Make Your Life Count

My dad at 50 - compared to me at 50.
Rev. Ray DeVries, my dad, was born on May 14, 1932. Today would have been his 83rd birthday. 

He died when he was 50 years old. 

2015 marked a milestone in my life: I turned 50 on March 8. 

While I’ve always been as old as the Ford Mustang (both were born in 1965), it seems significant that we have both been around for 5 decades. Personally, I cannot say that I feel “50”, however, since I’ve never felt this “age” before, I’m not sure I know what it actually feels like.

As I have reflected on this milestone, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about my dad. When he died, I was 17 years old. By now, I've lived more of my life without my dad physically present in my life than I lived having him around.

Recently I decided to count the days of his life. I discovered that on August 21, 2015 I will have outlived my dad’s life span. I’ve marked it on my calendar. With good health and God’s grace, I will live beyond his number of days. Yet, I hope that the impact of my life will be as meaningful as the impact I’ve seen that he had on others over his 50 years. 

None of us know how many days we will have on earth. Hopefully, we will all see many more. I am giving the rest of my life to advancing disciple making movements through coaching, training, creating resources, and connecting disciple making leaders. It’s an honor to partner with churches, denominations and networks in multiple countries. There is nothing that I would rather do. 

Just today, I had a great Skype call with disciple making leaders on three continents. I also had personal appointments with two church planters. In each of these conversations we focused specifically on how to train and equip disciple makers. I am so energized by these opportunities. 

Today's Missional Challenge: Make your life count. Give yourself fully to the mission of Jesus by making disciples who make disciples. TWEET THIS

Related Posts: 
A Boy's Tribute to His Dad
Reflections of My 47th Birthday
My Best Thoughts on Disciplemaking
Starting Church Planting Movements

How are you making your life count?

Pass It On: Disciple Others to Disciple Others

If you want to see a multiplication movement, switch from simply training disciples to training disciplemaking trainers. Don’t just train leaders, train leaders who are training leaders. Every time you train someone to do anything, include an emphasis in your training on how they can pass the training on to others.

Imagine the multiplication that would take place if everyone you trained were committed to training others to train others. This is what Paul had in mind in 2 Timothy 2:2 –
       "And the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."

Imagine if every time you taught God’s Word to others, those whom you taught were obedient to God’s Word and they also taught others what they were learning. What if the gospel message was not simply taught and learned, but actually passed on to others who passed it on to others?

This is what Jesus intended when He sent His disciples to make disciples. He expected them to train others who would become trainers. He expected them to pass it on.

Who are you training to become disciplemaking trainers?

If you are the only one in your church or small group that is training disciplemakers, you become the limiting factor in reproducing disciplemakers. You have a limited capacity. But if you train to train everyone to train disciplemaking trainers – you become a multiplication engine. There is no limit to reproduction if everyone you train becomes a trainer of trainers.

As you disciple someone, 
train them to start discipling others. 

Help them to identify everyone they know personally who doesn’t yet follow Jesus. Train them to present their testimony and the gospel. Pray with them for opportunities to present the gospel message. Train them to start doing this with every person who becomes a follower of Jesus.

Today's Missional Challenge: Train your disciples to make disciples who are trained to make disciples. TWEET THIS

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Why Your Church's Strategy Must Be Disciplemaking

Christ’s strategy was disciplemaking. Therefore, the Church (those who belong to and follow Christ) must be disciplemakers.

Jesus strategy of disciplemaking involved investing in a few men, calling them to be with Him, grounding them in His truths. Why? He invested in them so that when He returned to heaven, they would continue the mission that He had begun.

The Great Commission is a clear command to

Jesus said, “Make disciples.” Train them. The main verb in the Great Commission is not “go”; it is matheteuo which means, “to make disciples.” Jesus commands us to be disciplemakers.

Disciplemaking is the God-given strategy for continuing the work of Christ! Jesus wants us to reproduce a generation like Him!

He calls us to continue the work that He began by following the same strategy, that is, pouring our lives into others who will be fully devoted to following Jesus and will pour their lives into others who will be fully devoted to following Jesus and will pour their lives into others who will be fully devoted to following Jesus and will pour their lives into others … and it just keep continuing on!

The key to missional movements is multiplication at every level. It starts with multiplying disciples and then leaders. Disciplemaking will fuel leadership multiplication. Disciplemaking fuels movements.

Your church's #1 strategy has to be making disciples who make disciples. If you aren't making more and better disciples, what are you doing? TWEET THIS

Today's Missional Challenge: Embrace Jesus' strategy of making disciples. Evaluate everything your church does by how it results in making disciples who make disciples. 

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More and Better Disciples

In a very simple sense - the Church brings God glory by engaging in the mission on which Jesus sent His disciples - to go and make disciples!

