Discipleship and Intimacy With God

A training outline on discipleship/intimacy

Neil and Dana Gamble,
509-262-4201, [email protected]


And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matt. 28:18-20

We are to “go” and make disciples like Jesus says, teaching them to obey all of His commands, the greatest of which is to love God. First of all, God wants people to be restored to fellowship with Him. Jesus died, to restore us to a place of intimacy with the Father (Jn.17:3). Out of this place we make disciples to reach the world. We err if we train people for ministry without bringing them into a place where they understand and inhabit intimacy with God first. Jesus’ ministry flows from intimacy with the Father; all that He has done was done as a result of this intimacy and His dedication to the Father. His statements of “I didn’t come to do my will.., I do nothing but what the father shows …, I do not speak on my own authority but as I hear…”, etc all show that Jesus did not come to do His will but Father’s which takes intimacy and conversation. We need to find and show Honor To our Father, learn the pleasure of simple Obedience to the Son, and be willing to Sacrifice our lives to the Spirit. This will show our love and intimacy with God to the world.

People hear differently according to the positions they inhabit in a relationship. Who you see yourself as being, your identity will affect your perspective and your perspective will change how you walk out the position you have with the one you are listening to or speaking to. It will affect what and how you hear always! The identity, perspective and position you see yourself in biblically will affect what and how you hear from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God is about covenant relationships, a naturally supernatural, close, personal fellowship with Him, (intimacy), not religious dogma or doctrine. His purpose for us is to “seek and save the lost” and to “destroy the works of the enemy”. All discipleship must lead others toward this goal. 2 In “this place of intimacy” there will be birthed the desire to obey and go. We tend to disciple people to enable them to do ministry inside buildings and be a believer, but without bringing them into a close covenant relationship with our Creator.

Our discipleship should help people to understand that they are sons and daughters of God first, with the corresponding responsibilities of bringing honor to our Father. This is a very important concept; We are servants in action but children in position. This workshop outline focuses on intimate love, and on hearing from the Father and our Lord through the Holy Spirit to disciple. We want all leaders and believers to gain understanding of this relationship and to pass it on (give it to others, not just talk about it). Our ministry, our witness for Christ and our discipleship, should all stem from our intimate relationship with God and be the result of knowing Him, then we should lead others to the same place. This will help us fulfill God’s desire on earth.          

Lord, teach us to love people the way that they need to be loved, not the way we desire to love them.

Love (God’s Love) in the Greek = agape and means to love dearly, a giving love that shows compassion and commitment toward others’ need. It has the power to change that which cannot be changed. It is a miraculous intervention into the lives of people by God and His naturally supernatural abilities. The Greek word agape that Jesus used may have originated in the Hebrew word agab (aw-gab’), a primitive root; meaning to breathe after, that is, to love sensually or dote, also to breathe against, as during an intimate kiss of passion, mouth to mouth, as when God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul, Gen. 2:7. Jesus also breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). We were created in intimacy, lost it, but have been restored to intimacy through Jesus’ sacrifice. Intimacy requires; honor, obedience, and sacrifice. (There is a cost to any real relationship that involves actions to “keep” the relationship alive, healthy).

“Know” is another word that describes the Lord’s feelings about us. We are to know Him and be known by Him (Matt. 7:21-23 and Luke 13:24-27). To “know” in Scripture means not only to learn about something, but to experience it, to come to know intimately. The Hebrew word that was the foundation to the Greek word that we translate to “know” in English was the Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. God is not saying that we are to have a sexual relationship with Him, but that our lives should be entwined as one with Him. We should be closer than a brother. These biblical definitions reveal what should be our relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is to be an every-day experience of love, intimacy, fellowship and friendship.

Discipleship does not happen in large groups.

In Discipleship you leave your titles and callings home!

To disciple you must come like Jesus did;

Matthew 20:25-28 (NKJV) 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Emphasis mine)

A disciple is not under you but you are under them, lifting them up so they may walk closer to Jesus.



If you are a leader in Christ’s body then you are to “equip and edify” the Body so they can do ministry. You are to be the example of Christ to them, for them, – FOR HIS KINGDOM!

IF YOU MAKE ONE DISCIPLE A YEAR. FOR 20 YEARS AND EACH ONE YOU make MAKES ONE DISCIPLE EACH YEAR FOR THE DURATION OF THE 20 YEARS, you will end up with over 1 million souls walking with the Lord and being fruitful FOR FATHER’S KINGDOM. The goal of discipleship is to make people into sons and daughters of God, houses of prayer. Jesus is our model, and our goal. He told His disciples that He was sending them just like He was sent. Jn.20:21

Discipleship Workshop Outline

This training can be taught in full or any part of it can be focused on as you see the need. For the whole training you must allow at least 2.5 full days.

In the early church the disciples had only two things working in their favor; The Name of Jesus, and Holy Spirit. They did not have the New Testament or the training materials that we have. The Lord was with them, His blood had redeemed them and Holy Spirit was both in them and upon them to guide them, teach them and empower them. This was sufficient. Let us also build on this foundation if we want to see God move today as He did then.

