Everyday Discipleship. Everyday Podcast. Topic on 21st Century Discipleship

Episode 1: Everyday Discipleship Every Day Podcast: Discipleship in the 21st Century

How is discipleship different today than it has been for the last few decades? How is it the same, especially in echoing the guidance from Scripture?

We look at 21st Century discipleship and talk about the discipleship book we are posting in this blog each week, one chapter at a time that you can download for free.

We also are asking for your input. What are some challenges you’ve found in discipling others? What questions do you have? We would like to try to address these in our podcast.

Finally, watch here for future episodes that include some fascinating interviews with authors and Christian leaders who are helping disciple and train leaders in the Church today.

We’re excited about this podcast and pray it blesses and inspires you to get involved in Everyday Discipleship Every Day in your local community of believers.

Link to Power of Four study: https://www.cbelabs.org/power-of-4

Show Transcript:

Welcome to “Everyday Discipleship, Every Day,” where we discuss discipleship in the 21st century, guided by biblical discipleship, culture, and individual needs while focusing on discipling our children as well. I’m your host, Terrie Hellard-Brown, and I’ve begun releasing my discipleship book online through my blog for free, and you can check it out at TerrieHellardBrown.com.

So today we’re going to start with our very first conversation on what it means to disciple someone in the 21st century. And you may be involved in D groups at your church or traditional discipleship such as in the old days Survival Kit, MasterLife, and many of these other great discipleship programs. What I’m talking about is what we need to consider beyond those now that we’re in the 21st century, a postmodern, I mean post-Christian culture and how we need to really meet the needs of those who are coming to Christ today.

And this started because I was a missionary in Taiwan, and when we first moved there, two young women came to the Lord and came to me for discipleship. And so I started in with the same old traditional way of doing discipleship where you concentrate on reading your Bible prayer and becoming an active member of a church, being involved in ministry, all of these things that we do in our Christian walk and that we need to do and we need to teach and train people. But two things happened when I was discipling these young women, and later when we were discipling, my husband and I together, a young man, the first was that I realized I needed to cover more than the basics because one of these young women had come from a Taoist background, and she had many different ideas that were contrary to Christianity, and she was making them fit.

And what I mean by that is she was taking her idea specifically about reincarnation, and she believed that reincarnation was real, but once she became a Christian, it stopped that cycle. Well, I’ve never, I just never would’ve thought to talk about reincarnation in a discipleship class that just wasn’t on my radar. But once we had that discussion, I realized we needed to talk about a lot of different ideas that might be rumbling around in our minds and our hearts. And I realized even in my own walk, I, we were in seminary and my seminary professor confronted me on a belief I had that I didn’t realize I had, I didn’t even realize it was a compromise of the word of God because I had come up with this compromise in second grade. And so, I had grown up with this idea. I became a Christian in second grade, and we had, I had a teacher, and we were doing God’s eyes.

I don’t know if you know that old craft that’s from the Native American culture where you use yarn and you have two sticks, and you make a what’s called a god’s eye. And this is actually something used in worship and in kind of the tradition of paganism. And in my little second grade mind, I decided that it was just a reminder that God is always watching over us. And so in my mind, I had compromised what that signified. And when I became a teacher had intended to just do the same thing my teacher had taught me, I thought, well, this will be a fun craft. And my seminary professor said, I would not do that if I were you. And then we talked about it and I realized I had let something come into my life that was not from God and had compromised it to make it fit with God.

Well, we do that all the time without realizing it. We just aren’t always aware of those lies we’ve believed or those compromises we’ve made until we’re kind of confronted with the truth and set free from it. So that was the beginning of all of this journey was realizing we’ve got to do more than just build the right foundation. We’ve got to tear down some of the old foundation sometimes. And so that’s where this began. And then when we were helping a young man who was brand new in his faith and talking to him about discipleship and what it meant to be a Christian, and he was actually called right away into ministry. He was even thinking of how he could get to seminary and preparing and all of these things. We never talked about spiritual warfare. And yet this man being in Taiwan and being around people who were totally into demon worship, which is what animism and Taoism and all of that is in reality, was confronted with a lot of spiritual warfare and tearing down old strongholds in his life.

