Disciple-Duck

When Jesus gave his final instructions to his disciples, he reminded them that all authority had been granted to him in heaven and on earth, and in light of his divine authority, all of his followers  were to make disciples of all of the world’s people groups (Grk. πάντα τὰ ἔθνη), baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded. (Matthew 28:18-20 paraphrased).

The key words in Jesus’ instructions were (1) disciples  (2)  people groups (3) baptizing and (4)  obey.

LOCAL

the first goal of disciple making is to make disciples of all people groups around the world

We believe that the first goal of disciple making is to make disciples of all people groups around the world.   Given the reality of our limitations, we realize that we must begin by making disciples of the people groups who live in our city.   We believe that the best way to make disciples is through small groups.   Small groups are defined as groups of 4-15 individuals who meet together for a period of time to master the thirty-six core competencies we teach.   These competencies are equally divided among:

  1. biblical worldview
  2. biblical truths
  3. biblical character
  4. biblical behaviors

By mastering these four areas of discipleship, we believe we can produce healthy, multiplying and obedient followers of Jesus Christ. We also provide other groups for special needs.  For example, recovery from addiction, grief or divorce.

Small groups meet at various times throughout the week, including on Sunday during traditional Sunday School times.  They may meet on our campus, in homes or in other “third space” locations. Classes meet for six-week semesters, take two weeks to evaluate and re-form for the next six weeks based on groups’ needs and interests.

Every Adult Member a Multiplying Disciple

To help every friend and member of FMBC become a multiplying disciple, we offer a variety of Bible study options.   Listed below are some short descriptions of the Bible studies we currently conduct :

GLOBAL

While we have to begin our discipleship at home, there is an additional, even ultimate goal to our disciple making strategy.  And it is this:

We were created to share Jesus Christ with all the world’s people groups for the glory of Christ.

Jesus’ last words to us in  Matthew 28:18-20 were:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)

Our goal is to be a body of Christ followers who transform the world by  producing generations of multiplying churches all around our city, country and even to the ends of the earth.   We accomplish this by engaging people groups we find here in Dallas, and pursuing them to the ends of the earth.  We have currently engaged a clan of the Dinka people of Southern Sudan known as the Dinka Pakam.  In the last five years we have started four churches and trained over one dozen pastors in basic biblical truth.

GREAT COMMISSION INITIATIVE

through GCI, we provide training all over the United States

The Great Commission Initiative is an advanced discipleship training organization led by our Pastor, Tim Ahlen.  This organization exists to facilitate global church planting movements by equipping church planters, pastors, lay leaders and mission strategists with the most current missiological thinking and practices.  Through GCI, we provide training all over the United States.

For more information on the Great Commission Initiative, visit www.mygci.org.

STORYING

the majority of our population learns by methods other than reading

Have you ever wondered why you find it so easy to remember the preacher’s illustrations, but can never remember his “points?”  We live in an age when the majority of our population learns by methods other than reading.   In Dallas, Texas, over 55% of the population is in this category; they are oral learners.  As a result, at FMBC, we do much of our teaching using the narrative, or storying  method, of preaching and teaching.  In this method of communication, the Bible story is told with absolute fidelity to the text.  However, rather than relying on the preacher/teacher to do the interpretation and application of the text, the hearers of the word do that for themselves, in dialogue with the preacher/teacher.  In this method of communication, the Bible passage doesn’t have points…the Bible story is the point!

CORE COMPETENCIES

We all recognize that discipleship is a lifelong process.  The more we learn about God, the more we recognize we don’t know!  Unfortunately, using traditional discipleship methods, this reality paralyzes us so that we never reproduce spiritually.  How can we dare to try and lead someone else to Jesus when we don’t know everything ourselves yet?

At FMBC, we have identified thirty-six core issues, twelve of them having to do with Bible truths, twelve with our behaviors, and twelve with our character.  Our conviction is that these thirty-six things can be learned by anyone in the course of a year, and by the end of that year, they can be healthy and mature followers of Jesus who can reproduce themselves in the lives of others.  All of our discipleship majors on these thirty-six issues.

Learn more about our thirty-six core issues of discipleship.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

all of our studies are Bible-based and designed to help your child…

Children are important to us at FMBC.  Growing up in our world today is an especially perilous venture.  Parents can’t do it alone.  Neither can schools.  And neither can churches.  It takes all of us to raise your child.  FMBC does this in at least three ways.

First, we provide Sunday School and mid-week (Wednesday) and weekend activities for children from infants to youth.  All of our studies are Bible-based and designed to help your child successfully navigate the hostile world in which we live.

Second, we provide parents with biblical and practical helps for raising your children.  Too many parents try to “go it alone” with their kids, not taking advantage of the encouragement and training that a church like ours provides.  We give special support to single parent and special needs families.

Third, all of our children’s ministries reflect our commitment to intercultural discipleship.  That is, every activity includes children of Black, Anglo, Hispanic, and African cultures.  A major component of our teaching helps kids understand and relate positively to the mosaic of cultures that make up our church and community.

