Kanakuk Institute Podcast

Discipleship in the Church

March 14, 2022 Kanakuk Institute Season 1 Episode 13
Kanakuk Institute Podcast
Discipleship in the Church
Show Notes Transcript

Chad, Keith, and David Daniels discuss what discipleship looks like in a congregational setting and how to practically get started with discipleship in daily life. 

Intro (Keith): Welcome to the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, where we continue to equip leaders with biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry.


Chad (00:33): And welcome back in to the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, my name is Chad Hampsch, and with me, as always, is Keith Chancey. And we are so excited in studio today to have a special guest, Dr. David Daniels, from Central Bible in Ft. Worth, Texas. David, so good to have you with us today. Tell us just a little bit for the students that are listening that don’t know you. You’ve been here with us for six years now. Give us a little bit of your backstory. How did you end up doing ministry, and where are you at today?


David (01:01): Thank you and it’s really great to be able to join you and the alumni. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in graphic design. Never imagined I would end up in ministry, but the Lord called me at a very specific time in my life, went away and got a seminary degree, came back and served as a college pastor at a church in Austin. And that was a thrilling, you know, just a great time in my life. From there, the Lord moved me to Minnesota. I tell people I did time in Minnesota and served there as a pastor of a church for two and a half years and then came back down to the Dallas, Ft. Worth area where I’ve been serving as the lead pastor at Central Bible Church since 2005. So, you know, I’ve had a great, you know, ride in ministry these 30 years of vocational ministry, and, frankly, am thrilled to be a part of a church that is an exciting church to lead.


Chad (01:54): Good. Well, what we’re going to talk about today with Keith and David is: We talk all the time about the great commission, the call to do discipleship and to do it well. You’re a lead pastor, and there’s a challenge there to not only lead your congregation but how do you do discipleship well in the church. I’d love for both you and Keith to kind of answer that question. How do we take the principles of discipleship that we so desire to implement and do it at a church level, especially on a large scale sometimes?


David (02:25): Yeah, well I think, you know, discipleship has two prongs. There’s a content prong, and there’s a relationship prong, and those two things have to come together. In my position as lead pastor, I have a responsibility most Sundays to stand up and to deliver a text and to try to deliver content that I think will be applicable to people’s lives, but I don’t believe that that’s really the only, or really the primary venue of discipleship. Discipleship’s really going to happen in relationship. Most likely in the context of biblical community where people are meeting and they’re talking about what they’ve heard and they’re challenging one another. You know, men’s breakfast on a Thursday morning. It’s going to happen in our student ministry small groups meeting together. So I really think the best discipleship is not just the delivery of content from a platform, but it’s really the digestion of that content in the context of relationships.


Chad (03:21): That’s good. Keith, you’ve seen those principles of discipleship play out not only in the church, but also in the parachurch world. How do we take those principles and do them well?


Keith (03:31): You know, that’s a great question Chad. And you know, David, you said it so right. There is two prongs, and what so often we’ll do is we’ll get lost in the teaching part, and miss the relationship part. And when you miss the relationship, they don’t want to hear what you have to say, and you go, man we are really confusing our generation on what discipleship is. And so, when I think about that, it’s so important, first and foremost, and I’m always going to say this. Before you go meet with people, ask God to be a part of that. You know the teaching that you’re giving them is not so above their head, but it’s relationally to them, helping them to overcome the issues of life, that we are so intentional of knowing where they’ve come from and where they’re going, and where they want to be, that we’re going to help them to get there. And so, they understand relationally, I know them. I’m a part of their life, and I’m going to help them through scripture to deal with some things. But my goal is not to make them feel guilty. My goal is to give them victorious understanding from God’s truth.


Chad (04:30): That’s good. And you had mentioned, of those two prongs, there can be a tendency to prioritize teaching over relationships. Can the opposite also be true?


Keith (04:40): Absolutely


Chad (04:41): Where people do relationship and community, but they leave the burden of truth, have you guys seen that?


Keith (04:44): Well, it’s so funny, what we’ll do is we’ll say, “Hey, we’ve got discipleship.” And we’ll go sit and talk and what we’ll talk about is who we’re dating or our marriage and never open up the Bible. Now those things are important! Man, do we ever want to talk about the relationship part. But if we walk away and we have a regret of what we wish we should have said, we didn’t do it right.


