6 Myths of Discipleship (Colin Marshall)

6 Myths of Christian Discipleship in the Church - Disciple Making Resources

Leadership Resources recently hosted Colin Marshall, author of The Trellis and the Vine, for a conference creating a disciple-making culture in your church. (Access audio and video of the Re:Growth Conference.)

Below is a segment from the Re:Growth Conference sharing six myths of Christian discipleship:

Here are the Six Myths of Discipleship shared by Colin Marshall:

1) Discipleship is a second stage of Christian experience after conversion. You can be a Christian but not a disciple.

2) Discipleship is only for the super Christian.

3) Discipleship is a ministry method or a program.

4) Discipleship is about personal accountability to a discipler.

5) Preaching is not really about discipling people.

6) Making disciples is only for those with a certain gifting, temperament or ministry.

What myths would you add? Let us know in a comment.

The Vine Project Conference with Colin Marshall (Audio and Video)

ReGrowth Conference - Colin Marshall - Disciplemaking in the Local Church

In the fall of 2015, Leadership Resources had the privilege of hosting the Re:Growth Conference with Colin Marshall, author of the acclaimed The Trellis and the Vine (watch a short video summary of The Trellis and the Vine) for a conversation around growing a culture of disciples making disciples in the local church.

UPDATE: Much of the content from this mini-conference is included in the recently released book The Vine Project: Shaping Your Ministry Culture Around Disciple-Making by Colin Marshall. Read our review.

What is Re:Growth?

Re:Growth is more than a training course: it’s a theologically driven approach to leading culture change. Rather than a superficial fix or a short course, Re:Growth is a robust process that aims for lasting and true change.

The ultimate aim of Re:Growth is to change the ministry DNA of the whole church, by doing a deep work in a few change makers, a work which will multiply as they, and you, make disciples.

Re:Growth has been developed on biblical principles of discipleship, and a tried and tested framework that has emerged from real world experience and groundwork of coaching churches in many different areas and contexts.

Here is a short biography for Colin Marshall:

Colin has spent the past 40 years training men and women in the ministry of the gospel, both in university and local church contexts. He is a graduate of Moore Theological College and the author of The Trellis and the Vine (with Tony Payne)Growth Groups, and Passing the Baton. He was the Director of the Ministry Training Strategy (MTS) for 15 years to 2006 and took up the role of International Director until 2009. Alongside his work for MTS, he was Chaplain to the NSW Cricket Team for 8 years.

Col founded the Vinegrowers ministry in 2010 to help pastors and church leaders implement the principles of The Trellis and the Vine and build churches where disciple-making affects everything. He works alongside the ministry team at St George North Anglican Church in Sydney, training men to be effective leaders of disciple-making ministries.

Suggested ways to use this resource:

  • Watch with your ministry team and go through the discussion questions provided by Marshall. (If you would prefer to listen in on discussion from the discipleship conference, you can watch the version with discussion here.)
  • Follow along with Colin’s PowerPoint and take notes on the ReGrowth Handout.
  • Consider browsing the Vinegrowers website and engaging Colin Marshall as a consultant for your church or ministry. You can also sign up for Vinegrowers newsletter to stay in the loop.
  • Watch the video or download the audio of the four sessions below.

Download Conference Audio

Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

Session 4:

Pastor Training Takes Center Stage on the Church’s Global Agenda

Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers 2016If you are a pastor-trainer, we urge you to attend the June, 2016 Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers in Bangkok, Thailand. You will be joining the Leadership Resources’ team as well as pastor trainers from around the world for this unique event which is focused solely on the
urgent need for pastoral training.

The need is immense and Dr. Richard highlights that only about 5% of the world has trained pastors to help lead the Church worldwide.

unnamedThis Congress addresses this tragedy directly by bringing together the next generation of pastoral trainers to help equip and empower pastors so that Church might come to full maturity in Christ and display his glory to the nations.

Leadership Resources has been asked by the General Convener of the Congress, Dr. Ramesh Richard, to facilitate a workshop track (called Parallel Sessions) on Biblical Engagement and Pastoral Training. We are honored to do so and grateful for this emphasis at the Congress. See Dr. Richard’s gracious invitation to us below.

Please make this Congress a priority. You may begin the application process at the GProCongress website. We look forward to seeing you at this momentous event!

