The Disciple’s Journey by Jim Putman


Join Jim Putman on the disciple’s journey to help you develop and live out a biblical worldview in every sphere of life.

My journey in discipleship started years ago with parents who love the Lord, but my parents didn’t just check a box saying, “Okay, now my son has prayed the prayer and been baptized.” They took me on a journey of discipleship, of helping me understand what life was truly about.

Together, we’re going to shoot for that same destination that Jesus called us to. We’re going to go through this map together so that you understand that map, you understand the vehicle, and you are going to teach people to ride with you and eventually drive their own cars to the same destination where we end up together.”


A Video Series for Groups

The six-week journey includes six ~10 min videos for groups:

  1. Beginning the Journey
  2. Abiding in Christ
  3. Discipling in the Church
  4. Discipling in the Home
  5. Discipling in the World
  6. The Spiritual Realm

NOTE: Sessions will be released weekly into December 2023.

Companion Resources

This course walking through the five spheres of discipleship using the metaphor of a road trip. The following resources follow the same outline

  • The Revolutionary Disciple by Jim Putman and Chad Harrington: a book on how to walk humbly with Jesus through the five spheres of discipleship.
  • The Disciple’s Journey by Jim Putman: a workbook for developing and living out a biblical worldview in every sphere of life.

This course is free and instantly available right here. Just follow along and walk through the journey with your group!

1. Beginning the Journey

Jim Putman introduces his video course, “The Disciple’s Journey,” walking through the five spheres of discipleship using the metaphor of a road trip.

My journey in discipleship started years ago with a set of parents who loved the Lord but didn’t know really what it looked like to be the spiritual disciple makers that were required in a family. They were both first generation Christians who hadn’t really been discipled by their families.

So I was raised in a home where my parents were committed, but didn’t really know what they were doing. They were trying their best, but always learning.

Things happened in our home as a result of my parents needing to work. They were busy all the time. Things got into our family that made us a mess and made a mess in my life. It started when I was young, and it led to my realizing my brokenness — addiction, shame, and guilt — and it didn’t matter what I did, nothing satisfied me.

Eventually it led to questions like, “Is there a God at all?”

Tangible Forgiveness

The good thing about my parents was that they were very committed to the Lord, and they had grown. Though I had walked away from them and hurt them in so many ways, they never quit pursuing me. They never quit, no matter what I did to burn down the bridge of relationship between us. They just kept rebuilding it. They had boundaries. They weren’t going to let me do whatever I wanted.

They showed unconditional love and a desire to forgive over and over and over again.

And I gave them plenty of reasons not to forgive.

Yet there was something about them that made them so different than all the rest of the people that I interacted with. I had rejected my parents because I thought my friends in the world were better. When all that left me empty, my parents were still waiting for me and still loving me, even pursuing me when I finally was willing to listen because of the relationships they built with me, no matter what I had done.

I came to a place where I was willing to listen to what they had to say about their faith and about Jesus. When I finally came to the conclusion, “Okay, there is a God, and it is the Christian God. Oh no, it’s true. I’m going to hell,” my parents came with the gospel that said “No, Jesus forgives. The reason we’re able to forgive is because Jesus forgave us. And that same God who forgave us flows through us, through the Holy Spirit, and he helps us forgive you.”

I felt that tangible forgiveness. I’d seen the strength of their life. Even though I had tried everything I could to destroy them, they couldn’t be destroyed. And that opened the door to the gospel.

My parents didn’t just check a box saying, “Okay, now my son has prayed the prayer and been baptized.” They discipled me; they took me on a journey of discipleship. They took me on a journey of helping me understand what life was about.

The analogy we’re going to use in this series is that of a journey. When I think of a journey, I think about several things.

1. The Destination

First, if you’re going to go on a journey, you think about a destination. What is the destination? In Christianity, we’ve been called by Jesus. We’ve been pursued by Jesus, and we answered the call. In a sense when we receive Jesus, we start the disciple’s journey with him toward spiritual maturity.

2. The Map

If I’m going on a trip to Seattle, I think about the destination, and I think about a map. I’ve got to have the right road. In the old days we used paper maps, but what we do now is we look it up. You put the destination into your phone, and you get the directions.

For us as Christians, the Bible is our map that explains our destination, and this gives us life, this gives us direction. It’s a light into our path.

3. The Vehicle

So you’ve got the destination that’s described here, and you’ve got the map, but you have to have a vehicle, right? If I were to go to Seattle, I have to have a vehicle to get there.

The vehicle as Scripture defines it is a relationship with Jesus Christ and a relationship with other believers. So the relational vehicle we go in is with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

4. A Driving Instructor

But somebody needs to teach us how to be in this relational vehicle by which we start to understand the map. There are so many things in Scripture that are here, but I need somebody to teach me what it’s all about.

My father said, “Here’s the destination, eternal life, and here’s what it looks like to be mature and to experience the best life you can on planet earth. It’s here on the map.” But again, he didn’t just hand me the Bible and say, “Go figure it out on your own.” He said, “Let’s do this together.”