Discipleship is about learning to live a naturally supernatural life in intimate (dynamic, close, personal, powerful) fellowship with God, and the compelling obedience that flows from that conversation.

I. Purpose

The purpose of this workshop is discipleship. The result that we aim for is “Christ’s Church being who they are called to be”. The aim is not to teach a method or program, but simply to reveal the simplicity of discipleship. The objectives are to;

  • Help you to find and develop leaders/disciples through discipleship,(an apprenticeship, mentoring/equipping style of training), and then cause them to re-produce creating a multiplying effect through the church body to reach the world.
  • Teach you to follow New Testament training guidelines. Mt. 28:18-20, 2Tim.2:2
  • Show you how God does the work as we honor His Word. Jn.14:15; 15:14; Mt.24:35   
  • Demonstrate how discipleship done Jesus’ way will result in Church growth and communities changed.

Throughout this training you will find intimacy and hearing the voice of God are essential ingredients in all that we do. We will use the Bible as our only standard and tool. It will be the foundation and final authority.

II Overview

 The authority or traditions that help or hinder what Christ’s Church does are found in looking at the following;

  •  What does ‘normal’ Church looks like.
  •  A New Testament church model from the Word.
  •  Seven basic commands of Jesus.
  • Choosing and making disciples.
  •  Choices create.
  •  Risk.
  •  Leaders and purpose.
  •  Your allies and enemies.
  •  Prayer and prayer walking.
  • ‘End’ visioning (planning steps that lead to strategic results)

What we believe to be true will never change the truth, but when we accept “the truth” it will change us.

III. Authority/traditions

The first thing we must look at is where we are with the Word, in a real way. We need to take a fresh look at scripture and our present actions.

We cannot proceed until we see what we are doing now and find out if we are doing Jesus Commands, good things or just what has been told to us- the traditions of man?

1) New Testament commands, (a few primary ones)(Matt.22:37-40, 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Lu.24;45-49; Jn.14:15, 15:14, 20:21-23)

  • We obey these commands without question or voting.
  • We never hinder or needlessly delay obedience to them by exerting control.
  • Not having, “sufficient knowledge” should not keep us from obeying Jesus commands. IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU KNOW, BUT IT IS ABOUT HOW MUCH OF WHAT YOU KNOW ARE YOU DOING OR GIVNG AWAY to others!

2) Ethnic and Church customs or traditions:

  • Some traditions are ok.; they establish who we are ethnically and socially and enable us to maintain accountability and order, to allow us to work in agreement.
  • We need to nullify established church traditions or customs if they delay, hinder or replace obedience to God’s commands by the Church at large. (This is a hard one as traditions many times prove more powerful than the truth in our living)

Church traditions need to be examined against Jesus’ commands. Religious customs or traditions can become ‘gods’ or idols to the crowd, and not a one of us can completely avoid homage to this “idol of tradition” in one way or other.

Discuss which of the following activities fit Jesus’ commands and which are just church traditions.

  • Baptism.
  • Ordination.
  • The Lords Supper.
  • The “sinners prayer”
  • Sunday “church” service.
  • One man or only a few doing all the teaching/preaching.
  • Praying with our eyes closed, hands folded, on knees.
  • Laying on of hands.
  • all being sent

God is the God of generations so we must be careful what we are passing on—we must always ask, “Where are we taking those following us?”

Which is the greatest risk, to obey Jesus’ commands and be rejected by men and institutions, or to obey the traditions of men and be rejected by Father God?

IV. What Is a Healthy Church?

Grace enables relationship but does not remove responsibility and accountability. We must meet people in the midst of their need, not with “our” agenda for them.

What does a healthy church look like in most of the world? In general, simple church or what is called ‘house church’ (small interactive discipleship groups that meet in homes or businesses, at work or during free time) exhibit better health than traditional churches. In simple or house churches around the world there are:

  • Few or no paid pastors
  • No visible church buildings
  • Severe persecution
  • In many places very few, if any, bibles in the correct languages
  • Intensive, intentional discipleship/intimacy training
  • high percentage of involvement and going, (accountability and adherence to Christ’s commands).
  • Faith working by Love (Gal.5:6b) to die for their beliefs.

In traditional Western-style churches there tends to be;

  • Mostly paid pastors
  • Visible church buildings
  • Little persecution
  • Abundant Bibles and resources available
  • Little or no discipleship/intimacy training.
  • Many Bible colleges
  • clergy/laity division
  • An average of 3-7% of the people in any given traditional church are involved in service; teaching, preaching and training others in adherence to Christ’s commands to go while 93% of the attendees are sitting. (there are exceptions of course).
  • Victor Choudhrie (India house church leader) says that 95% of the house churches (discipleship groups) in India have been started with a miracle. The Discipleship/house church movements going on in many countries are the fastest growing movement in the world, not just in India. It is powered by the Holy Spirit. Miracles, obedience and Discipleship are the norm. Miracles of themselves do not start a movement. There must be a compelling relationship with God that produces discipleship or obedience to “The Great Commission” amongst the people. as a result of the displayed intimacy or relationship with Jesussigns and miracles will follow The only “gathering of Christ-followers” that will stand in the end is one with “no compromise” written on the people’s heart. It will be the one that embraces a true prophetic word,  where people are willing to die in obedience to Jesus’ commands, to see His will done on earth.