Here is Dr. Richard’s invitation:

Leadership Resources launches pastoral training movements. The training of pastors could well have become the missions priority for the 21st century. Since God has called, gifted, and placed at least 2.2 million pastoral leaders all over the world, with only 5% trained for pastoral ministry, there are large numbers of pastors who need skills, tools, and relationships for ministry effectiveness and longevity. Sustained movements address this huge deficit especially across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

unnamed (1)Over the years, LRI has equipped and encouraged hundreds of pastors trainers serving in more than 35 countries. These pastor trainers represent an ideal network of candidates who would benefit greatly as participants at the GProCongress. The invitation to LRI’s substantive participation in the build-up and follow-up, as well as the strategy and impact of the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers, comes with gratitude after careful study of major alignment of their approaches with the objectives of the GProCongress.

As an organization, LRI carries long credibility in the pastoral training “industry” in strengthening the lives of pastors. Their focus on biblical preaching emphasizes the deepest felt-need by pastors all over world—having to deliver God’s Word regularly. The model of how LRI is helping pastors preach faithfully and relevantly is why I have invited you to facilitate, create, and followup with the Biblical Engagement & Pastoral Training focus—one of just seven parallel sessions in the dynamic, task-focused program.

It will not only provide additional exposure for LRI, but create major opportunities to contribute to the foundational need of biblical engagement in pastoral leadership, since pastoral health affects church health and church health affects societal health.

Ramesh Richard, PhD, ThD
General Convener, Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers
President, RREACH/Professor, Dallas Theological Seminary
Founder, Trainers of Pastors International Coalition [TOPIC]

How to Get Involved

  1. Come – plan now to join us for the GProCongress by applying.
  2. Bring – recruit other pastoral trainers to join you. We are making available an incentive program for recruiting. Learn more.
  3. Send – help other pastoral trainers from weaker economic conditions to attend the Congress, as you are able. Donate.

Tracking Our Progress As A Ministry

Leadership Resources Training in Expository Preaching

Dear Friends and Partners,

Before I joined Leadership Resources International (LRI) 26 years ago, I worked for a survey research company for 15 years. We would interview people about new products and new product ideas. I/we did a lot of research for the Ford Motor Company…quality surveys, new model design, dealer feedback, customer satisfaction, etc. All of this built a continuous improvement mindset into me. I came to LRI eager that we keep getting better and better at equipping and encouraging pastors around the world to teach God’s Word with God’s heart.

So how are we doing?

Very good! We are getting better and better at helping pastors study, teach and preach God’s Word. I say that not simply based on my own observations, but based on the results of a research study that another ministry conducted on our behalf. We asked GMI, a research-oriented ministry in Colorado Springs, to go to five different countries and interview…

  • pastors that our staff had equipped (the 1st generation)
  • pastors that the 1st generation equipped (a 2nd generation)
  • church members of both 1st and 2nd generation pastors

The results were so encouraging (but not perfect!) Here are some of the things that we learned…

  1. The teaching and preaching of both 1st and 2nd generation pastors has dramatically improved. The trainers, the pastors themselves, and church members all affirm this.
  2. For many pastors, TNT (Training National Trainers) is the only substantial Bible training that they have received. It is a life-line that has transformed them and their ministries.
  3. As a result of #1 & #2, church members have fallen more deeply in love with God’s Word. They are engaged…they regularly read their Bible and share it with others.
  4. Some of the LRI training is being replicated in Bible schools, seminaries, and even prisons and drug and alcohol re-hab centers. Praise God!!!!

Here are some of the less-than-encouraging findings. Pray for us in these things…

  1. We don’t see a lot of 3rd generation trainings. Part of the reason: many 2nd generation learners are not pastors, but youth and worship leaders, women’s ministry leaders, elders, etc. Hmm??? On one hand, that’s terrific! We want to reach anyone who has a teaching ministry in the church. On the other hand, we want to see a movement of the Word spread widely.                                                                                                                     
  2. Sometimes the TNT training remains stuck within a particular denominational structure or network. How might we encourage our international partners to reach out beyond their own circles?

Perhaps the most encouraging report was from one of the interviewers who has been a missionary for many years. This was his 1st exposure to LRI. Here’s what he said:

“Your training is like a slow, soaking rain that softens and saturates the ground over a long period of time.”

Hallelujah!!! That’s exactly what we want.

Pray for us as we seek to apply what we have learned from this research project. We want to get better and better at equipping pastors to handle God’s precious Word, for Christ’s great glory and for the sake of his Bride!!!

With gratitude for your partnership,

craigCraig Parro


PS: One of the other findings: we need to get our curriculum into many more languages. Pastors and church members learn best when they are taught in their heart language. We’ve translated our materials into 10 or 12 languages, but probably should put them into 50 or more languages. Would you please consider a generous gift today so that pastors from every tribe might learn and teach God’s Word in their own language?


