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Saturday, 19 August 2017 10:43

Watch DTI Live - Tuesday's at 5:30 PM EST

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Frank and Jeannette Meitz just finished an “Equipping the Saints” class for Crosspointe Church in Largo, Florida (www.crosspointefl.com) to prepare and train the faithful men and women of this Free Methodist congregation to come alongside a new believer and mentor them using the DTI manual, A Tool for Personal Discipleship. Each of the one-hour fast-paced sessions was recorded live, allowing others to benefit from the teaching. You can watch the live archives here. Us this training before you disciple your mentee to remind you of nuances and give you confidence or when you're training others.

You'll find "outside the box" sharing, such as how to use a Sunday sermon message with your mentee, and a testimony from a woman sharing from her experience of being discipled and now discipling another and how the Lord gave her confidence and DTI gave her the tools not only to mentor someone else, but to put into practice the DTI concepts.

To watch archives of the teaching click here.

If you have any questions or comments about the “Equipping The Saints” format or content please click here and send us an email.

Blessings, The DTI Team

frank teaching 7

Monday, 26 June 2017 14:01

A Spiritual Father's Day Reading

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The USA celebrated Father's Day on June 18. The following was read at Crosspointe Church in Largo, Florida on Father's Day reminding us all that there is a true and great need in our world not only for physically present men, but also for spiritually present men. We thank Missy Truong for writing it with excerpts from the National Center for Fathering. Also noted in the essay are statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and a quote by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest.

In America, the US Census reports that over 24 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions ​more​ have dads who are physically present, but emotionally and spiritually absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic as worthy of attention as any national emergency. In fact, data proves fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children.

There is a true and great need in our world not only for physically present men, but also for spiritually present men to fill the role of shepherd to a someone spiritually developing. These leaders are not men who applied for the position, or who are looking for a title or control. They may not even have biological children at all. These spiritual fathers are simply men who desire nothing but God, and who respond to His will.

Men, the task of a spiritual father is not to seek out wrongdoers and correct them, or to destroy their freedom, or even to suppress their personality. The task is to help someone see the truth for themselves and to enable them to discover their true self and grow to full maturity: to become who they really are. When a man leads someone in this quest, he becomes a spiritual father. You may be thinking this isn’t what you had in mind when you came to church today. This isn’t even something on your radar - to lead another person along their spiritual journey. It’s just not “you”. But the thing about spiritual fathers, is that they often aren’t revealed until they are needed by a spiritual child. There is a movement of the Spirit that leads your paths to cross and inspires a Divine appointment. And it is Christ’s own presence living within, that enables spiritual fathers to rise above the fear and weakness of feeling inadequate; and allows them to accept the challenge with gratitude and humility for the sake of God’s work.

Oswald Chambers put it this way: “...once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you ‘turn aside to the right hand or to the left’. We are not here to work for God because ​we​ have chosen to do so, but because​ God​ has ‘laid hold of’ us”.

Men, we are called to fatherhood today, to the children God has guided into our presence. Let us continue to abide in the Vine so that we may speak the truth in love to those He brings to us. May we lead by our own example in every area of life.

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This is Part 2 of our discussion on gauging the spirituality of Christian Congregations.

Now we will compare the “common” perspective to the “Biblical” perspective” of gauging spirituality.

How do you as a church leader gauge the spirituality of your congregation?

We would suggest that church attendance is too frequently the main criteria by which the spirituality of believers is gauged. If church attendance is the main criteria used to gauge spirituality, then a person can be incorrectly concluded to be spiritually healthy.

Unfortunately, most leaders don't have the time to delve into the spiritual condition of the typical individual in the church. (This is how DTI helps church leaders – training faithful men and women to spiritually mentor new(er) believers to help accelerate their growth.)

Certainly church attendance indicates some level of interest. It’s reasonable to think that if a person attends on a Sunday morning that they do have an interest. And if they have an interest, then they ought to benefit from what is spoken to them.

That is good; however there are other criteria that should be considered, in addition to church attendance.

The illustration of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea will help to make our point.

