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 fourth 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.
Which of the following quotes are from the Bible and which are not?
“That which God writes on thy forehead, thou wilt come to it.”
“Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs.”
“He said, ‘The prayer of you both has been accepted, therefore continue in the right way and do not follow the path of those who do not know.’”
“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”
“In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”
“Life is but a walking shadow.”
“And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.”
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
“Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, offer service to Me, bow down Me, and you shall certainly reach me.”
“You hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Hell as you are.”
(Answers are at the end)
Are you wondering what this little exercise has to do with the disciplemaking genius of Jesus? Good. The answer? Everything. Read on... I’ll explain.
Leading indicator #4 of a Disciplemaking Learning Community: A DLC’s first and primary text is the Bible.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” —Jesus in John 8:31 “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” —Jesus in Matthew 4:4
While books and other resources that shed light on the disciplemaking genius of Jesus can be used, a DLC is not primarily a book study. In a DLC, books are considered secondary resources and are treated as valuable, but not primary. The first and foremost text of a DLC is the Bible. And I don’t just mean casually referring to the Bible. I mean 2 Timothy 2:15 havering. If you gather together and no one opens a Bible to haver, you are not experiencing a DLC.
Our love affair with books
I know. We’re in love with books these days. The Bible? Not so much. I am often asked by ministry leaders, “What are you reading these days?” I smile and deadpan, “The Bible. It’s an amazing book. It’s really changing my life.” (This is where my wife starts kicking me under the table.) They’re like, “Well of course the Bible, but what other books are you reading?” I continue: “No, seriously, I’m reading the Bible and trying to learn how to make disciples like Jesus.” Insert long awkward pause here. Often the conversation changes subjects or ends. Interesting, ain’t it? Maybe it’s my coffee breath. I’m not trying to be a self-righteous jerk. I’m simply trying answer the question—and have a honest and thoughtful conversation about the disciplemaking genius of Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-books. I’m not trying to throw all books except the Bible under the bus. I’ll read/listen to about 12-15 books this year. I used to read about 30 books a year. But in an effort to make the Bible my first and primary text in life, I’m learning to be very selective about what books I read. I even ask God to show me what books he wants me to read. I value good books, but I don’t value books more than THE Book.
So here’s a short riff on books and DLCs to make you think. I think it’s a big mistake to make any book (or blog, including this one) besides the Bible the first and primary focal point of a DLC. Why? One reason is because the way you give disciplemaking to those in your DLC is the way they will tend to give disciplemaking to those in their DLC. So, instead of making a book the center of your DLC, make THE Book the primary text of your DLC... so that when those in your DLC multiply, they will do it using the Bible. (Call me old school if you want. I’ve been called worse.)
Getting back to THE Book
It’s time to get over our love affair with books, and get back to our love affair with Jesus as found in THE Book. There. I said it. After you’ve established God’s Word as the the first and primary text in your DLC, then you may want supplement with a book if you are so inclined. However, do not feel obligated to use books. God—as it says in the Bible—has indeed given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). (There I go again.)
While the Bible is the first and foremost text of a DLC, a DLC makes a concerted effort to study of the life of Jesus.
Why do we make a concerted effort to study the life of Jesus as found in the four Gospels? Because we want to learn to make disciples who make more disciples-like Jesus. So we’re constantly reading, studying, and applying the Gospels together.
We study the first half of Jesus’ life and ask: What did Jesus do and emphasize as he made disciples?
Then we share our insights and discoveries together. Our goal is to discover and imitate how Jesus made disciples, together.
Then we study the last half of Jesus life and ask: What did Jesus do and emphasize in making disciplemakers.
Again, we share our insights and discoveries together. Why? Our goal is to discover and imitate how Jesus made disciplemakers, together.
Make no mistake about it. The first and primary place a DLC turns to study and live the discplemaking genius of Jesus is the Bible.
No Bible/gospels = no DLC.
Pause, Ponder and Discuss
Pause: While the Bible is the first and foremost text of a DLC, a DLC makes a concerted effort to study of the life of Jesus.
Ponder your DLC: Which best describes your community:
We're focused on books/curriculum
We refer to the Bible
The Bible/Gospels are first & primary
Discuss your thoughts.
Answers to the Bible or Not quiz:
Jehovah Witness Bible: New World Translation
Bhagavad Gita, Hindu bible
Sir Francis Bacon, John Wesley, and others
Bhagavad Gita, Hindu bible
Jesus, Matthew 23:15
How'd you do? What's that mean to you? What happens to disciplemaking when we spend more time reading books rather than reading and living THE book together?