David (05:02): Yeah, I read a book many years ago by Bob Beel that was on mentorship. And he actually makes the distinction I thought was rather – it was helpful for me. He makes the distinction between mentorship and discipleship. He said in the context of mentorship, the mentee actually sets the agenda. If you were mentoring me Keith, we would meet once a week for lunch, and I would frequently come to you and go, “Hey, I’m wrestling with this thing at my job, can you help me on that, what do you think I should do? I’m dating this girl, what do you think?” And you would download great spiritual principles into my life. But in discipleship, the leader primarily sets the agenda. Not always. But what that says is that we actually are intentional, and we come with the stuff. The goods that we feel are important. And we’re always sensitive to where people are at, and we’re flexing and changing. But when Jesus talked about discipleship, he said, “And teaching them to do all that I have commanded you,” It’s what has been taught to you. Now you’re going to turn around and reproduce that in the lives of others.


Keith (06:03): And what I love about that, David, is that everything in life usually culminates into a teachable moment. And my son would always go, “Oh Dad, here we go.” And I would go, “Buddy, I’ve got to call a timeout here.” And in so doing that, I’m not just mentoring, I’m discipling because I am taking the moment, ceasing that moment, and then giving a Biblical principle of how we could do things better there.


David (06:25): That’s a little Deuteronomy 6, isn’t it? Teaching them along the way. So it doesn’t have to be a structured, we meet at such and such time at such and such place and we only do it. But it’s bringing people along with you, and I think there’s a lot of responsibility on the discipler to keep their eyes open, their ears open. How is God at work here? How might I capitalize on this moment to show how God – how spiritual life applies?


Keith (06:49): I’ve seen some people in my life, and I’m sure we all do this. That they didn’t teach me a lot, in the sense that they didn’t sit me down and we didn’t have a Bible study. But I watched their life, and I went, “My goodness.” They taught me more about discipleship because they taught me how to love somebody, they showed me how to forgive somebody. And they were always Biblical, but they didn’t have to say it. And I’m going, “Oh my gosh.” And then when I began to see that, it took me to my Bible. I began to go, “Wow.” Let no unwholesome word proceed from my mouth, but only such a word. I didn’t realize that’s what they were doing, but they were having a great investment in my life of discipleship.


Chad (07:23): Easier to see in the rear view mirror. That’s good. So let’s take that, we talked about discipleship on the individual level. Now let’s kind of go up to ministry organizations and churches in particular. When a ministry organization or a church loses its focus on discipleship, what are the ripple effects. When we claim we are about discipleship and then don’t really do it or we lose our way, how have you guys seen that play out for churches, ministries?


David (07:52): I think we become a country club. I mean, the church was given a mission. The church was given a mission of the gospel of Jesus for the glory of God, and the way we accomplish our mission, the misio-dei the way that we join God in his mission is through the discipling of our members. Not just so they are smarter, wiser Christians, that certainly is one the beautiful bi-produces of discipleship, but to actually equip God’s people for living lives where they make a difference for the glory of God. So if we lift discipleship out of our church, gosh, I think it’s time to lock the doors and sell the property and move on because you’ve lost the heart of what God designed the church to do.


Chad (08:39): Keith, how, you’ve seen both in the church and parachurch, David addressed the church. Maybe, talk just a little bit about how you’ve also seen that affect the parachurch or ministries outside of the church. 


Keith (08:49): I concur with what David said is that, you know, people will lose their zeal because they become busy, they become focused on accomplishing some things, and they fail to see the value of the people. And you’ve always got to see the value of the people that you’re with. The congregation, whether it be the church, the parachurch, or just your next-door neighbor or friend, that there’s an intentionality there. Where am I taking this person? Because if we’re just walking around the block, and we’re not talking about anything of purpose, then I’ve missed the moment. And what you see there is when people lose their art of discipleship and they lose their focus on what they’re doing, it becomes a country-club type of environment where people are just going there to pay their dues, but there’s no real growth. What we want to do is we want to say… I was just reading – I opened up a scripture here, you know, it just talks about that we are to equip the body for the work of the ministry, and we go, “Well how do we do that?” People need to always understand that when we are with them, they walk away going, “Man, he pointed me to prayer, he pointed me to my Bible, he pointed me to scripture. And it wasn’t his words, it was the words of God that he spoke to me.”


Chad (09:56): That’s good. What are some roadblocks? There are all kinds of things that get in the way of discipleship happening. You touched on a couple of them Keith: busy lives, all those kinds of things. But whether at the individual level or at a larger scale, what are the roadblocks that really hinder people from getting involved in discipleship or doing it well?


