Disciple Making in Bradenton

by Jul 9, 2020

I recently spent a week of vacation just outside of Bradenton, Florida in Ana Maria Island. Sunshine, ocean, sand, golf, seafood: it was a great week to relax. It was everything you could ask for in a beach vacation. However, I did have one unexpected highlight – I was able to watch disciples multiply right there on vacation!

My trip to Bradenton was not random. My wife and I have friends who live on Ana Maria Island who invited us to come down and spend some time with them. These friends used to attend the church where I pastor and have been very faithful leaders in our church for years. Trust me when I say they have gotten a very good dose of discipleship training over the last twenty + years.

The really cool thing about this story is that my buddy, Jerry, took what he learned about disciple making in the church and carried it with him to Florida. He wasn’t just making disciples because his former church was committed to it; he continued to make disciples out of obedience to Jesus. He understands the mission of Jesus is to make disciples of all nations.

One night during our vacation, Jerry invited me to visit his discipleship group. He and six other men meet once a week to grow and challenge each other to become the disciples Jesus called them to be. My time with Jerry’s group was awesome. This is a group of ordinary men who are seeking to become more like Christ. Hearing them share their stories and talk about growing as men of God was worth the trip by itself.

I sat in this meeting thinking to myself, “What an awesome sight.” Seeing Jerry take disciple making to a location I would probably never go and multiply the mission. Bradenton isn’t necessarily a different nation, but it is another location in the world that needs a movement of multiplication to break out that I don’t have the opportunity myself to reach. But thanks to Jerry’s faithfulness, a movement of multiplication could happen starting with this small group.

As I shared a few thoughts with the group, I challenged them to take what they were learning (and becoming) and share it with others. I challenged them to multiply more disciples and reproduce the life of Christ in others. My challenge to them was to not simply work through the Impact curriculum, but to commit themselves to being disciples and building more disciples. The challenge was to do what Jesus did.

I’m expecting big things to come out of this group, and I am praying for multiple generations of disciples to be the result of a seed that was planted in Jerry. That seed is bearing fruit, and I believe over time it can bear much fruit. I can’t wait to see how God honors one man’s obedience. Keep making disciples, Jerry. It is the mission of Jesus.

Impact Discipleship Ministries is dedicated to helping Christians and churches be and build disciples. If you are interested in starting a movement of disciple making multiplication in your small group, consider downloading our free e-book, The Disciple Making Challenge.


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