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Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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Matt Dabbs

Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of


Powerful words from our brother Josh Patrick who has been battling stage 4 colon cancer.


SofS2.16Sex and money are two of the most cited reasons for divorce in America. Neither one ranks highly on what most of our churches are talking about. We can talk doctrine all day, all the while marriages fall apart and people are being used and abused in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

There is a disconnect here that needs to be bridged. The world does not shy away from casting a vision for what sex and sexuality are all about while the church remains silent. The church doesn’t remain silent because the Bible is silent on the matter…no, the Bible has much to say on this topic…churches remain silent because we have let our comfortability level dictate our teaching. And people are dying for it.

So let’s spend some time discussing these issues and sharing resources that churches can use to better inform Christians on what sex and sexuality are all about from a biblical perspective. As always, I look forward to the conversation!

KingdomConspiracyWe are going to give away a copy of Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Early Church by Scot McKnight. This is happening over on our Wineskins Facebook page. Feel free to stop by over there and comment on the giveaway post!

In light of the previous review of Peter Enns’ book, “The Bible Tells Me So” I wanted to share some thoughts from Dr. Ben Witherington critiquing Enns’ view of scripture and myth from his book “The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible.” I appreciate Dr. Witherington and Baylor University Press allowing us to reprint this here. – Matt

Sometimes analogies can be stretched too far. For example, the author of Hebrews is sometimes quoted as saying that Jesus was like us in all respects, save without sin. In LivingWordOfGod-BWIIIthe first place that’s not what Hebrews says or suggests. The text in question, Hebrews 4:15, actually reads, “He was tempted in every way like us, save without sin.” That is a different matter. There are ever so many ways that Jesus was not like us. For example, he had an unfallen human nature and also a divine nature. It is always a dodgy and even dangerous thing to draw analogies with a unique being like the Son of God, all the more if the analogy is between a thing, namely the Bible, and a person, namely the Son of God.


The incarnational principle is the rubric that Peter Enns uses to explain the character and nature of the Bible. In fact he is willing to put it this way: “The long-standing identification between Christ the word and Scripture the word is central to how I think through the issues raised in this book. How does Scripture’s full humanity and full divinity affect what we should expect from Scripture?” “Identification” is much too strong a word here; “analogy” would be better. Furthermore, books do not have either humanity or divinity. We can talk about the books of the Bible being divinely inspired but not about their divinity, or for that matter about their humanity. All of the Son of God is not “fully human”; only his human nature is. Nor is all the Son of God fully divine; only his divine nature is. According to the classical Chalcedonian formulation, the two natures should not be fused or confused. This is very different from the nature of the Bible.

If I understand 2 Timothy 3:16 correctly, the whole Bible is suffused with both divine inspiration and human words. Some of it is more directly the word of God (e.g., the oracles), some of it more indirectly, but it is always the word of God in human words whether it involves oracles where God speaks directly or some more indirect means of communication.

What Enns wants to argue most vociferously about, however, is the “humanness” of Scripture. Put another way, he wants to insist on the historical givenness of Scripture—that it is written in a particular language in a particular cultural setting, reflecting particular cultural customs and conventions and ways of thinking in order to be a word on target for the original intended audiences. “The Bible, at every turn, shows how ‘connected’ it is to its own world [which] is a necessary consequence of God incarnating himself.… It is essential to the very nature of revelation that the Bible is not unique to its environment. The human dimension of Scripture is essential to its being Scripture.” Missing entirely is any discussion about how this human givenness of Scripture may or may not affect the truth claims of the book. Are we being told that incarnation requires a full participation in wide-ranging human ignorance, errors of various sorts, misjudgments, misrepresentations, mishandling of scriptural texts, and the like?

“To err is human,” as Alexander Pope reminded us, but do we need to turn that equation around and say “To be human, one must err”? If one says that, one has a rather large theological problem. To say that incarnation involves certain limitations of time and space manifested in historical particularity is one thing. It is quite another to suggest that incarnation involves participating in human fallenness, including in its fallen understanding of things. Revelation or
even revelation incarnate does not in the first instance mean historical givenness, though Enns puts it that way. Revelation means God’s truth expressed in particular ways that humans can understand.

