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3/2/13 at 09:59 AM 0 Comments

Live Blog: Verge 2013 Conference - Day 2 - Making Disciples For Jesus

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The Verge Network is a group of connected Christians working together to promote Christian community. The Verge Network held its first conference in 2010. Today we will be live blogging as Christians discuss and learn about how to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship was a job given to all Christians when Jesus gave the Great Commission.

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Disclaimer: Because the speakers talk fast and say a lot, I am summarizing some of their comments.

Welcome back to our live blog coverage of Verge 13.

10:03 Day 2 begins with worship - singing praise to God.

10:05 Singing God Undefeatable.

10:08 Singing How Great Thou Art.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

10:19 Video of Jo Saxton (one of the fastest speakers for the kingdom of God) reminds us to imitate Christ.

10:20 Paul says imitate him and there is a vulnerability in that humanness.

Alan Hirsch

10:24 Missional discipleship is about prayer and community and involving ourselves in the eternal purposes of God in redeeming the world.

10:27 One of the keys to successful Christian movements is discipleship.

10:29 The way we are doing evangelism is blocking the way we are doing discipleship.

10:32 The church growth movement is built on a faulty interpretation of the Great Commission.

10:33 The church growth movement catered to consumerism.

10:34 You can't make disciples out of consumers.

10:35 The Great Commission happens as you do discipleship.

10:37 After Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, Peter still doesn't understand the cross.

10:38 Focus on discipleship, not evangelism.

10:39 Definition for discipleship: The answer is Jesus.

10:39 It's not just about the cross. If we simply limit it to the cross, we limit the agenda of the Christ. It is more than just about salvation.

10:41 The incarnation - when the eternal God becomes one of us - one of the most amazing things in the history of the universe.

10:44 We get our agenda from the life of Christ.

10:45 Reduction of the Gospel is limiting us in discipleship.

10:46 Defend the full gospel. It is kingdom and covenant.

10:47 Hirsch quotes a long passage from Bonhoeffer on the topic of discipleship. Christianity without discipleship is Christianity without Christ.

10:49 Our job is to become like Jesus.

10:50 Lordship over the whole cosmos and we are part of it.

10:51 C.S. Lewis is quoted in which he says: The church exists to draw people to Christ ...

10:52 Alan closes in prayer.

10:54 Video Propaganda the poet says: Discipleship is important because Jesus told us.

Michael Frost

10:59 I want you to imagine being in a room filled with filth and a dirty, grime covered window and outside is the most magnificent sunrise bursting over the horizon. You can't see the sunrise. I want you to use that as a challenge to the church. Christ rules supremely.

11:00 The mission of God's people is not to extend the reign of God. God already reigns everywhere.

11:02 You must clean the dirty window for people to see God.

11:03 You are nothing more than window cleaners.

11:04 We raise up more disciples who are prepared to be window cleaners in the kingdom of God.

11:04 Now get back to your filthy room and start cleaning.

11:06 Matthew 8:18 should be a favorite Bible verse for introverts.

11:08 Jesus says, "Let the dead bury their own dead." Is that what he really means?

11:09 Jesus says, "You come and follow me."

11:10 Do you know what plowing a field was like in Jesus time?

11:11 Joy in the kingdom of God is like plowing a field.

11:12 The only window cleaners we need are the people willing to roll up their sleeves ... to love the poor.

11:13 Imagine how hot in Bangladesh as Muslims were rebuilding their homes in the heat during Ramadan.

11:14 There are probably people in your congregation that have given up on Jesus because they want to sleep with their girlfriend.

11:16 Michael tells the Bible story of Jesus in a boat with the disciples.

11:18 Michael tells story about his daughters watching the TV series Lois and Clark. If Lois dies, the show will be called Clark.

11:20 There is a big difference in trusting Jesus because of what he can do for you vs. trusting in Jesus because of who he is.

11:21 Has Jesus just become a character in a book?

11:21 I want window cleaners with eyes filled with fear and wonder.

11:22 If you have seen children watching fireworks, they oooo and ah. What happened to you to lose fear and wonder?

11:23 ... unending commitment ...

11:24 Discipleship is no end in itself so that every person on earth might be alerted that our God reigns.

11:26 Time for personal reflection.

11:34 Video by Xealots is shown that says great talkers are often are not doers.

11:37 "Streets are my seminary."

11:38 "Our best work is underground."

11:38 We must be willing to die on a cross.

11:41 Take an awareness test. A video is shown of two groups watching people passing basketballs. During the video a person dressed as a bear moonwalks across and if you aren't looking for it, you will miss it.

Dave Gibbons

11:44 What is God's mission for the Church?

11:45 I wonder if we are building an illusion.

11:46 We are called to be free and bless the earth.

11:47 One Sunday the Holy Spirit showed up and I saw people.