More statistics: Evangelical church buildings tend to be used by a congregation on the average two/four days a week That is our tradition. That is ok, but what are we producing? Is there room in us to change or will we continue to do what we have always done and hope for different results. We need to see change, not as a correction, but as an opportunity for more! Home gatherings or  churches, being simply “people’s homes” should be God’s “houses of prayer” and usually are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, being a part of the community they are located in. Intimacy and discipleship in other areas are already there.

V. New Testament Church;

Definition of church: The people of God, two or three believers who gather together—family of God.

(church meetings should be discipleship training and gathering times).

Purpose of church: To live restored to Father in intimacy, – Jn17:20-23; to be Jesus’ witness, in power to the world – Acts 1:8; to seek and save the lost – Lu. 19:10; to destroy the works of the enemy- 1Jn 3:8; to preach to the world- Mk. 16:15; and make disciples-Mt. 28:18-20 and 2Tim. 2:2.

Essentials of church: Two or three gathered together. (Bigger is not necessarily better as large groups are hard to bring into heart agreement). Small groups tend to be more naturally supernatural as their shared time is more open and their hearts are more together. There is a greater freedom to grow.

  • Prayer.
  • Evangelism.
  • Discipleship/training.
  • Signs and wonders.
  • Fellowship.
  • Giving.
  • Communion.

We must ALL be involved in these practices, not just leaders! WE are The Church!

Eph 4:15-16 (AMPC)

“15 Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

16 For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.”

God calls His church to: Be ambassadors of Christ’s kingdom. We are to take what is His and bring it to bear on earth, not simply exist. We are to be co-creators with Him, completing His work on earth. The “Church as a whole is to; GO, Make disciples, preach, teach. Heal, deliver, be the truth, share God’s love.

The Church is not just to do what we feel comfortable doing but we are to be a people of Honor, Obedience, and Sacrifice to Him, thus fulfilling our covenant responsibilities with Him.

Convenience is generally not compatible with trust and obedience.

Moses told the Lord that unless He went up with the Israelites to the Promised Land, that they would be no different from the pagans who were already there: “Then he said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth’.” (Exodus 33:15-16)

Similarly, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them ‘power from on high’ ( Holy Spirit, Luke. 24:49). We must have His Presence with us to make a difference. His presence with us is the only difference between true Christianity and other religions. HIS ANOINTING BREAKS THE YOKE AND CHANGES WHAT CAN’T BE CHANGED! Christianity should always be “naturally supernatural”.

Characteristics of the discipleship meetings of the first New Testament church (Acts 2:41-47):

  • Instruction, 2:42
  • Fellowship, 2:42
  • Breaking bread, 2:42
  • Praying as a body, 2:42; 4:29-31
  • Worship, 2:47, Jn 4:24
  • Effective outreach, signs and wonders, 2:43,47
  • Agreement, 2:44-47
  • Mutual assistance and giving, 2:44 (Phil.2:1-4)

New Testament Church in most countries

  • No buildings
  • Anyone can lead
  • Intimacy
  • All things in common
  • Accountability to covenant, His goals = discipleship, going, prayer
  • All share and ALL Go!
  • Visible, and invisible when circumstances favor secrecy
  • Everyone has the same ministry focus
  • Healing, signs and wonders are common among the people

Traditional churches in western type countries have many of the following as part of their existence. I do not believe this is what is intended, but some if not all of these tend to be what happens. NO condemnation is intended, just things we need to look at.

  • Church buildings with costly maintenance
  • Clergy lead,
  • Division between leaders and laymen
  • Superficial relations between most members
  • Little if any accountability to “GO”.
  • Main goal = membership/ coming
  • Few share
  • Come to “church building”
  • Very visible, subject to government monitoring, control and persecution
  • Not focused on the ministry of the body but instead one man’s vision and a few chosen ones share.
  • Little healing, signs and wonders performed by a few “known anointed persons”.

VI. Basic Commands of Jesus

We should model and teach Jesus’ commands out of our love for Him. See John 14:15,21 and 15:14.

These seven commands are general and elementary, they should receive first priority (compare them to Paul’s elementary principles of Christ Heb. 5:12—6:1-2 and Jesus’ calling, Lu.4:18).

  1. Repent, believe and receive the Holy Spirit (be saved) (Mark.1:15, Jn.3:15-17, Jn.20:21
  2. Be baptized in water and Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20, Lu 24:49, Acts 1:8)
  3. Make disciples who receive the Spirit of Power upon them with signs following (Mark16:15-18, Lu.24:49, Acts 2:4-8)
  4. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-28, 1 Cor. 11:23)
  5. Love God, neighbors, brothers, and enemies with naturally supernatural agape love. (Luke10:25-37, John13:34-35, Matt.18:21-35)
  6. Pray (John16:24, Luke18:1, Luke. 21:36, Matt.7:7 1Thes.5:17)
  7. Give (Luke 6:38, Luke 16:10-13, 2 Cor.9:1-15)

Go and Make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Tim. 2:2) called “the great commission”, is one of the resurrection commands of Jesus after He rose from the dead. We use, do, and teach His seven basic commands as we fulfill this “Go” command.