David (10:13): I think that Keith said it perfectly. I think that business is probably the greatest enemy of the spiritual life, discipleship, of my own spiritual life with God, of my investment in the life of other people… is we are just incredibly busy people. I think that’s one of the great roadblocks. A second roadblock are idols. We have a lot of idols. We have online media, and we have social media, and we have youth activities, and we’ve got a lot of things that those idols combined with just being busy just crowd out the life of God. So we have very little margin, very little time to breathe and sense the Lord in our lives and… Yeah, so I think those things are two of the greatest obstacles.


Keith (11:05): You know and in hearing that, I think about us growing up. We would say we’re going to take a discipleship trip down to Cancun, or we’re going to take a discipleship trip to skiing, and we do these fun events. And boy are they good, they come, and they sign up and they go, but yet, even in coming to camp, you can come and go, “That was really great to come to camp, it was great to go on that ski trip, or on that ocean view or surfing.” But yet when you walk away, we talk more about what we did rather than what was accomplished in our Spirit and our soul. And I don’t know, I think the key is for all of us always to go: it’s not the amount of time but it's the intentionality, the quality of that time. That I sit with a Dave and I talk and I go, “Hey, what is it you’re struggling with? How can I help you to get where you need to be?” And it’s just taking the moment, because the roadblock is we’re busy, we’re doing things, and we’re not accomplishing God’s best for what we’re wanting to do.


Chad (12:03): That’s good. So I just picture an alumni sitting here listening to this while they’re, you know, on the treadmill or whatever, and they’re going, “I love discipleship. I’m engaged in a local congregation and that congregation maybe isn’t doing discipleship. How do I be a part of the solution and not part of the problem?” For two guys that have run ministries, how do I move the needle towards discipleship in the context I’m in?


David (12:30): Yeah, so let me tell you how not to do it, because as a pastor of a church, I have people that come and say, “We’re not doing X, and so I need you to start an X program for me.” And the better way is for a person that looks around and says, “I don’t see discipleship happening, really, here.” The next step is for them to start discipling somebody. That’s the next step. They find a – you know, there’s a guy in a church, an alumni who’s in a church, and he doesn’t see discipleship happening. He doesn’t need – there doesn’t need to be a formal program in that church for him to start discipling. He grabs a couple of young men, he says, “Let’s go to lunch.” He starts investing, and then he invites another man to come join that process, and they invest in a couple more young men, and there’s a woman that wants to join it, and pretty soon, this thing’s starting to grow and starting to produce fruit. I don’t know a pastor in the country who wouldn’t look at that and say, “I’ll buy into that all day long.” So, I think sometimes we wait for the church to pull the trigger when, in fact, we can do that ourselves.


Keith (13:32): You know, what I love is that I love what David said, and when it’s written that David’s mighty men. They broke the ranks of being in a battle because they heard that David had a craving for a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem. And they were willing to risk their lives to go get that drink for David, because they believed in David so much, they’d do anything for him. And I think that’s what discipleship looks like. We’ve got to create a hunger for people that they know what our cravings are. That they’re willing to do whatever it takes to go do whatever it takes because they know what our craving is, and for us as believers, we’ve got to know that our craving is discipleship. We’ve got to change the world, and in changing the world, we’ve got to change people’s mindsets that this is fun. But if I see discipleship as only what we’re doing in the Kanakuk Institute, or in the church, then I’m wrong. It’s my next-door neighbor, it’s my friends, everyone that I’m involved with needs to be a disciple of what I’m trying to accomplish in my life to get them to go forward in Christ.


Chad (14:29): Where do I start? Never been discipled. Never discipled somebody myself. I want in the game, but nobody’s ever taught me how to shoot a jump shot. You know what I mean? Where do I start? What practical wisdom from two guys that have raised kids and done discipleship a long time?


David (14:46): You know Paul says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. So Paul says, “You know how you disciple people? Just take what you’ve learned and pass it on.” So, discipling a young man would be me coming to a fellow and saying, “Hey let’s spend some time together, and I want to talk to you about what I learned in church last week. I want to talk to you about what I’ve been learning as I spend time the Lord in the book of Judges. I’m going to talk to you. I’m going to share with you what God is teaching me.” And I think we think there has to be this formal curriculum, and there’s a certificate at the end, and we might be doing it wrong. I’d say if you’re doing it, you’re not doing it wrong, because you’re already investing in relationship and you’re simply passing on the lessons that God’s teaching you. And then along the way, you’ll start to develop some teachings, some things that are true to you and things that you really want to invest in another generation down the way. But I’d say, just start passing along what you’re learning.