And he, you know, Satan wasn’t letting go easily, and we did not equip him for that. These things concerned me greatly. Are we equipping this generation for the Christianity that they need to walk in? Are we helping them count the cost of following Christ? Are we really preparing them to be true followers of Christ, or are we helping them continue to compromise the word of God? And so, we need to examine these things, in my opinion. We need to really talk openly and honestly with people who’ve come to Christ. We need to be transparent in the struggles we’ve had and help them walk through their struggles. And so that’s where we begin. We need to look at what we need to talk about with each of the people we disciple. And one of the things I appreciate about some of the modern discipleship groups is that you do spend time talking about what’s going on in each other’s lives. It’s not just Bible study where you don’t have time for interaction. And I believe true discipleship requires that we interact with each other and that we spend time with each other. And so I’m going to give you my ideal of what discipleship should look like, in my opinion, what I think would be ideal for discipleship. Now, I recognize not everyone can do this, and we may have to have some variations and creativity in the way we do this, but the main thing we need to focus on is that discipleship needs to be based on relationship. You know, Paul even told his those that he discipled with Timothy and Titus and all of them, he said, “And you should imitate me just as I imitate Christ.” That’s 1 Corinthians 11:1, how often do we say that to someone imitate the way I walk with God? Because we know where we mess up, we know where we’re weak, and we all have our issues that we’re struggling with at times.

No one is perfect. We’re kind of afraid to say, imitate me, but we should be walking with Christ close enough and following him and his ways enough that we can say that to someone. Imitate me, see what I do, walk with me. You know, I’m, I’ll be honest with you when I mess up. I’ll be honest with you. When I’m struggling, I am not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but I will walk with you and you can see how I walk in my life with Christ and we will grow together. And so then your discipleship becomes a training together in relationship with each other and our relationship with God. So that’s key number one, is that we are in relationship with each other and with God. And then ideally, discipleship should be a walking with someone daily kind of relationship.

Now, in our culture today, that idea is just way out to walk with someone daily, but oh my goodness, what a difference it makes if you’re able to do that. Now, that may look like a text or a phone call or an email. If you can’t get together every day, if you have children and you have a family, of course, it’s much harder to get together every day. You just can’t in most situations unless you work together. Maybe you could do lunch together every day, but as much as possible to connect several times a week with that person. And the other part of that is connecting daily with God, of course. And we can do that even if it’s one verse we’re reading and a short prayer. We need to have that time with God every day. And that will, God can use that, you know, that God, the Holy Spirit can use those verses that we’re thinking about and the things that God has brought to our attention as we’re reading his word, that we can focus on those throughout the day, and he can use that with us each day.

So we need to connect with God. Now, there’s a study that just came out, and I’ll put the link in the show notes for this study, but it says, if we connect with the Bible four times a week, it changes things tremendously. Like you are more likely over 200% more likely to share the gospel with someone. If you have interacted with your Bible four times within a week, you’re over 200% more likely to disciple someone. If you have interacted with the word of God four times a week, they said it three times a week, it doesn’t have the same effect. But four times a week is like this magic number that all of a sudden it becomes real and becomes such a part of your life that it affects your behavior, it affects what you choose to do. And let’s face it, when we’re in the word of God, it just naturally comes out when we’re talking.

And our faith is such a part of our lives that it becomes more real and more integrated, I should say, into our lives. And so that’s another thing I would challenge you. So if we can’t meet daily, at least four times a week, interact with your disciple four times a week, interact with the word of God and see what a difference that makes in your relationships with God and with each other. Now, other ways we can walk with each other daily, we can meet for coffee. I mentioned lunch once or twice a week. We can meet at night for a small group meeting once a week, catch up on Sundays at church. One of the things I loved, one of the churches we were in, as the church service was over, we would come out and there were little tables set up out in the vestibule foyer area, and they had a little snack bar even, which was really awesome.

