Sunday, May 15, 2016

Disciplemaking Friendships: Why and How

Disciplemaking Friendships—Why?

When I went back to college later in life, I was told that I had a “math deficiency.” I ended up having to buy an introductory mathematics book and re-teaching myself some basics.

Everyday I worked through a portion of that pitifully boring math book—alone.

However, once a week I met with a tutor who monitored my progress (or lack thereof) and tried to answer my many questions. (“Why would anyone plant a garden in the form of a triangle and then use the Pythagorean Theorem to measure the hypotenuse?”)

One day I asked my tutor, “Help me understand integers”—and I pronounced it exactly like it’s spelled: “in-TEG-ers.” My tutor smiled and said, “You mean, integers”—and she pronounced it “IN-ti-jers.” Sensing my embarrassment, she said, “It’s okay. You couldn’t have known this simply by working through the book by yourself.”

Right then and there I realized this: Solo book learning is a good start, but a fuller, deeper learning happens in community.

In my math community—with a tutor and few other struggling students—I learned to correctly pronounce mathematical terms I’ll probably never need—such as “integer.” (My math is up to speed these days, but you may have noticed that I still have a significant math deficiency in my attitude.)

In Jesus’ day, this fuller, deeper, communal learning was known as havering. And as it turns out, haver learning is a critically important part of the disciplemaking genius of Jesus. Why? Because you will never fully come to know and experience Jesus or disciplemaking by simply working through the Book by yourself.
(The above was taken from the introduction to the Disciplemaker's Living Guide.)


Disciplemaking Friendships—How?
This Disciplemaker's Living Guide is a tool for transforming friendships into disciplemaking friendships.

Who?
It's great for families, students, small groups, networks, leadership meetings, discipleship groups, Sunday school classes, elder’s meetings, staff meetings, disciplemaking learning communities, mission trip teams, and even improving your marriage.

What’s New?
* A refreshed size and design.
* A helpful introduction on WHY and HOW to use it as a dialogue rather than merely a devotional resource.
* The Disciplemaker’s Prayer and a challenge to pray it daily.
* Various images and graphics that promote reflection, study, and dialogue.
* Language that clearly ties this resource to the disciplemaking priorities and practices spelled out in the Disciplemaking Is Relationships training.

How to Use the Living Guide
Using the Discplemaker's Living Guide is as simple as this...
* Open the living guide.
* Open your Bibles and read the Scriptures and their contexts. 
* Wrestle the Scriptures and the questions one by one with a heart to know and love God.
* Pray the Disciplemaker's Prayer together (included in the living guide).
You're probably doing it right when your study together leads to more questions and deeper conversations about applying what you're learning together.

8 Ways to Use this Living Guide
1. Sunday School:
Use the Disciplemaker's Living Guide for the first 10-15 minutes of each class for discussion and prayer together for 25 Sundays. Or take your time walking slowly through the living guide the entire Sunday school class. If you read the context of each of the passages listed and give plenty of time for discussion, interaction, and prayer, it will easily fill your Sunday school hour. We've seen both of these approaches work great in a Sunday school setting. Get each member of your Sunday school class his/her own living guide and you'll still have the most inexpensive Sunday school ever.

2. Small Groups: 
This living guide is a great for small groups to live out a disciplemaking way of life together. By wrestling Scripture together, you and your friends have an opportunity to own disciplemaking like Jesus at the conviction level rather than just at the idea level. (And, oh, there is a major difference between those two!) This wrestling Scripture together in community (a.k.a., havering) is a critically important step in transforming friendships into disciplemaking friendships.

3. With Volunteers and Students
Use the Disciplemaker's Living Guide to help your adult volunteer leaders and student volunteer leaders grasp and own the value of disciplemaking friendships as the conduit for gospel ministry.

4. Retreats: 
This living guide is a great summer camp or fall or winter retreat experience. Cadre offers a four-session training experience called Disciplemaking Is Relationships that works well in a retreat setting. Each person would get the Disciplemaker's Living Guide.

5. Family Discussions: 
It can be as a simple and spontaneous as a 5-10 minute discussion via the questions in the living guide after dinner one night a week. If you have a long drive together, use the car time to wrestle a study or two together. Consider doing a family night using this living guide to explore what it looks like to live a disciplemaking way of life together. Then invite other families to share this living guide experience.

6. Starting Meetings:
Instead of just starting meetings in prayer, take 15 minutes to have people get into pairs and work through one of the 25 disciplemaking studies/adventures. This will drip essential disciplemaking values into your elder, staff, and team meetings throughout the year.

7. Mission Trips:
Make the Disciplemaker's Living Guide the team devotional for your next missions trip. Since you're all on a missions trip, why not use it together each day?

8. Can YOU think of a way to use this in your life and ministry?


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