Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the live IF:Gathering in Austin, TX. If you’re unfamiliar with “IF:Gathering”, the short of it is that it’s a movement of women in the church, across the globe, to help each other live out God’s calling. This year’s conference focused on discipleship in the early church. I left with one clear message: the world isn’t going to be changed by books, events, or platforms. Transformation of the next generation happens on the living room floor, Bibles open. It happens when someone opens the door of their home over and over, with offers of coffee and maybe some chocolate chip cookies, and then God shows up at the doorway of their guests’ hearts. Jennie Allen (founder of IF) credits her mentor from her college years, who did just that, with the existence of IF:Gathering — which this year alone reached 2,200 live-stream locations around the world in over 120 countries. Jennie’s fear is that the relationships that fostered our generation’s spiritual growth and deeper love of Jesus will be missing for the next generation.
I couldn’t agree more that discipleship happens best in authentic communities of believers “doing life together”. I was challenged to look for more opportunities to “give what I’ve got, where I’m at.” What I want to add to that conversation is that the church, in all the various forms it can take, has a crucial role in nurturing those discipleship relationships. At every Ascending Leaders event, workshop, or webinar I’ve been a part of, I’ve been heartened by seeing church leaders who are earnest in doing that, and doing that better. These leaders…they CARE. They are all-in with this discipleship thing! And I know that after the workshop, after the event, they are in the trenches, tools in hand, covered in sweat and grime, building paths for disciples to move forward on. Rejoice in this! God is at work.
Now I have a challenge for you, leaders. If you’re feeling alone in this work, pause right now and find a community of fellow path-builders. Registration for DiscipleOn, our very own online learning community for discipleship leaders, is open through Monday (02/13/2017). It might not be the community for you. It may not be for you for right now. If that’s the case, keep looking and keep praying for God to bring you your tribe. If you think it might be your community for the next six months, you can:
- Join us for a live Q&A session this Thursday (register here).
- Watch the super-condensed recording of our “Inside Look at DiscipleOn”.
- Register for DiscipleOn today.
- Do nothing and keep pressing forward alone.
I hope you’ll join us. DiscipleOn communities are full of those amazing church leaders I get to meet at our workshops, and I just know that you’d like them too!