Big News!! We have something exciting to share!

Hi friends! Amy here!

If you've read the blog before or had a one on one conversation with me, you know that discipleship is my heartbeat. From day one the purpose of this blog has been to equip.

Equip women investing in teenagers.

Equip moms raising their kids.

Equip women discipling other women in their churches, homes, and neighborhoods.

I take 2 Timothy 2:2 very seriously, "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

Whenever I travel to speak at a conference or retreat I always ask to spend time with the leaders. I want face time with the girls and ladies who want to make disciples. I want to spend time with the people who are making disciples.

Many churches I visit have “discipleship programs” that consist solely of going through a workbook or book study or a “sit still while I instill” program. Biblical knowledge is part of discipleship, but incomplete in making a healthy and whole disciple.

When having lunch with a friend who is a youth ministry intern, we had an enlightening conversation that sparked something in my heart. She said, “No one knows what a disciple is so no one knows how to make one.” I fully believe that Jesus wouldn’t command something that we weren’t more than equipped to do.

Today I have something really exciting to share with all of you, but first I want to give a little backstory.

A dear friend, Mandy, recently called to say that their church wanted to focus on discipleship, specifically in their women’s ministry- utilizing leaders to intentionally disciple the ladies around their tables.

Excitedly she said, “It won’t be cookie cutter. We want discipleship, community and to be intentional.”

I said, “Awesome! What’s the plan?”

Silence.

Now, let me explain. Mandy is a fitness trainer, so I said, “Let's pretend that I'm starting a women's group and we're focusing on the verse, ‘She works hard and makes her arms strong’ from Proverbs 31:17. If we met for 6 weeks talking about that verse, reading CS Lewis quotes and sharing personal stories would the women have toned arms at the end of those 6 weeks? No! They would need you to teach them simple exercises and a strong community holding them accountable that they are actually doing the exercises. They would need a pattern or plan. It is the same with spiritual discipline and making disciples.”

After that conversation, we agreed that it would be fun and helpful for me to video chat with the new ministry team once a week for 6 weeks and teach simple, reproducible, disciple-making tools, and check in on their progress.

I'm happy to report, that the video sessions went so well! All 3 women, Audra leading the women’s ministry, Gini leading children’s ministry, and Mandy, the pastor’s wife not only learned how to make disciples, but they actually made disciples!  Between the 3 of them, they trained more than 250 women in a 6 week period! Now more than 250 women feel confident and equipped to share Jesus and make disciples. It's disciples making disciples!

I loved equipping and training these ladies!  After my time with them, I feel really excited about what the Lord is leading me to provide local churches.

Here's the big news, I'm starting a Discipleship Coaching program!

The goal is to train you to create a discipleship culture where disciples make disciples. The program will last for 6 consecutive weeks. Each session will consist of a one-hour video chat. The first week I will explain what a disciple is from the Bible and how every disciple of Jesus can make disciples who make disciples. In each of the following weeks, I will share simple, reproducible tools that will teach you how to abide in Christ, obey what the Lord is telling you, train other believers to make disciples and share hope and love with people far from God.

At the end of 6 weeks, you will have several patterns and practices committed to memory, so you can be a disciple who makes disciples AND you can train other faithful people to do the same. If this sounds like something you would love, but it sounds lofty or you cannot imagine the women you know wanting to make disciples, be encouraged by these 3 faithful women! They made me say "Amen!" out loud every week with what they were seeing, obeying, and sharing in Scripture.

If learning how to make disciples who make disciples is something you're interested in, shoot an email to perchblog@gmail.com and we can talk about getting started! - Amy 

We've all been Discipled

Over the years a common excuse I hear for not making disciples is: “I was never discipled.” Women of all ages long for women a season ahead of them to obey the clear commands that Jesus gives at the end of every Gospel. We also desire the mentoring and care outlined in Titus 2. No matter the age or stage in our lives, we long for women to model what it looks like to pursue Jesus and to truly abide. My buddy Mona and I had so many women in our church approaching us to say they had never been discipled and didn’t know how to read their Bibles that we wrote a book. That was a life-long dream...but a post about writing a book is for another time!

