Definition of Disciple. The “Where are all the disciples?” shares my definition of a disciple that is based upon what the New Testament says it is. I define it “as an unwavering commitment to the Lordship of Christ that is illustrated by Luke 9:23 in which disciples deny themselves and carry their cross daily.” The New Testament has a high standard for discipleship.
Jesus is our role model for disciple-making. We need to follow His example in how He led the twelve disciples, focused on the three, and dealt with larger groups differently.
Disciple-making ideas include books, classes, curriculum, etc. In addition, approaching spiritual development from a different angle by learning through experiences. The latter includes mission trips, serving the poor in inner cities or overseas, visiting persecuted countries, intercessory prayer where one resides or in closed countries, praying for the Great Commission.
Christian leaders have pulled out all stops to help churches make more disciples by being innovative, determined, creative, and using teamwork with others to help make disciples. So many people have spent a substantial amount of time and effort to try to resolve this concern.
My doctoral research found such an abundance of solutions that try to ameliorate the shortage of disciples that are being made that it is impossible to list them all. Although I highlight the Perspectives on the World Christian bible course as a robust disciple-making class that focuses on completing the Great Commission, it is in not the only disciple-making solution.
Since Jesus often taught the disciples situationally, we also need to provide opportunities in which believers can grow in discipleship through their experiences with the following: A. Mission trips to areas of need. B. Evangelistic outreaches. C. Service opportunities like distributing food to the needy, food banks, soup kitchens, etc. D. Mission trips to bless Christians who live in countries that persecute the church. E. Prayer is the foundation for everything, including interceding for the Great Commission.
There are some robust disciple-making classes that have generally worked when they are tried. Although I cannot list all the ones that do work, some that have been positive include A. Bob Sjogren’s Bible studies to make disciples have included Cat & Dog Theology, God’s Bottom Line, and Maturing the Bride, and www.unveilinglory.com has other of his materials. B. The complete Book of Discipleship (2006) and other disciple-making materials by Bill Hull. C. Missional discipleship. Churches, ministries, and authors who encourage believers that after getting saved they are on mission with God, which is very different than sitting in the pews. D. Efforts to follow the New Testament like the Priesthood of all believers, Evangelists and other positions, and spiritual gifts like a Word of Wisdom into a church’s ministry paradigm.
Although there a myriad of solutions to increase discipleship formation, the shortage of disciple-making cannot be resolved until a church or ministry uses one of more of these options.
Perspectives Bible Class
Perspectives Bible Class
Perspectives on the world Christian movement is a discipleship class that focuses on the Great Commission. Isn’t it exciting that this Bible School course can transform believers into disciples who are trained and encouraged to obey all of what the Lord has shown them to do?
The Great Commission mandate is the primary theme of the Bible. Perspectives reveals this as God’s mission which goes from Genesis to Revelation. Doesn’t prioritizing the Great Commission make sense for disciple-making so Christians can find their part in God’s plan?
Background of Perspectives. This college level course has been taught at churches, schools, or other venue in America and around the world for nearly 50 years and continues to grow. I am a Perspectives Coordinator who can help to recruit and develop new classes.
One of the best parts of Perspectives is interacting with instructors and other students. The people who take this course tend to be disciple oriented. Many mission agencies require their missionaries to take Perspectives before going to the field, wanting their missionaries to be trained as disciples. Instructors include experts on planting churches in restricted areas or strategists who consider different ways in which to complete the Great Commission.
Perspectives is best taken in person. Although it is offered online, taking the class in person offers great fellowship in this discipleship course. The course is for any person who is able to complete college level coursework. More information about the Biblical, Historical, Strategic, and Cultural aspects of Perspectives can be found at www.perspectives.org.
Perspectives has so many ways for growing as a disciple that it felt like there may have been more than the 20 classes I took for my Doctor in Education in Christian Leadership and Ministry. Although my coursework required tremendous effort over 4 years, Perspectives offers great biblical insights. How about taking Perspectives yourself to see if this can be true?
Other students who took the class have also described a robust growth in discipleship. Perspectives students have become missionaries, become Perspectives Coordinators, tried to mobilize their churches to get more earnestly involved in obeying the Great Commission.
Despite many Christian Colleges offering Perspectives, it is not well publicized, attended, or required for most degrees. As a result, only a micro percentage of students take the class. What would be the impact on the American church if our seminaries required this course? How would it affect the world if a higher percentage of graduates were more committed in their faith as disciples who had a much clearer focus on completing the Great Commission for God’s glory?
Most of my Liberty University classmates were pastors or teachers, but I could not find any who were aware of Perspectives. I observed my doctoral classmates to see how many were into discipleship or missions but found few and did not find anyone who had taken Perspectives.
Why is this important? As a Perspectives Coordinator I’ve also seen that very few pastors take the course, but when they do one often hears comments like they have learned new biblical insight. How is the church faring with our leaders not taking a robust discipleship class?