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Review: Real Life Discipleship Training Manual

Looking for a way to equip disciples who make disciples?  You may want to take a look at the real life discipleship training manual, written by Jim Putman, Avery Willis, Brandon Guindon, and Bill Krause.  New from NavPress, the manual is designed to provide the content for a 12 week experience.  Each week in the manual contains 5 daily assignments (each assignment can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes).

The real life discipleship training manual was developed as a companion to Real Life Discipleship (reviewed here last week).  As I mentioned in my review of Real Life Discipleship, making disciples is serious business at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho.  One of the fastest growing churches in America, they’ve seen more than 4,000 conversions as they’ve grown to 8,500 in 9 years.

Describing the training manual, founding pastor Jim Putman notes that “there isn’t much theory here.  Instead, it is the day to day, boots-on-the-ground game plan that we use every day at our church.”  In the introduction of Real Life Discipleship he wrote that “the overriding goal is to train disciples who know how to disciple others.”

The 12 week journey takes you through the same process described in Real Life Discipleship (share, connect, minister and disciple) and works through the issues of how to disciple a person through the stages of spiritual maturity (spiritual infant, spiritual child, spiritual young adult and spiritual parents).  The individual sessions help develop the ability to put these principles into practice.

The final week provides a detailed examination of the storying methodology developed by Avery Willis (known as orality).  This concept is very transferable and is a way to fully engage the members of every group.

The training manual features a Leader’s Guide section in the appendix.  Because the manual is intended to be a group experience, the Leader’s Guide includes instructions on how to begin and commitments to be made.  The weekly meeting of the group will center around a guided discussion of the daily experiences (completed in preparation).

You can clearly see the influence of Avery Willis in the workbook pages.  Willis, the author of MasterLife, passed away earlier this year but not before he had a chance to play a part in the discipleship process at Real Life Ministries and the development of the real life discipleship training manual.

Many churches without the time to develop their own process will find this off-the-shelf resource to be exactly what they’ve been looking for.  If you’re looking for ways to raise the discipleship bar in your church, this is a training manual you’ll want to see.

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Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.