43 years of experience with CRU, keynote at StuMo's AST 2015
Q: Lets say you just led me to Christ. What does our next few months to year look like?
A: The most important thing to me and campuses I oversee is that every student who starts following Christ goes through individual, one to one follow up. In the past we did some follow up groups but you can’t address the needs of a new believer unless it is in a one-to-one setting.
The things we hit right away are what I would call the fundamentals. Things like assurance of salvation, forgiveness and confession, living a spirit filled life and what that means, having a quiet time, and fellowship are just a few of what I would call the basics. From there I can address the needs of each person individually. Once we’ve covered the basics there’s no telling where each relationship will go. I want the person's relationship with Jesus to be firmly cultivated before challenging them to do any ministry. It is a tough balance because if you wait too long then guys get timid and don’t want to initiate ministry. But on the flip I’ve lost a lot of guys in my ministry because I challenged them too early to do things they had little desire or conviction to do.
In my discipleship I am always up front about where I want to take them. I ask them where they want to go and we set some goals and a plan. Gotta have direction. I also try not to put time constraints on follow up. People are different. When I put time constraints on people I end up comparing them to other people currently in my ministry or people from the past which isn’t a good thing.
So that's where I would start.
Q: What are some strategies/tools that you have used that you would say have made you a more effective disciple maker?
A: I would say the biggest thing is community. Without a doubt that has made me a more effective disciplemaker.
Once I lead someone to Christ and start discipling them I try to get them in a small group around other Christians and just around Christians as much as I can. I want them to see that there are other people that are doing this same thing and that they are not alone.
I don’t hit on this right away but this often happens is that they begin to become friends with Christians the more I get them around other guys that are believers. They don’t understand the need to have friends that are pointing you toward Christ but I would say bad friends is one of the biggest hinderances to guys growth. Discipleship is often community driven, not individually driven. When Jesus was spending time with his disciples they were always together.
For some reason guys grow through one-to-ones and teaching but they really explode in community and at some type of retreat. That’s where I see guys take huge steps. Things that I have been teaching them for months finally sets in and they make BIG decisions. Get them to say yes to some type of retreat, conference, or week/weekend trip.
Q: In your discipleship, how do you balance teaching and building a relationship with them?
A: The three most important things to me and how I plan and think through what I’m doing with people I am discipling is Relationship, Word, and Ministry. Those are the three areas that I focus on and try to make sure I balance really strategically.
For the Word, if there is a guy that is a new believer and has shown a real hunger to grow, I make sure to meet with them once a week to go through the Bible. This is where I will do the assurance of salvation and my follow up and then will continue to hit on the bible once we get past the fundamentals. I don’t substitute this time for relational time I do that outside of it. I want them getting biblical teaching once a week.
For the relationship piece, one of the most effective things for me has just been to get them to my house. I want them to see me in an environment other than just across the table with them at our favorite lunch spot. Let them into your home, into your life. That is what is going to build trust in our relationship. If a guy needs a little humbling, I’ll even invite him to play some racquetball and whoop up on him. Be creative and get relational time outside of your regular appointment time. You don’t want them to think that discipleship is just meeting once a week to drink coffee and talk about the Bible.
And for ministry, there is a balance between making sure they are established and have convictions and waiting too long to get them doing some ministry. The longer you wait the harder it will be to get them out in ministry. Take them with you to do it so they see it is a part of your life.
Q: What are some resources that you use for establishing believers in your ministry?
A: I actually helped create this thing called The Compass that is all about helping people disciple others. It is broken up into three sections: Walk by Faith, Communicate Your Faith, and Multiply Your Faith. It sounds what you guys are looking for [Parenting on Purpose] is the Walk by Faith piece. There are a lot of different resources on there and if if you click on the topic you want it will take you to a leaders guide.
The guide is not meant for you to print off and then show up and use without ever looking over. It is meant for you to look over and plan out. A lot of the topics are just going over different passages throughout the bible. I want most of my content that I use to establish a believer to come from the Bible. Books and other stuff are great, but ultimately the Bible is where I want to spend most of my time.
Q: You mentioned the fundamentals, but what are some other topics you frequently cover?
A: Some more common today are Apologetics. Their friends/peers are going to ask questions so its good to be proactive with that. Also I hit exclusivity. A lot of people wrestle with that and I’ve had people that didn’t really believe that and 2 years later it comes up and kind of blew up when they didn’t agree.