Sunday, May 24, 2020

True Story: How do we pull people close for disciplemaking friendships that multiply during a pandemic?

"Church wasn't closed. Church services were. Friendships weren't. Disciplemaking wasn't. So please don't say, 'Churches are reopening.' Say, 'Church services are reopening for larger groups.' Jesus said, 'Where two or three gather in my name, there I am in the midst of them.'" —Dave Garda
I pray The Disciplemaker's Prayer on a regular basis. (Click image above for viewing and praying. I recommend it. But you'd better buckle your seatbelt. You're about to go on a disciplemaking adventure that could ruin you for an ordinary life.) You'll note that one line of the prayer is asking God to show us WHO He wants us to "pull close" for disciplemaking friendships. That raises the question: What does it look like to pull others close for disciplemaking friendships in a pandemicHere's a fun, true and short story.

I recently shared our FREE Disciplemaking Manifesto on a Facebook page for a group of churches in Streator, IL—where I grew up. I noticed this response from an acquaintance to my post: "I live in the same town as you and I am interested in disciplemaking." That's right. We're both born and raised in Streator and we both now live in Chillicothe. The conversation quickly moved from social media to texting. The next big hurdle for us was this: How do we get time with each other for disciplemaking friendship in a pandemic?


Since our family is in the habit of walking the neighborhood every night after supper, we thought that this might be the best way to get time with our friends—all the while social distancing (see pic above). So about once a week, we walk about 2 miles together—getting to know each other better, sharing our stories, and exploring disciplemaking like Jesus as a way of life together. We laugh a lot too. And sometimes we spontaneously pick up more walkers along the way.

Now that we're getting some time together (and a little exercise too), we're in the middle of exploring The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus book together one chapter at a time. It's been fun and the conversation has been all over the map.

Recently, my new friend shared The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus book with about 15 of his friends. Note: The way we give disciplemaking to others is the way they will pass it on to others. We're not kidding when we say, "Disciplemaking Friendships that Multiply."


While I don't know what disciplemaking looks like for you and yours during this pandemic, this story is just one of the ways we're aspiring to make disciplemakers like Jesus. We're doing it very imperfectly and we all have a lot to learn. But anything worth doing is worth doing poorly—at first. Nevertheless, we're still moving forward by...


1. Asking God who to pull close.
2. Engaging friends the best we can.
3. Having fun following Jesus together.
4. Helping our friends—to help their friends—to follow Jesus. Why? Because we haven't made disciples like Jesus until those we disciple make more disciplemakers.

So where should YOU start? For me, it all starts with the simplest and most profound—and yet most often ignored—step: Daring to actually take one stinking minute to pray The Disciplemaker's Prayer.

Will you join me in praying 
The Disciplemaker's Prayer?

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and make you think ONE time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
2. Check your email to confirm.

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