They both have input but only one body of water is healthy and the other is dead. The Dead Sea receives a fresh flow of input, but then it stays there and stagnates. On the other hand, (the healthy) Sea of Galilee also receives a fresh flow, but the water goes out. In the same way, there needs to be an inflow and an outflow in a believer’s life.

There needs to be a flow of His life through the believer.

Jesus said the believer is a branch. The purpose of a branch is to be a conduit through which the life of the tree flows and produces fruit.

The branch does not produce the fruit. The tree produces the fruit. The life of the tree flows through the branch and produces the fruit. We are branches. A healthy branch is a branch in which the life of the tree is able to flow, so that there will be fruit.

Jesus said that “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” It's the Holy Spirit’s spiritual fruit that glorifies God.

(When we talk about fruit - in our materials and discussions - we are always referring to whatever the Holy Spirit produces through your life.)

Now, let’s separate the typical church congregation into four categories, describing the believers from the perspective of observable outward human appearance. As we make a comparison of believers, we would like you to think about how you as a leader observe and gauge the spirituality of those in each category.

The first category is those we’ll call “Spiritual”. These Christians appear to have wholeheartedly acknowledged His Lordship over their lives, have a healthy growing relationship with the Lord, and seem to be bearing spiritual fruit. They have an observable passion for the Lord. We can all identify people that fit into that category; Healthy growing Christians.

The fourth category is the “Unsaved”. These individuals are usually recognized as being unsaved. It’s typically not too difficult to identify people that are unsaved, although we know that only God can really make that determination.

The second category is what we call “Acceptable”. These Christians don’t exhibit excessive negative outward behavior. They may regularly attend church services, give financially, and be involved in other Christian activities. They will quickly acknowledge God’s presence in their lives, but do not exhibit much passion for the Lord, or understanding of wholehearted surrender to His Lordship.

We are all aware of Christians that have attended church services for years and then all of a sudden some negative behavior will come out that amazes you. These people seem to be okay if you just look at their outward behavior.

In the common church environment in the United States a Christian can appear to be leading an appropriate spiritual life by attending church services, Bible studies, Small Groups, etc. However that doesn't make them spiritual. As we said, that is often the gauge for measuring spirituality.

So when we hear that a Christian couple has been attending church services for 20 years and now they're getting a divorce, you have to scratch your head and wonder what’s been going on (in their lives). Because the truth is, you don't just wake up one morning and say, “today looks like a good day to get a divorce!” Divorce is the end result of a process that has gone on for months and maybe years.

So Christians can be totally out of fellowship with God and attend church services and appear to be spiritual. We see this repeatedly. These people would generally fall into the “acceptable” category by many church leaders.

The third category is Christians that are usually considered to be “in need of counseling”. Their “self-dependent” (carnal) pattern of thinking is more evident, as they tend to exhibit questionable negative outward behavior, such as on-going marriage, relational or financial problems, addictions, etc. They may or may not regularly attend church services, or consistently give financially. They may be involved in some Christian activities. They will quickly acknowledge God’s presence in their lives. Counseling is often seen as the recommended recourse. Their salvation may be in doubt.

In reality, we believe the second and third categories from God's perspective are one category. But from our human perspective, the major difference between the two groups is that in the third group their sins are more outwardly visible, and in the second their sins are not as apparent.

There are Christians who have a hard time hiding their problems, but then there are other Christians that are very good at hiding their problems.

In reality does God see a difference between the two groups? No.

Do we see a difference? Yes.

So we have a group of Christians that don't have significant visible problems but in reality are dominated by problems. These Christians are not walking in the Spirit but they can appear reasonably healthy.

An unhealthy Christian that doesn't have outward manifestations of sin can look healthy compared to the Christian that is obviously having problems like marriage or relational issues or other problems.

But what we need to do is compare these two groups to the “Spiritual” group and now you have a completely different situation – We call this a distorted view of the spirituality of the Body of believers.

How can we recognize those that fall into the middle two categories?

In most Christian churches, many people that are considered healthy don't show any spiritual passion, have very little impact in their sphere of influence. They are not witnessing and (we) don't see God active in their life - but yet they attend church services weekly.

What can you say to these people? You can't say, “Hey, you're not spiritual.”

