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From Seed To Fruit: A Natural Pattern For Growth And Discipleship

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Discerning a Pattern for Discipleship

In 2005 there were more than 90 adult believers in our church who were discipling at least one other person, roughly one-fifth of the congregation. The pastors and elders at Church of the Open Door had taken their responsibility seriously to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and the saints were taking the ministry by the tail. During the process we recognized an inherent tendency: when disciplers become complacent, we begin to mechanically transmit doctrine rather than modeling abundant life.

At the end of his life Paul could say to one of his disciples (2 Timothy 3:10), “You have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith….” He not only passed along the doctrines as occurs in many churches and seminaries, but he brought Timothy in close to share his manner of life and purpose and to observe the testing of his faith.

Christian discipleship is not a science, or if it is a science it is more like the engineering of snowflakes than snowmobiles: the snow crystals all have the same composition and are formed the same way but each one is unique. Men manufacture snowmobiles; God creates snowflakes. Man’s glory is to find one method that works and then to mass-produce; God’s glory is to produce a superabundance of limitless variety from a single and simple pattern. That simple pattern as it relates to holiness is that a more mature disciple opens up his life to a less mature one, so that the life-giving infection is caught and spread. The variations upon this pattern include the Barnabas style of gentle encouragement, the Elijah/Elisha style of confrontational faith, the Pauline missionary style, the John/Demetrius/Gaius church leadership style, the Priscilla/Aquila open-home style and dozens more. Our intention with this booklet is not to capitalize on one of these styles and start a new fad. This booklet is for disciplers and coaches who want to seek out the underlying New Testament pattern for help in developing a style that is individually suited for them.

This booklet is actually the second in a series. In the first booklet I introduced an outline for living the mission of Jesus Christ, an outline called TAMDISO, a very old strategy for missionary outreach. The middle letters in TAMDISO stand for “Make Disciples” and that is the part that we will discuss in this booklet.

The Commission before the Commission: Pray

The starting point for any pattern of true discipleship must be a willingness to wait on the Lord in prayer. Before Jesus sent out the disciples in Matthew 10 He told them to pray to the Lord of the Harvest, and before He sent them out again in Acts 1 He told them to wait upon the Lord together in Jerusalem.

While He has us waiting on Him, He is able to remind us that the harvest belongs to Him and the Spirit of power belongs to Him. While we are waiting, we recognize that He is the one who sends out workers into the field, and He chooses how and when to send them. While we are waiting we realize that we are powerless to change minds or to transform lives, and we lean more fully upon Him.

Usually it is the ones who are willing to wait on the Lord who are close enough to hear His voice when the time of harvest comes, the disciples in Matthew 10 and the apostles in the upper room. Our congregation began praying four years ago that the Lord would allow us to send ten new families to the mission field by the end of 2010: ten families in ten years. We prepared for the Lord to answer this prayer by facilitating short-term missionary opportunities, by making a way for young people to attend the Urbana Convention, and by setting aside a growing proportion of our budget. All of these were sensible preparations, but God has not used any of these in the way we anticipated. Instead, the most effective preparatory activity we are involved in is prayer. Those members who sense that the Lord of the harvest is calling them into missions meet together regularly for the express purpose of praying for harvesters, asking the Lord to employ them in the Harvest. Members who stay in this prayer group for more than a year become absolutely convinced that Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest, that He answers prayer, and that prayer is the means He uses to accomplish His commission in the world.

“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full!” (John 16:24) Jesus’ great frustration is not that we neglect His commission, but that we are so slow to ask for increase in the harvest. Sure we have wonderful ideas about how to accomplish His missionary task, but the joy of the harvest will go to others unless we are prepared to wait on the Lord in prayer.

Sowing Small Seeds: The Word of God

Just a few chapters after giving the commission to pray, Jesus gave the Parable of the Four Soils to show the results we should expect. “A sower went out to sow,” He said in Matthew 13:3. The farmer in the parable is not targeting his seeds or planting them carefully in beds, he throws out the seed into the soil realizing that some will be lost but anticipating that most will take root.

“The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). When we have entered into partnership in Jesus’ mission by prayer, we are ready to broadcast His word. We have to confess that we are not very good at predicting who will be receptive, so we try to make the most of every opportunity. And when we have the chance to plant seeds, let us be sure that we are planting the good seed, the very word of God.

