Insourcing:Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church by Randy Pope

I recommend this book to every Christian leader and pastor who desires to see other believers become fishers of men, lifetime laborers and multiplying disciple makers. Randy Pope does not offer up “untested” theory, but shares from years of application, preaching, learning, changing, thinking, directing, teaching, modeling, building curriculum,  establishing, equipping, delegating and multiplying disciples within the context of the local church. I sighed when I got to the first practical chapter that began to tell the story of a Journey Group. This type of chapter was going to continually interrupt my….just tell me what you think, see and how you do it(disciple). I am so glad I did not skip these chapters. It was a very creative way to paint the picture of how Perimeter Church structures and implements their life on life missional discipleship within the local church. Although these types of chapters were not “real” they told the story well…so well I was struck emotionally and praised God!

Below are my highlights from the book. This is not a review.

Some of these quotes come from the women or men in Journey groups.

Foreword

Jesus said, “Make disciples.” Even our most successful churches and programs are not producing mature, godly, high-integrity followers of Christ who, in turn, lead others to Christ and make disciples.There are no shortcuts. Discipling your children, your small group, or your flock requires clear priorities, a specific plan, and large doses of time and energy in the trenches with those you’re called to equip to become mature followers of Jesus.

Introduction

The target was really the life of a single person. Our goal, as a church, was really to mobilize each individual for the benefit of the kingdom, to see people become engaged in God’s story, a story that stretches into eternity. The church is made up of persons, one unique person after another, each of whose name is known in heaven and whose hairs are numbered by the God of that heaven.

we should not forget that it’s the people of the church who glorify God and enjoy him forever, not the programs or structures or events.

One can grow in commitment to Jesus and in knowledge of the Word without being mature or equipped, but the inverse cannot be true.

1. Models: The Marriage of Dream and Function

Models marry dream to function

Dream and function. If you are a pastor or a church leader, you know what it means to live in the tension between these two.

If you are a pastor or a leader, and you don’t have a dream, it’s time to get alone and ask God for one. Leaders need dreams.

Today the dichotomy between the wants and needs of churchgoers is as wide as a megachurch parking lot. What people want, they don’t need, and what they need, they often don’t want.

There’s only so much relevance can do when it is limited to a meeting and a meeting place.

I believe that God has placed churches in communities and cities where they can become blessings.

What if church becomes hardly more than a gathering of cool people who listen to cool music and dress in cool clothes, our only distinction being the Christian label we wear?

We can all think of at least one ministry gone sour because of the unhealthiness of its leadership.

What if the pastoral/attractional model of church produced an army of Christians who are consumeristic, shallow, and bland? And what if the influential model of church cranked out wild-eyed activists who do loving acts without the love that springs from spiritual maturity? What if the church marched on, resolutely doing many of the right things, but without being the right people?

Somehow, we must learn to take the broad message of the gospel and the wide mission of the church and deliver it person-by-person until our people are filled with it. Somehow, the church must possess an integrity that bridges the gap between its words and its people, between its sermons and the souls in its pews, between its programs and each person’s life.

2. Flawed Marksmanship: And a Missing Target

Equipping is massaging the truth until it becomes understandable and usable.

You don’t have to have an hour to spend good time with the Lord.

Equipping adds modeling, explaining, and asking questions. It’s massaging the truth until it becomes understandable and usable. It’s what we call adding life-on-life into the discipling process.

Massage the truth until, as the leader, you perceive it’s now becoming understood and usable in the disciple’s life.

Accountability is often described as asking hard questions and challenging bad behavior. But accountability is more than this. It’s the “one anothering” of Scripture, a brother or sister in Christ helping a spiritual sibling find “the sin beneath the sin.

As important as this is, it’s not enough. Repentance isn’t complete until one comes running back to the open and loving arms of our heavenly Father. It is coming to the realization that his love is enough.

We give our people truth and then delegate the mission of living for Christ without the necessary equipping and accountability. And when we do that, we’re sunk.

Donna explained that repentance is a relational thing. It means coming back into the embrace of a loving Father.

3. Step One: Where Does a Sin Addict Go for Help?

At the fall, man lost his moral ability (not his natural ability). Though he can still do the right thing, he can’t do it for the right reasons.

God’s grace and glory unfold in the course of everyday life.

The first component of discipleship involves helping people get from unbelief to belief. Personal evangelism and public preaching qualify as this kind of discipleship. • The next stage involves coaching a new follower to move from belief to maturity. Small group Bible studies, Sunday school classes, seminars, and sermons can be effective, though limited, means to lead a new believer toward spiritual maturity. The life-on-life dimension of discipleship has the potential to bring about a deeper, longer-lasting maturity. • The life-on-life model doesn’t end with the personal maturity of the believer. The process of equipping moves a follower from maturity to leadership.

 

The Journey: Part Two

“His reign can be intensive, going deeper down into our lives. Or it can be extensive, going out into the world.