Ultimately, Jesus is the one driving, right? But my father kind of got in the front seat in between the Lord and the scriptures, and he invited me into a passenger seat and said, “Let’s do this journey together.”

My father invited me many times to go on a journey with him, and I just wouldn’t get in the vehicle. But, as my life fell apart, he pulled up in his Jesus car, so to speak, and said, “Hey, are you ready to get in the vehicle?”

Receiving Christ was getting into the vehicle with him in discipleship.

The disciple’s journey was a journey toward the destination in that vehicle.

5. Riding With Others

In the vehicle was also my mother. And there were other believers who played a huge part in this journey toward spiritual maturity. The scriptures describe what that relational vehicle is supposed to look like. And part of the maturity that you grow in is to understand, “How do I ride in this vehicle with Jesus and with others?”

I was watching my father do a couple of different things. First, working with the Lord to drive the car toward the destination. And as I was watching him, I watched him learn how to trust the vehicle, to run the vehicle that would have been designed for him.

And as I was watching, my father always made it very clear that eventually, I was going to be over in this seat, helping somebody else learn to drive.

Part of being a Christian is inviting people into a relationship with God.

You invite them into a relationship with you, and you learn some things.

What a Disciple Is

One of the things that we do here at Real Life is we define what a disciple of Jesus is. Jesus was the first one to drive the car. He invited 12 disciples with him into the vehicle. And in that vehicle, he was going to do three things.

The definition of a disciple is shown in how Jesus said, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). He said, in a sense, “Get in the vehicle and let me drive. Come and follow me. I’m going to take you to the destination that I’ve chosen.”

Because in that sense, he is God, and he knows the destination. He said, Come and follow me. While we’re in this relationship, I’m going to take you as you are. I’m going to have you get in the car as you are. But as we spend time in this car together, you’re going to change. You’re going to start to understand that we’re not just in a vehicle, going to a destination, but we’re building relationship.

Every command, every direction he’s ever given is to promote relationship with God and relationship with one another as we move towards that destination. So come and follow me, and I will change you (which is the second thing) into fishers of men. There’s that third part: fishers of men. As you’re watching me and I’m discipling you, Jesus is saying that you’re going to then start to invite people into the vehicle with you as well.

That takes you and them into this relational environment with a destination in mind. You’re going to be a fisher of men. You’re going to drive a vehicle that you invite people into, and then you’re going to raise them up, moving them from this seat to this seat so that they can then invite their family and the people that they work with into this relationship and into the disciple’s journey.

All of us are in a caravan together.

We’re starting in one car, but it’s going to end up being a caravan — a convoy, so to speak — of people in relationship, going to the same destination.

Spiritual Maturity

When you first become a believer, no matter how old you are, you become like an infant, a child. You’re born again, and you’re invited to have spiritual parenting in a relational environment for the purpose of getting to that destination, spiritual maturity on earth and then eventually eternal life. That’s the end goal for everybody.

But the destination is becoming more and more like Christ — one who knows God, one who loves like God, one who cares about what God cares about, one who’s on the mission of God like Jesus was — to reach, and to save, and to go out into the world and pick people up wherever they’re at and take them on this disciple’s journey to this destination.

You’re going to start out as an infant. But as time goes by every person is supposed to be on this journey of maturity in Christ, starting as an infant, growing as a child, eventually moving over into this seat where people now invite others to go on this journey with them.

We’re all disciples who are called on to make disciples.

What we talk about as the destination is maturity in the five spheres, which I explore in depth in my book, The Revolutionary Disciple.

What are the five spheres? Well, the book of Ephesians talks about this abiding relationship with Jesus. That’s where our power comes from, where our energy comes from, and where our direction comes from. That’s the first sphere.

Then Ephesians moves on to the church sphere. That’s the relational environment that we’re in with a bunch of believers as we move forward.

Now we go, “Okay, what does the home life look like?” What does it look like to be mature in the home life? The home sphere is the third sphere.

Then in Ephesians, it goes, “What does it look like to be mature in your work life, in your world sphere?” This is the fourth sphere.

And then finally, the fifth sphere: “What does it look like to be in relationship with God and others mature in Christ as we battle against the spiritual enemy in the spiritual realm sphere?”

Maturity in Christ is learned as we’re on this journey together in a relational environment so that every part of our life is remade and transformed in Christ.

Your life used to be modeled by different maps and different compass, and you were shooting for different destinations.

Together we’re going to shoot for the same destination that Jesus wanted to call us to.

We’re going to go through this map together so that you understand that map, so that you understand the vehicle, and so that you will teach people to ride with you and eventually drive their own cars to the same destination where we end up together.

Read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, about how to walk with humility in the five spheres of discipleship.

2. Abiding in Christ

In this post, Jim Putman explores what abiding in Christ means for disciples of Jesus by looking at three of his friend’s lives.

Paul talks about abiding first, and Jesus says that abiding is essential. I see abiding as the spiritual gas for the vehicle, the direction all of the Holy Spirit’s work as we abide with him.

