Kids Discipleship

Children's Ministry Resources, Ideas, and Encouragement

Whatever It Takes July 23, 2010

I am a part of the body committed to doing “whatever it takes.”

I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I’ve stepped over the line.

I am out of the comfort zone. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of Jesus. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or back away. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame vision, mundane talking, chincy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power … Click here for more


Discipleship By Design: Free Book Download May 8, 2010

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God uses our common, everyday life to form His character in us. One particular teacher calls what we do in the church “the kitchen of Christianity.” It is there that we develop our understanding,D2: Book 1 shaping and molding the dough of our life in preparation for the remaining week to follow. The truth of the matter is that what we do in the church on Sunday, though critically important, is not what proves out our witness. Our character is shaped and honed as we go through life. Patience is patterned as we stand in the checkout line. Perseverance is taught when we seek out a new job. Love is learned as we see and meet the needs of others. Regardless of station, whether it is in an office or in the field, our work becomes the foundation from which our Lord builds our character.
Jesus is our model of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered life (Acts 10:38). The activity of the Holy Spirit is evident at every phase of the life and ministry of Jesus. It was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb (Mth. 1:18, 20). Before Jesus began His public ministry, He was filled with the Spirit of God (Mth. 3:16), and followed the Spirit’s leading into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil as further preparation for His messianic role (Mth. 4:1). The power of the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to heal (Mth. 12:15-21) and to cast out demons (Mth. 28:16-20). Disciples are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mth. 28:19). In other words, we are to baptize them into the name – the authority – of the triune God. As we obey this commission, His Holy Spirit assures us of His ongoing presence with us. Likewise, the Bible declares to all generations, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) for “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14).

The Most Powerful Word In The Bible April 19, 2010


Two letters, one word.

Jesus said: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

What is it to be a disciple of Christ?
It is to come after him. A true disciple of Christ is one that follows him in duty and will follow him to glory. A disciple of Christ comes after him like a soldier after his commander. A disciple is one who wants only to see God glorified – one who walks as he walks and is led by his Holy Spirit.

What is required?
If any man will come. Discipleship begins with an option – IF. If any man would come… Discipleship is a deliberate choice, an act of the will. Many fall into discipleship at other’s request or by situation, but Jesus desires that his disciples choose to volunteer themselves as his disciples.

The terms:
1. Let him deny himself. Admission into Christ’s school of discipleship begins with self-denial – it is the first lesson learned and the foundation from which all other lessons are built upon. Those who have learned self-denial are those who deny themselves absolutely and do nothing to seek life on their own terms. They are those who lay down their lives for others and only for their good. They have understood the difference between time and eternity and have chosen to forsake this life for the time to come. They no longer love this life’s rewards such as thinking their time is their own, no longer love leisure, power, authority and financial security for they have discovered how empty these really are. They become free to follow Christ and in so doing, will inherit eternal life and begin immediately to experience abundant life and the benefits of truly following Christ Jesus.

2. Let him take up his cross. The troubles of believers are rightly called crosses – troubles including God’s afflictions, persecution for righteousness’ sake, troubles we encounter whether for doing well or for not doing evil. Isaiah calls this the bread of adversity and the water of affliction – my cross, my troubles are my substance (Is. 30:20). Every disciple has his cross. Every disciple must bear the cross that God has provided. My cross is not your cross. Your cross is not mine. I must not avoid, add to, or take away from that which Father God has made for me. I must take up my cross and not think what I am facing as an accident or evil, but I must rejoice in my afflictions for I know that it is working for my good. I must deny myself the pleasure of sin and the fleeting, deceptive advantages of this world for Christ.

3. Let him follow me. If I have denied myself, have taken up my cross, I now can follow Christ. He then bears my cross for me and bears it from me. I must follow Christ in all instances of holiness and obedience. As a disciple, I must study and imitate Christ, conforming myself to his example, regardless of what the world suggests or what troubles lie ahead. I must do well and I must suffer troubles for this is the way of Christ. A disciple studies to imitate their Master, and conforms themselves in every thing to his example, and continues in well doing, whatever troubles lie in their way. To do well and to suffer ill is to follow Christ. If any man will come after me, let him follow me. Those that come after Christ must follow after him.

If anyone would…

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Your Position In Christ Jesus April 16, 2010

One of the greatest gifts you can present to God is to believe – truly accept – what He says about you.

Jesus resisted the devil by applying God’s Word. When you are attacked, it is the knowledge and use of the Word that allows you to resist temptation. We cannot resist him by human will or human effort. We resist him by spiritual means – by using the Word of God, being empowered by His Holy Spirit, and through prayer.