TRAINING ORAL TRAINERS

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”                            2 Timothy 2:2

In order to begin making a dent into the spiritual lostness surrounding us in the Western Hemisphere, we are going to have to change the way we disciple new believers.  The reason I say this is that when we look at the people who are members of our church organizations we find a couple of things:

  1. According to George Barna, there is statistically no difference in the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of Christians and non-Christians in North America.
  2. The average person in our churches never teaches, trains or leads another person to faith in Christ.
  3. Most people, both inside and outside the church, are oral learners, meaning that they prefer to learn by doing something other than reading a book or listening to a religious speech (call it a sermon, if you like) organized around the abstract propositions of Greek logic.

There are other observations we can make, but I want to stop there because that is enough to prove my point.  If the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of Christians are not being transformed so that they line up with clear, simple biblical teaching, and if people are not reproducing themselves spiritually, and if our discipling methods require a significant degree of literacy, we are doing something wrong.

God is actually moving in mighty ways around the world.  There is a lot of talk about a Great Awakening happening in the Third World.  In some places church planting movements are happening.  Church planting movements, or CPM’s for short, are situations in which local believers from a common people group begin to plant churches that rapidly reproduce themselves so quickly and effectively that the result is exponential growth.  In every situation that a CPM occurs, we see the following things happen:

  • New believers find that their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors change radically to conform to biblical standards
    • The average believer gladly and effectively takes on the responsibility to spiritually reproduce themselves in the lives of others
  • They learn to spiritually feed themselves on God’s Word.  If they are literate learners, they do it by reading the Bible.  If they are oral learners, they learn the Bible stories.
  • Wherever these movements are happening, evangelism and discipleship are very focused on teaching the Bible in ways that are memorable and easily reproducible, and result in a new believer reproducing him or herself in as little as 3-4 months.

An example of the kind of thinking that produces exponential growth is found in an approach to disciple called Training for Trainers.  Training for Trainers, or T4T, is different in a number of ways from traditional discipleship.

  • T4T teaches obedience, not to a human teacher, but to the Holy Spirit, as He illuminates the Word of God to a believer.
  • Each lesson in T4T is to be mastered by the follower before he or she moves on to the next lesson.
  • The “final exam,” if you will, that permits a follower to move on to the next level is that he or she is teaching the lesson to a new believer.
  • The believer stays with his or her discipler for about a year, and then is “let go” to work with their own networks of new believers.
  • T4T is not a model.  It is a body of principles that, when applied to a carefully thought out Bible study plan, will result in rapid and healthy multiplication.

One of the variations on the T4T philosophy that I have found effective is called “Training Oral Trainers.”

TOT or “Training Oral Trainers” is made up of three parts – Sharing Jesus, Following Jesus, and Obeying Jesus.  Each part contains several lessons.  Each lesson contains a story, a memory verse, and a way to apply the main truth of the lesson.  Below is a summary of each lesson.

TOT is designed specifically for work among oral preference learners. (although there is no reason why it can not be used among the educated and literate as well).  By using TOT you should be able to successfully share your testimony, share the gospel, follow-up new believers, start a church, disciple believers, and lead the church and all believers to initiate a church planting movement in the neighborhoods and towns that surround them and beyond.

The major components of TOT are:

1.    Sharing Jesus

2.    Following Jesus

3.    Obeying Jesus

Sharing Jesus

Sharing Jesus contains four lessons.  The first lesson gives a vision for multiplying trainers.  The second lesson will help give vision for reaching your friends and family.  The third lesson teaches how to share your testimony with these relationships.  Finally you will learn to share the gospel through using a method called Creation to Christ.

Following Jesus

These three lessons are taught immediately after a person becomes a Christian.  You will want to be prepared to teach lesson one (baptism) immediately after a person places their faith in Jesus (same day, if possible).  Each lesson is taught using a Bible story, questions, a memory verse, and an opportunity to respond in obedience.

The second lesson is on assurance of salvation.  The third lesson is on following Jesus.  This lesson concludes by asking two points of obedience.  The first is whether they are willing to obey God by studying His Word.  If they are willing a worship group will be started (a new church).  The second point of obedience is if they are willing to become a fisher of men (share the gospel).  If they are willing a training group is started.  This training group meets at a separate time from the worship group and its purpose is to begin training new believers in how to share the gospel and train others.

Obeying Jesus

The following eight areas are the most important things taught in the Bible.  All that we will learn about following Jesus and being connected to God can fit into these eight areas.  Each one is a major theme of the New Testament found by Philip Carrington and detailed in his 1940 work The Primitive Christian Catechism published by Cambridge University Press. The lessons represent eight areas that God speaks to your heart.  They also tell us how we should respond to Him.  It is hoped that after you learn each of the 8 Obeying Jesus lessons, you will be able to easily understand how each new thing you learn fits into one of the 8 lessons.  The more you learn and apply, the more fruit you will have in your life.  Staying connected to Jesus is the most important.  In staying connected to Him and applying what you learn, you will begin to produce fruit in your life.  The 8 areas are:

1.    The Gospel

2.    New Birth

3.    Faith, Hope and Love

4.    One Head, One Body

5.    Walk

6.    Put off the Old, Put on the New

7.    Submit

8.    Stand

In each lesson you will learn: 1) a Bible story; 2) a name for the lesson 3) a picture to draw to remember it; 4) a verse to memorize; 5) a specific way to obey.

You will be expected to learn all five of these and obey them immediately.  You will train others in the same way in a few weeks, so learn them well.