“You have carefully followed my doctrine

Many say they are involved in evangelism who are not sowing the seed at all. They will talk about religion; they will invite people to come to their church; they will try to demonstrate Christian love through practical acts of kindness. But “the seed is the Word of God.” After several years in Africa, my son and I were traveling through London on our way to the US, and we entered St. Paul’s Cathedral to worship God on Sunday morning. There was half an hour of beautiful music and then the minister got up and gave us a word of exhortation from the example of Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. I suppose I learned much about Admiral Nelson, and I suppose it was an inspiring lecture, but it did not take us an inch beyond the hopes and affections of this world; only the Word of God can do that. In the greatest cathedral in London on that Lord’s Day, there was no power to save.

You and I cannot save anyone. The work of saving people and of regeneration and the new birth is done by the Holy Spirit. Do we imagine for a minute that our words will be more effective in this task than His? Do we think that our acts of kindness that we put on for a show will be more useful to the Holy Spirit than the words He inspired?

After prayer, the most important thing we can do to prepare for the harvest is to learn a few Scriptures and prepare ourselves to communicate them. This is far more valuable than memorizing a method of evangelism or a spiel that will eventually get to a point of sale. Salesmanship is man’s way; sowing the seed is the Lord’s way, and “the seed is the Word of God.”

In our culture one of the most important verses to prepare is John 14:6. The culture around us preaches that there are many ways to God, but Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” That word is a seed that the Holy Spirit will use to penetrate hard hearts. You may find considerable opposition to it, but if you are prepared you will find many opportunities to sow that seed.

Every disciple should have memorized John 3:16 and John 1:12 that emphasize believing in the Lord Jesus. The disciples that I train also memorize the Gospel from I Corinthians 15:3-8. They may not be able to recite it word for word, but they can use the word of God to tell the redeeming story: “Jesus died for our sins; He was buried and on the third day He arose, and He was seen by many witnesses.” These are the seeds that carry the promise of God, “My word shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

After Jesus’ command to pray, this is the next step in making disciples “wherever you go in all the world”: get the seed into the ground. And the seed is the Word of God.

Growing Seasons

Jesus makes the point that seeds sprout underground and their early growth is mysterious to us (Mark 4:26-28), but it is not only the early growth that is mysterious and hidden. All living things have dormant periods and periods that are fruitful and they go through seasonal cycles. I have noticed that although I can predict that all three of my children will eventually reach their adult height, they do their growing in unpredictable spurts. We don’t even notice that it is happening until suddenly their clothes seem to shrink overnight, and we need to take them shopping. Children can go several months without making any appreciable gains in stature, but then they will add six or seven inches in a year—a year when they seem to do nothing but eat and sleep and grow tall.

“You have carefully followed my manner of life”

Have you noticed with young Christians that there are periods where they are constantly hungry for the Word of God? This is a natural part of spiritual growth. Everyone who is spiritually alive is hungry for the Word and is regularly nourished by it, but Christians who are in a “growth spurt” are famished all the time and never seem to get enough. A wise steward in the harvest of Christ Jesus will be regularly supplying nourishment for the disciples in his care, but when he notices a spurt of growth and hunger, he will spend more time with the disciples who are hungry. A farmer needs to be sensitive to the growing seasons and needs to respond appropriately.

Jesus has the expectation that His disciples will not only grow but will also reproduce and be fruitful. Growth is a sign of spiritual life, but so is productiveness. He told a parable (Luke 13:6-9) to show us how fruitlessness aggravates Him. The parable has an application both to His nation during the three-year period of His ministry and also to His disciples in every generation. A farmer had a fig tree that was growing just fine and shading an expanding patch of the vineyard, but after three years he felt he had a right to expect some return on his investment; he was expecting some produce. His disappointment was great enough that he gave the order to cut down the tree, but because of the intercession of his worker he gave it one more chance to be fruitful. The worker suggested spending more concentrated effort on the tree for a brief period to see whether it could be encouraged to produce.

The whole reason a farmer plants is so that he can reap produce. Jesus emphasized this again in John 15 where He said that His Father was about the task of pruning every branch in Christ Jesus in order to produce more fruit.