We need God’s discernment as we observe other Christian’s lives. We need to be aware so that we can help those Christians that want to grow. There are a lot of Christians that want to grow, but they need someone who is willing to come alongside of them to help them grow.

This is what DTI is all about. This whole discussion is to be able to better identify what is going on (in the churches) so that we can help those Christians that want to grow.

Category One is the “normal” Christian life, the other categories are “abnormal”. We should not gauge spirituality “on the curve”, and we should not be satisfied with anything less than God’s best.

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This is Part One of a two part discussion on gauging the spirituality of Christian Congregations.

What is the measure of spirituality in the typical American church? How do we measure spirituality?

If we make the statement that spiritual maturity is typically graded on a curve, what are we stating?

If you are in a church and everybody is “very” immature and you are just a “little” immature, don't you feel good about yourself? You say, “I'm ahead of those guys.”

The apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 10:12, “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.”

When Christians go to the Rewards Ceremony (The Bema), God is not going to go congratulate you because you were more spiritual than other Christians. God knows where every believer is and God holds you accountable for where He knows you are. He doesn't hold you accountable for how you are compared to someone else.

We need to disciple new believers and help them get started so that they don't go through their Christian life comparing themselves to other people. If they compare themselves to other people you're going to get a distorted perspective of where you are spiritually.

God doesn't care where you are in relationship to someone else He cares where you should be.

What about new believers? How do we gauge the spirituality of new believers?

As a Christian starts their Christian life it's only normal for that Christian to be immature. That's not necessarily bad. But what is bad is when the 5 or 10-year-old Christian still acts like a new Christian.

When new Christians are not discipled, many of them typically continue being immature.

It's like raising a child without ever really giving them care and guidance and then wonder why a 20-year-old can't make good decisions.

This is one of the problems that many kids in America have with finances. They are not taught how to manage finances at the appropriate age so when they get in the real world after graduation, they believe the credit card is something that you buy everything with and don't worry about the long-range implications. This behavior leads to “financial unhealthiness”.

Unfortunately, many churches are being spiritually dumbed down. The expectations are going down. It's safe to say that the American church today has little impact on American society. We believe that the reason is the church is spiritually unhealthy.

One of the biggest reasons for this (unhealthiness) is the lack of personal discipleship at the beginning of the Christian life. The Great Commission said “go and make disciples.” It was not “go and make converts.” It was to make disciples, and the expectation of a disciple is greater than that of just being a convert.

One of the characteristics of a disciple is spiritual reproduction. There is an expectation that the disciple makes other disciples. (reproduction) But yet how many people in the typical American congregation are even aware of the expectation of making disciples?

Most Christians have the awareness that they should be witnessing so people get saved. But very few Christians in the congregation understand that they are supposed to be involved in making disciples.

One of the main goals of DTI is to help the new believer to start following after the Holy Spirit and to be developing a relationship with Him and to be growing, to be maturing.

As a Christian matures there is going to be a growing and increasing interest in investing in others. As you grow as a believer how can you not care about others?

As you grow the Holy Spirit is going to put in your heart, to care for others.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 08:34

DTI Newsletter - Impacting The World!

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Our newest newsletter highlighting the most recent DTI happenings around the world is available now.

The stories are literally world-wide ranging, from Mississippi, USA where we conducted two back-to-back mini workshops.

In South Africa a Body of believers have translated the DTI manual into Afrikannas and duplicated the DTI web site in their native language.

North of our border, in Canada, a faithful sister-in-the-Lord has impacted several churches and many lives by equipping believers to spiritually mentor others.

There's a Cuba update and an update from Reno, NV USA on how Art and Toni Barkley (the Author of the materials) have been faithfully serving an Hispanic church by equipping 4-5 couples to spiritually mentor new believers in the church.

Click here to read the newsletter.

If you've not signed up to receive the newsletter electronically the form is at the bottom of the web page.

Friday, 10 February 2017 09:04

How do I mentor someone?

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Have you felt the Lord’s conviction you that you should be investing in the life of a new(er) believer? Great! But, you might have questions about what a personal “spiritual mentoring” relationship looks like.