But let us allow Enns to flesh out what he wants to claim. In his discussion of “myth,” particularly in regard to ancient Near East parallels to the creation and flood stories in Genesis, Enns settles for a definition of myth as follows: “It is an ancient, premodern, prescientific way of addressing questions of ultimate origins and meaning in the form of stories: Who are we? Where do we come from?” This definition is problematic. In the first place, it is not what the term mythos means in the NT (cf., e.g., 1 Tim 4:4), where it is a pejorative term referring to something that is not true. In the second place, even where the term “myth” was used in a positive way in antiquity, it meant something like a story about a god or the supernatural. On this definition, lots of the Bible is myth as it recounts the mighty salvific acts of God, but that tells us nothing about whether it records historical events or not, unless you believe that there can’t be any kind of supernatural incursion into the realm of the natural. Isn’t it ironic that Enns spends so much time in his study arguing for the historical givenness of these ancient texts, but he wants to define terms in a wholly modern way that the biblical audience would not recognize or grant? What’s wrong with this picture?

Yet Enns, rightly in my judgment, asks, should the Bible be judged on the basis of modern standards of historical inquiry and scientific precision? Surely the answer is no. But these texts should be judged on the basis of ancient standards of historical inquiry and truth telling. Let us suppose the author of Genesis is making historical claims of an ancient nature. They are more general and less precise than we perhaps would want to make today, but nonetheless, historical claims are being made. Taking the nature of ancient historiography into account, we must still assess the resulting historical truth claims. Is the author of Genesis claiming there was a historical Noah and a historical flood of great magnitude during his era? Surely the answer to this question is yes, and even more tellingly NT writers—and Jesus—also thought the answer to this question was yes (cf. Matt 24:37–39; 1 Pet 3:20). Revelation, as it turns out, doesn’t just mean incarnational speech. It means truth telling in incarnational speech.

To claim that the Bible is God’s word implies always and everywhere that it is making various sorts of truth claims—indeed, claims on us. And we do no service to the one who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life if we do not wrestle with the question “What is truth?” whenever we deal with the biblical text.

From The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible by Ben Witherington III. Copyright © 2009 by Baylor University Press. Reprinted by arrangement with Baylor University Press. All rights reserved.

ValleyDryBonesIt is inevitable that anything that is alive is going to go through some changes. That is true of living organisms as well as living organizations. This implies that there are there are such things as dead organisms and dead organizations as well…something we certainly want to avoid!

When God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 37 God commanded him to prophesy to the valley of dry bones and he did,

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

The bones connected, bone-to-bone and tendons and flesh covered the bones but there was just one problem, they had no ruah…they had no breath…no spirit. In other words they were not yet alive because the very breath that shows we are alive was not present, the very spirit that gives life had not come into them…they were corpses. They had the appearance of being alive…they had a body but they had no breath, no spirit.

I am afraid that is where some are today…they look alive on the outside but get closer and you can tell it is a dead corpse. That is bad news but it is not hopeless news. No. There is always hope in Christ for new life. In times like those, what is needed is a renewed reliance on the presence of the divine breath…the Holy Spirit…to be re-emphasized in our midst.

In case you think I am overstating my case here and believe that churches are alive by default, hear the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:1-2,

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.

It is entirely possible to look the part of real live person but in reality be dead. Jesus commands those in his position that all is not lost. What must be done is to “Wake up!” If we are willing to follow those instructions, even the most rotten looking corpse can be made new again and be given new life by the Spirit.

And so the word of the Lord came again to Ezekiel,

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Change is inevitable. Resurrection is change. Transformation is change. New life in Christ is change. Conversion is change. Salvation is change. Forgiveness is change. The church is always going to go through changes. Sunday school was a change when it was introduced and I am sure some railed against is as an ungodly innovation. Today, doing away with Sunday school would be met with the same accusation!

How do we, as Christians, navigate change in our lives and in the church? How might we love each other, pray for each other and bear the burdens even of those we disagree with? How can we be Christ-like in our actions and attitudes and show patience with those who we disagree with…who have met the same challenges and have come to a different conclusion?

Change is hard but it is necessary. Knowing what to change and what must remain the same is also a challenge. In this issue of Wineskins we will be talking about change and how to navigate the issues we face in ways that are biblical and pastoral. Our prayer is that this month’s issue is a blessing to many churches and Christians out there as we face many of the same things together…let us not commit to merely talking about these things together but praying for one another as well.