As we look at the Word, apply the Word in faith and obedience, allowing the Spirit to empower that action through prayer we can be victorious.

Practical Idea: Print and post this somewhere in your home, ministry, or workplace where you and others can see it often. Use in your small group setting. Review each Scripture and dialogue about what each means.

I Am Accepted In Christ Jesus
I am God’s child (John 1:12)
I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)
I have been justified (Rom. 5:1)
I am united with the Lord and one with Him in spirit (1 Cor. 6:17)
I have been bought with a price; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:20)
I am a member of Christ’s Body (1 Cor. 12:27)
I am a saint (Eph. 1:1)
I have been adopted as God’s child (Eph. 1:5)
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Col. 1:14)
I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)

I Am Secure In Christ
I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:12)
I am assured that all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28)
I am free from any condemning charges against me (Rom. 8:33, 34)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)
I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)
I can find grace and mercy in time of need (Heb. 4:16)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)

I Am Special In Christ Jesus
I am the salt and light of the earth (Mth. 5:13, 14)
I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15:15)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I am a personal witness of Christ’s (Acts 1:8)
I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16)
I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Cor. 17:20)
I am God’s coworker (2 Cor. 6:1)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
I am God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)



Discipleship: Spiritual Parenting April 10, 2010

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“… but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).Discipleship: Spiritual Parenting

Having three children, I am learning that the process of discipleship is a lot like raising my kids; to equip my children for all of life’s issues and to help them become fully mature, I must to be there for them. We have a relationship and I have to be intentional in my efforts.

Something I learned in athletics is that you can never go any higher than your headship and that wherever your head goes your body follows. In essence, the more effective those you join with, the more effective your growth will be. However, our tendency is to associate with those who are like us – they strengthen and reinforce my belief system whether good or bad. We also don’t like to submit to godly counsel. To live an examined life is the hallmark of integrity and spiritual maturity. To submit our lives to God and other more spiritually mature believers is a very humbling experience and process. To ask another person for their godly advise is expressed wisdom. There is strength in numbers.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

”He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

A disciple-maker is a person whom you intentionally enter into a personal relationship with and who can help you grow in every area of your life (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, etc.). It is someone who:

Will encourage you.
We tend to become what the most important person in our lives thinks we’ll become. Great instructors are those who bring out the best in us. They are great encouragers.

Will confront you.
Proverbs 27:5,6 says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” This is someone who knows that loving confrontation develops a person and that criticism destroys a person. It is someone who knows that to critique is to criticize. He or she will hold you accountable while demonstrating a spirit of mutual submission and humility. A disciple-maker is a person in your life who will ask you the hard questions like: “Are you walking in the Spirit?” Or, “Are you blameless before God and man – are there any known offenses in your life?” Or, “Are you involved in anything that would bring harm to Jesus’ name such as sexual immorality?” Disciple-makers know the point is always restoration and patiently work to that end. Disciple-makers are people who earn your trust in time; they become trustworthy allies.

Will intercede for you.
A disciple-maker is bold in their witness, passionate about God’s promises, committed to but humble in their relationships with others. They act as a bridge between God and those they are praying for and are bonded together with those they are discipling. They are faithful (2 Timothy 2:2), obedient to God’s Word (John 8:31), loving (John 13:35), and fruitful (John 15:8).

Will be your lifelong partner.
Just as I will always be my children’s dad, likewise, I have made life-long commitments to those the Lord has entrusted to me as His disciples. It is in knowing that I have this responsibility and great privilege that brings a heightened sense of accountability. Conception is the stuff of God; parenting is a life-long partnership (Hebrews 13:5).


The Great Commission: Make Disciples March 25, 2010

We are called to make disciples. It is the heart of our Lord’s Commission for His Church. Jesus said:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)

We fulfill the Great Commission as we develop students and adults into faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, many depart from the faith because they are not led to maturity and service in the body of Christ.

Bill Hull writes, “The crisis at the heart of the church is a crisis of product.”1 Jesus made it abundantly clear that this singular product is the mission of His Church—“Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) According to Jesus, every church’s mission is one and the same: make disciples of Jesus.

Discipleship is the key to effective ministry in the church. Nothing we can do has more potential to change the world than making disciples.

Discipleship Defined:
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “A disciple of Christ is one who: 1) believes His doctrine; 2) rests on His sacrifice; 3) imbibes His spirit; and 4) imitates His example (Matthew 10:24Luke 14:26-33John 6:69). In other words, a disciple is someone who is growing spiritually.

