What Comes To Mind?

by Karl Bastian Discipleship

bibledisciple.jpg When you hear the word “DISCIPLESHIP”, what comes to mind?

It is a broad term that carries many different meanings to different people. I’m not looking for “right or wrong” answers, just what comes to mind? Just the first thing that POPS into your mind.

Post in comments please, just a sentence or two. 

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A Road Map to Follow…

by Spencer Click Discipleship

How many of you have taken a long trip? Personally I love road trips – let me take that back; I love going places. The process of getting somewhere is not always the best – you can get lost, run out of gas, hit traffic, etc. It can be very hectic.

I’ll never forget one particular road trip that I took with a friend of mine in High School. My friend and I were 16 & 17; our parents in a bold display of faith had decided to allow us to drive from Kettering, OH to Quincy, IL to visit a former Children’s Pastor of ours. (It was an exciting trip – the first time I ever drove over 100 MPH…ummm.) My friend’s grandpa had AAA so he got us one of those “trip tiks” where AAA walks you through the whole trip (very helpful – this was before GoogleMaps and Mapquest). They include everything on those – construction, mile markers, slow times to travel – EVERYTHING! Well almost everything. Being the young men that we were we didn’t pay attention to all of the details needed for a long trip – i.e. planning your gas stops so that you don’t run out between stations. We were dangerously close to running out of gas near Springfield, IL. Fortunately we came to an area that had 4 gas stations…but it was a funky cloverleaf looking thing that we couldn’t figure out. I tried to get off at what look like an exit, but it was actually an entrance fora different highway, so we turned around and tried again, and then again, and then one more time for good luck. All I was thinking was that we were going to ran out of gas within 1/2 mile of 3 gas stations because we couldn’t figure out how to get to them. God rescued us and we found out how to get to the Shell station – crisis avoided and the trip continued.

My road trip story is a funny anecdote now…but at the time it was a true crisis to me. I had the directions of how to get to my ultimate destination, but I had not idea how to get to some of the points in between that I would need. I believe that this is something our kids face in church and in life in general today. Any kid who grows up in church has an idea of what the general destination for their life should be – they need to grow up to be like the adult Christians around them. They need to learn how to be bold and strong in faith…but are they shown how to get there? Are they shown how to deal with the “gas crisis” they come across?

Discipleship has been a word thrown around for years – but what does it really look like? Do we have a plan? Do we have a “Trip-Tik” for getting kids from Beginning Believer to Mature Christian? It doesn’t matter what denomination you are; there are core values that all Christian Churches hold to be true. Why as a community of believers haven’t we come together like the public school system and come up with something that moves children along this road? This has been something I have struggled with for a couple of years now and I haven’t come up with an answer. The question I ask myself continually and the one I’m trying to work out for my ministry is: What’s the scope and sequence that I need to put in place for my kids to grow them up?

I think I have come up with a portion of the answer – I can’t develop one single plan that will move all my kids down the same path, but it is through Discipleship that I truly believe that this will be answered. And to me Discipleship is about relationship…how better to help map something for someone than to see where they are and help them find their way to where they need to be.

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Discipling Not My Job

by Karl Bastian Discipleship, Questions

One of the first visitors to this site had these comments on the discipleship of children:

I certainly have a desire to disciple children, but not in the traditional sense. I don’t see it as my job to disciple children. I see it as my job to equip and encourage parents to be those disciplers. I see kids for a couple of hours each week max. Mom & Dad need to be (Biblically & logically) the primary influencers. So, this leads me to my questions. Is DisipleLand designed to encourage and equip CP’s to equip parents? If so, what does that look like? If it’s designed for CP’s to equip kids, then what does that look like also? Is this program based, curriculum based, all of the above? Final question: how does blogging accomplish the goal? I’m sure I’m not asking questions you’ve already been asked, but this is what popped in my head when checking out the page. I like the concept but am looking for a little more clarification on what you see as the end result of DiscipleLand and how you plan to get there.

Jeramy

Excellent Questions! First of all, let me say I don’t even know what the “traditional sense” is – I’m not sure there IS one, seems the traditional thing to do is “Christian Education” – not disciple-making. I agree that parents ARE to be the primary disciplers of kids and we MUST intentionally equip them, but Jesus did give US the command to make disciples, not to “go equip parents to make disciples” – He wasn’t speaking exclusively to parents, He was speaking to all Christians, so we can’t get out of it that easily.

As for DiscipleLand, I can only answer as a user of the material and as a friend of DiscipleLand’s founder, Mark Steiner, having had many long conversation with him about discipleship and how DiscipleLand was born out of the need for a curriculum that did more than just teach the Bible. I would say YES, it is designed to equip parents to partner with the church in the disciple-making process from the in-home tools that work hand-in-glove with the classroom materials. Not only do they have the usual “take home” papers, but a poster that visually walks through each unit for the parents, Bible cards to help parents engage, and best of all (in this Webkins age) an online tool called DiscipleZone.com where parents and kids can continue the learning process together. I can’t wait until my little boy is old enough for the tools they provide for parents so that what I do in the home can be in concert with what is happening at the church.

For more about DiscipleLand, you can obviously check out their website at DiscipleLand.com. It is curriculum based, but unlike many other curriculums it goes beyond just teaching the Bible to include missions (world view), the Gospel (try finding that in most curriculums!) and disciple skills. They also have tools for one on one discipleship which is key for kids who don’t have Christian parents or who do, but need a voice outside the home to reinforce what is taught in the home.