FHUThe following was provided to us by Dr. Doug Burleson highlighting events at this year’s FHU Lectures and looking ahead to 2016’s lectures.

The 79th Annual Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship is happening this week in Henderson, TN.  This year features the theme “Give Us A King: Faith, Failure, & Forgiveness in Samuel.” The program features around 120 presentations, which feature studies in the text of Samuel as well as practical ministry discussions for everyone from senior saints to children. Special studies for students, young families, ladies, youth workers, church leaders, missionaries, and counselors are also featured in the program.

Every year the lectureship also honors a Christian leader for outstanding service and this year the honorees are Dr. David Lipe and his wife Linda. David has directed the program for 22 years. Next year Dr. Doug Burleson, an Assistant Professor of Bible at FHU, will begin directing the program. When the FHU Lectureship began in 1926 (it took a ten year hiatus before resuming in the late 1930s) the program was intended to provide further education for preachers and church leaders who did not have opportunities to do so otherwise. While this aim has changed over the years there are certain things that continue to characterize the program.

First, the FHU Lectureship is focused on equipping those who attend with a better understanding of the text of Scripture and tools for ministry. For example, this year’s program features 60 lectures on Samuel that range from academic interests like historicity of David or the place of Samuel in the Dead Sea Scrolls to practical interests like how to minister to those who have lost children or how to effectively speak about monogamous marriages in a culture that shows more and more interest in polygamy. Yet these 60 sessions are complemented by over 50 other sessions that focus Christian service and ministry in domestic and international contexts.

Second, the FHU Lectureship provides opportunities for Titus 2, regarding older and younger Christians learning from and encouraging one another, to be put into practice. When guests from throughout the United States (and some from outside the US too) swarm the campus students are given an opportunity to network with the speakers, exhibitors, and guests to learn about service, ministry, and study. Some have suggested that opportunities to fellowship together throughout the week have provided as many blessings as the content of the lessons shared.

Plans are already in the works for next year’s FHU lectureship on the theme “In My Place: The Servant Savior in Mark,” February 7-11. For a full schedule of topics and speakers for this year’s FHU Lectureship visit All of the daily sessions in Loyd Auditorium will be video-streamed at this site until the end of the Lectureship on Thursday night as well.

praying_on_bible_redPrayer is so vitally important in our churches and homes. We believe it is important to pass on some resources for those of you who want to do more reading and study on how to draw closer to God through prayer. Here are a few books you might consider:

Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer by Eugene Peterson

The Armchair Mystic By Mark Thibodeaux

Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth: the Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

The Hour that Changes the World By Dick Eastman

Letters to Malcolm by CS Lewis

Lord Teach Us to Pray to Andrew Murray (Free on kindle!)

Make Me Like Jesus: The Courage To Pray Dangerously by Michael Philips

The Papa Prayer By Larry Crabb

Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth

Prayer by Tim Keller

Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference? By Philip Yancey

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster

Prayers by Michel Quoist

Soul Work By Randy Harris

When God’s People Pray By Jim Cymbala (Also see the DVD & Participants’ Guide)

Wonder, Fear and Longing: A Book of Prayers by Mark Yaconelli

Prayer-girlFather, we have challenges ahead…challenges to make disciples, challenges to our unity, challenges in our interpretation and doctrine and challenges with our holiness. And we know that none of these are insurmountable with your power and presence.

So we pray, Lord, that you will continue to be patient with us. We pray that you will open our eyes, hearts and minds to be people of both Spirit and truth. We pray that our love for one another will grow and that we will not view each other as enemies but as brothers and sisters in Christ…that we will not merely see ourselves as your servants but as your children. We pray that we will not be “older brother” Christians who no longer know how to rejoice for those we are frustrated with. We also pray that we may not be “younger brother” Christians who throw away our relationship with you to indulge sinful passions. Instead, let us dwell in your house as your children…welcoming those who return and realizing that sometimes we are the ones walking back up the hill in shame and repentance…remove our sense of superiority and pride.

