Practicing Discernment: Victory Road Evangelical Free Church in Norfolk, Nebraska’s Discipleship Program

This is a discernment exercise that comes out of an Evangelical Free church in Norfolk, Nebraska. Victory Road Evangelical Free has a discipleship program at the church. How does it compare? Is it healthy? Would you get involved in such a program? Feel free to discuss and analyze this program. 

“Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.”

Casey Stengel

“I can’t afford to be a member of a golf course.”

Jack Abramoff

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true

Acts 17:11 NIV

Today I am going to put up a discernment exercise that I found while working through the Midwest District of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). It comes out of Victory Road Evangelical Free Church in Norfolk, Nebraska. Norfolk is a small town of about 25,000 in the northeast part of the state. Victory Road Evangelical Free Church is led by Mike Vincent.

From time to time I like to put up these exercises for people to think through and discuss. My goal is to get people to think for themselves.  This is a discipleship program that exists at this Evangelical Free church. My question to you is how do you view this? Is this a sound program? Would you get involved? Why or why not? What concerns would you have about such a program? Are there benefits to doing such a program? What questions would you ask before you proceed forward with such a program? Or would this raise concerns about the health of Victory Road Evangelical Free Church. Feel free to discuss below. Again I love you guys! 


 

Discipleship Strategy

 

Vince and Victoria Victory want to grow as healthy disciples of Jesus. 

But how do we define a healthy disciple of Jesus? A healthy disciple of Jesus is someone who purposefully grows in his relationship with Jesus and applies the Scriptures in his daily life and intentionally invests his life in others to help them purposefully grow as healthy disciples of Jesus. 

What might a healthy disciple at VREFC look like? Some of our goals are:

• daily time in God’s Word and Prayer
• a person of character with a good reputation in the workplace and community
• joyful family life
• taking care of themselves physically
• have a solid grasp on Bible knowledge and basic theology with application and fruit (abiding in Christ/walking in His Spirit/assurance of salvation/Great Commission/Great Commandment/etc.)
• giving at least 10% to God’s work and working toward being debt-free
• aware of issues concerning the community, church and culture
• regular attendance at our worship service
• encourage church membership and baptism
• leading or participating in at least one small group
• understands and uses his spiritual gifts
• involved in serving in at least one ministry in the church
• involved in serving in at least one area outside of the church
• knows how to share his faith effectively
• willing to suffer and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel
• participate in at least one short-term cross cultural mission trip
• investing his life in someone else (multiplying discipleship)

At Victory Road Evangelical Free Church, we recognize discipleship is about growing in our relationship with Jesus and one another. Mentoring and small groups are an important part of the discipleship process. Therefore, we have as a goal to have at least 80% of our church family involved in small groups.

Though relationships are essential in multiplying healthy disciples, we also believe intentionality and bible study are important in laying the proper foundation upon which a person can grow.  Former Evangelical Free Church Pastor and Author Bill Hull writes, “Obedience to the Great Commission hinges on the three qualifiers: an intentional plan that defines and trains disciples, a commitment to reproduction by training in evangelism with accountability, and a commitment to multiplication by special training in order to produce disciple-making leaders.”
Bill Hull, Disciple Making Pastor, p. 54.

The following are possible curriculum plans for someone to use in the discipleship process.

Design for Discipleship
Over approximately one year, the group will meet regularly to complete the Navigator’s Design for Discipleship studies (books 1-6). Along with this, time will be spent in prayer, verses will be assigned for memorization and the group will do quarterly service projects together.

Advanced Discipleship
In the second year, the group will meet regularly to read a book each month that will challenge them to grow as healthy disciples. More Scriptures will be memorized, service projects will be enjoyed, and group members will hold one another accountable. Two of the books suggested for discussion are: The Master Plan of Evangelism by R. Coleman and The Pursuit of Holiness by J. Bridges.

Another intentional discipleship program in use is called the Compass. It is produced by CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and is fully completed in approximately two years, covering similar topics as the one above. For more details concerning these plans, please talk to one of our Elder Pastors.

