There is a lot of things I enjoy about this guide in building an effective discipleship plan and culture. Here are some notes, quotes and thoughts from the book. Stressful quadrant. Discouraged culture.
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The book is clearly written for pastors, so I am not the target audience. Other than that, the one sentence paragraphs and grammatical errors distracted me from the main ideas and geometric concepts of the book. I think some of the principles may translate to real life, but there are so many other nuances and hurdles when dealing with real people and real problems.
They allege that many churches have their priorities reversed, focusing on building churches while neglecting to make disciples. They propose an alternative model that Jesus Himself espoused, claiming that If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples Kindle Location So what is the difference between building a church and discipling people?
Breen and Cockram argue that three things are necessary for building a discipling culture: 1 a discipling vehicle, 2 discipling relationships, and 3 a discipling language KL The reason for this is that, by definition, every disciple makes disciples Mt.
It would be a mistake, however, to equate discipling relationships with friendships. Friendship only requires invitation, but discipleship also entails challenge. It can be as simple as inviting someone who is struggling spiritually to accompany you to the grocery store so that you can talk with him or her on the way and back KL It means inviting people to our quotidian comings and goings.
This assumes, of course, that we first have a life worth imitating KL , but we need not despair, because while we will never be perfect examples, we can be living examples KL Almost 50 years prior, Robert Coleman delineated a similar process of discipleship in his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism, namely the Selection, Association, Consecration, Impartation, Demonstration, Delegation, Supervision, and Reproduction of disciples.
What sets Building a Discipling Culture apart from the other books on discipleship is its discipling language. The LifeShapes are 8 diagrams that seek to capture the essence of discipleship. Breen and Cockram note that Jesus chose parables as his preferred teaching method in an oral culture, and argue that we live in a visual culture that calls for an image-based pedagogy KL At this point, the believer needs to enter the learning circle, which consists of observing, reflecting, and discussing the kairos event in order to plan, account, and act KL This is the same process as repentance and belief Mk.
Breen and Cockram use Mic. They challenge Christians simultaneously to leave their comfort zones to seek out the lost Out and establish communities characterized by intimacy and accountability In , both, without compromising a deep, personal relationship with God Up. The reason why we strain to produce fruit, they argue, is because we do not have proper seasons of abiding wherein we cease activity and rest KL They also highlight the need for extended times of retreat for resting in the presence of God Mk.
Breen and Cockram add that D2 is the most important stage of development for disciples. The leaders need to be highly accessible at this point and emphasize the grace of God. This is when the disciples are released to go and do likewise KL The leadership styles presented by Breen and Cockram mirror the three leadership styles first noted by psychologist Kurt Lewin in Authoritarian Autocratic , Participative Democratic , and Delegative Laissez-Faire.
The Scriptural references adduced in the book are only tangentially, if at all, related to these various leadership styles, and thus this LifeShape seems to be derived more from general revelation than from special revelation.
Breen and Cockram assert that every Christian is equipped to serve as at least one of the following: Apostles — Visionary individuals who are always pioneering into new territory, initiating new churches, ministries, etc.
Evangelists — Personable individuals who enjoy spending time with and sharing the gospel with non-Christians KL Teachers — Analytical individuals who delight in explaining and applying the Scriptures for others KL They note that prophets, pastors, and teachers have a natural preference for stability and tend to be introverted KL , while apostles and evangelists have a predilection for flexibility and tend to be extroverted KL This diagram is helpful, but it can be misleading because it conflates spiritual offices with spiritual gifts.
First, the Apostles were those commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself to establish churches where they previously did not exist Acts ; 1 Cor. There may be people with apostolic gifts, but they are not Apostles. Second, while any Christian with the gift of prophecy can occasionally prophesy 1 Cor. Third, while all Christians are called to evangelize Matthew , there are Evangelists Acts ; 2 Tim.