Excuses are invalid reasons for neglect of duty. God’s servants must be available to Him for supernatural service at all times, because the Gospel is a demonstration of Spirit and Power (Lu. 4:18, Mark 16:15-18; 1 Cor. 2:4, 4:19-20).

In traditional churches a few people do all the work. Pastors and elders do what God meant for the whole congregation to do, though they are striving to move the Church to a place of obedience. Discipleship is a big key because it is about “others” and sees the abilities of others, then motivates and empowers them. Discipleship releases the resources in the Body into usefulness and obedience to do Christ’s ministry. It is liberating, empowering, and never controlling. It changes the duties of the clergy and frees them to be who they are intended to be.

Leaders must stop doing the “Body of Christ’s” job of ministry. We, as leaders, need to find a new ways of training, empowering, and edifying “The Church” that impassions them to do the work of the ministry. (Eph.4:11-15)

VII. Choosing and making Disciples.

  • Who would you disciple? What are the requirements to be a disciple?
  • What are some of the attributes that you would want in a disciple? Honesty? Integrity? Faithfulness? Loyalty? Substantial education? Good work ethics? Should they have the attributes of an elder?’ (We are to judge by the Spirit not the flesh).
  • How do Jesus’ disciples fit the requirements you have for a disciple?
  • Peter (Matt. 4:18-20, Mark 1:16-20, Lk.5:1-9). Peter was impulsive and irresponsible, he was not honest, nor did he remain loyal.
  • John (Matt. 4:21-22, Mark1:19-20, Lk.5:10-11). John was one of the “sons of thunder.” He was the only one that wrote saying, “he is God’s favorite”. He did not remain loyal. Peter and John are both shown to be uneducated men in Acts 4:13.
  • Nathaniel (John 1:44-51). Nathanial spoke poorly of Nazareth and said that nothing good could come from there—he was bigoted. Also he was lying under a fig tree during the work day— could be that he was lazy. He also deserted Jesus.
  • Matthew (Matt. 9:9-11). Tax collector, thief, crook, sinner. Even with his experience Jesus did not give him the money to handle. He ran away in Jesus’ moment of need.
  • Judas. The betrayer, Jesus knows this before He chose Him. Why would He choose someone who will betray him to be killed, to be a disciple? Judas was given the same power, authority and commission as the other 11 were given, and care of the money. Why?

When did Jesus pick His disciples? How and why did Jesus select His disciples? We must recognize that Jesus did only what the Father told Him to do. Jesus did not choose them, the Father did. Jesus simply obeyed and trusted the Father. Only God can show you whom to disciple. He has the plan and knows men’s hearts. He is looking for a few God men. The Father knew what He wanted them to be before Jesus began (Jn.17:20-23). Father saw beyond the flesh, He saw, “potential”, heart and hunger, willingness to serve without accolades, etc..

What is the fruit of an orange tree? When is an orange tree truly fruitful, from a biblical viewpoint? The fruit with its seed is only a part of the tree. The true fruit is another tree that grows from the seed. Anyone can count the seeds in an apple or orange, but only God can count the apples or oranges in a seed. (We eat the flesh and destroy the seed. We take and eat that which tastes good and spit the seed out. If we let the flesh die with the seed in it, in death the flesh will nourish the seed and produce real fruit, another tree or plant.)    

You cannot birth what you are not. Make disciples the way Jesus did. Help them to know and be like Him, to love Him enough to joyfully obey His commands before all else, doing the Father’s will. You must walk the path you want disciples to walk.

  • Jesus started with calling ordinary people to follow him and become “fishers of men” (gave them His purpose at the beginning), Matt. 4:19
  • Jesus had His disciples do what they knew. Jn. 4:1-2
  • He empowered them from the very first. Mark 3:13.
  • He asked them questions that touched their hearts, and then answered the questions in their hearts that they were afraid to ask. Mark 9:33.
  • He provoked them to ask questions about what was or was not happening. He healed when they could not and then answered their questions as to why, Mark.9:28, Luke 8:9.
  • He let them experience the miraculous and did miracles with them, Matt.14:13-21. Jesus only blessed the bread, the disciples saw it multiply in their hands and were able to feed the multitudes just as He had told them to do.
  • He sent them out, without accompanying them, to use what they knew and to do what He had empowered them to do, Luke 9:1-2. (After they worked with him for a while, then he let them work by themselves for short periods).
  • He empowered the ones whom they were discipling. Luke10:1. The 70 whom Jesus sent out appear to have never had any intimate time with Jesus that is recorded. {The disciples had to be sharing with them, while Jesus slept or was doing other things. Either that, or they were new disciples and He gave them power at the beginning, like the twelve, trusting them (with no intimate experience with him and no training) to do what the twelve close disciples had been trained to do}.
  • Finally, Jesus left His disciples physically, Luke 24:51. He gave them the responsibility to complete what He had begun. The disciples had all failed Him, left Him and abandoned what they had learned. After resurrection Jesus went, found them and gave them the Kingdom. He did not start over with new people nor did He force them out of His church because of their failures. He empowered them again and let them take over the leadership of the movement that He had started. (What would we would have done if someone deserted us at a critical time?).