If we are serious about making disciples to Christ Jesus we need to be aware of the seasonal nature of the task. We plant the seed of the Word everywhere we go, any chance we have. But when we see a believer who is responding to the Word with hunger and desire, then the Lord is calling us to spend more time with that disciple while he is hungry and growing. There will come a time when he is not as hungry as he is now, and at that time the disciple-maker should not feel that he has failed but that the seasons have changed and it is time to invest more heavily elsewhere.

Conversely, when we notice a disciple who has grown to maturity but is no longer producing fruit, we should be interceding for him with the Lord of the harvest. It may be that there is a way for us to invest more for a brief period in the fruitless disciple such that he will be encouraged to renewed productiveness.

There is no such thing as a reluctant disciple. If you find yourself persuading and pursuing, it’s time to release the disciple and ask the Father to change his heart.

Here is how I apply these principles with the disciples that the Lord Jesus has given to me. At the beginning of every year I wait on the Lord in prayer, asking Him to direct me toward disciples who are ready to grow and bear fruit. Usually He will direct me to two or three men in whom I see a hunger for the Word and a desire for a significant part in the work of Christ. I agree to meet for two hours once a week with the group for a specified period; usually we try to complete our discipleship project before summer, because summer seems to be an unproductive period for many people in this culture. Then in the fall I start again with a different group of men, attempting to complete the work of that group before Thanksgiving, because the holiday season is another fallow period. Throughout the year (but especially during unproductive periods) I contact friends and disciples who seem to be hibernating and not making progress in the walk of faith. In these contacts I am asking for prayer requests and looking for evidence that their winter season is almost over and that they may be ready to grow again. I try to intercede with the Lord of the Harvest: “Master give them another year and try another method of cultivation, perhaps their season of fruitfulness is just around the corner!”

Got a friend who is no longer interested in the Word? Keep in periodic contact, and wait for the Lord to bring a crisis. In times of crisis people turn back to seek Him.

Nevertheless, we do not tailor our ministry for the convenience of the tall shade trees. The church was bought with blood, not so that we could stand around and look cool. Rather we are a vineyard in full production, and wise workers plan their ministry around the fruitful branches that abide in the Vine, and every fallow season they pray for and fertilize the shade trees in the hope that one day they too will respond.

Do you wish we could be a bit more specific? On the following centerfold we have included a disciplers guide for women and another guide for men. These guides are a collaborative effort of our twelve discipleship coaches. They know that most of the time when you are facing a specific discipleship challenge, you don’t have time to read a book! I encourage you to return to these guides often as you develop your own discipling style.

“Let’s Get Going, Girls!”- A Guide to Discipling Women

Keep Our Goals In Mind:

1--Make sure the woman knows Christ and has assurance of salvation.

2– Help her become a better follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ.

3– Equip her to disciple someone else and think of herself as a discipler.

What’s A Good Format?

1-Begin with one or two women who are eager to learn, and who can agree to meet regularly for a set time. As much as possible, be consistent in meeting, and flexible in content, although you should use some kind of curriculum. Your first meeting could just be getting acquainted.

2-Prepare carefully for each lesson, then trust the Holy Spirit to help you see how fast or slowly you need to proceed from time to time. There is an art to keeping your momentum but going deep. Pray faithfully for the women as you prepare, and pray for yourself to be given wisdom.

3-Pray together every time you meet, and allow opportunity to see God at work through His answers. Encourage the women to bond with each other through prayer, as well as with you.

4-Talk to them early on about the women God will send them to disciple next. Remind them that when that time comes you will be around to help them with any questions they have.

How Can I Be A Good Discipler?

1-Be a real disciple. Obey Jesus fully. Spend time with Him.

2-Be humble. Don’t hesitate to say, “I don’t know—but I’ll find out.” And “I blew it; will you forgive me?” Share real prayer requests for real needs in your own life.

3-Be consistent. Don’t cancel meetings or come unprepared. If you say you will pray for something, do so.

4-Be loving. Expect that there will come some demands on you to sacrifice for your disciples. This is the way God provides for you to demonstrate your love in a way they can believe.

5-Learn from them. They will all have something to contribute to your life. Look for it! Let them know how they have taught and blessed you.

What About These Problems?

1-“My disciple keeps calling me to change our meeting times.”

2-“My disciple doesn’t do her homework.”

3-“My disciple doesn’t seem to be profiting from this nor opening up.”

