Catalyst Missions Women's Discipleship
What does it really look like to make disciples? Is it a mentoring program? A Bible study? Is it a church program or evangelism? If you had asked me these questions a few years ago, I would have said it was all of these things. The truth is - I simply did not know what disciple making was. Then I was challenged to really examine the Great Commission.
There seems to be some confusion about what Jesus meant when He said, "Go make disciples of all nations.” The first part of our strategy is to cast the vision of Biblical disciple making by traveling locally and abroad to offer (free of charge) Great Commission conferences for women. In each venue, we hope to connect with key leaders who will be faithful to begin discipling networks of women within their own language and cultures.
One of the many resources that have been used by our church is Discipleship Essentials, by Greg Ogden. Quoting Michael Wilkins, he said: In his survey of Christian groups, people will readily identify themselves as “Christians,” but be quite reluctant to call themselves “disciples.” Why might this be? Being a Christian is easy. The only thing required is that we acknowledge our need of a savior and to receive a gift that I cannot earn nor deserve. But if I identify myself as a disciple, then I am making a statement about the quality of my followership. Being a Christian is a statement about what Christ has done for me; being a disciple is a statement about what I am doing for Christ. Our problem is that we have made peace with an unbiblical distinction. Christian leaders have sent the message that is alright to be a Christian without being a disciple of Christ. We expect that only a small percentage of Christians will “graduate” into the category of discipleship. We are reaping the results of the false notion that we have sown. It is broadly being acknowledged today by Christian leaders that we have done a miserable job of making disciples.
Greg Ogden goes on to sum up Wilkins sentiment with these words: “We must reaffirm that biblically that there is no distinction between embracing God’s grace as a forgiven sinner and following Jesus as the primary shaping influence over our life.”
I’d like to share a partial list of books, programs and studies our church has used to learn how to make disciples. Herb Hodges came to our church and cast the vision of Biblical disciple making. So his book Tally Ho the Fox was our first study guide. Then we moved to Robert Coleman’s Master Plan of Evangelism, followed by The Basics of the Christian Life – Discipleship by Kenson Kuba and Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden. Then we studied Radical by David Platt, and finally there was Multiply by Francis Chan. Some of us used Christian to the Core, produced by International Leadership Institute. Finally, we have used The Builder Curriculum that is produced by Down-Line discipling ministries.
The “Pearls of Wisdom” found in this ministry are permeated with the lessons we learned from each of the above studies. All of these taught us what discipling is, and, in theory, how to do it. But to be completely honest, after all this study, there are precious few of us living out the lifestyle of Jesus by making disciples. Why is it not working? Three reasons come to mind: number one, when it comes to discipling, it takes a committed follower of Jesus who is maturing in the faith (a spiritual parent), and this person needs someone to disciple! Number two, it is not working because we have tried to make it a program, not a life on life relationship. Number three, when I personally tried to use what I learned from these studies to disciple women, I found something was missing. It was an entire link in the discipling chain - a vitally important link. This missing link became the catalyst for our five phase strategy and the development of our ever expanding curriculum.
With all that being said, the single determining factor in this process is this: It takes a living spiritual person (a disciple of Jesus) to make disciples. No book, lesson, study, program or curriculum will ever disciple a person. Simply put…people make disciples. And that is what Catalyst Missions Women's Discipleship is all about!
If we are to follow Jesus' strategy, we must first understand what disciple making really is. The very heart of disciple making is spiritual relationships. In this context, one person invests the truth of God’s Word and their life into a few others. (1 Thessalonians 2:8) While making disciples happens as you go through your everyday life, it does not happen by accident. Jesus intentionally spent three years investing His life and truths into a small group of men. This was the equivalent of approximately 36,000 hours. (Mark 3:13-14) By this fact alone, we can see that disciple making takes time!
You may be wondering, exactly how does this work in a woman's busy life? Disciple making looks different at each stage of a woman’s life. For example, if you are attending a university or perhaps you are a single working woman, you will have more freedom to do life with other women. However, if you’re married with children then, by necessity, your discipling relationships will revolve around the needs of your husband and the care of your children. As your life, activities and responsibilities change, so will your discipling relationships. We'll expound on this concept further in the lesson "Who Are Your You's."
At this season of life, this is what disciple making looks like for me. Six women and I meet for about three hours a week to pray and study the lessons, or Pearls of Wisdom - these lessons are in the Five Phases. In addition to our study time, we keep a constant prayer chain going. But that’s not all!
We go to the doctor with each other, meet for lunch, exercise, work, cook, clean and keep grandbabies while we study the Bible. Sometimes we go to the hospital and pray for others, go to the mall to shop, or get our nails done, and as we go, we share the gospel! We go to church, into the prisons, on mission trips, get our cars fixed, see movies, and we even go to funerals! The key element to all these activities is this; we do all these things together!
Step One: Find someone to join you
Follow Jesus' example and pray about it. When you have some ideas about a person or two who might be willing to join you, then extend an invitation. If they are willing, you may want to use the signed commitment form we have provided here. It’s simply an agreement between the two of you that you are in this together. If you are struggling to find someone, please contact us, and we will do our best to link you up with someone online until you find someone closer.
Step Two: Fill out a Spiritual Survey
The Spiritual Growth Survey Forms will help you get to know each other and assess areas for growth. After you have completed the survey and evaluated the results, you will have a better idea of where you are on your spiritual journey. Next, you will want to begin the 5 phases.
The Gospel Survey Form can be used to identity open doors of opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus. We recommend using a workbook written by Charles Brock, The Good News for You. The lessons in this workbook are based on the gospel of John, and it is translated into several different languages.
Step Two: Fill out a Spiritual Survey
Our strategy is a systematic 5 phase series of lessons that correspond with the 5 levels of spiritual growth. Our lessons are to be used in consecutive order to move us forward in the 5 levels of spiritual growth. Everything you will need as you begin the process can be found on our lesson page. This includes some audio and video teaching sessions as well as the links to 5 key resources comprised of books and workbooks. If possible, print a copy of each lesson to study. At the end of each lesson will be a set of questions for personal application and discussion. So, whether you are learning with on person or a group of people, start in Phase 1.
If you would like to begin discipleship with Catalyst Missions or request prayer, please fill out the form below, and a representative from the ministry will be in contact with you. We look forward to growing with you!