When I was thinking about abiding as we prepared for this segment, three names came up: my friend Sam, my mom, and my friend Santha. I want to share the unique ways each of them are abiding in Christ in their journey as a disciple.

How Sam Sees Abiding in Christ

Sam: He’s the vine, and we’re the branches (John 15:5). The fruit in our life — spiritual fruit, the fruit that lasts — only comes through that abiding, that remaining in relationship with him. Our life can be spent doing so many different things, but none of that will matter in the end. Only the things that come from that abiding relationship will matter, whether it’s in the home sphere, the church sphere, or the work I do in the world. None of that will matter if I’m not connected to the vine.

So for me, this relationship with Christ is key to my entire life and how I live. When I read John 15:4, which says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you,” I’m always like, “Okay, well, what do you mean by remain? How do I do that?” And Jesus says in that passage that it’s through obedience, it’s through obeying what he has said in his Word. That brings about that abiding — that constant remaining in him.

His commands and all those things are really just about learning to love him, learning to love others, and learning to love myself in light of who I am in him.

That obedience sometimes means walking away from things that I used to do and cutting things away. He talks about pruning and how some things are ending and going away, and some of those things are even good things to prune.

Jesus is working to create the best things in our life.

To me that abiding relationship is what sets up our entire life. How do I walk this out? How do I do this? How do I keep doing it since I do it imperfectly?

When I feel like giving up or I feel like I failed, I need to be reminded that this is who I am in Christ, reminded of who he is, reminded of his heart for me.

Abiding in Christ is about knowing who he is and knowing what his Word says, which is obedience.

What are the things he is asking of me? Time in his Word and time in prayer are absolutely necessary, talking to him and asking, “Hey, what do you mean by this?” and processing that.

I journal and do different things to try to get that clarity in my own mind. But also I think of how much abiding goes into the other spheres of our life. I think about all the things I’ve learned about God from my wife and her relationship and her abiding. I learn things, and I process with her.

I have guys in my men’s group whom I share with and mentors who challenge me, who help bring that clarity of what abiding looks like. These people encourage me when the Lord is pruning and taking things away to not give up, to remember that he’s so, so worth it.

I think about in that passage where Jesus not only says that he is going to prune and take away, but he also says, to paraphrase, “I’m sharing all this with you, and I want you to walk in this path so that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). He’s talking about a satisfaction in the fruit of who he is.

Sometimes I think obedience is, “I have to do this,” or, “I can’t do that.” It can seem like rules or checking boxes, but that’s missing the heart, which is what Jesus is saying. It’s a satisfying relationship. It’s a full joy, which is what I think all of our souls long for.

How Bobbi Sees Abiding in Christ

Bobbi Putman (Jim’s mom): I knew that I needed to pray. I knew I needed to read the Bible. I knew that I needed that relationship with God, but I was having trouble with it.

I was with one of my friends who was a preacher’s wife in California. It came up to do a women’s day. Going to the airport, I said, “Pat, how did you learn to pray? Because I’m having trouble. I can’t keep focused. I’ve got so many things going on.” Five kids and a job will do that.

Pat said, “I started just writing letters to God every morning, and that allowed me to focus.” I thought, Well, I can do that. So I went and got a little journal and sat down in the early morning, and I just started writing to God my thoughts, my concerns, my prayers.

That developed. I grew over time. I started reading a chapter of the Bible every day. I would go through and mark up one Bible, put it aside, and grab another Bible and start all over. Now, I have boxes of Bibles that I can’t seem to throw away. To this day I still do that.

It started out as 15 minutes, now it’s an hour, sometimes an hour and a half because I’ve got a lot to say to God and a lot of questions for God. So that’s kind of what I do.

I’m growing in the Lord every day; it doesn’t stop.

How Santha Sees Abiding in Christ

Santha: God reveals who he is, and he wants to know who I am. So whatever story I’m telling myself, that’s what I live out of.

When I came to know Jesus, I became a new creation, and God has a new identity and a new person that he wants me to be, that he’s called me to be. It’s not based off of who I think I am, but it’s based off of who he created me to be.

When I change my identity, it changes how I see the entire world. I see the problems in the world and the solutions to the world differently based off of who God is and who he says that I am. I even see all the people around me differently.

Now, I have a different purpose. I have a different reason for getting up in the morning. He’s given me gifts, abilities, and responsibilities to represent his kingdom. So when I live out of that story, life is so very different than when I just lived out of the old story that I’d been told.

Abiding isn’t just that time that I spend alone with God.

Abiding is something that I do all day long.

All day long, I come back to the Lord: Who are you? What are you doing in this situation? Who am I because of you, and who are they? How do I respond to that? How am I letting your life flow through me into this situation to produce the kind of fruit that you produce? How might I be blocking that?

I’m choosing to let my own self flow through, and that produces a different kind of fruit. So abiding is not just something that I do once in the morning, but it’s something that I work on all day long.

