All About Generations

I recently spent the better part of a day with Elliot Teague, who came to Navigators headquarters in Colorado Springs for New Staff Orientation as part of our Navigators Church Ministries team.

I was greatly inspired by this 29-year-old man’s enthusiasm, his journey to Jesus, and his passion to serve Him full time with NCM in the South Central Region. 

Where did he get such a passion? Elliot told me how he and his wife, Courtney, grew up in the church. “We were blessed to have mentors in our lives from middle school on,” he said. “They helped us see that our faith wasn’t just an intellectual endeavor, but it must be applied in our daily life.” 

This grounding as disciples gave them what Elliot called “a great hunger to reproduce that same lifestyle in others.” He said the burden intensified when he started attending Dallas Theological Seminary and realized that not everyone in the church has such a solid discipleship experience.
 
As we talked, he mentioned the name of his home church—Denton Bible Church. I paused, raised my eyebrows, and told him that I happened to be familiar with DBC—I had written about its disciplemaking ministry 25 years earlier!

Naturally, that sparked Elliot’s interest, so I dug out the magazine and showed him the article: “Making Disciples: Four Churches, Four Plans,” published in Discipleship Journal. (See the article here.)
 
How cool is that? A quarter century earlier I had written about how his church was intentional about making disciples—and they still are! What’s more, it’s helping raise up a new generation of disciplemakers, such as Elliot and Courtney! 

“From its very beginning,” Elliot explained, “DBC started on the idea that the church is not designed just to bring people in and teach them more about God, but to help them to know Him personally and learn how they can engage with others for the sake of the Gospel.” 
 
He recalled how the church started its disciplemaking ministry with a few small groups going through The 2:7 Series® from The Navigators. He said they’ve heard "countless" stories over the years from people who’ve gone through the series and seen not only their own lives changed but also the lives of others through them.

The Bible is all about generations. The psalmist put it this way: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
 
It’s so encouraging to hear Elliot speak of how he’s now introduced a relatively new resource of ours into the mix, The Ways of the Alongsider
 
“There isn’t a curriculum out there that does such an excellent job of helping someone see the principles and practices it takes to make a disciplemaker,” Elliot explained. “Since I completed the study, I’ve begun walking through it with four leaders of Denton Bible Church.” 

In fact, Elliot and fellow NCM staff Steve Stahl plan to lead a workshop later this month to introduce the Alongsider to others who are primed to work through the study. 

“The four men I’m taking through it committed to lead anyone from our workshop who is interested in going through the study,” he said. “Our great hope is that the study will help bolster our vision of discipleship at the church, and yet we know it must start small as we trust the Lord to multiply it into the fabric of our church.”

As you can imagine, it was my pleasure to help someone from a new generation of staff come aboard and see him thrive at his home church—and just imagine how God will continue to use him in many churches. It was clear to me that he was a “navigator” long before New Staff Orientation! 

That heart was instilled in Elliot and Courtney at Denton Bible Church. Clearly, not much has changed at the church since I first wrote about it in 1994. God continues to use this body of believers to raise up generations of disciplemakers!

Nor has much changed in the hearts of my wife, Kim, and myself when it comes to making disciples, especially through the Side-by-Side approach, which I featured in the article as well. Each of us has at least one person with whom we're walking Side-by-Side—and we're committed to always being in such relationships over the long haul! 
 
What about your church? On a scale of 1-10 in terms of being intentional about disciplemaking, how would you rate it? How might God use you to take “one step closer” to a 10? 


Dean Ridings is a representative of Navigator Church Ministries. To contact Dean or to learn more about the Ridings’ Navigator ministry in the Rocky Mountain Region, please click here.

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