Father, we put our trust in you and in your unfailing love. We know you are sovereign and that you will see that your will is done. Teach us your will. We are not wise enough to see it on our own. We need your help. Come quickly to our aid! Humble us with your presence. May you be our greatest joy and gracefully let us rest in your presence.

God, we acknowledge that you created all things…so now, we ask that you will continue to create. Create in us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. Create a fellowship of love and unity. Create a renewed acknowledgment of your Spirit. Create a people who have not just minds turned to you but hearts as well.

We acknowledge our own sinfulness, our own imperfection. We acknowledge that you alone are God and that you alone know all things. We confess that at times we have fallen for the lie that was there in the beginning…the lie that we can be like you…knowing all things…locking down all the answers…pinning you down on every conceivable opinion…speaking where you have been silent. Lord, we repent of putting words in your mouth and ask that you would humble us and remind us that we are not entitled to know all things. Though you have revealed great mysteries of ages past to the most simple among us, truths from of old hidden from ages past, there are still things about you we cannot know. Give us a peace about that and a renewed sense of awe…Lord, I am afraid many of us have lost our sense of awe about you. Remove our pride and replace it with humility and trust and reverence.

As you know, Father, there is another generation coming up that is going to have many challenges to their faith. We pray for our children and grand children. We pray for their hearts, their souls…their relationship with you and with each other. We pray that you would raise up a mighty generation that is passionate about you. We pray that they will not fall away and that we can be good stewards of all that you have given us…to make inroads of faith and connection with the church back to those who would come after us. We are concerned Lord because this world is an environment where faith will be challenged…we pray this challenge will only make them stronger. Help us to intentionally guide and train them to have hearts and minds set on you…that you would be their greatest desire.

Last Lord we praise you just for who you are. Regardless of anything we have done or haven’t done, you have been patient and gracious to us and we give you thanks. You alone are worthy of our praise. You alone are we here to please. We worship you and adore you and pray we can love others as you have loved us. Hallelujah, come Lord Jesus…it is in your name we pray, Amen!


The following is from Bobby Harrington of

There is a national conversation about discipleship going on right now. In some circles it is the hot topic, with lots of convincing, inspiring, and good ideas. We believe God is at work in the midst this dialogue. wants to pour gasoline on the fires that are being lit and the authentic practices that are being championed. We hope to serve as a centralizing platform for this conversation. We work with national discipleship leaders to catalyze authentic discipleship and disciple making movements. was co-founded by two men from Restoration Movement churches. Bobby Harrington has served for over 27 years in Restoration Movement churches and is currently the lead pastor at Harpeth Christian Church (in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville), which he founded as a church plant over 17 years ago out of the Otter Creek church in Nashville. Todd Wilson is the founder and director of the Exponential Conference (the largest church planting conference in the world) and has also spent over ten years on staff at New Life Christian Church, just outside Washington, D.C. Bobby met and married Cindy over 35 years ago at Harding University and he has two grown children who trust and follow Jesus. Todd met his wife as he was training to be a nuclear engineer and he too has two children who trust and follow Jesus.

At, we believe that discipleship itself should not be the focus. Biblical discipleship is about Jesus Christ. Theologically, it is helping people to trust and form their lives around Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father. More simply, it is helping people trust and follow Jesus. There is nothing more important or central in the Bible. We believe there is nothing more worthy of Jesus than discipleship. In fact, we believe that discipleship conversations will only have lasting impact when they result in a personal focus upon Jesus and our life in him.

At we also believe in and champion Jesus’ method of discipleship. This involves a focus on relationships, intentionality, God’s Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, a journey or process, and multiplication (the elements of a discipleship lifestyle). Jesus’ method is the perfect method. It is based upon timeless principles and values. We want to uphold this specific path, but not get too narrow in our application. Too often discipleship is focused on a specific method or a narrow practice that may be good in one situation, but not in other cultural contexts or arenas.