It’s a conversation between the Lord and me. It’s talking about the Lord with other people. It’s letting them call me up to who I am, and it’s letting me call them up to who they are.

For a deeper study on abiding in Christ, read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, about how to walk with humility in the five spheres of discipleship.

3. Discipleship in the Church

In this post, Jim Putman interviews Taylor and Jenna Fore about their experience with discipleship in the church as an encouragement for your journey.

I don’t want anyone to think that a church is just the building. It doesn’t all happen in the building itself. A lot of it happens in homes, in coffee shops — outside of the church’s physical location. It happens as people do life together.

In this post, I’ll share the story of Taylor and Jenna Fore and how the church sphere helped them in their journey as disciples.

The Start of the Fores’ Journey

Taylor Fore: We jumped in with both feet, and we attended young adults. We got to know some of the staff and then got immediately into a home group. That got us connected and involved. Then we actually ended up getting baptized together at Real Life.

Jim Putman: So you start your relationship with the Lord. You’re already connected. College ministry puts you right into a small group. You’re led to understand the Lord through the relationships in the small group. You start to build Christian friends, and you receive Christ. You got married, then moved out of your parents’ house.

When you were in that small group, what did that look like? Was it just attending the small group, or were there more to the relationships in that group than just going to a place on a given night?

Jenna Fore: Being from this area, I had friends from high school, and I was pretty well-connected and plugged in just from being here and growing up here. So getting connected in a different way to people who are like-minded, who want to do the same type of extracurricular activities, who are at least are at a similar place in their journey with the Lord, and who want the best for you — it was a big change, to have people that I could call and spill my dirty laundry to and know that they would be there for me.

It wasn’t just that we’d show up once a week to this home group and that was it.

The Benefits of Discipleship in the Church for Men

TF: The Bible tells us that it’s my job to lead us in our marriage. So what does that look like? The home group was a great chance to be with other men who could understand what my role is and how that role plays out.

It was nice knowing that I’m not the only man that struggles with that. Fortunately, in my group, a lot of the guys were brought to the church by their wives. When that happens, we end up with this huge new responsibility: We have to lead our family now.

So it was great having those other men whom I could meet with regularly.

From the small group, we formed men’s groups, and we did all kinds of things. We could just hang out and figure out how we take the responsibility that we have and lead our families the right way.

A Perspective-Changing Environment

JP: What are the most important things? How does the Word of God and abiding in Christ impact the church? How does it impact the home? The church sphere helps us answer these questions.

Before your disciple’s journey begins, you didn’t know what a spiritual parent was like. How do you learn what a spiritual parent or a wife or husband is like?

You look at the men around you when the church is interacting together, and you’re thinking, That’s love. That’s not what I thought it was.

Or, That’s what a parent looks like. That’s what they care about when the goal is raising children in the Lord.

Or, That’s what a marriage ought to look like. That’s how they spend their time.

The church sphere is a hospital for the sick, where it’s okay to come and be hurting.

It’s also a place where people care about you, and there’s give and take. There are seasons where we limp in here, and people have to hold us up; we fall down, and they have to come and get us.

Then there’s times when we’re watching for the other person in the church sphere to help them when they fall.

Yes, church is the weekend services, but it’s also life group, and it’s serving. What does it look like to be the body of believers — not just go to church, but to be a part of the family of God.

Taylor and Jenna are pictures of that, and I love celebrating that.

The Challenges of a Large Church

JF: One of the things we’ve always loved about Real Life is we feel like you are very real about both the benefits and the challenges of a church this size.

Immediately when we started attending, we heard from the pulpit over and over, “Coming on Sundays is great. But I won’t notice if you’re not here for three weeks. I don’t know what’s going on at home for you. Please, plug in, get into a small group.”

We saw that emphasis on relationships, and we’ve benefited from building those relationships, having people pour into us and then being able to pour into others.

Right off the bat, I thought, Man, they really get it, because the size is great, and we can meet an incredible need in this community. But you can also get lost in it.

It’s good to be real about dealing with that head on. Let’s get plugged in, serve somewhere, or join a small group. There are plenty of places, and that’s where we create that smaller community and the accountability. We loved that right from the start.

JP: You guys got involved in a small group and started to build relationships with people. Obviously, not everybody is called to lead a group, but everybody is called to serve. It doesn’t take long around either one of you to know you’re good at doing relationships with people, but you also have leadership skill sets.

Pretty quickly, they were saying to you, “Hey, we’d like you to lead a group.” So they made sure you were online. You went through the one-on-one membership class to learn what this church is about. You learned the doctrine. Then they said, “We’d love you to get into a group,” and you guys agreed to do all that, and now they’re starting a new group with you as leaders.

The Impact of Discipleship in the Church on Mental Health

When the church sphere functions as it should, we get to know each other. We’re carrying each other’s burdens. There’s honesty and transparency in the church. In what way do you think that it impacts mental health?

TF: The whole idea of relationship, that’s what a lot of people are missing. It’s important to try to help them understand what a healthy relationship actually looks like because there are a lot of people who are striving to find it in very unhealthy ways.