And we would just sit at the tables and talk about the sermon and talk about what was going on and pray together. Everyone didn’t leave right away. We had a time of fellowship that just was a few minutes after the service. Everybody then went on to lunch. So it wasn’t like a big long thing, but it was so wonderful to just connect with each other right after the service. So even if you don’t get to go to Sunday school together or Bible study together on Sunday, or even talk to each other, depending on your situation after the service, when everybody’s getting their kids and getting ready to go home, just sit down for a minute, even with the kids there and, and just talk for a few minutes and pray a quick prayer, making that connection. And then another thing is to text daily.

We love to text so we can text daily, even if it’s just sending a Bible verse or a meme or whatever, it’s making connection. And if you’re reading the same devotional on a Bible app, then you also can interact by commenting on the Bible app. And that’s an easy way to connect and to share what’s going on. We can do a Facebook group where you and your disciples share privately. No one else is seeing all of this. You can be in there make prayer requests. Whatever time of day you’re up and having your quiet time or dealing with some sort of family emergency or whatever, you can post a quick message on Facebook or one of the other social media. But I know that Facebook does really well with private groups, and so I like to do that. And so you can have your own little group and share together in that group, and that way it’s really cool.

If you are leading a small group, you could even do a live video to share with your group and to encourage them. And then to have Sunday lunch at your home after church with a larger group from your church with guests or with just your small group. But fellowshipping informally after church or on a weeknight or whenever, just really builds that fellowship and that comradery together and is a very powerful thing. Even if you’re meeting in a little cafe, we, I’ve seen so many people who meet and they pray together even in the coffee shops in front of everybody, and it’s no big deal. Everybody is fine. It’s a great thing. But the point is we’re building that relationship with each other and we’re helping each other to build our relationships with Christ. And so that’s our goal, to contact your disciple at least four times a week and really in some way getting in touch with them and being able to have them share with you what they’re going through, especially if they’ve come from a background of new age or some sort of spiritual abuse or a cult or whatever they’ve got a lot of untangling to do.

And so being in contact with them then when there’s something on their mind that is bothering them, they can remember to ask you. And that’s another thing, just encourage them, shoot me a text if you have a question about something and that way we can interact. And that way you won’t be shocked by a sudden finding out that your person still believes in reincarnation when you didn’t know they did. So that will really help those situations. Okay, so what I’m creating in the book I have, and I will be posting the chapters from the book on my blog at TerrieHellardBrown.com and you can access those for free. This is all free. There’s nothing I’m charging for at this point. I don’t foresee charging for anything in the future, but maybe, I don’t know. But I just want this out there for people to use these conversation starters.

These lessons are dealing with some of, of these topics that we don’t typically see in our basic discipleship programs. So this is something you can use. If you already have a discipleship group that meets and you have your time of discussion, you could bring up some of these questions with your group to talk about. Now, if you don’t have a discipleship program that you’re using, this will give you enough verses and questions and discussion that you can use it alone without any other materials other than the Bible. But if you have a group you’re already working with, you’ve got a curriculum you really like that you’re going through with them, this is just an additional part you could use to ask those questions that you might not think of otherwise. And I’ve come up with over 150 different topics that I feel like we really need to talk about with our new disciples and really confirm that they’re on the right track, they’re building the right foundation and not getting pulled into some of the heresies that are out there in our world and in our churches today.

And so that’s where this is coming from, and I’m hoping that it will bless you and that it will challenge us all as we are walking with Christ and discipling others. The other part of this that I would ask from you, what are your concerns? What are your challenges in discipling people today? I would really appreciate your input on that. If you could go to the blog at TerrieHellardBrown.com and just comment in the comments and ask questions. Or if you’re uncomfortable doing that in a public arena, you are welcome to email me and you can do that also from my website. Everything you can get there from my website. So you just have to remember the one address. You can go and email me privately, or I do have a Facebook group that is a private group called “Everyday Discipleship Every Day.” And you can also ask to join that group.

And in that group you can ask anything. And it is a private group, so only the members in the group would see what you ask. And I would really appreciate any input or questions you have so that we can really make this a great tool people can use as we go forward in this 21st century discipling the next generation to follow Christ. And I just want to thank you for joining me today and for being here. And we hope that you are blessed and inspired by the conversations we have in these podcast episodes. And our prayer is that we can obey Jesus’ command to make disciples as we reach and equip this generation to reach and equip the next generation of believers with everyday discipleship every day.

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