Questions and Answers
Here are a few answers to questions that will help you understand how best to use these materials:
1. Is Discipleship just for new Christians?
No! These training materials are not just for new Christians. Discipleship is for Christians of all ages and stages. While ‘My First Steps’ is designed to establish new Christians in the foundations of the Christian life, the other manuals will help Christians of all ages move on towards maturity and spiritual effectiveness. We have had people more than 20 years a Christian doing ‘Come Follow Me’ and commenting - ‘This course has transformed my life!’
2. Why is the series a cycle?
These materials are based on the belief that discipleship is not linear, but cyclical. Each book is not an end in itself, it is taking people somewhere. It is helping them to grow into disciples themselves and then showing them how to make disciples of others. In this way they are becoming part of a multiplying life-cycle. And the longer you run the whole cycle and take believers through the various stages, the more momentum it will generate as more disciples and disciple-makers are being produced. It has the potential to awaken Christians and release them into an effectiveness they may never have known before.
3. How long does the cycle take?
From beginning to end, the whole cycle could take 2 to two and a half years (if they start at Book 1 and complete 1 study a week). But not everyone will need to start from the beginning. People can join in at various stages of the cycle depending on where they are in their spiritual growth. (See how to find this out in the next question below). A new Christian may join in at ‘My First Steps’. But an older Christian may start with ‘Come Follow Me’, or ‘Come let us Worship’, or even ‘Go and Make Disciples’.
Some may think this training is too long and that only a short series will keep people interested. Actually, we have found that once people begin this training and experience changes taking place in their lives, they don’t want to stop! And the training is not the same week after week as they begin to realize they are on a journey and the landscape keeps changing. The key issue here is – you cannot make disciples in 6 weeks or even 6 months! You must grow disciples, and all growth takes time. This highlights the fact that these training manuals are designed not just for information, but for spiritual transformation. They do not just focus on knowledge and understanding but on ‘teaching them to obey’. They take a person step by step along the way and give them time to grow. Through the discipline of personal preparation each week, memorizing Scripture, making personal applications, completing special projects, and developing accountability within the group, people’s lives will be deepened and changed. If in a secular field of study we are prepared to give years to full time training, why should we think we can become effective disciples of Christ without similar commitment, discipline and training?
4. How do you know where a person should start?
In the Leader’s Manual there is a ‘Discipleship Self-Evaluation Questionnaire’. This is designed to help find out where a person is in his or her discipleship and where to best start a person on the cycle. This Questionnaire does not test what a person knows, but how a person is living as a disciple of Jesus Christ and whether they are obeying. You can photocopy this page and use it with all those interested in starting discipleship training. Based on the person’s final score, the end of the Questionnaire will show you where they would best join the cycle. Even Christians of many years may not be as far along as you would expect, and even a young Christian may be further along than you think. So don’t guess! Use the Questionnaire to determine where to start them on the cycle and how to move them on from where they are now.
5. What about training of leaders?
We can offer you a 6 week training package – a 6 part DVD series 'Disciple-making & Mentoring' which takes potential leaders through the disciple-making process and shows them how to use the training manuals to disciple others on a ‘one-to-one’ basis or in small groups. This training package presented by Ian & Diane Malins will encourage, inspire and show you how to start the process of intentionally ‘making disciples’.
This DVD series has an accompanying set of free seminar notes.
6. Where does the ‘Worship’ book fit in?
This inspiring book of 12 studies will have a profound impact on all those who use it. It focuses on worship as a lifestyle rather than just an event on Sundays and has revolutionized peoples understanding of what true worship really is. It focuses on our heart relationship with God and sees our highest calling as the worship of God in everything we do. This book can be used independently of the cycle as a book in its own right, but it is also part of the cycle. It is in reality the heart of what discipleship is all about. and probably fits best after ‘Come Follow Me’. Those who have completed this little book have said it has profoundly changed their view of worship and deepened their discipleship beyond belief. So this book is the very centre of the cycle!
7. What about the books on ‘Revival’?
There are 3 books on Revival – Book 1 ‘Understanding our need of Revival’, and Book 2 ‘Preparing the way for Revival’. These are in work-book style and ideal for small groups. There is also a third paperback edition - 'Prepare the way for Revival' covering similar ground to Book 2 but in a read-through style with questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter (so also suitable for group discussion).
These revival books are a follow-on to the Discipleship series. Revival and Discipleship belong together. Revival brings the wind and the fire. Discipleship provides the wood for the fire to burn. These books on Revival will help ignite a passion and hunger for more of God. They will help the wood catch on fire. A person can work through these studies on Revival at any time. But it may be best to first complete the Discipleship series and then do the Revival studies. When disciples have hearts set on fire there will be no limit to what God will do through them! After all, isn’t that why the early church grew and spread so dramatically?
8. Is there any recognition for training completed?
Yes, there is a beautifully presented 'Certificate of Christian Discipleship' available (size 225 x 330mm) for church groups to use as a visible way of encouraging people to complete the training cycle and which gives official church recognition for each part of the cycle completed. Self adhesive seals or labels are progressively affixed to the main Certificate as people complete each part of the cycle.
This is a way of encouraging a person to keep on going and growing right around the cycle. Each church can set its own standards as to what is required for a person to receive a certificate or seal of completion, but we recommend an official register be kept by the group leader which records three things each week - attendance, quoting of memory verse, completion of the study (or project) in advance of the group meeting. We would then suggest a 75 - 80% combined result as the minimum requirement for an award to be given. This thereby gives the training completed official status and recognition on top of the great personal value these courses provide.
9. What is the measure of a 'disciple-making' church?
Is your church a 'disciple-making' church? Are you doing what Jesus has called you to do? Jesus' final commission and command to his disciples was to 'go and make disciples'. This then must be our primary purpose. Disciple-making should be the heart of every church because it is the heart of the Great Commission. But how well are you fulfilling that calling? In the midst of all you are doing as a church, are you making disciples as your primary purpose? And what is the measure of this anyway?
To help you evaluate how well you are fulfilling this primary calling, we have prepared a 'Church Disciple-making Questionnaire'. This Questionnaire looks at the key elements required for a church to be a disciple-making church rather than a church that just maintains (or entertains) believers. The questionnaire will not only give you a measure of how effectively you are doing this but will also show you how to change your focus. It is primarily for church pastors and leaders to use and apply. You can download this Questionnaire free from the link below. How well are you doing as a church in fulfilling Jesus' call to 'make disciples'?