How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples
If you are serious about being a disciple of Jesus Christ—really, truly serious—a discipleship group can help you get achieve that goal. Jesus established this model for us by forming and leading the first discipleship group—and it worked. The men who emerged from that group took the gospel to the world and ultimately laid down their lives for Christ. Discipleship groups can create an atmosphere for fellowship, encouragement, and accountability—building an environment where God can work. In Growing Up: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples, Robby Gallaty presents a practical, easy-to-implement system for growing in one’s faith. This guide offer a manual for making disciples, addressing the what, why, where, and how of discipleship. D-Groups, as Gallaty calls them, can teach you and others how to grow your relationship with God, how to defend your faith, and how to guide others in their relationships with God. Growing Up provides you with an interactive manual and resource for creating and working with discipleship groups, allowing you to gain positive information both for yourself and for others as you learn how to help others become better disciples for Christ. “Growing Up is church tested, scripturally rich, and worth your time.” —Dr. Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research
The gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else. Your salvation was never intended by God to be an end in itself, but a beginning. God saved you to be a conduit through whom His glorious, life-changing gospel would flow to others. Let me begin this book by saying, “Thank you.” By picking up this resource, you are communicating a number of things. You want to grow in your relationship with God. You take Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 to make disciples seriously. You have a burden to leave an eternal legacy by investing in the lives of others. Perhaps you yearn for someone to invest in you. Regardless of the reasons, you are beginning a journey toward a deeper relationship with Christ. Growing Up is a resource that has the potential to change your life. How can I say this? 1. This book is built upon solid biblical principles. Since “faith comes by hearing,” the words of Scripture, which God promised would never return void, produce life change. 2. These principles have been tried and tested over the past decade in various D-Groups (discipleship groups). 3. My life has been impacted immensely through discipling relationships. I share my story of how God radically saved me from a life of drugs and alcohol in Chapter One.
This book should not be read and then discarded on a shelf. As a manual for making disciples, it is a resource that you will use for years to come. Underline in it, write in the margins, interact with it, and meditate on it. You are not learning this information for yourself only, although you will definitely benefit from it. You are learning for all the people you will disciple in the future, those who will receive the gospel because it flowed to them through you. As you read, please take notes. Did you know that you forget 40% of what you heard within twenty minutes? Within one week you are only able to retain about 20%? If you don't write something down, you will forget it. How else will you pass on what you have learned unless you record it?, Where would we be if the apostles hadn’t written down the Word of God for us to read today?
Every time I speak on discipleship, I am asked afterward, “Where do I begin?” or “How do I get started?” After answering these questions hundreds of times, I decided to create a roadmap for others to follow. As you read through this book, you will find that I purposely spent little time expounding philosophy, theory, and the necessity for making disciples. What’s the reason behind this? Men and women far more experienced than I have already written extensively on this subject (these resources are mentioned throughout the book). Numerous books define discipleship, outline objectives for making disciples, and provide biblical evidence from both the Old and New Testaments. Many are invaluable resources. However, after reading these books, I was often left asking the question, “Now what?” I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only one asking that question. I’ve come to realize when people don't know what to do, they don’t do anything. Prayerfully, this resource will aid in putting feet to your faith through mapping out a plan for investing in others. It is purposefully practical, easy to use, and simple to follow.
The DNA of Discipleship From time to time, people ask me, “What was the difference that made the difference at Brainerd Baptist Church?” The answer is easy: Discipleship. When I arrived as senior pastor at Brainerd in 2008, only a handful of people were meeting in intentional discipleship groups (D-Groups). What is a D-Group? It is a group of three to five people who meet weekly for the express purpose of becoming disciples who make disciples. Beginning with my pastoral staff, I redesigned our weekly three-hour business/staff meeting into a D-Group, focusing on Scripture reading, extended prayer times, and Scripture memory (we memorized the entire book of 2 Timothy in 2009). The atmosphere changed overnight. After a year of meeting, I challenged our staff to identify two or three people to meet with in a D-Group (men with men and women with women). During my second year at Brainerd, we estimated that 100 people were meeting in D-Groups. In 2014, we expect to have over 1,000 people meeting in D-Groups throughout our fellowship. Keep in mind the individuals meeting are in addition to small group Bible study and Sunday school attendance. Sunday school classes and small groups are the seedbeds for building D-Group relationships. Our church’s mission statement, Deliver, Disciple, and Deploy, was formative in shaping the DNA of our congregation. People in a church will always celebrate what the pastor celebrates. If the pastor celebrates bodies, bucks, or buildings, the people will perceive those as most important and the measure of success. However, when the pastor highlights restoring relationships, transforming lives, and maturing believers within the D-Group, people will soon desire to participate in a group. We started celebrating what God was doing in D-Groups and so did our people. How to Use the Material If you are serious about being a disciple of Jesus Christ—really, truly serious—you will become a part of a discipleship group. Again, Jesus Himself established this model for us. He formed and personally led the first D-Group—and it worked. The men who emerged from that group took the gospel to the world, and, ultimately, they laid down their lives for Christ. A D-Group creates an atmosphere for fellowship, encouragement, and accountability, and it is an environment where God can work. A healthy D-Group has three purposes: to help you… • Grow in your relationship with Christ • Give a defense for your faith • Guide others in their relationship with Christ You may be thinking, “How do I get in a D-Group? Where can I find one?” Ask your pastor or another church leader about the availability of groups in your church. If your church doesn’t have such groups, find a mature Christian who is willing to lead the group, and two or three other believers who want to grow in their walk with the Lord, and start a group. Who knows, God may want to use you to begin this movement in your church! As you mature in your faith, those of you in the group can eventually start and lead other groups. This book will equip you to do it. Book Outline In order to get the most out this resource, review each chapter of the book in your D-Group. Watch for three pairs of synonymous terms that will be used interchangeably: disciple-making and discipleship mentor and discipler mentee and disciple Growing Up is divided into two sections. The first three chapters build a case for the necessity of making disciples. Chapter Four deals with training yourself to become godly. The remaining six chapters, if incorporated into your life, will aid in developing a C.L.O.S.E.R. walk with Christ. This C.L.O.S.E.R. walk will help you in the following ways: Communicate with God through prayer Learn to understand and apply God’s Word to your life Obey God’s commands Store God’s Word in your heart Evangelize—share Christ with others Renew yourself spiritually every day Regularly practicing even one of these disciplines will increase your spiritual fervor. The more of them you cultivate into your life, the closer you will grow to the Lord, and to being conformed to the image of Christ. If you practice all of them, you will see exponential growth in your life. Whether you are a new believer or have been in church your entire life, these practices will produce tangible results in godliness and fruitfulness—if you are disciplined enough to stick with them.
Robby Gallaty earned a PhD from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is also president of Replicate Ministries, a ministry devoted to preparing and empowering disciples to make disciples. He and his wife, Kandi, have two sons, Rig and Ryder.
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