Similarly, every Christian is called to teach and admonish one another Col. Therefore, not every Christian is called to fulfill one of the five ministerial offices. Rather, the emphasis in Eph. The connection between the signs of living organisms and the signs of a living church appears promising at first, but the strained analogy disappoints.
The 9 Marks of a Healthy Church is a superior model for assessing the vitality of a church. Breen and Cockram posit that God has already prepared Persons of Peace who are receptive to the gospel, and that our job in evangelism is to identify these Persons of Peace rather than belaboring the issue with those whom God has not called KL There is a time for sowing and a time for reaping.
Passing Relationships: For people we come across only once or twice in our lives, our objective is to plant seeds in hopes that others will water and that God will give the harvest in the future 1 Corinthians KL Permanent Relationships: Evangelizing our friends and family may take a long time.
It is important at this point to watch, wait, and pray, rather than trying to force the issue prematurely KL Proclamation: In proclamation, we invite a person to faith in Christ.
This is one way to identify Persons of Peace KL Preparation: Breen and Cockram utilize the Engel Scale as an example to show that there are various stages of preparation for non-believers. Some are closer to faith than others. This LifeShape is also less than helpful because it confuses several categorical axes. Lumping them all into the same diagram with unclear, even if alliterative, headings muddles the Person of Peace principle.
Breen and Cockram have a knack for presenting nuggets of insight with memorable alliterations and catchy phrases. Consequently, the discipling model proposed in their book is extraordinarily simple and reproducible. It has, and will continue to, serve the Church well. However, if you are looking for a theologically-nuanced and comprehensive book on discipleship, this is not one. For example, it does not include ways to teach Scripture study or theology, and omits other essential spiritual disciplines such as fasting and silence.
It also tends to assume that the gospel is central to discipleship, rather than accentuating its importance. Discipleship that is not properly grounded in the gospel can degenerate into pragmatic legalism.
They believe that the language used creates the culture. The language used by the Mike Breen, the Order of Mission and 3dm is completely different than that used to describe discipleship in the Bible. This book teaches that in order to be "radical" and make disciples you need to learn something "deeper" and "more effective" than the language that Jesus and his disciples Both 3dm and the Order of Mission think that in order to build a discipling culture, you must first have a discipling language.
This book teaches that in order to be "radical" and make disciples you need to learn something "deeper" and "more effective" than the language that Jesus and his disciples used to transform the world. Jesus did not use Lifeshapes, he did not require a special discipling language, he never authorized Senior Guardians or Guardians, and he never required anyone to take vows or oaths.
You will find that Mike Breen, the leader of 3dm, is also the Senior Guardian of the Order of Mission, a self-proclaimed "neo-monastic order. A person seeking to join the Order of Mission must make a multi-year commitment.
The Missionorder. I vow before God and in the presence of the Senior Guardian Guardians and the members of the Order, to live and work according to its Rule. I ask for the grace of Almighty God and the prayers of all those present. Amen Interestingly, the vow requires members to live and work according to the Rules of Life of the Order. The Rules of Life of the order are based upon the concept of "Lifeshapes. The Order uses geometric shapes to teach their "rule of life.
“Building a Discipling Culture” by Mike Breen Summary
We believe that some of his first questions will be about discipleship. How have we followed His Great Commission to make disciples? How many disciples did we raise up to do greater things than we ourselves achieved? Who "imitates our lives as we imitate Christ"? Jesus did not command us to build the church; He called us to make disciples. Effective discipleship creates the church, not the other way around.
Building a Discipling Culture
The book is clearly written for pastors, so I am not the target audience. Other than that, the one sentence paragraphs and grammatical errors distracted me from the main ideas and geometric concepts of the book. I think some of the principles may translate to real life, but there are so many other nuances and hurdles when dealing with real people and real problems. They allege that many churches have their priorities reversed, focusing on building churches while neglecting to make disciples. They propose an alternative model that Jesus Himself espoused, claiming that If you make disciples, you always get the church.