Try to discern whether these problems stem from legitimate inability, or from reluctance. It may be necessary to make adjustments based on the disciple’s limitations, or, if reluctance is the cause, to stop meeting until they are more ready. If so, keep getting together periodically to see if they are being prepared by God to resume meeting.

“Now What, Guys?” - A Guide to Discipling Men

It Takes A Disciple Who Is:

  • Faithful (if he quits showing up or quits doing the homework, back off)
  • Available (if he can’t find a time to regularly meet, maybe he needs someone else to disciple him)

It Takes A Risk

  • You have to be open and vulnerable about your own struggles
  • You have to probe, the tough question may be the key to a break-through (address the issues you know he’s dealing with: sex, significance, spiritual leadership, integrity)
  • Sometimes you have to say the hard thing he doesn’t want to hear

Pray At All Times

  • Set aside a few minutes each day when you pray for your disciple.
  • Promise him that you will pray for him every day for as long as you are together in discipleship.
  • Tell him often what requests you are praying for him.
  • Set aside about one-third of your regular meeting time for prayer. Growing disciples need to hear mature Christians praying so that they can learn what to pray. Modeling this will teach them to pray expectantly in the will of God.

Begin With Clear Expectations!

  • Make sure you are both in agreement that you will meet for a consistent and specific time. (Usually 90 minutes a week for 12 weeks in our six-lesson format).
  • Be clear from the beginning that you are going to walk with him for a defined period and then you expect him to begin discipling someone else.

Give Assignments!

Disciples need to put their training to use so that they can see that they are making progress. Complacent disciples need greater challenges not less! Assignments will challenge true disciples and will identify the half-hearted and double-minded.

Give Encouragement!

Disciples sometimes lose heart because they cannot see progress. When you see them taking a courageous step forward, appreciate their growth. Even if they seem to be highly motivated, you know they are in a battle; build them up!

Harvest Times

Jesus’ harvest analogy is very helpful because it reminds us that:

  1. People, like plants, have seasons in their life when they are ready to be harvested.
  2. The Lord knows when the people are ready.
  3. The Lord tends to give the work of harvesting to disciples who are on the lookout in prayer.
  4. Often conversions come in waves of fruitfulness all ripe at once.

Even in our most fruitful years of evangelism there have been long periods where we have not heard of any conversions to faith in Christ Jesus. We become alarmed that the Lord is no longer working among us or we become discouraged that the revival fire is dying out. But if we are wise we will remember that there is a Lord of the Harvest and that we ought to be begging Him to send out workers to bring lost people in, and if we are wise we will wait upon Him so that we can move when He moves.

This year (2006) we are asking God to allow us to lead seven teachers and 70 students to faith in Christ. Far above what we asked or imagined the Lord brought to us 43 students who trusted in Jesus in a period of just nine weeks! If Jesus had used the manufacturing of snowmobiles for His analogy I suppose we would expect Him to be turning out one new Christian every 4.8 days in order to be efficient. But Jesus teaches us to expect Him to grow believers in the way He grows wheat, each new crop coming ripe together.

The growth of seedlings is mysterious and hidden in the ground, and so is the early response to the Word of God in the heart of new believers. Often we cannot say with precision, “On this day and hour my friend put her faith in Christ Jesus.” Jesus drew the analogy in Mark 4:26-29 right after He taught about the way we broadcast the Word. He explained that we sow the seed and after that we are not able to see what is happening on the inside; but whether we can see it or not, the seed is still there in the secret hiding places, sprouting and beginning to grow. Eventually we will come back to find that the seed has completed its work and is ready for harvesting without any further input from us. We don’t know how it happens and we don’t need to know, but when we see the seed sprouting and ripening we get right to the work of harvesting.

Let’s also learn from His instruction that He sends the workers who notice the work. One reason we are the ones who are leading these students to Christ this year is that we are in the field with them sowing the seed, but another reason is that we are the ones who asked for the privilege. Perhaps it is precisely because we asked that we have our eyes open to the grain as it comes ripe. How many times we have to regret missed opportunities because we weren’t looking for them when they came our way!