Let’s take a look at how the DTI Manual and the four components of “spiritual parenting” can help you fulfill the Great Commission.

spiritual mentoring

The DTI materials are designed with the intent of raising questions and stimulating conversation which will lead to spiritual growth both in the mentor (discipler) and mentee (disciple). As you go through the material together there will be questions that will come up from the mentee related to what is being discussed and from the other side, the mentor needs to be constantly available to share personal experiences both positive and negative.

As a mentor shares personal experiences they are going to be modeling and sharing with the mentee, “this is how I handled this particular situation” or “when the Lord did this in my life this is how I reacted.” Maybe the outcome wasn't very good but it will be a learning experience for both the mentee and mentor. It’s helpful to discuss things that have happened spiritually and things that are happening in the life of the mentee.

And the Holy Spirit needs to be depended on to orchestrate all of this. Typically when you meet together, you as the mentor know where you're going to start which is probably where you ended up the last time you met. For example, you're going through Phase 1 and you know which lesson you ended last time and you’re prepared to begin there, but you have to be ready that any given moment the Holy Spirit may change the whole direction of the time together. Maybe a paragraph or concept you think would be easily understood by the mentee triggers a question in the mind of the mentee that leads to the whole session talking about one particular point. But if that's what the mentee needs to discuss then the mentor better be ready to let the Holy Spirit direct the conversation.

In our Balanced Discipleship discussion we list four components of personal discipleship. Let’s now turn our attention to these components since you as the mentor will use these in the mentoring process.

The first component is teaching God's word. As you go through the DTI Tool you’ll find that about 65% of the lessons are Scripture, along with the teaching “point” to discuss. God’s Word is a powerful instrument to use as we seek to grow in spiritual maturity, spiritual fruitfulness and spiritual reproduction.

The second component of personal discipleship is that of commitment. This has to do with the heart attitude of the mentor towards the spiritual welfare and development of the mentee. There is a commitment that goes beyond just presenting God's word.

It's the contrast between the secular model for teaching and the biblical model for teaching. Jesus said that a disciple is a student and every disciple is a student but not every student is a disciple. What's the difference?

The biblical idea of a disciple is more of an apprentice. At a university the student just wants to know what the teacher knows. In the biblical model the student wants to be like the teacher. This is a huge difference. In the secular model the student doesn't have to respect or have intimacy in any way with the teacher. In many situations the teacher could be immoral outside of the class because all that matters to the student is the information that they receive in the class. How the teacher lives their life is pretty much irrelevant.

But in the biblical model of discipling the idea of an apprentice is one where the mentee learns from the mentor but we want the mentee to emulate the mentor. Most of all we want the mentee to end up with the passion of the mentor. Typically the one that is being mentored will not have a greater passion than the one that is mentoring. Hopefully the passion of the mentor comes across.

The third component of personal discipleship is being a model for the disciple. A lot of times outside of using the Tool you will be modeling your everyday life in particular situations. If you’re mentoring someone you would expect to receive phone calls or questions from the mentee that doesn't have to do with the lessons you are going through in the manual. It would be more of “I've got a situation going on in my life.....”

In many ways being a model for the mentee cannot be taught. How do you teach patience? How do you teach faithfulness, or passion? Those things need to be seen more than heard and this is part of being a model.

The fourth component of personal discipleship is individual attention. We’re not interested in having you just go through the material in a mechanical way but you have to be available to the Holy Spirit lead that maybe on one particular point there is a “hang-up” for the mentee. Maybe it is something where the mentee is hurting or has some deep questions. As the mentor you should let the Holy Spirit change the pace and direction of the time spent together so the Holy Spirit can address those needs of the mentee.

As you experience the joy of mentoring a new believer, you will come to experience that all four components are dovetailed together as one unit.

2 disciplers

Thursday, 09 February 2017 08:30

Does God answer a child's prayer?

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Here's a great testimony from our just completed Cuba discipleship conference, that has nothing to do with the teaching, but was a "God Inspired" moment none-the-less.

One precious 4-year old girl sat patiently through the eight hours of small group time with her mother each day. On Thursday (day four), Jeannette felt the Lord prompting us to give this little girl one of the extra dolls that we use in the new believer drama. Her eyes lit up and she smiled broadly!