4. WDJD? Where in the Bible Is the Life-on-Life Model?

Mark tells us that Jesus appointed them “that they might be with him.” Then he quickly adds another reason: “that he might send them out to preach.”

Jesus desired his disciples to be with him, life-on-life. That was his pleasure. But it was a pleasure with a purpose; he wanted them to do what he was doing: preach the Word of God. This reminds us that life-on-life is rooted in a relationship with Jesus, but it is completed by missionality. They are two sides of a single coin.

5. An Apologetic for Healthy Impact: Instead of Success

I’ll take impact over success any day.

Just as model marries dream to function, vehicle marries direction to destination.

If success is the byproduct of ambition, healthy impact is the byproduct of faithful obedience.

Do you merely distribute truth, or are your people smitten with the Truth Giver? Do your people pop up in worship like a flash mob in a shopping mall, or do they genuinely worship as a daily lifestyle?

healthy impact is like the water cycle: rain falls, permeates the earth, and evaporates back to its source. Is your impact as refreshing, as restorative, as redemptive as that?

American Christians, in particular, have become known for doing good works and religious exercises rather than simply being friends and imitators of Christ.

life-on-life model has the potential to produce a critical mass of mature, equipped followers, so much so that people sit up and take notice.

We cannot talk about mission in our groups without teaching and coaching people to share their faith. Mission is a holistic endeavor.

The Journey: Part Three

I used to say I didn’t hear the gospel in my home or my church growing up, but that’s not true. I just didn’t hear it in my heart.”

I thought the point was to do it all right and get the right results. Boy, was I missing it! This week I was reminded that I needed to experience the gospel more fully, to let Jesus’ preaching and healing touch me, and then I could be a part of his mission of preaching and healing.”

Parenting is a delicate subject among mothers, especially with a mix of wounded veterans and hopeful new moms

6. What’s in a Name? What It Means to Disciple

“Life-on-life missional discipleship is laboring in the lives of a few with the intention of imparting one’s life, the gospel, and God’s Word in such a way as to see them become mature and equipped followers of Christ, committed to doing the same in the lives of others.”

Excellent small groups have elements of both proclamation and incarnation.

Disciples of Jesus in the first century understood that they weren’t just classmates listening to the same teacher; they were united by bonds stronger than the desire to learn; they were now a family.

The “work” of discipleship is not just informational, nor is it simply relational; it must be action oriented as well. And that means propelling disciples outward, to the community around us, to engage in acts of mercy and justice.

When members of a church are engaged in life-on-life missional discipleship, the church is the healthiest it can be, the most holistic.

When discipleship is going on in a church, it’s hard to compartmentalize its ministries. Missions becomes more than a program of the church — it becomes the natural response of people in relationships responding to God’s call. Giving becomes a communal act borne out of more than a sermon on tithing. Worship is a dance of interwoven lives in motion. Holiness is organic and real, something each person hammers out in the context of discussion and debate and the support of friends. And a movement — like the gathering firestorm of Unite!— can be as deep as it is wide.

I must remain fixed on running the race with the proper motives rather than consumed with concern regarding the results of the marathon.

Note from a women in one of the Journey Groups: Just wanted to write a few thoughts about how blessed we are to be in a group of authentic women. I was thinking through my own journey over the last years and wanted to thank each of you because: You loved me when I felt unlovable. You gave me value when I felt worthless. You embraced me when I felt condemned. You didn’t think less of me when I felt judged. You encouraged me when I felt scorned by the world. You cared for me when I wanted to self-destruct. You held me up when I wanted to fall. You told me the truth when I wanted to listen to lies. You were strong when I was weak. You showed me how to breathe when life took my breath away. You were Jesus when I needed him in flesh and bone. You understood, even though your flesh could not. You called me when I felt I had nothing to say. You made me face the day when I wanted to tread in darkness. You challenged me when I wanted to be mindless. You loved my family when others found them unlovable. You asked me questions when I just wanted to blend in. You saw God’s potential in me when I saw nothing. You knew me when I didn’t recognize myself. Relational discipleship, so much more than Bible study. Thanks for “doing life” with me!

The Journey: Men’s Journey Group

God’s glory is healthier than man’s glory. I’ve shortchanged my wife and kids too many times because I was seeking counterfeit glory in my career.”

Hank talked at length about the demonstrative righteousness described in the book of James and the declarative righteousness described in Paul’s letters.

“Lord, work in that young man’s life,” Hank prayed, “and make him ready to fall into your arms before he falls into something much, much harder.”

7. The Tortoise and the Negative Split: Getting Started

Impulse = F × t

Sir Roger L’Estrange wrote, “A plodding Diligence brings us sooner to our Journey’s End, than a fluttering Way of advancing by Starts and by Stops.”

Our vision must reflect substance; otherwise it is nothing more than a hallucination.