Jesus’ discipleship brought the twelve to a new place in their relationship with Him. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John15:15

Jesus brought His disciples to a place of oneness (Jn.17:20-23).’ The discipleship process became one of interaction among friends, and was no longer that of a master over servants. He made them into family!   

  • Take time to follow Jesus through Scripture as He called his disciples and led them.
  • Look at what the disciples did and then at what and how He taught them to do what He did…
  • Look at Jesus’ attitude and goals for them, and how He continually exhorted and encouraged them to be more and eventually like Him.

See how discipline and the need of obedience were brought into their lives; not by control, but as they walked and did things with Jesus. (they learned by the things they suffered)

Find out how Jesus made disciples who desired to obey and walk with Him even in trials; through relationship rather than having them obey out of a commanded law.


Your life must model hearing from God, praying, sharing and serving others. You must live what you want them to become. You must be a partaker in and of the naturally supernatural life of Christ. You must be making disciples like Jesus did.


You must empower your disciples to be naturally supernatural. Then be supportive of their vision or heart desire and lead them to a place where they can experience the fulfillment of their desire to be needed, used, and rewarded by the Lord. You must help or assist them in hearing and obeying the Lord. Make a place for them to see the Lord move through them. Don’t protect people from their mistakes or themselves. Use mistakes or failures to teach and empower your disciples further.


Get them doing “the Ministry of the Lord” and walking in power, then send them by themselves to do ministry. Use short trips or outings  that will show them who they are and that the Lord will anoint and use them. Use trips that will stretch them also, but where they will find confidence in the Lord being with them. Sending disciples without follow up and encouragement after the fact, tends to alienate and cause them to feel abandoned.


When they have become doers, don’t send them away, if someone needs to leave, you go. In doing this you are showing confidence in them to take over what you have started. Give them responsibility and they will become responsible (to complete the ministry of Christ). Leave physically somewhat but never quite speaking to them and listening to their needs.. You must always be available to listen, and encourage even though you are not with them physically.

A good disciple-maker (mentor) is one who does not teach his students what they can learn for themselves. (he causes them to discover that which they need). Trainees tend to learn more when they think that they discover answers by their own efforts rather than through your giving them the answers all the time. 

Discover Jesus’ model for evangelism in these passages:

  • Luke 9 and10, Mk.6 and Matt.10. Study His methods, He gives no other evangelism methodology.
  • Mark chapters 5 & 6 shows Jesus’ example of not being worried about the outcome of obedience (Jesus went, miraculously healed the man who was tormented by the ‘Legion,’ was rejected, left, came back later and saw the harvest. He did not fight or try to force the people to believe.)
  • Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:5 show the need to disciple and mentor His teachings rather than lecture them to others.

Facts about good disciple-making modeling:

  • If you have no passion, then neither will the people who follow you. Passion is contagious. God does exhibit emotions; so should we.
  • Discipling requires that we listen more to the Spirit and to our disciples, than we teach.
  • If you are not doing what you teach, then neither will your followers. Your teaching method and example will make them controllers or liberators, tyrants or servants.
  • Training is designed according to each disciple’s need, not to promote our plans. Our interests and schedule of training should never be more important than their needs.
  • New churches and leaders need different training from mature ones. Once people are walking the walk, then teaching can change and we can use different formats, but discipleship can never stop! (Paul’s teachings did not show up until approximately 30 years AFTER the “Church” was started).
  • Discipling is meant to reproduce. Start with simple methods of training so that those whom you train can reproduce it as they train others. This is not just learning with the mind but doing the work. Emphasize intimacy with Christ and doing the work with Him.

What are you teaching your disciples?

What they do is actually what you have taught them, no matter what you have said.

If believers are simply sitting, it is because they have been taught, in some way, that being idle and sitting is acceptable Christianity. About 85% of all Christian believers around the world, in traditional church, are sitting, not serving. If this is the case in your gathering, with those you have taught, you must truthfully acknowledge and confess that the believers are idle because that is what you have taught them is acceptable; in spite of what you may think you have spoken with your lips.   


Nuts and Bolts

Discipleship training or mentoring must be motivated by love, obedience-oriented and naturally- supernatural. It must…

  • Be deliberate.
  • Be empowering.
  • Set people free to follow Jesus, without restrictive, man-made rules.
  • Be oriented to the each person’s literacy and learning level.
  • Be based on the examples of the New Testament.
  • Be grounded in intimate prayer, not superficial, religious words that sound like prayer.
    •   Reproduce after its own kind (orange trees produce orange trees; good disciples produce good disciples).
    •   Be passionate and filled with love. Passion is contagious, and Love never fails.

