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Indicator #1 that you're part of a Disciplemaking Learning Community

DLC = Disciplemaking Learning Community. DLC‘s are Cadre's way of implementing the training of disciples in a way that reflects Jesus lifestyle as he incarnated and invested in disciplemaking friendships over three years. Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-13.

What does a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community look like in our twenty-first century Western culture?

This is the first indicator in a series about Disciplemaking Learning Communities, which we believe are crucial to becoming a disciple who makes disciples who makes disciples. These are not meant to be definitive or exhaustive, but simply indicators—to help you begin to wrestle what a Jesus-like Disciplemaking Learning Community looks like for you.

Keep in mind that it takes a minimum of two people to wrestle. And a real wrestling fan knows the best wrestling matches have more than just two people in the ring at the same time. So put a few people into the ring with you and dig into this...together...with Jesus.

Scientific researchers studied what happens to people who get lost while walking in a desert or wilderness. It turns out that lost people literally go around in circles, but they don't realize it. Worse yet, lost people tend to feel confident they are walking in a straight line, but they're not. The study stated: "Participants were only able to keep a straight path when the sun or moon was visible. However, as soon as the sun disappeared behind some clouds, people started to walk in circles without even noticing it." It seems we are in continual need of a reliable point of reference to keep from walking in circles.

Here's a question for you:

When it comes to disciplemaking, could it be that we have lost our point of reference and are spending a good deal of time confidently walking in circles and we're not even aware of it?

The disciplemaking genius of Jesus

When I think of Jesus-like disciplemaking, I think of these six words:

Loving God, loving people, making disciplemakers.

These six words not only tell us what Jesus made (disciplemakers) but how he made them (by loving the Father and loving people). But what you might miss in these six words is that Jesus didn't go about disciplemaking with individuals. Yes, Jesus had one-on-one encounters with people. However, when it came to making disciples and disciplemakers, Jesus did something different. For about three-and-a-half years, Jesus made disciples and disciplemakers by pulling them together into a Disciplemaking Learning Community. It's important to note that Jesus wasn't just conducting a learning community--he was initiating a Disciplemaking Learning Community (or DLC).

Leading indicator #1: A DLC exists to study and live Jesus-like disciplemaking.

Consider the disciplemaking genius of Jesus. Jesus' DLC was about turning a handful of remarkably unremarkable disciples into Jesus-like disciplemakers--and he said so at the very beginning when he invited some of the first disciples to be a part of his DLC: "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). About a year-and-a-half later, Jesus turned his disciples (learners) into apostles (sent ones): "He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach..." (Mark 3:14). The whole point of Jesus' DLC was making disciples who would make more disciples of Jesus...who would make even more...well, you get the idea. And it worked. Fabulously. (See Acts 17:6.) And it's still working. Fabulously....when we are intentional enough to carefully imitate Jesus.

Don't miss the point: A DLC exists to study and apply Jesus-like disciplemaking.

It's important to note that I am making a distinction between discipleship and disciplemaking. The focus of a DLC is noton what has come to be understood as discipleship--small group book studies, one-on-one Bible studies, a series of classes, programs, personal growth booklets, devotional guides, seminars, and the like--as helpful as these might be. Rather the focus of a DLC is on how each person in the DLC is developing a Jesus-like disciplemaking lifestyle--together. Why? Developing a Jesus-like disciplemaking lifestyle together is the bullseye of a Disciplemaking Learning Community. Each person in a DLC must tenaciously seek to embrace this Jesus-like disciplemaking lifestyle--together--and then let God overflow these same disciplemaking values into their relationships with family, friends, coworkers, the body of Christ, the community, and ultimately the whole world. This is precisely why a DLC is not simply a small group. A DLC is radically and fundamentally different because it's reason for existence is to study and live Jesus-like disciplemaking.

No study and application of Jesus-like disciplemaking = not a DLC. Very important note: In the rest of this article, you will be asked to pause, ponder, and discuss your DLC. I encourage you to think of the following groups as DLCs in the making: your family, neighbors, friends, coworkers, small group, those you serve with in ministry, etc. Why not take each of these DLCs in your world—one group at a time—through the pause, ponder, and discuss sections?

Pause, Ponder and Discuss

Pause: Developing a Jesus-like disciplemaking lifestyle together is the bullseye of a DLC.

Ponder your DLC: missing the target hitting the target not the bullseye hitting the bullseye 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Discuss your thoughts.

Jesus-like disciplemaking and DLCs...

Being in a DLC has ruined my life.....and that is a good thing. I can't believe how far away I was from Jesus-like disciplemaking. Our DLC has been a compass for getting me back on course. Each personʼs thoughts, insights, and honesty have shown me more of Jesus. Iʼm thankful we get to overflow Jesus to each other. My biggest thrill is watching lives of those in our DLC by transformed by Jesus. We are a rag tag bunch, but God is using us in powerful ways. I love watching each of us take something from our DLC and try to apply it in other DLCs weʼre in. Sometimes we succeed and other times we fail. But we always learn. I am thankful to be a part of this DLC.


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