Training Disciples

Balancing knowledge gained with lives changes

Greetings! In my roles with Amy Foundation Publishers and the Coffee Shop Church, my wife Gina and I have been busy this Fall providing workshops at church ministry conferences all over the Midwest. We explain the spiritual maturity model Jesus applied in training his disciples and offer a free Spiritual Maturity Index to score your group's maturity. Once scored, you can look for weaknesses that the group shares and collectively work to strengthen them.

How do you measure a group's disciple-making effectiveness? We open God's Word and build community, but are we really providing the best opportunity for our members to develop spiritual maturity through life change? (Bonus: Follow along with our PowerPoint presentation.)

Two-part Model. In workshops, we seek to equip leaders (and teachers) with two tools to achieve the necessary balance between "knowledge gained" and "lives changed."

As the Christian church, we need to demonstrate our faith in action. According to recent polls, 84% of Americans claim at least a notional "Christian" faith and 70% say their personal faith is growing; however, 66% believe religion is losing its influence on society.[i] While we can legitimately question the respondents' definition of "Christian" and "faith," there is a clear disconnect between claiming our faith and living it.

We attribute the loss of faith in action to the emphasis on developing faith "knowledge" over developing habits and practices that exercise our faith. (The Apostle Paul predicted this in II Timothy 3:7 "…always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.")

Small group leaders can counter this trend by insuring the activities, studies, and discussions follow the "Know-Be-Do" rule.[ii]

Knowledge development—"know" ...

article Preview

This article is currently available to subscribers only. To continue reading:

free newsletter

Sign up for our free Small Groups Newsletter newsletter: Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles.


What Type of Studies Should We Use?
Determine whether sermon-based studies or a la carte studies would work best in your context.
Create Sermon-Based Bible Studies
How to write engaging group studies that tie into your pastor's sermons
How to Stretch Your Dollar for Small-Group Curriculum
Great Bible studies can be expensive, but they don't have to be.
5 Mistakes that Ruin Small Groups
How to be an intentional small-group leader
Resource Review: Logos 6
A tool filled with resources for in-depth Bible study
Bring Focus to Your Small-Group Meetings
Get more out of your meetings by narrowing your focus.