Go make MORE disciples.

Go make BETTER disciples. 

I think it's a both/and proposition.

When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” He didn’t mean to find those who are already followers and help them follow better. He sends us out to make disciples of non-disciples.  (Lesson #5) TWEET  THIS
We cannot just focus on making better disciples without making more disciples.

We cannot just focus on making more disciples without making better disciples. 

There is a problem when a church or group of disciples focuses on one without the other. 

Quantity Problem - being focussed only on making more disciples. 

Quality Problem - being focussed only on making better disciples.

I've known churches that are focused on depth. They even boast that they are focused on depth and God will take care of the breadth. However, in many of these churches that focus on depth, they are not engaged in making more disciples at all. In fact, baptisms rarely happen at all. And the reality is that most members don't have a clue how to make a disciple.

I've known churches that are focused on breadth. They are highly evangelistic and are regularly baptizing new followers of Jesus. However, in many of these churches that focus on breadth, they are not actually teaching people to obey Jesus. In fact, teaching obedience rarely happens at all. And the reality is that most members don't have a clue how to make a disciple.

Those who are following Jesus will  be about making new disciples, not just helping those who are already following Jesus to follow Him better. As they make new disciples, they will teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded - which includes making more and better disciples.

Many churches lean one direction or the other. Focused on breadth or focused on depth. What we need is both. I see quantity and quality in the Great Commission. Don't you?

Go + Make Disciples + Baptize + Teach to Obey. 

Today's Missional Challenge: Don't just focus on making better disciples or making more disciples - focus on making more and better disciples. TWEET THIS

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Disciple Assessment: Introductory Pricing - 40% Discount

Imagine people who are growing in their connection with God, listening for and responding to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Imagine people living generously, serving others sacrificially as they make disciples of others. Imagine people engaged in authentic relationships as they are inwardly transformed… radiating the power of God to the communities around them.

Everybody wants this, but how do we get there? No one has an intentional process to move people forward in their discipleship that’s not one-size-fits-all. Until now.

The Disciple Assessment provides an intentional path toward holistic growth, but one that is uniquely tailored to the needs of each individual. The assessment provides a snapshot of where a person is at in their walk of discipleship, and provides resources which–used in the context of community–allow that person to take the next steps they need.

The Disciple Assessment helps ordinary Christians intentionally engage discipleship in a way that helps them grow and helps them understand how to pass that discipleship along to others.

The Disciple Assessment…now available at a remarkable introductory price through September 30, 2014!

Today's Missional Challenge: Discover your next steps in your discipleship journey by taking the Disciple Assessment with your small group!

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Asking God WHO

As I woke up this morning, I had the distinct impression that God was interested in one question:


Even before I woke up I sensed this question rolling around in my mind: Who?

And the question wasn't a question that I was supposed to answer by myself. It really seemed that it was a question that I was supposed to ask God.

As I reflected on this at different points throughout my day I've gained a little more clarity.

What if at the start of each day I simply asked God WHO?

"God, who do You want me to spend time with today?"

"God, who do You want me to share my faith story with today?"

"God, who do You want me to disciple today?"

"God, who do You want me to introduce to You today?

Have you ever asked God WHO?

What would happen if we started asking God these questions - and then we actually followed through?

I bet we'd see more disciples making disciples who make disciples!

What do you think?

Today's Missional Challenge: Ask God who He wants you to disciple? Then do it!

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"I Don't Know How to Make Disciples."

There's something wrong in our churches today with our commitment to discipleship. 

Churches are too focused on helping people to live the "Christian life" as if all Jesus expects of His followers is to be good Christians. 

There is a desperate need in our churches to raise up disciplemakers -- to actually train every believer how to make a disciple. 

In a recent conversation with a local church leader, he shared with me his greatest joy in ministry and also his greatest frustration. They were interrelated. 

His joy was related to the impact that he was having in the lives of high school students. And yet he confessed to me, "I don't know how to make disciples."

Read those words again: "I don't know how to make disciples."

This is the main thing that Jesus focused on before heading to the cross as the payment for sin. He focused on making disciples. And not only that, He sent His disciples to go make disciples.

Something is wrong in our churches when leaders are faced with this reality - "I don't know how to make disciples."

And believe me, this friend of mine is not the only leader facing this challenge. There are many pastors and elders who have never made a disciple, never trained anyone to make a disciple, and wouldn't know where to start if they had to make one. 

How did the church get to this place? We have few disciplemakers leading our churches. They look like good Christians, they just aren't doing what Jesus said to do: "Go therefore and make disciples."