The Impact of Discipleship in the Church on the Home Sphere

JP: That’s the important thing about the church. I think that’s why Paul, when he starts talking about abiding in Christ, he then talks about the church, then the home, then the world, then the spiritual realm. People always ask me, when they read about this in my book, The Revolutionary Disciple, “Why the church before the home?”

Paul writes Ephesians to Greeks and Romans. The only kind of home they knew was the home they had been handed. So the church shows them, Oh, this is what a marriage is supposed to like. Not that version you were handed.

That’s why going to an event and putting on a face isn’t the biblical church.

Yes, we come to church, and we hear the sermon. But getting to know each other, modeling for one another honesty and transparency — that’s the church sphere.

In that context, that’s when people go, “Oh, that’s what love looks like.” So now I know what to change about my life that impacts my home.

“That’s what leadership looks like at the church. It’s not self-serving or a privilege. It’s a responsibility to lay down my life for another.” So now when I take leadership back home, I’m not saying, “I’m the leader. I’m the boss. Do what I say.” That comes from the world. Instead, I’m saying, “I lay down my life for you. I serve you.”

So as you see the church sphere builds relationships in the church that now can impact the home.

If the church was to live this out, the impact to the home and to every other part is so huge.

The Impact of Discipleship in the Church on Your Children

I’m watching your kids, Taylor and Jenna, the way they serve, the way they love, the way they connect. And that’s why I’m so glad you guys are home group leaders because you’ve done that. Now, you can actually show them that, but you do it in such a humble way.

How did you get your kids to want to be here, to build these kind of relationships? Is there a trick to that for families?

TF: Well, we would drag them basically everywhere we would go a lot of the time. I think part of that is that mindset of leading by example in inviting them in, not saying, “Oh, they’re just a kid.

Starving for Relationship

JP: What’s one thing you would say to people who go to church but are not in a relational environment? What’s one thing that would be a reason for them to move into that relational version of the church.

JF: I would challenge them that they are starving themselves. They can’t eat one meal a week and live on that. Not only do we need to have daily time in the Word, but we need to be part of a group that is doing life with us.

When things are great, you celebrate together, and when things are down, you push through that together. Sundays are great, but it’s just not enough to get you through the other six days.

That’s why we need to dive into discipleship in the church sphere headfirst.

Read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, about how to walk with humility in the church.

4. Discipleship in the Home

Jim Putman interviews Darin and Joey Blood about discipleship in the home and how to set realistic expectations and act with humility.

In Ephesians, Paul talks about abiding and the church, and when you put those two things together, that’s discipleship — learning God’s Word, learning to understand what God means by words like “love,” “parent,” “father,” “mother,” and “spouse.”

In the church sphere, you get to see godly people living out the directions of God, going beyond just information into a lifestyle that they can reproduce at home. The reason Paul talks about home after church is because it’s in the church that you learn what it means to be in a Godly home.

There’s this intersection between abiding with Jesus and the family of God — the church. It’s in those relationships, as we understand God’s Word and as we spend time with other believers, that we learn what a family ought to look like.

I’ve watched you, Darin and Joey, over the years. You first started attending church, and you joined a small group, and eventually, the Lord put a call on your lives. I’ve watched you go to the Word, become curious, be humble, and work together as a team to not pass off what you had been handed, but to pass off something else.

I’ve watched you learn in the family of God and be willing to learn in the family of God, humbling yourself to go, How do I do this differently with my family?

How Darin and Joey Blood Do Discipleship in their Home

Darin Blood: Fortunately, because of the age we live in, I was able to hop on the internet, and that was my first dose of trying to figure out how to lead my family at home. I’ll never forget: I read a book called Family Driven Faith. It’s about things like what’s family worship like in your home and all that.

I also stumbled across this thing called Seeds Family Worship. They create word for word scripture songs, so I was like, Okay, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I can push play, and if we can learn God’s Word through that, then it’s a start. That was really the start of just trying to figure it all out.

Then we got introduced into our first group where I would say there was truly a disciple-making spiritual leader in the group. These people were a season ahead of us in life. The kids would be a part of it for a while, and then we’d break out. The adults would be apart, and then their older kids would take our younger kids and spend time with them and just build relationships. That was profound, a new part of the discipleship process.

For me, it was freeing in a lot of ways. It got me growing me, and it got me thinking:

This is not about trying to figure out the right way to do it. It’s about how you grasp God’s grace in the midst of trying to figure it out.

Setting Expectations

JP: What are a couple of things about the family sphere and discipleship in the home that you would say to young families who are just starting to have kids in this culture? What are some of the things you would give them as advice after doing this?

DB: Having appropriate expectations is good. It’s really easy to have wrong expectations, for both Joey and me. I think part of it is our athlete background: You train a certain way, and you conquer. So we think that if we do it a certain way, then they’re going to all end up making these great decisions and following this good path and all that. We think it will all be great.