11:50 When you think of home it helps you prioritize. Home is where meaningful relationships happen, not commodification, not program oriented. Think home.

11:51 What are you going to say about the gay community?

11:52 There are times when absolutes conflict. When we start thinking about family, we are going to treat people differently. If we treat gays like family, we are going to threat them better.

11:53 This idea of wonder and the supernatural.

11:54 An hilarious prank video is shown of a driver that wears a special costume that looks like a car seat so he isn't seen in the car.

11:59 The video is sort of like the world and the church. Who's driving the Church? Is it God?

12:01 Didn't Jesus say come follow me? He didn't say come follow some curriculum.

12:04 We are not able to deal with mystery. If you can love someone that is unforgivable, that is supernatural.

12:05 People waited over two hours to be prayed for when Dave spoke at a church in Chicago.

12:07 I wonder Chrystal Cathedral is a harbinger for the church. It went bankrupt.

12:08 Nuns and priests got prayed for recently and everyone fell down. Was that real? But it looks real.

12:09 Dave tells story of praying for a man that was in incredible pain and the pain went away.

12:10 Who's driving the car?

12:10 Discipleship. You can't do it alone. You need the body of Christ.

12:13 I get the best seat in the house during a wedding. The door opens and the father escorts his daughter down the aisle. She is not bridezilla. She is the bride.

12:14 Dave ends in prayer.

12:16 Stew says he is part of the network Xealots. Xealots has a project in Mexico that will allow people to be exposed to a different culture.

12:20 video by Xealots describes the mission of these projects that involve listening and loving people we meet.

12:23 Stew describes what Misseo is up to and then shows a video.

The missional church must be close to the world without being worldly: "So we must now live among them."


Intermission. The live blogging resumes at 2:30 pm Eastern Time.


2:31 Video of Jo Saxton. Saxton says that observing how Jesus did discipleship shows what his priorities are.

Stew says we will learn about the 8 non-negotiable elements of Disciple making. The Master Plan of Evangelism

Neil Cole

2:35 The great days came to an end. The drug dealer and many of the members went back to drugs.Life is messy. Even the best disciple makers will have messes. Jesus had Judas.

2:36 When God starts a movement, he doesn't start with the best people. He starts with the broken. The bad people have a lot of fertilizer in their lives.

2:38 God does things backwards from our point of you. Jews hated tax collectors. God chose a tax collector to tell the Gospel to the Jews. God sends a self-righteous jew - Paul - to the gentiles.

2:39 Don't invest in potential.

2:41 Family is the best group for intimacy.

242 Neil draws circles showing different sizes of groups - starting very small.

2:44 It is okay to want to work with every size of grouping but aim for the bulls eye (groups of 2 or 3).

2:46 My time is to precious to waste it on poor soil.

Hugh Halter

2:49 Hugh tells a story about how a Bible discussion group started in a pub.

2:50 Incarnational relationship exists

2:51 Relationship with the Father. Jesus and the Father are one and wants us to be one too.

2:52 Jesus associated with his disciples. Missional community.

2:53 We have to associate with the worthy to be found.

2:54 Jesus got a reputation for always being with the people that were considered sinners.

2:55 True friends you let them be themselves.

2:56 Are we guilty by association?

Braille - Christian rapper

2:29 So let us be honest.

3:00 Obedience was never optional.

3:00 What if Jesus refused to obey, there would be no hope for us.

3:02 It is disobedience not to teach obedience.

3:03 God's plan will never fail.

Dhati Lewis

3:04 Robert Coleman says we cannot give away something we don't possess.

3:05 A group of people in Denton,Texas, left to go start a church in Atlanta.

3:06 Out of the 35 people that moved to Atlanta, lived in their house and there was a genuine love for each other.

3:07 Apostle Paul recognized the priority of love in 1 Corinthians 13.

3:10 The Great Commission requires us to go and teach the world to fulfill the Great Commandment. We can't impart the love if we haven't experienced the love. We cover ourselves with the fig leaves of Christianity.

3:12 Lewis reads 1 John 1:1-3.

3:13 We have to expose people to the realness of our lives. Authenticity. They will see that we don't have it all together.

3:14 We model the love of Christ.

3:15 We need to teach that love is long suffering. We need to stop romanticizing this idea of love.

3:16 Love is not a spiritual discipline. It is a fruit of the spirit.

Mike Breen


3:16 Yesterday was about "the what" and today is about "the how."

3:17 The principle method Jesus used in making a disciple is ...

3:19 Jesus used invitation and challenge: Come and go.

3:20 The invitation begins by just come and hang out.

3:21 Jesus tells his disciples to feed the people. This increases the challenge.

3:22 Mike tells a story about a horse whisperer.

3:23 We can imitate Jesus by giving people an invitation and a challenge.

