Coaching vs. Discipling?

by Karl Bastian Discipleship, Questions

Karl_picJust curious what you think – I hear a lot about “Spiritual Life Coaching” in the Church today.

How is that different from discipleship? Jesus said to “Go and make disciples” not “go and coach people spiritually.” I’m not saying spiritual coaching is ‘bad’ – just wondering where it fits in with discipleship?


Is spiritual coaching just a new “hip” word for disciple-making? In other words, are they actually the same thing, just a word our sports-crazy culture can understand? or…

Is spiritual coaching something that is a PART of disciple-making? Is it just that part where the discipler is giving tips or advice or a pep talk or teaching some life ‘plays’ from the ‘Play Book,’ the Bible? or…

Is spiritual coaching something completely separate from disciple-making?

Did Jesus coach?

What do YOU think?

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Discipleship Throwback

by Karl Bastian Discipleship, Questions

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Pepsi is currently offering two “new” versions of it’s two most popular drinks, Pepsi-Cola and Mountain Dew, with the tag line of “throwback” alluding to the fact that each contains, for a limited time only, real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup; a “throwback” to when they used to be made with real sugar.

I wonder what Discipleship Throwback would look like?

What if individuals and churches decided to do a “throwback” to how discipleship was once done. How different would it look? How much more effective might it be? What if nothing electronic was used? What if an actual copy of the Bible were used? What if two people met one-on-one to talk about spiritual things?

What if Discipleship Throwback was actually better? What do you think?

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T-i-m-e: Every kid’s love language. (part 2)

by Jen Galley Discipleship, Questions, What Kids Need

The story continues… (from part 1)

Within two days, I was able to catch up with the girl that I hadn’t had time for. I was so busy “ministering” to all of the kids that I didn’t have time to actually “reach” one child.

I started the conversation by saying, “I’m so sorry that I didn’t connect with you on Wednesday. What you are thinking about is very important to me. Is there any chance that you still remember the question that you wanted to ask me?”

She was wide-eyed. “I can’t believe you remembered, she said. That was like, DAYS ago.” (It was only 2 days, but still she was glad that I remembered.)

I was prepared for any type of question she might ask from “What kind of toothpaste do you use?” to “Can we sing a different song next week?”)

“Oh, ya. She continued. Um, I know that Jesus died on the cross to save us, but WHY is that what God (the Father) wanted him to do? Why was that the price he had to pay?”

WOW! I was so glad that I didn’t miss this opportunity to share this with her.

I shared the scripture with her and followed up with a letter so that she could look it up for herself.

Here are my questions:

1) Are you willing to admit to the kids in your ministry that you have messed up? That you’ve missed a very important chance to connect with them?

2) If we (our ministry teams) had the ability to follow up like this with every child in our ministries, what would disipleship look like in our churches? How would this affect the “Church” at large?

3) Do you agree with the following statement: “When it comes to discipleship, relationship is everything.”

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Faith, First-Hand

by Jen Galley Discipleship, Jesus the Discipler, Questions

jesusdiscboat.jpegJesus spent a lot of time with the disciples- just doing life together. They walked together, ate together, and visited together. Throughout the book of Matthew, we read phrases such as “When the disciples saw this, they…” or “When the disciples heard this, they…” They were reacting to real life moments that Jesus used to show the disciples who He was.

In Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John on a hike up a mountain and He was transfigured before them- His face shining like the sun. A voice from Heaven said “This is my beloved Son…” and “when they heard this” -out of fear and awe, Jesus’ friends nearly passed out!

In Matthew 21:18-22, hungry, Jesus tried to get something to eat from a fig tree with no fruit on it. He cursed it and it withered on the spot. “When they saw this”, the disciples’ mouths dropped wide open.

While Jesus was visiting at the house of Simon the leper, Mary poured very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. When the disciples “saw this”, they became angry. This woman taught them about true devotion to Christ first-hand. Matthew 26:6-13

In Matthew 19, Jesus and the disciples bumped into the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler went away sad because he loved his possessions too much. The disciples were astounded, wondering, “Then who can be saved?”

Astonished. Afraid. Angry. Confused. The Disciples experienced life with Jesus. Just walking along, interacting with others and experiencing amazing things first-hand.

Here are my questions:

1.What do our kids get to see first- hand?

2. How can we help kids to experience their faith first-hand?

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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.


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 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 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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