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The mother then cried and explained that her daughter had been scribbling prayers on small pieces of paper, asking God for a dolly! Neither of them told anyone -- only the Lord! And the Lord heard her prayer -- and we were privileged to be part of that!

"So yes Virginia, God does answer a child's prayer!"

Click here to watch the mother's short testimony. (translated by Martha Garcia)

Thursday, 09 February 2017 08:09

The Equipping The Saints Model (working in Cuba!)

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Besides offering our FREE discipleship manual and other training resources here on our web site, DTI is committed in equipping believers in the Church Body to be disciple-makers who make disciples. It's based on the "Train The Trainers" model used in many business industries. In the spiritual realm we call it "Equipping The Saints" based on Ephesians 4:11-16.

This model takes time to implement, however we believe that it will actually extend the "life" of most pastors as burn-out is an epidemic crippling the Church.

Pertaining to our on-going mission in Cuba we have been implementing the Equipping model for several years now empowering the Cuban facilitators to replace the US Team which saves the ministry money and allows the Cubans to learn the Model and implement it in their local churches. The fruit is now surely evident.

Here are some observations from our just completed conference in Cienfuegos.

When we first started coming to Cuba in 2009, we had to bring a large team from the United States. But our goal was always to equip the Cuban pastors and leaders to facilitate the small groups and take on other responsibilities. Over the past three years we have reduced our traveling team to four. Primarily Frank and Jeannette (Meitz) teach in the general sessions, with Pablo and Martha (Garcia) translating for them and each facilitating their own breakout group. All along, the Cubans were being groomed to be the lead facilitators - since they know best culturally how to convey the DTI concepts (contextualization).

The biggest transformation in their small group leadership style is the transition from preaching to facilitating that we have been emphasizing. We now incorporate a mini facilitation guide in the Cuban DTI manual so that every leader can facilitate for maximum effectiveness when leading small groups.

In this conference their leadership rocketed to new levels. They performed their own dramas; several led team meetings; and some invited others that they began grooming to learn how to facilitate their own small group.

Contact us to learn more about the Equipping The Saints model.

Thursday, 02 February 2017 15:42

Empower, Encourage, Equip, Enjoy!

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In the aftermath of our just completed 11th conference in Cuba we ask the following question. How do we measure the success of a discipleship conference? 

Over the years we have heard various Cuban leaders lamenting about the all too common problem when other ministries enter Cuba, conduct a conference and then leave without empowering and equipping those who attend to implement the material. Many of you may have even experienced this in your own professional careers. Just look at your bookshelf's...

So DTI has been very strategic in our method of "Equipping The Saints" for our Cuba conferences. This means that with the help of our existing Cuban leaders (who have been with us for several years now) we seek other spiritually mature Cuban believers who are passionate about the Lord and already have a proclivity to investing in the lives of others (not necessarily the best "teachers") and equip them how to spiritually mentor new believers. We also encourage them to assume a leadership role by accepting the responsibility of modeling to others what we model to them during the week.

Sometimes in other cultures people will be courteous, not wanting to offend, but then not implement what they received once you leave because they don't think they have the authority to do so. So we have spent a lot of time empowering the Cuban leaders to implement the spiritual mentoring process in their home churches after we leave. To help mitigate any excuses, we give each attendee a second DTI manual to be used with a new believer immediately upon their return home from the conference.

The end result? This empowering, encouraging, and equipping has led to numerous testimonies of how people are growing in the Lord, making good decisions, marriages are being healed, behaviors are changing and we get to enjoy some of the fruit God is producing!

implementation slide

Monday, 09 January 2017 14:54

Discipleship Training - Cuba Jan, 2017!

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Details are coming together for our two January, 2017 back-to-back discipleship training conferences in Cuba for Cienfuegos and Villa Clara provinces.

We know that God is in control, and our “job” is to be in continual fellowship with Him, and pray.

There are many ways you can partner with us, and our biggest need is prayer.

Click here for our newsletter which lists how you can pray with us for this event.

Thanks!

cuba team

Cuba DTI Team from November 2015

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