Enter Designation: “Other” and “CD 10/15”

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Tracking a Movement of God’s Word in Brazil and Beyond

Movement of Gods Word in Brazil - MissionsLeadership Resources’ main goal in our pastoral training is not only to equip groups of pastors, but to launch movements of the Word of God similar to what happened in the book of Acts where the Word “increased and prevailed mightily” (Acts 19:20).

By God’s grace, we are seeing this goal reached as movements take root in many countries around the world led by national pastors with a hunger to train others to preach God’s Word with God’s heart after going through the Training National Trainers program.

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Brazil is one country where our biblical training has spread like wildfire and has reached “movement” proportions.

Through a long-term contact of Bill Mills, our founder, our work in Brazil began in 2006 with a dozen pastors from a large church of about 1,200 in Atibaia, Brazil. This church, Primera Igreia Batista de Atibaia (PIBA), had an existing leadership program for pastors that soon grafted in the TNT training to strengthen the pastors’ skills reading and preaching the Scriptures.

Two years later in 2008, another group was launched, this time training twenty pastors.

The next year, 2009, marked a transition point for our work in Brazil, although it didn’t seem like it at first.

During the three previous years of training, a vision stirred in the church for the strategic expanse of the training across their country to equip more pastors to preach God’s Word. The only problem was that they didn’t know how Leadership Resources would take the news. “Would they get offended?”

Instead of feelings of anger or taking offense, it turned out to be great news for us and an opportunity to share one of our chief goals: for those we train to continue the ministry in their country so as to impact more communities, churches, and ministries with the Word of God. We tell others that we want to work ourselves out of jobs!

A Movement Picking Up Steam

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 12.02.51 PMFast forward five years to 2014.

Leadership Resources finished their training of 32 pastors total. This group of 32 pastors trained 1,300 pastors in about 64 groups throughout their country. They have began to partner with other churches to spread the training, even designating Regional Directors for various regions in Brazil.

On one occasion, an elder from PIBA visited a training group in the Amazon and was asked to preach. Soon after the preaching, one of the men approached him and began interacting with him about the sermon text. As he talked, he came to the stunning realization that a few short years before he would have been amazed if he knew he would be talking biblical exposition way out in the Amazon!

This realization is one sign that a movement has been born.

A Global Movement

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 12.01.43 PMPIBA has taken an Acts 1:8 approach to training that takes it from their “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  In addition to training all over Brazil, they have launched a group in Cuba and seek to reach seven Portuguese speaking countries all over the world including Portugal, Mozambique, and a Portuguese-speaking island in Indonesia—truly a global vision!

Our relationship with PIBA has transitioned from a teacher role to more of a coaching one. We don’t travel and lead training like we used to (they’ve got that under control!), but we lead special workshops through a new book of the Bible from time to time. (Most recently in 2014, Tim Sattler, our International Training Director, met with PIBA and gave a workshop on the book of Revelation.) This coaching relationship will involve special training for their key trainers (who we call Mentor Trainers) and further training to spread expository Bible reading to their whole church (what we call the Trellis and Vine Mindset).

Our goal in launching movements is not for the Leadership Resources name to be widely known (although that may happen), but to see an organic movement of the Word of God taking root all around the world so that the name of Christ may be known and exalted.

The Key for a Multiplication and Launching Movements

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 12.03.23 PMOur training does not just seek to only transfer information and skills, but foster a personal transformation through the Scriptures. Without a strong emphasis on personal application and worship leading to transformation, we miss a major aspect of God’s purpose in the Scriptures (John 5:39-40). We have found that when a pastor becomes gripped by God through His Word, his love for God grows, his hunger to preach the Word grows, and his desire to impact others with God’s Word grows.

The element of personal transformation is what we consider the “key” for multiplying and launching movements. If people aren’t first energized in their spiritual lives, expanding their view of God and His work in the world through His Word, then expanding the training isn’t a huge priority for them. When they get a deeper taste of the life that comes from God’s Living Word, they begin to share the Father’s heart for the world and want to be channels of blessing to others desperate for God’s life-giving Word. And when a whole group of transformed pastors come together with a desire to equip and encourage as many as possible in the Word, a movement takes place.

We are thankful for the faithful brothers of PIBA for their shared heart of equipping pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart.

To God be the glory!

See Mentor Trainer David Merkh share how 12 trainers have trained near 2,000.