One of the challenging things is, when they’re younger, you feel like you’re winning because they parrot everything. When they’re four years old, they’re like, “Dad, can we just pray more?” and you’re like, “Oh, I’m such a good disciple maker.”

Then, once they start to be able to process life and wrestle with their own decisions — what they think and feel — and test some of the boundaries, then all of a sudden the formula isn’t playing out.

At first it, it was super discouraging, to go as parents:

“Man, we blew it.”

JP: We can’t do God’s part, and he’s going to do his part even if we mess it up. And if God’s doing his part and I’m doing my part, that still doesn’t guarantee my kids are going to do theirs.

Joey Blood: A journey for me has been to become a safe place for them to come. How do I do that without imposing myself and imposing what I think they should be doing, who they should be friends with, or what I think should happen?

Instead, be non-judgmental. That’s been a journey for me, to learn to go, “I would way rather have you tell me something really hard, and we’ll figure it out together.” But sometimes my first response is over the top, and then they don’t feel safe.

Be Humble

JP: Kids sometimes don’t understand the messed-up stuff we bring in and have to work through too.

JB: It’s super humbling, especially with your first one. But it’s important to tell them, “Hey, I was out of line. I wish I hadn’t done that, but I did.”

JP: But how many parents do you think actually do that? How many parents truly say they’re sorry? If you’re a parent who’s said you’re sorry to your kids, and you’re a kid who’s heard that, that’s rare, and that’s the humility that comes from the gospel.

We’re all broken, and it still shows itself in a variety of different ways. To work through that and to give each other grace, but then to be strong enough to work through it and tell each other the truth — if Christian homes could teach that to their kids, disciple like that in their homes, what would be the impact of that in the church? If we were honest, and we made mistakes, and we worked through things, and we fought it out?

Most people in the church didn’t come from Christian homes, or if they did go to a church-going home, they were never taught that. Training kids to know how to work through this kind of stuff helps them become an asset in the church.

Wanting the Best for Your Kids

DB: You want the absolute best for your kids, and you know that following Jesus and doing it his way is going to be the best.

What’s more, I sometimes think that I not only know that following Jesus is the best, but I also think I know the way to get there in my kids’ own lives. That may or may not even be the way.

But you don’t even realize what you’re thinking until you end up at this crossroads. You’re like, Why am I feeling this angst? It’s because I’ve developed this expectation of how I thought it was going to go.

It’s not really selfishly motivated because I want the very best for them. But I know sometimes in that moment, I can impose my own perspective and honestly be super discouraging. If I’m the kid on the receiving end of that, it feels like disappointment, when it’s not.

I want the very best, and I think I know what the very best is, but I have to get the place where I can go:

“Even when I think I know what’s best, I can’t pretend to know the ways of God and what my kids’ journeys are.”

Don’t assess where you are and where your kids are in their journey based on where you are today. God has done a lot of things in my life — in our lives — over the years, and he’s grown us in our spiritual maturity and had people disciple us.

This journey of being a disciple isn’t a snap of your finger — boom, you’re mature now. It’s a journey, and in many ways, our kids are at the beginning of this journey.

Disappointment is the result of unmet expectations. If you’ve developed expectations in your children that are that of an already mature believer, it’s going to be exhausting to them because they’re going to feel that. It’s also discouraging on your end, and it’s not what God has for you. Allow grace in that process.

Is the gospel at work in your own heart?

Are you able to receive the grace that God gives that none of us deserve? It’s only then that you’re going to be able to pass it on.

There’s going to be road bumps, there’s going to be heartbreak, there’s going to be joy, and there’s going to be all of the above in the process. God is working in all of it. You just don’t see it. You don’t know how it’s going to play out. Hang in there. Keep pursuing him. Just stay in the fight.

Read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, for more about discipleship in the home.

5. Discipleship in the World

Jim Putman interviews Shane and Lisa Anderson about how they do discipleship in the world with their employees.

The world sphere is a combination of where you work and play outside of the home, outside of your church life. I love to see people who have been abiding in Christ. They’ve been disciples in the family of God. Their home sphere is being shaped and empowered by their abiding sphere.

You know who you are in this world sphere. This is your purpose. You’re walking in the power of the Holy Spirit in this sphere.

I’m really excited about talking with this family today because I’ve watched them abide both in Christ and in that discipleship relationship that’s within the church. It’s changed every part of their life.

Shane’s Story of Discipleship

Shane Anderson: I liquidated every single asset that I had — stuff that was super sacred and personal — moved out of our house, moved into my mom’s basement, and then I had to go talk to my dad and say, “Dad, I’m bankrupt.”

He got really quiet, and he said, “Cool. Where is it at?”

I said, “I think I’m, give or take, about $40 to $50,000 away from getting everybody settled.”

He called me the next day, and he said, “I don’t want you to have to go through that.” So he took out a second mortgage on his house, gave me a $50,000 check, and we paid everybody off.

That will humble somebody.