Defined Assignments, Short Accounts

The most difficult transition in Jesus’ commission is when a disciple (‘one who learns’) becomes an apostle (‘one who is sent out’). Jesus’ twelve disciples became the twelve apostles somewhere between Matthew 10:1 and 10:2 when He sent them out on their first assignment. In Luke’s history Jesus sent out the twelve in 9:2 and received their account in 9:10, sent out the seventy in 10:1 and received their account in 10:17. Jesus showed us an example of how to transition a disciple very early in his training from being just a learner to being a disciple-maker.

You have carefully followed my purpose”

In our experience, it seems that men especially need these assignments. Jesus gave His men clearly defined assignments and sent them out very early in their training. When they returned at the end of their assignment He took time to listen to the reports and to honor their service. Honoring the service of His men in the first case involved taking them aside for a day on the lake, and in the second case He praised them and then praised God for them in their presence. None of Jesus’ disciples could have come away wondering whether Jesus really cared about them or about the assignment He gave them. Accountability in discipleship should major on noticing spiritual progress and praising God for it.

What are some examples of assignments we give our men? Well, we rarely send them out without shoes or food and tell them to preach the kingdom of God! I always assign men in my care to clearly define and write out their goals for the year, and I give this assignment on the first day we meet. In this way carnal purposes become obvious from godly ones, and I can pray on-target for their success. Often I assign them to write a letter to someone from whom they have become estranged and we pray together for reconciliation. Fathers can be assigned to take their daughter on a date or their son on a road trip and ask them for their insight. Husbands can be assigned to pray with or for their wives. (For more ideas on assignments that we have proven to be effective see page 20). Men respond to a challenge if their discipler will partner with them. If you give a man an assignment, you need to do it too, and you need to do it seriously and well. If you found it hard to accomplish, you need to let your men know it, and you need to praise them for their successes. Whenever you give an assignment, remember to set aside time to listen to the after-action reports and to honor the effort of the disciples.

An Enemy in the Garden

Some of the problems in the harvest are not entirely our fault. Jesus went on to mention an enemy who is working against us in our desire to bring in a fruitful harvest. Jesus told the Parable of the Tares to show that He plants good disciples in His field for the purpose of bringing in good fruit, but He has an enemy who sneaks in at night and plants false disciples here and there (Matthew 13:24-43).

The point of the parable is that it is too difficult for us harvest workers to accurately discern the good from the bad during the growing season. Jesus will do the judging at the end of the age and He will discern with 100 per cent accuracy. You and I are not responsible for judging who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil; we just keep on tending the garden. As the disciples continue to grow and to develop we are liable to be surprised at the way some who seemed to have great potential were leading a double-life, and some who seemed hopeless, greatly glorify the Lord.

“You have carefully followed my faith”

Do you have troublemakers or fruitless disciples in your care today? If you are honest and if your assembly is still alive, you will recognize that there are some members who seem to be a drag on the life of the body. It is very tempting to jump to the conclusion that these folks are getting under our skin because they are not genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus. That way we can marginalize them or even suggest to them that they move on to join another church. But Jesus did not give us the responsibility for quality control in the harvest; He just gave us the field to tend. Are we responsible to confront sin? You bet. Are we responsible to judge the sinner? Not our job.

Zechariah was once given a view of heaven’s courtroom while Joshua the priest was on trial for his failures in spiritual leadership (Zech. 3:1-5). He saw Satan standing on the right side of the court, acting as the prosecuting attorney and bullying Joshua with a list of his sins. Then he saw the Lord [Jesus] standing in the position as Joshua’s Advocate, vigorously opposing Satan’s accusations on the basis of God’s choosing. Zechariah seemed to forget that he was a spectator in the vision, and he began to jump in with suggestions to promote Joshua’s defense! This is a great picture of our role. We are not the judge, and we are hopefully not on the devil’s side of the courtroom bringing accusations against our brothers. We are standing as near to Jesus as we can and urging Him to defend the saints even when they sin.

Nevertheless, there is something that we can do to reduce fruitlessness among our people. Many times my partners and I have prayed and asked the Lord to reveal and refine the heart of one of our members who is disturbing the peace of the church. Another principle we practice is that everyone who comes to us must be discipled in the basics of the gospel, no matter how experienced they may appear. True believers love the gospel and enjoy reviewing the old, old story of Jesus’ grace; they do not consider themselves to be beyond the need to refresh themselves with the doctrine of the cross. True disciples are not offended when you ask them, “Do you love Jesus?” or “Are you sure you are on your way to heaven?” These are questions that can be part of our normal discipleship of anyone and may reduce the enemy’s ability to plant false disciples among us.