A disciple: 1) is obedient to God’s Word (John 8:31); 2) loving (John 13:35); 3) fruitful (John 15:8); 4) always prepared to share the hope of life in Christ (2 Timothy 4:2); and 5) lives the Gospel (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

In writing to the Corinthian church about their not growing in Christ-likeness, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Immature Christians are “worldly,” controlled by their own desires; spiritually mature disciples are in tune with God’s desires. A spiritually mature disciple wants God’s desires to be their own.

The goal of discipleship is to make disciples who can then make disciples, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded: “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15).

Jesus brought clear understanding to what it meant to be a disciple when He said: “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). The Apostle Paul echoed this way of life when he said: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

Disciple-makers are to lead people to Christ and help them mature spiritually. Disciple-makers have an intense love, concern and lifelong care for those to whom they are spiritual parents. When we lead people to Christ, we are to stand by them, helping them grow until they are fully trained.

LeRoy Eims wrote, “Disciples cannot be massed produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of a production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention.”2

Making disciples involves bringing people into a personal relationship with Jesus and staying with them until their whole lives are in obedience to Christ Jesus.

The Master’s plan of Discipleship includes the following:
• We are called to make disciples, not just converts.

• Disciples are made in intimate, accountable relationships.

• Discipleship is a process, not a program.

• Making disciples involves helping another learn to obey all that Jesus commanded.

• Making disciples takes place in the context of loving, safe, confidential, and personal relationships – transparency, community, and accountability are paramount.

• Making disciples occurs as each person assists others in their commitment and growth to one other and to Christ Jesus.

• Making disciples includes helping others grow in God’s Word, fellowship, communion and in prayer.

• Disciples must be taught the essential teachings of the Christian life in a systematic and sequential manner.

• Discipleship is the privilege and responsibility of every believer.

• Growth in Christ-likeness is the ultimate goal.

God bless you as you embrace His mission for His Church.

1 Hull, Bill. The Disciple Making Pastor. (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1988)

2 Eims, LeRoy. The Lost Art of Disciple Making. (Zondervan, 1978)

Discipleship Bibliography

Dallas Willard
• The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (Harper San Francisco, 1998)
• Renovation of the Heart, Putting on the Character of Christ (NavPress, 2002)
• The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’ Essential Teaching on Discipleship(Harper San Francisco, 2006)

Bill Hull
• The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ(NavPress, 2006)
• Choose the Life: Exploring the Faith that Embraces Discipleship (BakerBooks, 2004)
• The Disciple-Making Pastor (Revell, 1999)

Greg Ogden
• Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time (InterVarsity Press, 2003)
• Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ (InterVarsity Press, 1998)
• Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God (Zondervan, 2003)

LeRoy Eims
• The Lost Art of Disciple Making (Zondervan, 1978)

The State and Challenges of Discipleship
• George Barna, Growing True Disciples (Issachar Resources, 2000)
• Lee C. Camp, Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World ( Brazos Press, 2003)

Spiritual Formation and Discipleship
• Dallas Willard. The Spirit of the Disciplines (HarperOne, 1991)
• John Ortberg. The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People(Zondervan, 1997)
• Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us(InterVarsity Press, 2005)
• Richard Foster. Devotional Classics (HarperOne, 2005)

Classics on Discipleship
• A. B. Bruce. The Training of the Twelve (Kregel Classics, 2000)
• Robert Coleman. The Master Plan of Evangelism (Revell, 2006, first published in 1963)
• Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Cost of Discipleship (Touchstone, 1995)


Children’s Ministry: Barna Report On Church Budgets February 9, 2010

The Barna Group has released a multi-part series on the economic crisis of the last year and how this impacts the church. These reports contain insightful and valuable information as you pray and plan for the year ahead. As a reminder, though research can serve as an indicator and prudent action is always advisable, we walk by faith.

Per the study, the implication is that church and non-profit leaders should prepare for another lean year. Response to this reality suggests avoiding high-risk and untested fundraising efforts and communicating effectively with constituents. In addition, consider proactive financial management, including adjusting income expectations. Avoid using traditional financial projections as reluctant donors are likely to cut back on the number of organizations and frequency of their support.

Action Items You Can Address:

1. Operate your ministry as efficiently as you possibly can.

2. Cast and re-cast your ministry’s vision so that people rally behind the significance of your ministry.

3. Communicate the priority and need of your ministry.

4. Nurture personal relationships with those who actively support your ministry.

5. Preach and teach on real case studies: real-life transformational testimonies are inspirational and remind people of God’s awesomeness.

6. Personally involve those who contribute to your ministry. Nothing serves more effectively than a “hands-on” approach.

Source: Barna Report