So that was kind of the beginning of, “Let’s strip Shane Wallace Anderson down to what he really is. Let’s humble him and piece back together a different picture.” It’s not that you can’t have that stuff, but it’s not who you are. It’s all just a tool meant to be used for something.

I wouldn’t be sitting here today having something to testify about if that didn’t happen.

JP: Here’s who God says you are. Here’s what God says you should do with all of it.

So, all right, I won’t trust in my own understanding anymore. I’m surrendering every aspect of my life, which means then wrestling through all the other spheres.

Who am I as a husband? As a parent?

You’ve said, “What does it look like to be a Christ follower in every part of my life?” And I’ve seen you do it in all spheres, but the one that’s most fascinating to me is how you’ve done discipleship in the world sphere — in particular, your work sphere.

How the Andersons Do Discipleship in the World Sphere

So you’re a landscaper. You have 10 employees now, and every single day you bring these guys in. Some of these guys in the past were troubled guys, broken down guys.

SA: Not just in the past. They’re still messy, but they’ve decided they don’t want to be as messy.

JP: So you’ve hired them; a lot of guys wouldn’t have hired them.

You spend the first hour of the day, on your dime, walking through who they are, what Jesus is about, what we’re going to do, and how we’re going to treat each other. Explain to me how you came up with that.

SA: When I got stripped down from those worldly identities and being successful in the world’s eyes, I remember going to the church and saying, “I need help.”

I had a utility notice on my front door. That’s just a marked measure of humility.

When you grow through that and you find strength and stability, you think, What can I be a part of that nothing can take away?

It always comes back to relationship.

When you have a lot of contentment and satisfaction with your marriage relationship, and when you’ve grown in your identity with being a part of the body of Christ, then those relationships are satisfying. It feels good, right?

You think, How come I’m not content and equally satisfied over here when I’m working? Well, it’s because there I have a different goal, a different prerogative, a different expectation for those relationships. In the world’s eyes, I’m an employer, and they’re my employees, so let’s go be productive based on how the world measures productivity.

So after two years of doing that, I woke up, and I said, “I’m not going to last. I get this knot in my stomach every Sunday because I know I’m going to show up on Monday, and all the guys are going to be in a different headspace. God, can you please show me what we can do?”

It was just this simple response from God: “What are you doing in the other areas of your life? You’re paying attention. You’re giving me — giving the Holy Spirit — time to be a part of that.”’

I asked, “God, what can I do? I know that you’re sovereign over this.”

And he said, “Well, why don’t you give me half an hour?”

And this is what I said: “Like, pay them?” I was walking around outside, that knot in my stomach, asking God, “You want me to pay these guys to have coffee? Are you nuts?”

God said, “You asked me.”

World Discipleship: A Family Decision

JP: You guys were struggling through bankruptcy and having to live in his mom’s house when he decided to say, “Okay, we’re going to do it the Lord’s way in the home sphere and in the world sphere, including the work.” It’s a partnership business. You and Lisa are in it together. This is your house, but it’s also your place of business.

You decided you’re going to pay them a half an hour to start with for this devotional. So these 10 young guys, early in the morning before work, come to your house. What were your thoughts about that, Lisa?

Lisa Anderson: I’m thinking, Okay, it’s just Monday mornings. Just 30 minutes on Monday morning. We can swing that, right? We can do that.

But that quickly shifted from Monday mornings to, “We need to do this every morning,” because a little bit of Jesus on Monday morning — that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about how we really need to take the temperature of where we’re at — where everyone else is at — and really allow God to be invited into our day from the get-go.

Quickly, we were getting some good stuff from this. There were some really positive things coming from this. We thought, What would it look like to do this Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday? And it has now transformed into every morning.

We want everyone to feel valued and truly know that we care about them.

The Boundaries Between the Home and World Spheres

JP: You can’t let the discipleship in the world sphere push out the home. There is obviously some connection between the two. But there are some boundaries between them. The work sphere can’t be in our house all the time. There’s a separate home sphere that needs to be protected. How have you guys done that?

SA: I’d say the first and most important thing is realizing that our house is given to us, but we don’t necessarily own it. I had it taken away at one point. This business, while I may technically on paper own it, I really have to embrace the daily attitude that I’m here to take care of it.

I am just a steward.

As soon as that makes sense, you realize that all the other stuff is not sacred cow stuff. It just has sacred boundaries, meaning my employees can come in here because it’s another tool to be used.

But for weekends, the guys know not to come up on Saturday. And if they do, it’s because they’re really broken.

JP: How does it look to integrate? You made a lot of mistakes along the way and had to work it out until you found the boundaries. You’re teaching them boundaries because you want them to have a home sphere of their own.

You ask, “What is God’s purpose in every sphere of my life?” And I would say that’s something that I’ve seen you guys grow in: In every sphere of your life, there’s a purpose.

Here’s who I am, here’s who God is, and here’s who the people around me are from God’s perspective. And I’m going to do this on purpose.

Looking to Future Discipleship in the World

If you look to the future, what is it that you think the Lord is leading you to?

SA: So I think one of the cool things is that in this life, you don’t really get to “arrive.”