3:24 Many churches are built around a high invitation and low challenge culture.

In the valley we discover it is the shepherd transforming us.

Here's the matrix showing the valley:

3:29 Stew asks everyone to consider the same 3 questions.

3:38 Stew introduces the ministry of Downline Ministries.

3:41 Video shows how Downline Builder is a curriculum that helps churches disciple people with personalized teaching.

3:44 Video features testimony of person that had given up on church but discovered missional community at Austin Stone Community Church.

His worldview changed.

3:48 It took root in me that Jesus died for me. I don't have to earn God's love cause Jesus died for me on the Cross.

Todd Engstrom

3:50 Delegation - we need to give ministry away but many us are overworked because of fear. We don't delegate.

3:51 We have fear of delegation because of risk.

3:52 What if delegation is God's mercy to us. He is the one that accomplishes the ministry.

3:52 Often we delegate the wrong stuff.

3:53 Most of us don't make disciples because we don't delegate like Jesus did.

3:54 Before Jesus sends the disciples, he empowers them.

3:54 Luke sends them out in Luke 9 but doesn't go with them. They had to own the ministry. He is leaving. He is going back to the father. Experience is the best teacher.

3:55 We don't know if someone can make disciples until we let them do so.

3:55 Todd learned to delegate because God called Todd to leave and he had to leave the work with someone else.

3:57 I am going to ask you to own this ministry. The ministry was multiplied in Todd's leaving. It was risky but worth it.

3:58 - 3 Lessons

3:58 - (1) Be slow to give someone a title. Let them earn the title.

3:59 - (2) Delegate problems not just tasks. Discipleship is not an automated process. Give ownership of the problems and you get to see people's gifting.

4:00 - (3) Give your best stuff away. If you do what only you can do, it will stop with you.

4:01 Delegation requires us to give away a platform of leadership.

Final challenge: What ministry dare I keep?

William Branch

4:02 I have only one thing left that I haven't heard said.

4:04 Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

4:12 Branch recommends the book The Peacemaking Pastor.

4:12 God is not content with leaving people where they are.

4:08 Rehearse for the day.

4:09 Onesimus was not only a disciple but he was also a discipler. He was upgraded because of Christ.

4:13 The time to apply the Gospel is now.

4:14 We who might feel justified in cutting our disciples off want to continue with them.

Jeff Vanderstelt

4:15 God's intent was to fill the earth with his glory through his image bearers.

4:15 God's calling requires reproduction.

4:16 How many disciples are making disciples? Trees don't reproduce trees. They make seeds.

4:17 Let churches come out of disciples that form churches.

4:18 Jeff tells story about a couple that came for pre-marriage counseling and told him that they had never heard that marriage is about Jesus.

4:19 Keep it simple. Keep it transferable.

4:21 We're not about giving books. We're about giving lives.

4:22 Jeff tells his 8 year old son that one day he will be married. He is teaching his child to become an adult.

4:23 I am training a person to be a disciple maker even before he is a Christian.

4:24 Don't hide what Jesus is saving people to do.

4:24 Sow seeds of multiplication.

4:25 Baptism is not an introduction to Christianity. It is an introduction to missions - the mission of God.

4:25 Churches should be a releasing culture.

Odd Thomas

4:26 Jesus was seizing every opportunity to teach his disciples.

4:27 We should make his desire our default position.


Intermission. The live blogging resumes at 7:30 pm Eastern Time.


 Welcome back to the final session of Verge 2013.

7:44 Stew opens in prayer.

Propaganda - Spoken Word Artist

7:45 The tortoise always wins over the hare.

7:47 No coulda shoulda woulda. We are standard bearers.

7:48 It takes discipline to be dead to sin.

7:51 Justin Lopez introduces Dr. John Perkins

Perkins is seeing reconciliation in this generation, something he's been working for his entire adult life.

7:52 Perkins says that after 52 years of fighting apartheid in America and seeing people crossing racial barriers is such an honor.

7:55 Discipleship is about God in us reconciling people to himself.

7:56 The God who said, "Let there be light" has shown his light on us.

7:57 Jesus provided everything we need in his atonement.

7:58 Discipleship is lifting up Jesus. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up ..." I think it is the failure to lift up Jesus. We are joining churches for other reasons.

8:00 We need to show people that we care about them.

8:01 Your method don't save.

8:02 We need each other. God recruited us. We are his labor force. I created you that you might be my workmanship.

8:03 We have to believe right in Jesus and understand a sense of calling.

8:04 The leadership in the Bible is a call.

8:05 Prayer is about listening to God.

8:06 I have found in real discipleship as we have people converted yesterday will speak John 3:16 in a way you never heard before because the Word of God is living.

8:08 Wherever Philip was the gospel was presented.

8:10 "Do you want to be saved" is not a biblical statement. They will ask us instead. "What must I do ..."