Chad (15:39): That’s good. Keith, thoughts?


Keith (15:41): I have a funny story, because I’ll never forget the first guy that discipled me. He opened his Bible and he said, “Hey open up your Bible to the book of the Philippines.” And I started laughing because I at least knew that it was Philippians, okay? But when he said, “open up to the book of the Philippines,” immediately I was removed from this religiosity that was there, and I went, “This guy’s real.”


Chad (16:04): I don’t have to have everything figured out.”


Keith (16:05): I don’t have to know everything. And he wasn’t telling me all the things I had to do. He was loving me well, and we opened up the Bible, and together he made me read the scripture, and he asked me a great question: What does that say? And then, he was smart enough, he knew contextually not to run to where I wanted to go with the passage. And he drew me back and he’d say, “Chancey, be careful there. You’re kind of stepping outside the boundaries. You’re running outside the line of scrimmage, and you can’t do that. You’ll get an off-sides penalty.” And I went, “Dude, thank you.” And he taught me how to look at the scriptures. And then he did something that was really good. Once again, I always go back to prayer. But then he said, “Hey, I want to encourage you to memorize.” And in that memorization, I went, “Oh my gosh.” I had never memorized Galatians 2:20, and he said, “Chancey, I want you to memorize that.” And this time next week when you come back, he said, “I’ll memorize with you that verse and we’ll talk about what it means.” And he said, “but listen, you can’t come back unless you have that verse memorized.” And I went, “Oh rats.” And I remember staying up all night because I wasn’t that good at memorization. And when I memorized, and the next morning, at 6:00 AM on Friday morning, I could not wait to get there to share with him that scripture. And then he said, “Hey, now how would you apply that this week to your life?” From that moment on, every time on the hour as I was at Ouachita Baptist University, the bells would chime. He said, “Why don’t you, when you’re memorizing that scripture, just ask, ‘What would Jesus do with that scripture right now?’” And I went, “Man, how would he apply it?” And it changed my life because I was using scripture to change how I related to other people. It was a discipleship skill I had no idea how to do. It changed how I lived.


Chad (17:39): Yeah, that’s so good. So, I picture our alumni sitting there. It’s one minute before the game starts. Last words from coach. What does coach tell them before they go jump into the game? If you’re just to encourage our alumni about getting in the game, discipling people, what would you say?


David (17:57): Yeah, I would say that I don’t think there is any wasted moment investing in the life of another person. I think as a Christian I always want to have a bit, and I say this in a positive sense not in a negative sense. I always want to have a sense of a hidden agenda. I want them… they may just think we’re meeting for coffee. I want them to know Jesus. And so, Lord, just lead me to some great questions to ask. Lead me to the text you want me to lead them, lead in this time. I know I’m going to be inelegant. I’m going to trust you. Let’s see what you’re going to do Lord. And I think if we just went in with that disposition before the Lord and asked a couple of good questions, I think you can walk away and go, “That’s what discipleship looks like.”


Chad (18:39): That’s good. Coach, what’ve you got for us?


Keith (18:40): You know, it’s really fun because I just got back from a men’s retreat with six of my dearest friends in the world, that we’ve been doing this together for the last forty years. And the joy of our lives as we sat there with each other. We were together before we were married, before we had kids, and now all of us have grandkids. And when we were in there reflecting off of our live, we began to go back through the people we’ve invested into and discipled, and listening to what they’re now doing and how we’re so encouraged by like Paul said, we are encouraged by what those who we’ve ministered to are doing now. And ministry is not about me. It’s about Jesus. And when I disciple well, it changes the world. And so that’s – my coaching tip to you is just: I want you to fast-forward your life twenty to thirty years and say, “When I look back, what do I want my life to have said?” And if it can say, “I’ve discipled these men.” You’ve done well.


Chad (19:30): Man, that’s a good word picture that when we look in the rear-view that there’s a wake. That we have ha the opportunity to walk along-side of others. Man I hope for you alumni that are listening that this has been a encouragement, and not just an encouragement where you’re at, but a motivator to get in the game. Your coaches are hollering at you right now. Time to get in the game and to step out in faith, and to not walk in fear and be afraid to do that which maybe you’ve never done, which is to find men and women and invest in their life, knowing that the fruit will far surpass anything we do, and to the glory of God. So we thank y’all for joining us here on the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, we’re so thankful for you being a part of this, and we’ll see you next time.