Jesus knows all things, but His enemy does not. Whenever the devil plants one of his agents in a body of believers, he is taking a risk that his agent will not only be discovered but converted. I want the culture of our assembly to be so permeated with the grace and truth of Jesus Christ that the enemy will not dare to send his agents in under cover. Lord Jesus, make it so!

Many Workers, One Lord

Have you noticed that the most effective and fruitful Christians can name several disciplers who have grounded them and built them up? In the same way, an effective and fruitful Christian may be building into several other Christians, sometimes intentionally and sometimes with scarcely a thought. Healthy Christians and members of the Body of Christ edify one another— it’s their new nature!

Paul said, “I planted and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (I Corinthians 3:6). His point is that neither he nor Apollos could take credit for the growth of Jesus’ disciples. They certainly did their part in the process; but just as God does the miraculous part of growing plants, so He does the impossible part of maturing disciples. The harvest belongs to the Lord who produced it, and we are just His workers, “servants through whom you believed.”

Well, it is pretty obvious that God alone is able to produce new life. But Paul goes on to say that “we are God’s fellow workers!” God does the hard part of growing the harvest, but He chooses that the harvest will not be brought in without us, and He lets us join with Him as His coworkers. Don’t you find that amazing?

He says a little further on (4:1) that we are the servants of Christ in His harvest and also “stewards of the mysteries of God.” The seed of the Word of God has born fruit in our lives, so now we have seed to sow in the lives of others. And in some sense, God has given us the responsibility and privilege to decide how to sow it. To be a steward means to be a manager of someone else’s business, so Paul is really describing us as managers of God’s assets, including the valuable proprietary knowledge that is in His Word.

Today in southern California there is a huge business in developing, marketing and licensing genetic information. Companies who unlock the secrets of genetic coding of fruitful plants are allowed to claim ownership of those secrets and market the seeds that they produce. If their seeds are more productive, then their business will expand.

Amazingly, God has entrusted His seeds and His proprietary secrets to us simple farm laborers and has sent us out, seemingly at random, to manage His resources and distribute His seeds. Can you think of any greater privilege or any more significant lifework? But wait—it gets better! He promises that each one of us “will receive his own reward according to his own labor” (3:8). Not only do we get to know God’s secrets, but we are given the management over them so that we can be partners with Him in His harvest. And not only are we His partners, but we will also receive a reward. We get the privileges and then get rewarded for using them! Our Master is so remarkably generous.

My prayer is that this booklet and the pattern introduced here will help you be a more effective and fruitful coworker in this harvest. For now, let’s use the last rays of daylight to bring in a bumper crop for Jesus’ sake.

A Few More Assignments to Challenge Men

  1. Ask your wife to tell you one thing you could do to make her feel more cared for. A variation on this assignment is to ask her one thing you could do to make it easier for her to submit to your leadership.
  2. Write out your prayers in journal-form every day for a month. Keep track of the way God answers.
  3. Set up a family calendar meeting before summer starts. Demonstrate leadership by carefully listening to each family member’s ideas and then guide them in putting together a basic plan for the summer.
  4. Phone the person who led you to Christ and thank him. A variation is to contact anyone who had a significant part in discipling you to Christ to thank them. This often leads to restored connections with former mentors, and it is always an encouragement to them.
  5. Is your wife stressing about finances? Work out a spending budget that you can both agree on.
  6. Unplug the television in your home for thirty days and notice how this increases your available time for discipleship to Christ. A variation is to disconnect internet access at home for a period of time.
  7. The “Blue Sky” assignment. Choose a horizon five to ten years out and write out your dream for the way you would love to be serving God in His kingdom if every obstacle were removed. The second step in this assignment is to identify the obstacles that do exist and begin to pray and plan for their removal.
  8. The “One Thing” assignment (see Psalm 27:4 for an example). If God were to give you one wish, what would you ask Him for? Solomon asked for wisdom to rule; David asked for abiding fellowship with God. The point is that the Lord gave them their “one thing.” Make your wish, craft it into a prayer that you can pray according to the will of God and recruit at least one partner to pray it with you.

Related Topics: Christian Life, Discipleship, Ecclesiology (The Church), Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry, Spiritual Life

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