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?
TThis is the sixth 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.
The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus
A young man I discipled since he was a teenager was asked in his college years to spend a summer leading the youth ministry at his church. At the end of that summer, I asked him, “So what did God do in your life this summer?”
He said, “He made it clear to me that I’m not cut out for youth ministry.”
I said, “Fair enough. When did you realize it?”
He said, “Well, I loved being with students, but the church seemed to feel like I wasn’t doing my job if I wasn’t in the office 40 hours a week. I thought youth ministry would be ministry to youth-getting time building relationships with students... not primarily office work.”
That is a sad and true story. The church invited him to be the youth pastor for the summer, but they didn’t really understand what a good youth pastor should do.
That raises the question: What should a good DLC do?
I hope you know by know that the answer to that question is found in the disciplemaking genius of Jesus. Read on.
Eight Leading Indicators You’re a Part of a DLC....
Leading indicator #6 of a Disciplemaking Learning Community: A DLC gathering encourages hearts and equips hands.
““Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up.” -Luke 18:1
“Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” -Jesus in Mark 1:17
Jesus encouraged the hearts and equipped the hands of those in his DLC. He did both. I think we all tend to lean toward one of the other, but to be a Jesus-like disciplemaker, you will need to lean hard into both-heart and hands.
[ONE MINUTE LEARNING ACTIVITY: Take another look at the two passages of Scripture above. Which passage speaks to Jesus encouraging the hearts of those in his DLC? Which passage speaks to Jesus equipping the hands of those in his DLC?] At every DLC gathering, we try to spend time connecting on a heart level AND training our hands with Jesus-like disciplemaking.
What does this look and feel like? Here are some ideas...
Encouraging the Heart: The mutual encouraging of hearts in a DLC can include-but is not limited to-any of these:
connecting in twos or threes and sharing what God is teaching each of you through his Word
memorizing Scripture together
studying the Bible together to learn how to live in purity together
reporting back to each other on how you see God making disciples through each of you
sharing successes and failures
daring to talk about the real issues you’re facing
confessing sins to God and each other (James 5:16)
studying the book of Song of Solomon together so your marriages will be strong and healthy
studying the book of Proverbs together so you can train your children well
asking lots of questions together and havering together over an open Bible for insights and answers
And did I mention the fun and often uproarious laughter?
What else would you add to this list? My goal in the above list is to offer mere suggestions on how a DLC can engage in mutual encouragement. Do you have more ideas about how your DLC can mutually encourage each other? Wonderful! Better ideas? Great! If what you have helps the DLC to connect with Jesus and each other at a heart level, go with it.
Warning: A DLC is not counseling group. Nor should the encouraging-the-heart time in a DLC degenerate into long periods of whining and complaining (which any of us can slip into from time to time). No one should be allowed to hijack a DLC gathering for personal therapy. Yes to rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. No to counseling, whining, complaining, and personal therapy. Yes to one anothering. No to fixing everyone’s problems. The encouraging-the-heart time in a DLC should focus on getting our hearts connected to Jesus and each other so that we can learn to love God, love people, and make disciplemakers together. So I suggest you invest the first half of your time together trying to putting the C into your DLC by mutually encouraging each others’ hearts. But beware of the possible pitfalls.
Equipping the Hands: In my opinion, the first and primary way a DLC can begin to equip hands for Jesus-like disciplemaking is by studying and applying the disciplemaking genius of Jesus as found in the four Gospels. Instead of giving everyone in a DLC what you think the disciplemaking genius of Jesus is-or a book, I suggest you all go on a journey together to discover exactly what Jesus did and emphasized when he made disciples and disciplemakers. Think havering here. As you study the Gospels together, identify patterns in Jesus’ disciplemaking. Then apply those patterns to your life. Seek to make disciplemakers the same way Jesus made disciplemakers. This activity alone creates a wealth of training material for equipping the hands of your DLC. Make the disciplemaking genius of Jesus THE foundation for your DLC. So crack open your Bibles and haver at it. Then live it together.
Once you’ve established a habit of studying and applying the disciplemaking genius of Jesus as found in the Gospels as the foundation for your DLC, you should build upon this foundation. For example, if your DLC wants more equipping-the-hands havering on the disciplemaking genius of Jesus, considerDisciplemaking Is Relationships training. This training is designed for DLCs and helps participants explore the disciplemaking genius of Jesus together for themselves. When a study of the disciplemaking genius of Jesus as found in the Gospels is combined with Disciplemaking Is Relationships training, it’s a very powerful disciplemaking learning experience. See info below. Also, check out our training and resources you can use to encourage the hearts and equip the hands of those in your DLC.
Pause, Ponder and Discuss
Warning: A DLC is not merely a Bible study. Nor is it a mere intellectual exercise in gaining Bible knowledge. Don’t let the equipping-the-hands portion of your DLC turn into all disciplemaking talk and no disciplemaking action. The equipping-the-hands time in a DLC should focus on getting our hands equipped to love God, love people, and make disciplemakers together. This means there will necessarily be a multiplication of Jesus-like disciplemakers and DLCs. See the next leading indicator.