14) The Last Bit: Lessons from The Chinese Character for Disciple

This past weekend, while visiting with a Chinese first-language speaker, I learned something metaphorical. The Chinese character for the word, “Disciple,” is a compound symbol. Contained in the symbol are two people who are walking together toward the figure of Christ. There’s something telling about that idea. Sharing with someone else in a disciple-making relationship often seems somewhat intimidating. After all, few of us feel we have “arrived.” But the beauty of this character is that the two people in the symbol are walking *together*. We all represent “works in process.” Sometimes, maybe we’ll be one step ahead of our buddy in one area, but more than likely, he or she will be one step ahead of us in some other way – sometime.


Curtis Sergeant has made famous the similar metaphor of a single file line of ducklings, following a mother duck. Each duck in the column is indeed a step ahead of the duck following, but each duck is also simultaneously following another. We’re leaders — and followers — all at the same time, trying to keep our file in line. The mother duck knows the way, just like Christ knows where to take us. All the rest of us are, well, followers, together, jointly watching the swishing little tail ahead of us, trying to waddle along through life and avoid getting lost. And guess what — sometimes we’re watching a duck immediately ahead of us who is not all that different from our own situation. We’re in this together.


You can see Curtis tell the story here:




We’ll probably all be a lot better off once we realize a) We haven’t all arrived. We’re in this together. We’re a bunch of ducks. b) The trick is to find somebody that we can help… even if we’re just one step ahead… AND to find somebody who can help US too, even if he or she is only one step ahead too. That’s the magic of ducks and disciples.

10) Try This Progression to Train New Believers in Christ

What if you were to ask, “Where do I start with training a new believer?” As of today, here’s what we’d recommend.

First, introduce your new believer to “Momentum,” the free course at:


This course takes about 9 hours. It will help them get the “why” quite clearly. Why are we in this? Why are we here? What’s our purpose?

Then, once they’ve finished Momentum, engage them with Zume Training at…


This will help them get the tools and practices. It’s roughly 20 hours of group sessions (a group consists of 4-12). By the time they’re done, they’ll be praying and sharing like never before.

Then head for 4 Fields Training as the next and more advanced step. One of the best places to catch this training is at…


This training will help you make sure you’ve driven home the ultimate end goal and how to get there.

All three trainings are free — and you can do all three without having to leave your church or your hometown. 2019 is a wonderful time to live!

7) Five Ways to Bless You Neighbors

I’m loving the content of some of these simple Bible studies these days. They’re so reproducible! (Duh — by DESIGN they’re reproducible.) For example, here’s a pattern in which you Begin with prayer, listen, eat, serve them, then tell them a story. (The first letters of each those five steps spell out “bless.”) These “discipleship bible studies (DBS’s)” are all the rage… and they’re coming to a neighborhood near you (maybe because you’ll start one!). Learn more at…


1) Discipleship Tools for Buddhists

Survey-Small1Have you noticed the surveys about discipleship tools for Muslims

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YC5FCPH and Hindus


from GNPI (Good News Productions, International)? This third and final survey is asking for your input to determine what discipleship resources have been helpful and what you need for your work with Buddhist background believers. Please share your experiences and suggestions by filling out the following 10-minute survey:


11) Which Discipleship Course(s) Do You Use?

discipleshipOf all the commands Jesus gave, making disciples seems to be at the core of the core. Note that in Matthew 28:19-20, it’s the only verb in the imperative (command) mode. So the question is, what path will you choose to build a discipleship emphasis in your ministry, mission field, or local church? For example, there’s “Simple Discipleship,” at…


which presents a four-year plan emphasizing “Strong Faith,” “Strong Family,” “Strong Church,” and “Strong Witness.” Try it out with the free PDF downloads and let us know what you think. OR — alternatively, let us know about the plan YOU prefer. Just use the link below to jump to the web version of this item, then click “Comment” and let us know your thoughts please. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

14) The BackPage: Characteristics of Learning Leaders

I enjoyed this past issue of the International Orality Network (ION)  Newsletter. I honed in on J.O. Terry’s article about Learning Leaders. He wrote that they are generally “a peer among the listeners or people group. They may not be literate, or if literate, often are only marginally literate. It is best if learning leaders are taught or trained in the same manner they will in turn use in teaching others.” I thought about Paul’s admonition in II Timothy 2:2 and tried to imagine how we profile students that will become effective replicators of the material, behaviors, and attitudes that we’re modeling.