How many of the people in your society or area died today without hearing about the real Jesus?

VIII. Choices Create

God is not the only one who creates—He gave us the power to make creative choices—thus to create. Our choices create different futures. Without the power of Choice – there cannot be real love!

  • God remains the same, creation continues to grow and change. Fear of change is a fear of the future.
  • We make choices and the choices we make produce change. They dictate and direct us to future choices.
  • Our choices change our world as well as our options and opportunities. They can even change our eternal destination.
  • Has your church grown or changed because of you changing or making new choices?
  • A sequel to the Acts of the Apostles is still being written because God’s apostles and followers will continue His work until Jesus returns
  • Our choices have to do with life—birth, growth, change, movement, reproduction and death.

All actions are the result of decisions or “non-decisions”— Choices!!

If we fail to make a decision out of lack of will or through compromise, we willingly surrender our initiative and freedom, and make the choice to let others shape our future for us.

Death is a part of life. Things must die so that other things may grow. Leaves that die fertilize trees. There is a time and season for all things. At times we need to make the choice to let some things die to produce new life.

As humans, all of our choices and actions are based on incomplete, sometimes inaccurate or even contradictory information. Risks must be taken. Risk is a vital part of making choices and of life. Risk is vital to truly live as a disciple of Christ’s.

“Chance” is not a threat, but an opportunity that we must be always ready to seize and follow through on. Calling something a co-incidence is simply not recognizing God in our lives.

IX. Risk

Without risk we will go nowhere and do nothing.

The definition of risk is; possibility of loss or danger, taking a chance, to expose to danger or change. Risk operates in the presence of danger or fear and what some might believe to see as eminent failure.

Here are some suggestions and thoughts involving risk:

  • Risk thinks, then acts outside of the box (not according to custom), “on the edge”.
  • Risk dares to go into unmapped territory, where no one has gone before.
  • Persecution will be normal when you do discipling and going. It is risky! Some persecution will come from traditional churches, some from your own foolishness and some from the world.
  • Thinking is not acting. If there is no action then there is no risk.
  • Risk failure; make your church a “going” church.
  • Let people make mistakes. You have! Risk your reputation for them. Jesus did with you.
  • Teach the reasons for giving—not just for your need!
  • Stop building temples for men to see; start building “the Church” (the body of believers).
    • Be driven by passion not reputation. It is amazing what can be done when it does not matter if you get the credit or the disgrace gained from your actions, or that of others.
    • Network with other ministries, be the first to do something new. Explore, Initiate, change. Find unity in diversity.

Fear is the most prevalent factor that stops most of what God wants us to do. A Risk taker is not without fear but does not let the fear of people, failure or persecution of any kind stop them. In Jesus we have power to resist fear. “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and discipline or a sound mind)” ( 2 Tim. 1:7).

We really need to ask, “What are our fears?” Is it; being vulnerable to others or their judgment, being exposed, disappointment or disappointing God or others, rejection of any kind– by men or God, success, failure (loosing your position or status), embarrassing the Lord? These and other fears will keep us from intimacy with the Father and therefore keep us from being free and effective in the Christian life and discipleship. They can stop us from taking the necessary steps to fulfill Father’s desire for our lives.

Which is the greater risk; to obey the commands in the New Testament (examples, Mt. 28:18-20; Mk.16:15-18; Lu. 24:49 Jn. 20:21-23) or to ignore them and believe you will not be judged for being dis-obedient?

X. Leaders’ Purpose;

MT. 20:25-28,
Eph. 4:11-16, 1Pet. 5:1-4. The purpose of leaders in the body of Christ is:

  • To Serve, not be served, Mt. 20:25-28
  • Equip people for ministry. (give them tools), Eph. 4:12.
  • Edify people for life in Christ and in His body (encourage, build them up), Eph. 4:12
  • Bring them to the unity of faith, knowledge of the Son, to a perfect man. Eph. 4:13.
    • Bring people to the measure of the stature of fullness of Christ (Eph. 3:13-21, 4:15),
    • Be examples, not Lords, 1Pet. 5:3

All of these commands are to be fulfilled and to be lived by leaders, so that the members of the body may grow up in all things, into Him, Christ and then walk like Him. Jn.20:21

What is the fullness of Christ? What does it look like? Find the answers in Matt. 20: 25-28; Luke 22: 24-26 and John 13:13-17. (in actuality it is to be like Him, Jn 17:18, 20:21)

Leaders are to be like Jesus. (Two examples are David and Joseph). Honor, obedience and sacrifice are the main qualities needed to be true leaders in the Gospel.

Compare the likenesses and differences between the two great leaders, Moses, a leader of the Law, (top down law giver) and Jesus, a servant, (bottom up encourager and equipper). What are the differences in obedience of their followers with God and what happened when they were gone off with God?

  • Moses was called to demonstrate the law and it’s ineffectiveness at changing people.
  • Moses did most everything by himself and when he left to go and be with God, the people sinned. No leaders were left who had been in intimacy with God or who had a hunger to trust and obey the Lord.
  • Jesus put His disciples to work immediately, empowered them and brought them into intimacy with the Father and Himself.
  • Jesus left His disciples to continue the building of His church and they did so. They had known Jesus intimately and thus obeyed Him fully and immediately, out of love for Him.