We recognize these are only two of many possible discipleship plans. As pastor and author Bill Hull has said, “Once the leadership team agrees on the core data and motivates people, the method, as important as it may be, becomes less critical than the belief.” Disciple Making Church – p. 38

Scriptures to challenge us to multiply healthy disciples:

Matthew 4:19
And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
NASU

Matthew 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
NASU

Colossians 1:28-29
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
NASU

2 Timothy 2:2
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

4 thoughts on “Practicing Discernment: Victory Road Evangelical Free Church in Norfolk, Nebraska’s Discipleship Program

  1. The list of goals sound o-so-good, but it is overly demanding….. probably impossible for most people! How many people who work outside of the home and have children, maybe sick elderly parents can actually do all of that without ODing on caffine? Cross cultural mission trip? Sounds good, but again, jobs, families …….. Is this an adult only thing? What about teens and children??? Joyful family life??? Is that a 24/7/52 requirement??? How many families are joyful all of the time?? Plastic smiley face time!
    Oh, and a two year program for discipleship??? Do participants get a degree when it’s over???

    How are you doing, David? I’ve been thinking about you. I like reading your posts and learning, but my baptist-raised brain just hasn’t been up to focusing on your EFCA posts – chronic fatigue syndrome “crash” + allergies, ugh. The “crashes” derail my thought train, and spring allergies are making it worse.

    I know you miss your mom. You always will, but that’s not a bad thing.
    I am very fortunate that both of my parents are still alive and doing fairly well, but I still miss my grandparents… (as well as 3 of my uncles, my dad’s brother in particular). I was my paternal grandfather’s shadow, but I think of all of my grandparents often …. all of them .. 1 gg-grandmother, 2 g-grandmothers, 2 g-grandfathers, and all 4 grandparents. (I am the oldest child of an oldest child of an oldest child of an oldest child up 4 family branches – I’m older than some of my mom’s cousins; really confuses people when we do group photos by generations at family reunions!) But, I have lots of good memories, stories, and a few photographs and some belongings to treasure – and share with my daughter, nieces, and younger cousins. Sometimes, when my family(ies) gets together, we have a real hoot sharing stories! Yeah, sometimes I cry. But, oh what beautiful memories – even the live-and-learn-and-grow bad memories have become beautiful ones!

    Treasure the memories, David. Pass them down, if you have the opportunity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Strategy…”
    “Daily…”
    “At least one…”
    “At least one…” (again)
    “At least one…” (yet again)
    “At least 10%…”
    “At least 80%…”
    “membership…”
    “multiplying…”
    “…commitment…”
    “…commitment…” (again)
    “…one year…”
    “intentional…”
    [lots of other quotes snipped because it’s already wearing me out]

    Lofty goals, sure.
    Nothing overtly *bad*, if one takes each “goal” separately, but…

    Gosh, taken as a whole, all the “rules” reeks (wreaks? 😉 ) of just a lot of legalism and stuff to live up to, so much of it (80%) just arbitrary numbers & rules, and taken out of thin air.
    I’d be thinking, “stop STOP, please PLEASE somebody make it STOP!! Is this what Jesus is about? Did he ever tell the disciples that at least 80% of them need to do anything?”

    Jesus simplified it all into (paraphrase) “Love the Lord with all you’ve got, and love thy neighbor as thyself”.
    He then defined who the “neighbors” are.

    The word “LOVE” does not appear anywhere in this missive.
    That’s a fail.

    All the mentions of “community” & “commitment”,
    all the “comm” words that legalism adores,
    but not a single mention of COMMUNION,
    that simple act of remembering the Lord, examining oneself, getting right, doing in remembrance of Him, together as a body.

    How does that happen?
    How do they forget communion & love?

    There’s little mercy or grace here.
    Just a lot of “stuff”.
    Lots of doing stuff.
    It’s good stuff.
    But gosh, it’s off from… the *core* of what Jesus taught.

    Didn’t the EFCA Eastern District dude Dr. Cole just write a great article about simply *loving* people?
    Eagle, perhaps you could just forward the link to Dr. Cole’s essay to this church’s leadership.

    There’s a lot of stuff.
    But there’s no *communion*.
    And there’s no *love*.

    That’s my take, for what it’s worth.
    It may not be worth much.

    Liked by 2 people

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