Learn More:

How to Walk into Church by Tony Payne (Review)

How do you walk into church?

This question doesn’t seek to address your walking style, how many kids’ noses you are wiping as you cross your church’s threshold, or how you have on your “Sunday best.”

What author Tony Payne is getting at in his brief 64-page book How to Walk into Church are core issues like “What is church?” and “What is my place in it?” (10). Our answers to these two questions form a mindset that will govern all of our conversations and activities in church; from greeting the greeter—to choosing a pew—to conversations scattered throughout your time on Sunday morning—to what we do before and after attending a church service.

One of the lies Payne seeks to shatter in this short and accessible book is that ministry is for paid church staff and not the everyday attender. This book is a practical guide to how every church attender can minister on Sunday mornings (or whenever their church gathers). Chapters include what church is, our role in church, the before, during, and after of church attendance, and how church doesn’t ever “end” (among other chapters).

As is so often the case, Tony Payne makes his vision painfully easy to implement by sharing practical tips we can all put into practice. Here are a few examples:

  • Payne recommends to pray about where to sit as you walk into church, which shows we are “trusting that what we do at church really matters; that God has something important for us to do—in particular, someone he wants us to sit next to, talk with, listen to, pray for and encourage.” (13)
  • When you meet a new person, look for them in future weeks and seek to reconnect and help them get plugged in. (49)
  • After church, encourage those around you with the Biblical truth presented earlier that day. (See Colossians 3:16) (52-53)
  • Before you enter church, pray that God would use you to encourage people that day, and pray throughout your day for opportunities. (53)
  • Be a good host to newcomers by listening to their story, introducing them around, or inviting them to a meal. (55)

Payne clearly and succinctly lays out a biblical vision of church that has personal growth in Christ and disciple making at the forefront. This book takes the mindshift presented in The Trellis and the Vine and boils it down specifically for church goers.

You can use this book in a variety of ways. First of all, every church-goer would benefit reading it for reasons stated above. Because of that, many pastors will find it helpful as they seek to train up leaders who can minister by prayerfully speaking the Word of God to others on Sunday morning and throughout the week, especially if they have a ministry team looking to care for people and welcome new attendees. Small groups will find this a fruitful discussion starter to encourage members toward a greater vision of their individual parts in “every member ministry.”  This is also a valuable book for pastors to give to new members.

After readers get a greater sense of what church is and their place in it by reading How to Walk into Church, I imagine that many will never walk into church the same way again.

Buy How to Walk into Church on Amazon or through Matthias Media’s website.

Related Posts:

Worship Tastes (The Distracted Worshipper #8)


Part Eight of Series: The Distracted Worshipper: A View from the Pew

Imagine good friends come for a visit. John and Jane will be staying in your home for a few days. You’re delighted to see them, so on the first evening, you prepare one of your favorite meals—a delicious Thai green curry. But later that evening, John pulls you aside and says, “I just wanted to let you know that Jane can’t handle spicy food. We hate to cause any difficulty, but could there be a way tone down the spice levels this week?

Your response: “I’m sorry John, but she’ll simply have to give up her food preferences.”

John, of course, would pushback on behalf of his wife: “But you don’t understand. She can’t eat spicy food. It upsets her system. The problem isn’t simply that she doesn’t enjoy it, she can’t handle it.”

Your response: “Well, I’m really sorry John, but we’re all set to have Mexican food tomorrow night and Korean food the next. Jane is just going to have to go with the flow. This can’t be all about her. After all, we all have different tastes….we can’t please everyone.”

Some preferences are more profound than others.

When is a preference more than a preference? The food fights of the 1st century— meat offered to idols—might be illustrative. To most back then, it was a non-issue. After all, the idols were empty nothings. But for a few, those who used to participate in this pagan practice, it was a deeply troubling, soul conviction. How could a Christian eat meat that was offered at a pagan sacrifice?!?!

Paul’s response was not “let it go…get over it”. Rather, he honored their cultural sensitivities even though he didn’t embrace them. His warning to the weak ones: don’t judge. His warning to the strong ones: love and accommodate your weaker brother.

Musical preferences are often profound. No surprise there, since music is the language of the soul. Some musical styles prevent the distracted worshipper from entering into the worship experience…not because he or she is unwilling, but because they are unable. Musical style can be a barrier to worship.

Questions to ponder:

  • How do we differentiate between a casual preference and a soul-level conviction?
  • How do we accommodate and love the “weaker brother”, those who don’t resonate with the dominant musical style of our services?

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