When Jesus went up on the mount, the disciples were down below trying to carry on ministry to the people, not making idols.

Enemies of Jesus style leadership;

  • The flesh, Rom.8:5-7
  • The world, James 4:4; 1 Jn.2:15-17
  • Satan, John.10:10
  • Your traditions, Matt. 15:1-9
  • Small expectations, Matt. 14:31
  • Following man, Gal. 1:10
  • Fear, 2 Tim. 1:7
  • Pride, Prov.16:18
  • The tongue, James 3:1-12
  • Gossip, James 4:11
  • Relying on our strength, 2 Chr. 32:8

Allies of true Jesus style leadership; 

  • Jesus Name,  Acts 4.12; Phil.2:9-13
  • Testimony and blood, Rev.12:11
  • Authority, Luke 10:19-20; Mark 16:17-18
  • Word of God, Heb.4:12; 2 Tim. 3:15-17
  • Faith, Matt.19:26
  • Following God in intimacy, Matt. 4:19
  • Love, 1 Cor. 13:8
  • Humility, James 4:7
  • God’s Word, Matt.12:36-37; Prov. 6:2; 12:6, 14
  • Prayer, Eph. 6:18, James 5:16
  • Holy Spirit’s power, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13

XI. Prayer in the Christian life

It is one thing to have a name that is written in Heaven as being a man of God, but it is quite another to have your name feared in hell as being God’s man. God’s man is someone who knows who they are and who Satan is not (Satan is not able to overcome Jesus or Jesus’ disciples, he is nothing more than the leader of the fallen angels.). Christians are the Temple of God (1Co.316; 6:19-20) Greater is He in us….(1Jn.4:4)

Prayer is not a part of the Christian walk, it is the Christian walk. That is what Jesus and Paul meant when they told us to pray always and without ceasing, Lu. 18:1, 1 Thes. 5:17.

Without practical, focused, intimacy provoked prayer, we will never see what we desire to see to the extent we would like to see it.

Jesus did nothing but what the Father told Him to do; so He must have been in communion with His father constantly. Prayer is a two-way connection, not a one way conversation.

Prayer without ceasing keeps your heart open and in touch with the Father at all times.

Prayer is not simply asking the Father what you want, but is conversation that brings us to understand the Father’s heart, to know what He wants and then to speak in agreement with that. To be truly effective in prayer or spiritual warfare, intimacy with the Father must come first: He has the answers and the authority.

Praise God for who He is, and cleanse your heart. Take your thoughts captive and bind the enemy from your prayer time. Let God search and try your heart.

Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and talk to you in your prayer and life. Wait on the Lord and on His Spirit!

Many Christians make plans without prayer, and then pray and expect God to bless those plans. Rather, strive to know the mind of God before you begin doing. Pray as a child of God, from our position in Christ, for His desire and purpose. Never quit listening, today’s answer is not enough for tomorrow’s obedience.

XII. Prayer and Prayer Walking

Jesus did not only walk, He listened and prayed, Luke 10:1-2; 18:1. Paul did the same, 1 Thess. 5:17.

The idea of prayer walking is not to confront the enemy only but to establish a new gathering of believers. Prayer walking is listening;  simply living in God’s presence and walking out life. It is always being aware that God has a plan and you and your life are a part of it;

Things you might do while you walk and listen;

  • Map the area you live in and work in or are sent to, learn the history, have God’s plan, do not simply start walking haphazardly. Num.13:1-3, 17-20, Joshua 2:1; Luke10:1-21. A map gives you a big advantage when in war
  • Go in pairs or at the most 3.too many reveals who you are and that you are an intruder.  (take a younger disciple with you), Luke 10:1, Joshua 18:3-10. · Be attentive, because Satan is watching and probably stalking you, 1 Pet 5:8.
  • Know how to listen while you walk and pray, know who you are in Christ, in God’s sight. 1Jn.3:2 Jn.20:21
  • Listen always before going, even to work. God has a plan. Maybe pray with family or a small group about what the Lord is telling you to do.
  • Be looking for a ‘man of peace’ even as you begin. Expect God to lead! Luke 10:5-7
  • If possible write down what you hear and see, everything that is impressed on you as you pray and find out if what you felt or heard is true. Add it to your map. This develops your hearing from the Lord and helps you to recognize what is of the Lord and what is not. Share daily finds with your family or group that is with you in this adventure.
  • Expect to see changes, bad and good, as the Spirit moves in response to the Lord, your prayers and your obedience to go. People will get glad, mad, or sad. There will be anger and change!

See the spiritual things in (or through) the natural things around you. Hear from the Lord. Wage battle, find victory in the Spirit, and see the results in the natural realm. Without someone being changed you are not done praying.