So to be faithful to Jesus’ methods and to a focus that is specific enough to be meaningful, but broad enough to be flexible, we created a biblical and philosophical platform. In partnership with multiple national discipleship leaders (from Robert Coleman to Bill Hull to Jim Putman to Francis Chan and various others), we identified 10 discipleship affirmations. We hope all leaders who choose to work with us will agree with this foundation. We do not bind our definitions and phrases on others, but we ask that those who lead from our platforms be in step with and comfortable with the following:

  1. Jesus Christ and his worthiness necessitate discipleship – he is the central object of our faith and our salvation; He is supreme and deserving of all devotion, worship, and emulation, so discipleship is about Jesus. We affirm the Nicene Creed and its statements about Jesus and the Trinity (Col. 1:15-20; Gal.2: 20).
  1. Our definition of a disciple – is a person who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and committed to the mission of Jesus (Matt. 4:19). This is by Grace through faith and is only possible by the Holy Spirit.
  1. Our definition of discipleship (and disciple making) is simple – helping people to trust and follow Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20).
  1. We believe disciple making is the core mission of the local church and the home (Col.1: 28-29; Deut. 6:6-9).
  1. We believe the Bible is the authoritative, reliable, and ultimate guide for discipleship and life (2 Tim. 3:16-4:2).
  1. We believe Jesus’ method of disciple making is the wisest and best method to follow today (Luke 6:40).
  1. We believe that Christ-like love is both the foundation and true fruit of authentic discipleship (John 13:34-35).
  1. We believe discipleship includes serving the poor, striving for holiness, and living with accountability in the local church (1 Cor. 5: 1-13).
  1. We believe discipleship and Christ-like love will compel us to join Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
  1. We believe our obedience to the Great Commission makes all the difference and it will result in the expansion of God’s Kingdom, the betterment of humanity, and God’s exaltation and pleasure in us (Luke 19:11-27). avoids the promotion of positions that do not come from these affirmations or are beyond them. We do not want secondary issues to become a focus through our ministry.

To help catalyze discipleship and disciple making movements in this early stage, we hope to develop three platforms in partnership with other national discipleship leaders and organizations:

  • National Discipleship Forums – that bring together national leaders to inspire and provide leadership for a national and international discipleship movement (and Regional Discipleship Conversations). We had our first National Discipleship Forum in October 2014.
  • Content – we hope website can be an aggregator, repository, and link into the best possible electronic information and actionable content on discipleship and disciple making movements. And org Resources will be an imprint for books and hard content.
  • Learning Communities – we want to bring people together to join learning journeys, where they sit together with practitioners who will help them develop disciple making competencies.
  • Partnership with Exponential – we work with the Exponential Church Planting conference (the largest church planting conference in the world) to promote discipleship, especially by church planters.


This article is from Bobby Harrington of

There is a free webinar of the first National Discipleship Forum entitled, “The Discipleship Lifestyle.” The webinar is promoted on It took place at Saddleback Church in Los Angeles, CA, and was held in conjunction with the Exponential Conference (West). The speakers included Francis Chan, Jim Putnam, Jeff Vanderstelt, Robert Coleman, Bill Hull, and KP Yohannan, and was presented by in partnership with Exponential.

The dates of the FREE webcast are January 27-29, 2015

There is a link at the bottom of this page to sign up for the webcast!


Many people who attended said it was the most impactful and life-changing forum they had ever experienced, and you will have a chance to watch it from the beginning. What conspired was a real-life discussion on discipleship in a unique learning environment and format. We are in a season of renewed interest in discipleship. Leaders are hungry for resources and insights for their churches to become more effective at discipleship. Are we, as leaders, modeling the kind of discipleship for we want our people to practice? The first place to look in improving our church’s discipleship systems is inside ourselves to candidly assess and consider how our own disciple-making practices need to change. For this webcast, you will have a front row seat to an intimate conversation among six national leaders and friends as they talk candidly about discipleship in their own lives and seek to learn from one another. In a casual, face to face environment, one of our leaders will start by making a brief and pointed presentation on a key discipleship topic and then the other five leaders will spend the balance of time in conversation and dialogue about that topic.