8:11 We are ambassadors for Christ. We got to make this Sunday School. Individualism scatters.

8:12 If you have salvation, you belong to God. We should be courageous.

8:13 I am saved for the future. What are we waiting for?

8:13 We are the post-racist generation.

8:14 They that do the Word will be blessed. We need to care this message to all people include the leaders.

8:15 This is a sacred trust. We've lost the people that see their office as a sacred trust.

8:16 Let's go back to our communities and be Gideon and throw out our fleece.

8:17 We need to disciple the politicians.

8:18 We need to bring the poor more than clothes. This is our moment. We need to get involved at the community level.

8:21 Video of Dave Gibbons.

8:21 Discipleship is critical because that is the call of the church. We equip people that carry out their mission.

8:21 The church needs to do life together. That is where the messiness of life is. Community not defined as a small group but as a family. Discipleship is not a program it is real life.

8:24 Worshipping by singing to praise to God.

8:26 Propaganda speaks as background music continues.

8:29 Singing about surrendering our lives to God.

8:36 Singing Love Shines.

Your love shines, love shines at Calvary, Calvary
Now we proclaim that Jesus reigns in victory, victory
From the cross from the grave you rose victoriously
Son of God, King of love you reign victoriously

In prayer, "Jesus, You are the great teacher ..."

8:43 "We stand in awe of You, Jesus."

8:44 Singing the hymn Jesus Paid it All.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

8:50 Transition into prayer. Think about the time when you knew you were a sinner and realized you needed a savior. Remember what you felt.


Matt Carter

8:53 God fulfilled the prayer that you would be equpped to make disciples.

8:54 We cannot let our disciple making take precedence over being a disciple.

8:56 Apostle Paul was one of the greatest disciple makers in history.

8:56 Carter quotes Philippians 3:7 and then Philippians 3:8. Paul says, " ... that I may gain Christ."

8:59 Carter reads Revelation 2:1-2.

9:00 Jesus says defending against false doctrine is good.

9:00 Revelation 2:3 - Jesus sees our perseverence.

9:01 There is one more thing the church was doing that was good. - found in Revelation 2:6. The church was no longer light to their culture.

9:02 But there is one thing that Jesus has against the church. It has walked away from its first love.

9:03 Jesus warns that He will remove the lampstand if the church doesn't repent. The lampstand is his presence and blessings. That is a dire warning for us.

9:04 If you love your mission more than Jesus, your savior will have no part in your mission.

9:05 Carter says the David Platt started the conference with a verse in Matthew 7.

9:07 There is a monumental difference in between knowing about Jesus, doing stuff for Jesus and knowing Jesus.

9:09 The people in Matthew 7:21 say Jesus is Lord. Matthew 7:22 indicates it will be "many" people that didn't do the will of the father.

9:11 In Matthew 7:23 Jesus says, "I never knew you; depart from me ..."

9:13 At seminary Carter saw a painting of the disciples and you could tell which one was Judas. But that is not like the Bible. When Jesus said that he would be betrayed, each of the disciples asked, "Surely, not I?" It wasn't obvious to them it was Judas. Judas preached in the name of Jesus. Jesus did great works in the name of Jesus.

9:15 Carter tells a story about getting to know Nolan Ryan the professional baseball player.

9:19 Nolan was pitching and hit another baseball player with the ball. Robin Ventura in a moment of stupidity dropped the bat and charged Nolan Ryan and punches Ryan. Ryan puts Ventura in a headlock and starts pounding him.

9:20 You could say I was a Nolan Ryan theologian. I became a Nolan Ryan apologist.

9:21 At a party Carter was face to face with Nolan Ryan. All Carter could say was, "You are Nolan Ryan" and "Thank you."

9:22 When I was with Ryan I knew all about him but I did not know him.

9:24 Paul said , " ... I count all things to be loss ... to gain Christ."

9:25 Judas was not a disciple of Christ because he was willing to give up Christ to gain 30 pieces of silver.

9:26 Knowing Christ is the most valuable thing in your life.

9:27 We didn't just love our mission, we were in love with our Savior.

9:29 Maybe there is some of you that have lost the joy of your salvation.

9:30 Maybe you need to get on your knees tonight and remember the time you first met Jesus.

9:34 Singing Knowing You.

Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours,
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

My hope is set on You.

9:41 Singing God I Look to You.

God I look to You, I won't be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, You're where my help comes from
Give me wisdom; You know just what to do

9:46 Singing King of Love.

My lips will praise
Oh King of love
Who sealed my heart
For realms above
In sin and shame
Came mercy's flood
I run to You
Oh King of love

9:47 Singing One Thing Remains.

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

9:51 His Love Never Fails!!

9:52 Stew: You've heard the charge. Let's do this.

That concludes the live blog of Verge13.

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