In fact, speaking of modeling, he added, “Modeling is very important in training. All needed teaching information must be in the lesson. Since a learning leader may be nonliterate, the lesson must be memorable for the learning leader if it must be learned orally. Simple lesson guides rich in participation activities (if culturally appropriate) are helpful. Singing is often a good way to facilitate learning and memory, though this is a cultural preference. Because the learning leader usually does not have knowledge beyond the lesson resource, question and answer activity may not be possible except for a catechism type review. In extreme cases of learning leader nonliteracy a picture illustrating the Bible story may be used to trigger recall and give focus to the lesson.” I admitted to myself that I hadn’t ever thought very deeply about how these type learners would teach others. It would be worth exploring. In that vein, Terry continued, “The learning leader must reinforce listener learning by leader repetition as needed and encouraging listener recitation. The learning leader as a peer will know intuitively how to relate to listeners with proper teaching etiquette that includes how to encourage participation among listeners and how if needed to handle incorrect responses. The use of linked or sequential lessons can reduce learning leader stress without having to introduce unrelated or unlinked new lessons. Periodic reviews by a competent teacher as well as occasional visits to a teaching venue can help to keep the Bible Storying on track and effective.”

In all of this, I realized that storying (and its methodology) was stimulating my thinking about broader discipling processes. All of which makes me wish I could go farther in my training as a storyteller — because I have a hunch that storytelling would teach me more than a bunch of stories. :-) Your thoughts? Are you able to resonate with my conclusions?

3) Discipleship Training School on a Large Yacht

Ever wanted to do a Youth With A Mission Discipleship (YWAM) Training School (DTS) but were not sure which one to do, or where?  Ever thought it would be incredible to sail around the Mediterranean in a large yacht for 4 months?  Well, you can do both by joining the next Bluewater DTS which starts on September 6, 2013 either as a trainee or as DTS staff (providing you are a YWAM DTS graduate and are prepared to do a little marine training to become trainee crew or already have STCW BST certificates). The school lasts 6 months with the outreach phase and learning to sail the 42 meter ketch is included. For details visit


You can download an application from this website or contact the school registrar by email at


11)Seen any Icebreaker Videos that could be Saved on SD Cards?

Recently, we ran an article on developing Mobile Ministry Made Easy. Global Recordings Network is trying to expand their mobile ministry to reach the majority of people who only have access to the internet via their smart phones, iPhones or tablets. They’re searching for any web sites that provide 3-5 minute video or audio/visual clips that can be saved on a micro-SD card and inserted into a smart phone or tablet to engage people? The topics can be for initiating a conversation about religion, evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and “doing church.” From an icebreaker to a discipleship tool, mobiles are common and flexible enough to support a number of ministry approaches.

You can look at


for the GRN mobile website.

2) The Multiply Movement: Platt and Chan Singing our Song

As this Brigada goes to press, I’ve just heard a sneak-peak 3-hour presentation by David Platt, author of the hot best-seller, “Radical,” and Francis Chan, author of “Crazy Love.” These guys teamed up with others to produce this streamed internet “live broadcast” and it will go live again this Saturday, Nov. 10, from Chan’s church in San Francisco. In a nutshell, these guys are claiming that they’re tired of the status quo. They say they’re not willing to stop short of anything other than radical obedience to the Great Commission. Chan begins with a kind of public repentance for how long it has taken us to fulfill the Great Commission, the Platt preaches on Matt. 28: 19-20 (and it’s a fairly good sermon, as you can imagine). During the 15-minute break in the middle of the broadcast, I called a delegation of church members in northeastern Ohio who were kind enough to watch along with me. They were definitely moved and challenged by the material. But the best part of all is that Platt and Chan have given legs to the idea. They’ve prepared a 24-lesson discipleship course so that virtually ANYONE now has a concrete plan for bringing along a friend to the foot of the Cross and beyond. In Platt’s prayer at the end of the production, he shares his heart — that they won’t quit “Until all nations know…” They’re singing our song and, if you ask me, we should get on board and back the movement. Learn more — and tune in this Saturday no matter where you are in the world (if your internet is fast enough to support real-time streaming) at…



6) Good Soil Seminars: Training for Worldview-Relevant Evang/Disc —

We’re living in a time when people have little to no knowledge of the Bible and the Christian faith, whether they are from the other side of the world or the house next door. The next Good Soil Basic Seminar will be held Oct. 26 & 27, 2011 in Harrisburg, PA.  Here you will be equipped to share God’s story of redemption as it is revealed chronologically from Genesis to Revelation, so that people can clearly understand the Gospel, sincerely embrace the Gospel, and firmly hold on to the Gospel, no matter what their starting worldview is. For more info on GoodSoil E&D and this seminar, visit…




or email


8) The future of the global church is Open —

Did you know that releasing discipleship resources (like the Bible and training materials) from copyright restrictions using open licenses can greatly increase their usefulness to the global church? Find out more about what the “open” future of the global church is like by watching the short video at




Check out the Door43 project that puts this idea of “open” into practice.




Door43 is an open-access, web-based platform where anyone can join for free and work together with others to create, translate and distribute unrestricted discipleship resources in any language. You can think of it as something like “Wikipedia for discipleship resources” but with a strong focus on multimedia, oral cultures, mobile phone technology and quality control. Resources in Door43 can be legally used by anyone, for any ministry purpose, without needing to ask permission. You can help make this vision come true: “unrestricted discipleship resources, in every language, and on any mobile phone”.

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