The call to disciple kids is one that I think is neglected in our busy ministries because there is no easy way to program it into existence. As for your final question, the blogging won’t disciple kids, but we hope that it will challenge leaders to think about how (or if) they are truly discipling kids in the midst of all the busyness of ministry. Addressing the good questions you asked above are EXACTLY why this blog was started! Thanks for getting us off to a good start! There are no easy answers, so we NEED to wrestle with how we pursue the Great Commission in children’s ministry. The Great Commission is not for “missions” – it is for ministry! WE ARE the “ends of the earth” from where Jesus first made the command!

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What If Jesus Visited Your Church?

by Karl Bastian Discipleship

“He’s Here,” stammered a volunteer who had tracked me down in the resource room making some photo copies. “Who?” I asked, sensing it was someone of great importance. Out of breath, all she could say was, “Him,” as she grabbed my arm and led me toward the rear entrance of the church. When I got there I joined others who stood there simply starring unsure how they should respond. There He was. It was as though one of those Sunday School posters had come to life; The long white robe, blue sash, warm smile and eyes that radiated a peace beyond description.

After stuttering through an awkward greeting, I asked the Master if He would like a tour of our children’s ministry. He simply nodded as I began to lead him around the church. Classes, already in session, hardly noticed my Guest as I lead Him through the hallways. I showed him our themed children’s ministry with murals and three-dimensional decorations. I showed him the video game consuls and the highlight videos playing on mounted flat screen monitors. I took him into our children’s church room that soon would be filled with children. I pointed out the projector and screen, the puppet stage, the sound booth and the prize store. After showing him all the rooms and ways we had invested to draw children and families to our church I concluded the tour out on the Noah’s Ark themed playground. After an awkward silence, the Teacher finally spoke.

“It is clear to me from all you have shown me that this is a place where children are loved and where you are willing to do much to creatively draw them to My house. But there is only one thing I have come to see. Please show me my disciples.”

I stammered, “What do you mean? We have led many children to You, and even now they are learning much about You and Your Father’s Word. Among these children, many of them are your disciples, my Lord.”

His next words were spoken with gentleness and love, but still ring in my ears. “You are doing many good things here, but I only asked you to do one thing. Go and make disciples.” And then He was engulfed in blinding light and vanished. The light continued to grow until I realized it was the early morning son awakening me on a Sunday morning.

At church that day I was in a daze as I looked over our happy children, so busy playing, learning and laughing. I kept asking myself, “Which were His disciples? Could I know?” I realized that Sunday I was not asked to draw children, teach children, or even save children. The Great Commission was to go into all the world and make disciples. Never again would I be content unless were Jesus to visit again, I could answer, “This one, my Lord, and that boy over there, and that girl sitting there.” I was done merely reaching and teaching children, from now on, my driving passion is to make disciples.

Jesus said to MAKE DISCIPLES… Are we? Could we point out His disciples to Him if He visited our church?

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Kids Need God (#1 of 48)

by Mark Steiner Discipleship, What Kids Need

If we are serious about discipling kids, we must clearly identify what it is we believe that children need in order to develop into fully mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Throughout the DiscipleLand curriculum we have identified 48 needs that we believe must be addressed for our children. But whether you use our materials or not – the reality is you must give careful attention to the spiritual needs of your children as a parent and as a teacher. None of these are addressed by accident.

On this blog I will be posting each of them with some scriptural support to encourage you to give some careful thought to how you can help address these needs in the kids that you love. Here is the first:

KIDS NEED GOD

The Situation: Children ask, “What is God really like?” Schools, friends, television, and other sources expose children to a variety of ideas. Much of what kids hear about “god” does not even resemble the God who reveals Himself in the Bible.

The Solution: God delights to reveal Himself to all who seek Him. Knowing God personally and enjoying His greatness is the highest privilege of every Christian. The Bible is the one inspired place to find out about God—His personality, His attributes, His Names, and His character.

The Suggestion: To know God truly and intimately, encourage your child to explore the characteristics of God. Look for His attributes in the natural world. Reflect on his character as seen through the lessons they are learning at church. Talk about God and often refer to Him. Give Him credit when good things happen, and turn to Him in times of needs expressing for your children to hear your trust in His goodness and love.

The Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 29:11; Proverbs 2:4-5; Acts 17:24-25

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How Do You Evaluate Your Ministry?

by Karl Bastian Discipleship, Online Resources

leadershiplab3.jpg

 

The latest Kidology Online Training Leadership Lab explores “Ministry Foundations” and asks, ‘How do you evaluate your ministry?’

Is it the size of your ministry? The number of kids that come? Or the number of decisions for Christ made? Many ministries seem to evaluate their ministry by how “fun” and attractive to children it is. How would Jesus evaluate your ministry?

Check out the feedback and discussion on this online video presentation as well. The video is free for Kidology members with a professional level membership.

HINT: It has something to do with “making disciples.”

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Welcome to DiscipleBlog.com

by Karl Bastian Discipleship

What is DiscipleBlog.com?

This blog is hosted by DiscipleLand.com as a place to foster and encourage discussion on the topic of discipling children. Be sure to read What Kids Really Need by DiscipleLand’s founder, Mark Steiner.

If you are a children’s pastor/director, children’s ministry professional, teacher or volunteer with a passion for discipling children, we invite you to become a contributor to this blog. You do not need to be a DiscipleLand curriculum user – you do need to have a passion for encouraging discipleship!

For more information on becoming a contributor, contact us and be sure to mention your interest in DiscipleBlog.com in your message.

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