Quick efforts to train and equip people are usually a reaction to a problem, while slow and deliberate discipling naturally leads to grassroots strategizing.

mature, equipped disciples who invest in the maturing and equipping of other disciples.

Setting the parameters of the race doesn’t define our finish line — becoming mature and equipped — but it does help us gauge if we are on track to finish the race.

8. The Profile of a Leader: It’s Not What You Think

At Perimeter, taking our cues from Jesus, we discovered that the “chosen beginnings” of life-on-life discipleship were counterintuitive. We chose real substance over impressive branding. We chose impact over success. We chose small over big. We chose slow over fast. Sometimes we started out on the normal, accepted path first — as in our hare-like haste to launch fast and furious — only to learn through trial and error that there was a biblical alternative. In some cases, it took a long time to discover that our chosen beginnings would ultimately and naturally lead to surprising outcomes.

you can tell more about a leader’s character by how he responds to no than by how he responds to yes.

They learn what it’s like to be influenced before they attempt to influence others. We bring them into the path of leadership by a slow and deliberate route.

discipleship is not a factory for cranking out healthy Christians; it is a laboratory for reproducing leaders.

Our leadership base for everything else we do as a church is broadening because we no longer recruit leaders; we reproduce them.

I am wholeheartedly convinced that one individual seed — one disciple — dying to self and investing in the life of another person has the greatest impact on eternity. A tiny seed has the potential to touch more people than the largest cathedral could hold within its walls, more individuals than a TV broadcast could transmit to with a thirty-minute segment, more lives than just about any megachurch initiative could ever hope to reach. All it takes is one leader, offered up as a living sacrifice, taking last place, moving ahead in small, slow, and unimpressive steps.

Scientists used to assume that migrating geese fly in a V formation because it is the most efficient way to fly. But years of study have shown that there is more going on. When geese fly in formation instead of flying solo, their heart rates lower, their visibility increases, they are aerodynamically placed to glide using less energy, and they are able to communicate with each other more freely. They can cover up to 70 percent more distance than when they fly alone.19 The other geese fall in line behind the head goose and determine their placements in the V according to his position. They take their cues from him.

my friend Carter, a pastor in Nashville, “If discipleship is a disease, then somebody has to start the disease, and that somebody is the pastor. And the pastor will need to do it for the rest of his life.”

9. Not if, but What? The Importance of Curriculum

Our seminars and retreats also communicate our support to our leaders. We are saying to them, “You can’t do it all, and we don’t expect you to.”

When all is said and done, the person discipling is the curriculum for the person being discipled. The life of a person — living by grace, trusting in the gospel, committing to the study of Scripture and prayer, and modeling what it means to follow Jesus Christ — is the best curriculum you will ever find.

The Journey: Part Five

If we are change in his pocket, then God can spend us whenever, wherever, and however he wishes. Think about that this week.”

10. Pandemic: The Power of Multiplication

Life-on-life discipleship is a “health virus” just waiting for the right conditions to cause a pandemic, and it is God’s answer to the death and brokenness that plague this fallen world.

The power of multiplication is stunning.

Transformation takes place after men learn to trust and be more transparent. People start changing. Followers become leaders. The immature become mature. The inexperienced become equipped. And when we finally have a means of growing men and women who trust God and each other, who are transparent about their struggles, and whose lives are being transformed, we are ready to infect the world.

the power of the gospel, present in the Word of God, is best translated from one life to another.

11. The Forgettable Model: And the Unforgettable Life

But models are tricky. To those of us who, by necessity, have to think about them more than others, they can become something they were never meant to be: idols. Even the best of them.

That’s what Jesus does. He breathes life into the model. He transforms it.

The day our particular version of discipleship ceases to point people to Jesus Christ will be the day it becomes an idol.

The bronze serpent has been dust in the wind for almost three thousand years now. Before that, although it was obviously a God-given symbol, it was just a metal object. But Jesus, who was lifted up on a cross, buried in a tomb, and rose to tell about it, is alive. And he lives on in holy, human temples. He survives in us. He is unforgettable.

12. Where from Here? Beginning the Journey

I truly believe thinking is a lost art. We know what it is to like to read, but not to think. But what a profitable exercise it is.

I like to ask God for a dream or vision that is so beyond me it would be doomed to failure unless he is in it.

I believe that I should never ask whether a dream is possible; rather I should ask whether it is the will of God.

start praying that God would burn his will so deeply into your heart that it becomes a conviction, a persuasion so strong you believe it would be wrong not to attempt it.

Will the time together be spent in teaching, prayer, caring, and sharing, or will the focus be on truth, equipping, accountability, mission, and supplication?

Spiritual obedience requires the power of God’s Spirit appropriated through the faith supplied by God’s grace.

Ken Blanchard- “One thing you never want to do is to go from directing to delegating. If you do, you create disillusioned learners.”

 

INsourcing: Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church
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