Information that may prove helpful for informed praying includes:

  • Racial and ethnic makeup of the people
  • General social and economic needs of the community as a whole
  • Material of the community (roads, water, etc.)
  • Common physical and material needs of the people
  • Religious presence
  • Names (if available) of Christian workers who serve in the area
  • What spiritual activity is already under way, including opposition
  • Satan does not sleep. He will not give you the ground you desire (people) without a battle. He is a deceiver, a liar and defeated.
  • To deal with demonic oppression deal with the host, follow Jesus example of dealing with the strongman in people’s lives.
  • Romans 8:14-17 (God’s assurance that we are His sons) should be your confidence.
  • Be aware of spiritual forces sent to stop your prayer and obedience.
  • Be spiritually prepared. Remember that we struggle not against flesh and blood but against demonic powers, Eph. 6:12.

It is imperative to talk and listen to God in a conversational manner, be real with God and expect that from Him.

  • Do not feel uncomfortable during times of silence.
  • Smile and be pleasant to people you meet. Pray for them if the Spirit leads.
  • It is normal if prayer walking feels awkward the first few times.
  • Be flexible as the Holy Spirit leads. Listen and pray, do not try to understand everything that you hear and see; Trust! 1 Cor.1:18-30.
  • Keep a daily journal at the conclusion of each day-add to your map for you and your family group.
  • Keep Christ’s focus— Walk in Intimacy, save the Lost, establish the body, and defeat the enemy.

XIII. End’ Vision

Aim for Strategic Results

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. Luke14:28-32

  • Look beyond your limitations and the barriers that surround you.
  • To plan your work, start at the end, envisioning your final results, and then plan/work back toward where you are at the present. —  NEVER QUIT LISTENING!
  • This is like a carpenter looking at a house plan, and then working through each part of it. See the finished design first, then build.
  • Plan easy steps toward your final goal. Each step must be obvious, simple, easy to do, and must lead directly to the need to hear afresh for the next step.
  • Prayerfully determine to succeed before you begin:
  • Know what God wants you to do. He said, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge,” Hos.4:6
  • Jesus had a plan, from the foundation of the world, all we need to do is hear and obey!.
  • His plans are purposeful and need to be bathed in prayer!
    Let God give you a big vision; do not put limits on what God can do through what you do. LET HIM GUIDE YOU AND BRING THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS PLAN FOR YOU!
  • Some Christian workers find it helpful to make a general plan for the next three years’ work. Then they add a more detailed six-month plan with simple steps.

Our Obedience is our victory. Jesus showed the way; we leave the results of our obedience to God the Father, but, we expect His Word to stand. The church and discipleship are Jesus’ vision. He has determined the purpose. We simply obey.

The process of  an ‘end vision’ includes four simple steps;

  1. Consider what your vision or goal will look like when it is fulfilled.
  2. Consider what steps you will take to get there – remain flexible to the Spirit.
  3. Make your plans by thinking backwards step-by-step, starting with your final goal, and seeing what must happen prior to it to prepare for it. Keep thinking backwards until you arrive at your present position.
  4. Work forward through each step, modifying your plans when you discover conditions different from what you foresaw. LET GOD LEAD!
  5. Large projects require a large vision, with many complicated steps toward your goals. YOU WILL NEED OTHERS AND TO NETWORK WITH CHRIST’S BODY.  End vision, or planning backward, is the most effective way to plan. To reach a large number of people with the Gospel, visualize by faith in your heart what things will look like when Christ and His body achieve your goal.

End vision helps you to see your need for others’ help and to incorporate their visions and ministries into your plans. You can not do it all. “WE” are the Church!

How many disciples will you make?

I would like to acknowledge George Paterson, and Victor Choudhrie and their influence on us and what we do. Some of the original outline points came from George’s teachings and our association with him. Both men continues to be a great encouragement to us. There are many others who have mentored  and put up with us. Thanks. Neil and Dana

thanks also for taking the time to look through this or for going through the training! We pray that you would be all Christ has called His Church body to be. May His grace and truth guide us!        Neil and Dana Gamble

All scripture quotations are from the NKJV copyright 1979 by Thomas Nelson publishers Inc unless otherwise noted.


Neil and Dana Gamble have had a remarkable ministry in many countries bringing leaders and believers, into a more intimate relationship with God. Their view of discipling is urgently needed, to correct the common error of teaching abstract doctrine without bringing disciples into life-changing, intimate relationship with God. They do not neglect biblical teaching but balance it with an intimacy with God that is born of the Holy Spirit.

George Patterson, USA

Dear Friends,

This is to affirm that I have known Neil Gamble and his wife Dana for sometime. They are absolutely precious gifts of God. Both of them have gone to many places in India and conducted seminars on Discipleship and Saturation church planting. In these seminars, participants have not only learnt about church planting but have come back filled with the zeal of the Lord. Their teaching is biblically based and inspired by the Holy Spirit. In my opinion they are best teachers in the world on these subjects and I would recommend them wholeheartedly to anyone who is interested in seeing God’s kingdom grow and multiply. They are also very good at removing the spots and wrinkles from the Bride, if you already have a good church-planting program going. Shalom,

Victor Chaudhrie, India

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