Modern Christianity proposes that if you haven’t sat down with someone one-on-one for an hour weekly in a coffee shop and memorized verses and listened to all they know you’ve never been discipled. While that IS a great meeting time and I’ve even told people how to set up a great meeting time like this- it is compartmentalized and not real life thus incomplete.

Meeting coupled with or in the middle of real life moments gives an overall modeling of how to abide in Christ. I love to meet with women and train them in simple ways to walk with Jesus and also bring them with me to the grocery store or to have dinner with my family. I am not the example in this. Think about the life of Jesus. He would heal the sick, feed the 5,000, talk to a woman at a well, and also explain his teachings in a smaller setting to his disciples. They didn’t merely hear content; they observed His life. Discipleship is not sit "still while I instill."

Making disciples is not simply a passive transfer of Biblical knowledge. Teaching coupled with real life modeling is necessary for the training your disciple needs to know how to abide in Jesus outside of a meeting time or when the book study finishes after 5-6 weeks.

The more I’ve traveled and chatted with women who have been believers 5 minutes or 50 years, I’ve realized a sometimes happy and sometimes not so happy truth: We’ve all been discipled. Disciple simply means learner. Consider this:

Ella grew up in a faith community where they gathered weekly to listen to a sermon. Her family never mentioned what they heard- even on the way home. Every time any woman from the church came by Ella was asked to watch tv in another room so the ladies could chat. Now an adult, she attends the women’s Bible study, watches a video, and never answers out loud because she is afraid she might say the wrong answer.

Now consider this:

Eva grew up in a faith community where they gathered weekly for worship. She and her family listened to a sermon filled with Scripture and all took notes. They chatted about what they learned all the way home and brought their notes to the family lunch table while mom and dad asked questions and clarified any of their kid’s questions. A group of 6 families met at their home on Sunday nights as all different ages gathered around God’s Word- every person was expected to share in the group and they were held accountable to share 2 things they learned that day with someone else before they met again the next week.

Eva went to a lady’s house after school every Wednesday to help her cook meals for the widows in their church. This lady always shared wisdom and asked Eva how she was following Jesus. Eva’s mom mentored a group of college girls with Eva at her side every week. Eva watched these girls confess sin, be vulnerable and tell amazing stories about how they were sharing their faith at school. Eva’s dad took her every Friday after school to a different coffee shop so they could pray with the owners. Eva cannot help but tell others how much Jesus loves them.

Need I go on? Ella and Eva were both discipled. They both learned what  “walking with Jesus” looks like from their families and faith communities. Ella was discipled into a very passive relationship with Christ. Insecurity, doubt if she is really a Christian, and an inability to articulate her faith in public and actually abide in Christ are the obvious fruit.

Eva was discipled into an active relationship with Christ. She had opportunities to experience others walking with Christ. She was given tools, training, and teaching so she can walk with Christ. Abiding in Christ, joy in authentic community, compassion, peace and boldly sharing her faith are the fruit.

We’ve all been discipled. The question is: Were you discipled into a correct view of Christ and into a healthy, growing friendship with God or were you discipled into a passive religion?

It even hurts me to write that question, because I’ve met so many women that know how to attend a conference, but they don’t know how to pray and they wonder if God really does love them. I love the Bible. I love that it is filled with stories like the woman at the well. God only knows what she was doing that morning and that afternoon she led half of her village to Christ. I urge us all to be encouraged by her!

