1. 8 Characteristics of an Effective Discipleship Program

    August 1, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    Wednesday-night-discipleship

    One of the core ministries that God has greatly blessed in our church is the organized discipleship on Wednesday evenings. Not only are there new people continually being enrolled in discipleship and others completing the course, but the biblical grounding and personal mentoring that takes place during the weeks of discipleship continues to bear fruit in people’s lives years after they have finished.

    At our church, we use the Continue discipleship book and have found it both helpful and fruitful.

    But it’s not just having a course or a program that makes a discipleship program effective. It’s much more than that.

    Discipleship, whatever means you may use, is one of the components of the Great Commission (“teaching them to observe all things,” Matthew 28:20). It is the responsibility of the local church to ground new Christians in the faith while teaching them how to grow in a daily walk with God.

    So having an organized discipleship program is a good start, but it’s not enough. What are the characteristics of an effective discipleship program? (more…)


  2. 5 Ways to Help Your Children Walk in the Truth

    July 25, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    children walking

    One of the easy traps for parents to fall into is having shortsighted goals for their children.

    • If I can just make it through today… (particularly in the preschool years)
    • My child’s greatest problem is to change _______ behavior.
    • If he can just make a higher grade…
    • If she could just have more friends…

    While it is good to make it through another day(!) and behavior, grades, and friends do matter, 3 John 4 gives one of the greatest goals any Christian parent can hold: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

    This is a long-term goal—that your children would set a lifelong direction of walking in the truth.

    By the grace of God, Terrie and I can personally attest to the joy of having children who not only walk with the Lord, but are actively pursuing Him and serving Him. We thank the Lord that all four of our adult children are loving and serving the Lord with their spouses.

    What helps set the direction for your children on the path of walking in the truth? Here are a few things we’ve learned over the years through our family life and through counseling hundreds of other families. (more…)


  3. 4 Ways to Develop an “Everywhere Mentality” for Sharing the Gospel

    July 18, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    Starbucks

    I believe the Great Commission is worthy of—and even calls for—purposed times and strategic plans for spreading the gospel. Thus, we have several times and locations each week available to members of our church to meet up with a partner for the purpose of saturating our community with the gospel.

    And yet, there is a danger in using only those times for sharing the gospel.

    In reality, we are surrounded by people who need the Lord—some of which are our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We want to lead them to Christ as well, even if not on a Thursday night at 6:30 or a Saturday morning at 10:00.

    Acts 8:4 tells us of the early Christians, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

    How do we also develop this “everywhere mentality” where we are ready to share the gospel at all times and are seeing fruit among our friends and family?

    In my recent book, Take It Personally: A Practical Guide to Owning and Obeying the Great Commission, I suggest four ways: (more…)


  4. 5 Traits Common to Leaders Who Continue

    July 15, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    The challenges to Christian ministry continue to mount. Between a cultural shift toward intolerance of truth, the decision fatigue of pastors, the opinion overload of society, and a host of other challenges, it’s no wonder that so many pastors and spiritual leaders are falling out of the ministry.

    Although I’m aware of and experience these types of challenges, I want to finish my race still serving the Lord. And I don’t want to stagger across the finish line—depleted and embittered toward the people God has called me to serve—either. I want to finish my race in love with Christ and fully engaged in His work.

    In a previous blog, I shared the Spiritual Leadership Conference session 5 Commitments of Continuing Churches. Our goal, however, is not just to build a ministry that continues, but to personally stay in the race.

    In other words, we cannot help others to continue if we give up.

    One of the characteristics of effective leaders is a practice of personal assessment. In the Wednesday morning session of Spiritual Leadership Conference ’16, we looked at 5 principles of continuing leaders with a challenge to personally assess how we’re doing in each area.


    (watch video | download audio | download notes)

    Each of these five principles were thoroughly developed scripturally, and the lesson included many practical action items. But for an overview of the lesson, here are the five main points: (more…)


  5. 4 Reasons You Can’t Find Rest

    July 11, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    path

    One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 6:16—“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls….”

    I’ve heard many messages from this text that emphasize everything under the sun except “rest for your souls.” But that is the promise of the verse.

    Picture the prophet Jeremiah pleading with a rebellious nation to seek out the old paths of righteousness, put away their idolatry, and walk in truth. And then he promises what the result will be: “and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

    Rest.

    Soul-deep rest.

    If we are following the “old paths,” why don’t we have rest? Well, if “old paths” are anything less than hungering for God and righteousness and walking humbly with God, they won’t lead to rest. (more…)