Thursday, July 25, 2019

Disciple: Discovering & Obeying the Word with Steve Parlato

We often think better teaching is a key to making disciples. And while we should faithfully teach God's word, it's even more important to train disciples to discover and obey the truth in God's word for themselves. Said another way: If you teach a disciple the Bible, he'll grow for a day. If you train a disciple to discover and obey the Bible, he'll grow for a lifetime.

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Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

More thoughts from Steve:
Let Scripture answer the question.  Questions always go back to Scripture. Ask, "Where do you see that in this Scripture?  A corollary to this is don’t put yourself as the center of authority.  If you are talking too much or giving out the ‘real’ answers then you are undermining the process.

Group discipleship is better than 1 -1 discipleship
- Group discipleship results in more powerful discovery and action steps than one on one discipleship.  If a leader does not know something about a person in the group there is a chance someone else in the group does know that about that person and there is less hiding of sin patterns and life issues.  
- The size of a group is a matter of personal preference and ability.  I recommend that new leaders lead a group of 3 to 6 people.  More experienced leaders will be able to manage up to about 12 members.  
- Just remember lots of people you invest in will stop obeying and stop following Jesus, so work with groups and after much time you will have many more ongoing faithful disciples of Jesus.  Discipling people in groups is also good stewardship of a leaders time.

Leader sets the example and set the expectation in obedience.   
As a leader you must craft good action steps and transparently share them with the group.   Each meeting the leader must report succinctly how they obeyed Jesus.  If you are not setting a good example, then do not expect anyone else to do this for you.  If your group has met three or more times and nobody is obeying or doing anything you have a problem - start by looking in the mirror at yourself.  Make any changes to your own life and then come back at the group.

Take people out to prayer walk and to share.  Take them along with you to see you in action.  You can never model everything in the small group.

Sharpen people's action steps. Make sure each person leaves with a “SMART" action step. (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound action steps) Honor and encourage any steps of obedience, but do not reward baby behavior when they can and should be doing more.  Sometimes people set small action steps as a way to avoid being challenged in a subsequent meeting.  Discernment is needed if you are overwhelming someone or if they are hiding and underperforming.

Start with new believers and seekers.  The more history someone has sitting in academically oriented Bible study groups where there was no expectation of life change or obedience the harder it will be for them to function in an obedience oriented Three Thirds group.

Rotate leadership.   Train up people who can lead all of the Three Thirds group process right away.  I begin assisting a new leader after only 3 meetings.  That new leader then begins assisting a new leader after 2 or 3 meetings that they lead.  Follow the Model - Assist - Watch and Leave process until all group members can lead the group.

Imitation before Innovation.  Lead the group 50 times, mastering the skills and having lived the process for a good long while before you innovate or conclude it does not work in your context. Then start looking at how to contextualize to your context.

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