Today's Missional Challenge: If you are a leader, elder or pastor in a local church and you would say, "I don't know how to make disciples," go learn how! Make it a priority to obey what Jesus said and learn how to make disciples...who make disciples who make disciples!

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Disciplemaking Training - FALL 2014

I'm excited to be offering The Multiplication Workshop in Bellevue, Newbury Park, Fort Collins and Phoenix. More information.


Report What Great Things the Lord has Done for You!

Mark 5:19-20
Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. (NIV)
I love this story. After Jesus cast out the demons and this man was "clothed and in his right mind," Jesus sent him back home to report to all of his people what God had done for him and how he had received God's mercy.

That's exactly what he did! And all the people were amazed.

Disciplemaking includes telling people the news of God's mercy in your life. Who have you told lately?

Who will you tell today?

Today's Missional Challenge: Go tell "your people" how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you!

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Where are the Proven Multipliers?

Where are the proven multipliers?

Do you know any? I'm wondering where they are?

Specifically, I'm looking for men and and women who have strategically multiplied disciples and leaders who make disciples who make disciples.

We desperately need them in the American church today.

In many conversations that I have with church leaders, it seems that they lack experience in actually making disciples. Yet they are leading congregations of Christ followers. "Like priest, like people." Maybe churches are filled with followers of Jesus who aren't making disciples because the leaders aren't actually making disciples.

I've noted before that many pastors and elders don't know who to make disciples. I believe that "pastors" should be the lead disciplemakers in churches.

I had lunch with a pastor recently who lamented that he had never been discipled. He faced the challenge head-on of doing with others what he had not experienced himself.

Churches need to embrace the power of exponential growth—the principle of multiplication. Multiplying disciples takes time. It takes individual, personal attention. It takes hours of prayer. It takes patience and understanding to teach others how to grow—to get into the Word of God for themselves, to feed and nourish their souls, to converse daily with God, and by the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to their lives.

Church leaders are called to invest themselves in the discipling and developing of leaders. They follow the same strategy of Jesus. Jesus was a disciplemaker. That is what He did. As He traveled around the villages of Galilee, He healed the sick, He performed miracles, He taught the crowds; but His primary ministry was with a small group of followers that became His disciples. He poured Himself into the lives of His disciples.

After He died on the cross and rose again, He gave His disciples instructions to do the same thing He did—to be disciplemakers. As Jesus prepared to return to the Father, He commissioned His disciples to make disciples.

To be a leader in a church there should be evidence that you are a proven multiplier - that you not only know how to multiply disciples, but you actually have done it.

You need to realize that the reason Jesus left you on earth is not because your home in heaven is not finished yet; but because He sent you to multiply followers of Jesus Christ.

Disciplemaking is not optional. The viability of the Christian faith is intimately related to engagement in making disciples. Jesus did not spend three years modeling the disciplemaking process because He was not sure how else to end His time on earth. The strength and influence of church leaders is wholly dependent on their commitment to disciplemaking. Producing transformed lives, and seeing those lives reproduced in others must be a high value of church leadership.

If you haven't made any disciples and trained them to make disciples who make disciples, don't take the responsibility of being a pastor or elder in a church. Be a proven multiplier first.

Today's Missional Challenge: Make disciples first. Then train those disciples to make disciples -- to the 4th generation and beyond.

Here are a few final thoughts:
1) Resist all attempts to equip the church merely for maintenance and security
2) Reject every temptation to settle for the status quo
3) Renounce power games and politics as detours to the mission.

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Is Every Believer Called to Be a Disciplemaker?
First Make Disciples
What Jesus Expects!
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5 Disciple Making Principles

My good friend and colleague Kirk Anderson has a great blog focused on urban Disciple Making Movements. You can learn more about Kirk here. He is committed to inspiring disciple makers to think and act strategically to reach their cities.

This month as this blog focuses on advancing disciple making movements, take some time to read through the Scriptures listed below. Consider how these principles relate to your disciple making practice.

Here are the five core disciple making principles that Kirk's strategy and practice is built on:
1. God calls us to a lifestyle of obedience and witness (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
2. The aim of discipleship is obedience to Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20).
3. The Father draws, Jesus saves, the Holy Spirit teaches (John 6:41-45, 16:7-15).
4. Discipleship begins with existing groups of lost people (Luke 10:1-12).
5. We are sent as Jesus was sent (John 20:19-23).
These principles lay a great foundation for any believer to build their disciple making strategy and practice on.

What's your strategy and practice?

Today's Missional Challenge: Articulate the biblical principles for your disciple making strategy and practice. 

Related Posts on Kirk's Blog:
The Importance of Circles
5 Disciple Making Skills
Starting Spiritual Conversations
5 Disciple Making Tools
Measuring Movements: Fruit Charts

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