My first real experience with disciple making came in my early twenties. I had been asked to lead a beach retreat for the youth group my girlfriend (now wife) was leading. It was an incredible week and a true revival broke out in that small group of a few dozen young people. As a result I knew that I needed to help a few of those young men grow in their relationship with God.
I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do to help this handful of young men develop spiritually but the idea of Jesus making disciples kept popping up in my mind. I had never personally been discipled by anyone but I knew Jesus made disciples and it seemed like the best way to help these young men grow.
Eventually I invited about five of these guys to meet with me once a week in the basement of my parents’ house. Over the period of about a year I did the best I could to help these five teenage men grow into the image of Christ. Each week we would share our spiritual progress, study Scripture together, pray for each other, and hold each other accountable. The only thing I knew is that this is what I thought Jesus did with His disciples and I should be doing the same thing with these guys.
Doing what Jesus did with these young teenage men worked. Over time, I literally watched the Lord transform them and to this day (40 years later) almost all of them are making a significant impact on the world for Christ. I became convinced that making disciples like Jesus was the way to go. I vowed to continue to make disciples like Jesus did for the rest of my life.
If you roll the tape forward a few years, I ended up graduating from seminary and planting a new church south of Atlanta in Newnan, GA. As I began to lead this new church, I knew that disciple making had to be a part of what we did but wasn’t sure disciple making looked like in a church setting or even how to communicate it.
A few years into this new church plant I attended a seminar called “Growing A Healthy Church Seminar” by Sonlife. A guy named Dann Spader was leading the seminar and sharing the principles of how Jesus came to start a movement of multiplying disciples. The thing I remember most about this seminar is that Dann was putting words to what I had done with those young men in my basement years before. This was the first time I had really heard the life of Jesus articulated as a movement of multiplying disciples.
Having language about the Son’s life helped me go back and implement a disciple making strategy in my new church plant. I finally had terminology that went with what I knew the Church ought to have been doing all along. Since that time my pursuit of leading a disciple making church has only grown. I now lead Impact Discipleship Ministries to try and help others learn what I am learning.
I am very thankful to Dann for helping me find the language to help others learn how to live the Son’s life. God has used him to help me understand even better what it means to follow the Son in making a movement of multiplying disciples.
Recently, Dann released a video of his story. I wanted to share it with you in hope’s that it might inspire you to follow the Son as well. Check out his video here when you have some spare time You won’t be sorry!
Here at Impact Discipleship Ministries, we are doing all we can to inspire people and churches be and build disciples of Jesus Christ. If we can help you with resources, coaching, or disciple making training, please contact us!