This Discipleship Forum brought together six leaders who are passionate about discipleship. Unique distinctives include:

  • These practitioner leaders engaged each other in a conversational setting with all six leaders on the stage together in an intimate living room type environment.
  • The focus was centered on improving their own disciple making practices by learning from each other rather than the traditional conference experience with presenters.
  • This forum gathering created an intimate, heart-felt conversation among leaders who shared their own struggles and victories, affirmed and provided push-back to the others, and ultimately learned from one-another.
  • You will get a front-row seat to this candid conversation in a way that will challenge your own hearts, in a more meaningful way than a traditional conference.
  • Main emphasis focused on the truth that we reproduce who we are.  How can we call others and our churches to be more effective at discipleship if we are not doing it ourselves?


francischanFrancis Chan is the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA and one of the most influential speakers in the USA. He is also the Founder and Chancellor of Eternity Bible College, and author of the best-selling books, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless GodThe Forgotten God, and Multiply. In recent years, Francis has made discipleship a primary focus in his ministry.



robertcolemanRobert Coleman is a distinguished professor of evangelism and discipleship at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. For many years he served as dean of the Billy Graham International Schools of Evangelism as well as director of the Billy Graham Center Institute of Evangelism at Wheaton College. He is the author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, which is the gold standard for Jesus’ method of discipleship. It has sold over 3.5 million copies and has been published in over 100 languages.


YPYohannanKP Yohannan is the founder and international director of Gospel for Asia, a Christian mission organization that has brought the Good News of Christ to millions in South Asia over the last three decades. Dr. Yohannan has been crisscrossing the globe for the last 40 years, challenging the body of Christ to discipleship. His call to a radical lifestyle—with an all-out commitment to Jesus—has left its impact on nearly every continent. His book Revolution In World Missions, has over 2 million copies in print.


billhullBill Hull is a writer and one of the world’s leading discipleship experts, calling the church to choose the life to which Jesus called every disciple. The core of Bill’s writings (of over 20 books) are his highly influential books The Complete Book of DiscipleshipJesus Christ Disciple MakerThe Disciple Making Pastor and The Disciple Making Church. These works made the case for Jesus as the prime example of a disciple maker, and that discipleship should be the core of every pastor and church’s work. His latest work is entitled, The Disciple, Better To Do Evil Than To Be Evil.


jimputmanJim Putman is the founder and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. The church was established based upon Jesus’ method of discipleship and it has now become one of the most influential church’s in the USA.  Jim was a co-founder of the Relational Discipleship Network. He holds degrees from Boise State University and Boise Bible College. He is the author and co-author of several books, including Church is a Team SportReal Life Discipleship Training Manual and DiscipleShift. Jim’s unique gifting is in discipleship and practical strategies that make discipleship the core competency of the local church.


jeffvandersteltJeff Vanderstelt is a popular speaker, pastor, teacher, and missional strategist with Soma Communities in Tacoma, WA. Jeff believes that discipleship is the core mission of the church and he helps leaders to see how discipleship leads to the missional lifestyle demonstrated by Jesus. He is a leader of leaders and a coach and trainer for church planters. Jeff has served on the pastoral staff at Willow Creek Community Church and on the Board of Acts 29. Jeff uniquely understands what it means to follow Jesus and build missional communities that transform neighborhoods.


We define disciple making as “trusting God’s presence as we enter into the relationships with others to guide them to trust and follow Jesus and obey all his teachings” (Matthew 28:18–20). The Discipleship Forum will focus on helping leaders make this a reality. Our intimate setting will provide a platform for honest dialogue, give and take discussion and real life examples by these leaders.


This first forum focused on six vitally important topics of discipleship – based on the FREE Discipleship Handbook – and they are ones that you don’t want to miss. Each key topic was briefly and pointedly led by one of the six discipleship leaders, followed by a robust and practical discussion where each speaker was able to openly and honestly express his view of what each topic meant to him. There was intense dialogue, discussion, and self-revelation.

The following are the six topics and speakers:
1. Jesus: How does the Jesus we believe in, and the gospel we preach, determine the kind of person that we become and the kind of disciples that we make? – Bill Hull
2. Intentionality: Disciple makers need a plan to disciple people, they need to know where they are going. – Robert Coleman
3. Relationships: Discipleship, following the example of Jesus, needs to be grounded in relationships, or what are referred to as relational environments. – Jeff Vanderstelt
4. Bible: The content for discipleship is found in the Bible, it is the instruction manual. – Francis Chan
5. Path: Disciples follow a discernible, but crooked growth path. Their life story, in following Jesus, will have similar chapters. – Jim Putman
6. Multiply: Discipleship is only complete with reproduction and multiplication, when the disciple becomes a disciple maker himself. – KP Yohannan

 Sign up for the webinar here.