their different denominations and traditions.

Many look at cities and see a number of existing churches, often occupying building that are nearly empty. It is natural to think, "The first thing we need to is to renew the existing churches with the gospel." Indeed, but the establishment of new churches in a city is a key to renewing the older churches. New churches introduce new ideas and win the unchurched and non-Christians to Christ at a generally higher rate than older churches. They provide spiritual oxygen to the communities and networks of Christians who do the heavy lifting over decades of time to reach and renew cities. They provide the primary venue for discipleship and the multiplication of believers, as well as serve as the indigenous financial engine for the ministry initiatives.

Third Ring --- Specialized Ministries

Based in the churches, yet also stimulating and sustaining the churches, this third ring consists of a complex of specialty ministries, institutions, networks, and relationships. There are at least seven types of elements in this third ring.

1. A prayer movement uniting churches across traditions in visionary intercession for the city. The history of revivals shows the vital importance of corporate, prevailing, visionary intercessory prayer for the city and the body of Christ. Praying for your city is a biblical directive (Jer 29:4-7). Coming together in prayer is something a wide variety of believers can do. It doesn't require a lot of negotiation and theological parsing to pray. Prayer brings people together. And this very activity is catalytic for creating friendships and relationships across denominational and organizational bounderies. Partnerships with Christians who are similar to and yet different from you stimulates growth and innovation.

2. A number of specialized evangelistic ministries, reaching particular groups (business people, mothers, ethnicities, and the like). Of particular importance are effective campus and youth ministries. Many of the city church's future members and leaders are best found in the city's colleges and schools. While students who graduate from colleges in university towns must leave the area to get jobs, graduates form urban universities do not. Students won to Christ and given a vision for living in the city can remain in the churches they joined during their school years and become emerging leaders in the urban body of Christ. Winning the youth of a city wins city natives who understand the culture well.

3. An array of justice and mercy ministries, addressing every possible social problem and neighborhood. As the evangelicals provided leadership in the 1830s, we need today an urban "benevolent empire" of Christians banding together in various nonprofits and other voluntary organizations to address the needs of the city. Christians of the city must become renowned for their care for their neighbors, for this is one of the key ways that Jesus will become renowned.

4. Faith and work initiatives and fellowships in which Christians from across the city gather with others in the same profession. Networks of Christians in business, the media, the arts, government, and the academy should come together to help each other work with accountability, excellence, and Christian distinctiveness.

6. Systems for attracting, developing, and training urban church and ministry leaders. The act of training usually entails good theological education, but a dynamic city leadership system will include additional components such as well-developed internship programs and connections to campus ministries.

7. An unusual unity of Christian city leaders. Church and movements leaders, heads of institutions, business leaders, academics, and others must know one another and provide vision and direction for the whole city. They must be more concerned about reaching the whole city and growing the whole body of Christ than about increasing their own tribe and kingdom.

When all of these ecosystems elements are strong and in place, they stimulate and increase one another and the movement becomes self-sustaining.


This article is an excerpt from Tim Keller's new book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, released today by Zondervan.

Tim Keller is the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Manhattan, New York. He is also co-founder and vice president of The Gospel Coalition. For more resources by Tim Keller visit Redeemer City to City.