But when you’re doing what God told you to do the way he’s asked you to do it, there is an arrival.

You just get to do more of it.

So 10% of our payroll is committed 100% back to paying these guys to sit.

Half of our guys have mental health issues. My lead foreman, he could barely put his shoes on two years ago. But you give him an hour in the morning with the Holy Spirit, and it builds him up, and he’s able to navigate stuff that he wasn’t able to navigate yesterday.

Now, all these other guys get to come in and sit right where you’re sitting, and they look at my lead foreman. They don’t even remember anything he says, but they just think, Whatever he’s doing, I’ll have some of that.

If we grow, it’s because we get to grow in more opportunities to let that transformation happen to more people.

Read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, for more about discipleship in the world sphere.

6. The Spiritual Realm

Jim Putman, Craig and Sherri Miles, and Gabe Cleave discuss the spiritual realm and how to fight spiritual battles.

All disciples are called to make disciples — the destination is maturity in the five spheres. The book of Ephesians talks about this abiding relationship with Jesus. That’s where our power comes from, where our energy comes from, where our direction comes from.

Then we move on to the church sphere. In the book of Ephesians, Paul starts with abiding. Then he goes into the church sphere. That’s the relational environment that we’re in with a bunch of believers as we move forward.

Now we go, “Okay, what does the home life look like?” What does it look like to be mature in the home life?

And next in the book of Ephesians, it asks, “What does it look like to be mature in your work life?” In your world sphere?

Then finally, we look at, “What does it look like to be in relationship with God and others, maturing in Christ as we battle against the spiritual enemy in the spiritual realm sphere?”

The Church’s Help in the Spiritual Realm

Jim Putman: Maturity in Christ is learned as we’re on this journey together in a relational environment so that every part of our life is transformed in Christ.

One of the things that we believe in is that there is a spiritual war going on, but that you fight for every sphere of your life with the church.

We put the armor on together.

Craig Miles: We know that the church is the group of people who not only are going to be journeying alongside of us through life, but they’re also going to pray for us.

JP: I don’t know how you fight against the enemy alone and win.

Sherri Miles: You don’t. You can’t do that.

CM: Going through the things that we do, and sharing and being authentic and transparent — one of the things that happens is that we develop trust for each other. We gain the ability to go, no matter how hard things are right now in our relationship, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to figure out a way to move forward.”

JP: Fighting for one another is something you do, rather than hide it and do it by yourself. What is the impact of isolation?

SM: You give the enemy the opportunity to speak lies. The lies start swirling around in your head, and you start believing them because there’s nobody there to talk to, to bounce them off of, to point you back to Jesus, to point you back to his Word and what the truth really is.

CM: It’s easy for me in my own mind to forget the things that I know and have experienced about a person until I’m with them and realize they’re a real person with feelings and emotions and experiences. When I get to do that and hear that from them, I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is why we’re in a relationship, and there’s grace and forgiveness,” but in isolation, that’s never where I go.

JP: Again, I don’t know how Christians make it in this world without that. That’s what God intended us all to have, not just those on the church’s staff.

Spiritual Weapons for Spiritual Battles

Tell me about how the Lord has used people to fight for your family and for you. You had an openness to say, “I need somebody to fight for me right now. I need some help. I can’t do it.”

Gabe Cleave: So it wasn’t until I started being open with my struggles. It wasn’t like they just went away overnight. But then I suddenly had people who knew me and were able to speak into my life. The anxiety didn’t have as much power over me because I was out in the light. It was no longer just me, in the dark holding on to it.

JP: Confess your sins, one to another, and you’ll be healed, right? Carry one another’s burdens. Bear with one another’s faults. Tell each other the truth. Don’t lie to each other. You start living all that out, and then you find out that these things you believed in your head aren’t even close to being true.

So doing what God actually says is a type of weapon, a spiritual weapon.

GC: In Ephesians 6, Paul says that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, the dominions, and the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. Then he goes into the armor of God. There’s the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, etcetera.

But Paul talks about the belt of truth, and to be able to put on the belt of truth means I have to be honest with you. But I also have to be honest with myself. The truth is I’m not okay. The truth is I need help. The truth is I don’t know what I’m doing. The truth is I’m scared. The truth is I don’t trust that person.

Coming face to face with the truth isn’t always fun. It’s not an enjoyable experience, but I need to be willing to address the truth; put on the belt of truth; carry that around with me; and be honest with you, be honest with myself, and be honest with those around me. If I’m not willing to do that, then the enemy has a foothold in my life, and he’s not going to let that go.

Our Spiritual Family

JP: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10-12).

We’re not trying to be an organization. We’re trying to be a family that’s organized.

I know that a lot of people come to church who never had that kind of family. This is the only one they’ve ever had, the only one they’ve ever seen. If that’s the case, then we want to continue to show them what family is supposed to look like to the best of our ability.

Read Jim Putman’s book with Chad Harrington, The Revolutionary Disciple, for more about warfare in the spiritual realm.

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