When we truly meet Christ He can undo years of sin, unhealthy patterns, and create in us clean hearts that seek Him and find Him. No matter what kind of relationship we have been discipled into...we can allow Jesus to change our future with Him. And, I urge those of us who love Jesus and truly walk with Him to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES. Let’s commit to no more “Ellas” on our watch, as we join Jesus in seeking His kingdom first.  - Amy

Why I don’t Prefer the Name “Small Group Leader”

I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers or title this blog post something that will get a click. I am thankful for all of our readers, and I hope every topic encourages and equips you, then you share it with someone because it was helpful. So, let me clarify that I’m writing this because I genuinely don’t like the name, "small group leader." I understand that there are logistics and many different types of volunteers and titles bring organizational clarity but the main reason I don’t prefer the title is because titles communicate identity.

Simply.

Whenever a church or organization asks me to speak or train, I always ask for some time with their “small group leaders and any women or girls mentoring others.” I love teaching them simple, reproducible ways to make disciples in their homes, small groups, jobs, and neighborhoods. My favorite way to end out time together is to commission them with the following,

“Yes, to know which emails you are sent or which folders you pick up you are a ‘small group leader’ but today I’m changing your title. You are a disciple maker. Jesus has called you and every Christian to disciple others. The good news for you is you don’t have to search for your disciples. You have girls assigned to you this year! If you have ten eighth grade girls you are not simply their small group leader. Your title is disciple maker.”

Y'all. The questions that follow have been amazing! Many women feel like their purpose has been reduced to passing along curriculum or making sure the students have a place for community before “big church.” Many women express joy hearing that they could make a disciple. Also, the relief from staff that they don’t carry that burden alone is usually voiced too!

Think about it! I heard a mom say once that she was “just a mom” when asked what she did. How would her view of God change if she saw herself as useful in the kingdom? How would her view of her kids change if she realized they were her disciples? How would her view of herself change when she realizes she is a disciple maker?

The same applies for every job. You are not simply an event planner. You are a disciple maker who leverages your creativity and job for God’s glory. You are not just a teacher. You are a disciple maker who can use your ability to tell stories for God’s glory.

No matter your job, hobby, life season, or area you volunteer in we are all called and commanded to be a disciple who makes disciples! - Amy

Parking Spots

Growing up I often took little shopping trips with my grandmother, whom I fondly called Neenie. Her two favorite local spots were Piggly Wiggly and Belk. The woman loved Belk more than anyone I’ve ever known. But what I remember every time she chauffeured me around in her Lincoln was the way she would verbally thank the Lord for the parking spot she landed.

Now I know what you are thinking, why on earth would she pray about a parking spot? I thought that too for such a long time. But recently, I have found myself offering up a little word of thanks when I safely pull into a parking spot. I don’t know if Neenie was consciously thinking, “I am going to teach Becca to be thankful for even the small things when we go on errands together.” But whether she was thinking about it or not, her actions seeped into my life. Neenie passed along her habit of thanksgiving to me. I mirror her response to that life situation all of the time. She created in me a conscious acknowledgment of the goodness of God in something as small as having a place to park.

So often it seems we turn thanksgiving into something that must reach some certain level in order for it to be worthy of our mentioning it to God. I know in my own life many of the small, simple things (at least that’s how they are categorized in my mind) come and go without my ever even thinking of offering a word of thanks to the Lord. Our God is not one who requires a certain merit or status of an event or experience that we can speak with him about. He prefers to hear all of it. Even the tiniest things are worthy of acknowledging God’s presence in them with a quick moment of thanksgiving.

One of the things that strikes me most about these memories is that she said it aloud every time. It is totally possible for us to be thankful in our hearts and to share that with the Lord. Additionally, when we voice things aloud in the presence of other people we set ourselves in a position for the Lord to use us to impact someone else. Because Neenie made her thankfulness known to the Lord and invited me to be part of it by hearing her, I naturally do the same now. Even if I am by myself, I will thank the Lord verbally.

Your actions and habits of thankfulness not only breed greater love, affection for, and thanksgiving to God, but they might be building a foundation of thanksgiving in the life of someone around you. Our actions can be so contagious. In this season of thanksgiving, take notice of the small, simple things. Thank the Lord for those! Thank aloud when you are with others. Allow your habits of thanksgiving to seep into the lives of those around you. - Becca