Cohort Syllabus



Primary Texts: Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time (IVPress, 2016), Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ (IVPress, 2019) and Essential Guide to Becoming a Disciple (IVPress, 2016), Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God (Zondervan, 2003), all by Greg Ogden

Supplementary Texts: Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman; The Discipleship Gospel by Bill Hull and Ben Sobels; Leading Change by John Kotter; Insourcing by Randy Pope (Perimeter Church in Atlanta is one of the models of a disciplemaking church that we will examine in some depth), and Renovation of the Church by Kurt Carlson and Mike Lueken.

Introductory Session

Focus: This is an opening opportunity to get acquainted with the cohort coach and fellow cohort members, lay out expectations and agree to the covenant of commitment.

Session 1. Starting with the End in Mind

Focus: What does a disciplemaking church look like? In this lesson we give two snapshots of church that have made the transition. We need to be inspired by those who have made the journey.

Session 2. The Power of MicroGroups

Focus: The MicroGroup is environment in which disciples are being transformed and equipped to multiply disciples.

Session 3: Evaluating the Effectiveness of your Disciple Making Mission

Focus: Assessing the effectiveness of your disciplemaking will create motivation to improve as well as provide a shared perspective among your leadership core.

Session 4: Leading Change

Focus: This whole cohort process is about leading a church, ministry or movement to assume a disciplemaking paradigm. This will require change. Change only occurs under two conditions.

Vision: Painting a compelling picture of a disciplemaking church.

Dysfunction: Recognition that current reality is intolerable.

Session 5: The Authority of Jesus

Focus: The Great Commission does not start with “Go and make disciples…” but with One who issues the command. Jesus establishes His authority before He lays out His directive.

Session 6: The Mission of the Church Part 1: Which is it: Make Christians or Disciples?

Focus: The fatal flaw in our gospel is that we have told people that they can become Christians without being a disciple.

Session 7: The Mission of the Church Part 2: What are the Characteristics of a Disciple?

Focus: Embedded within the Great Commission verses of Matthew 28:18-20 are three characteristics of a disciple. The main verb "make disciples" is described three participles (verbal adjective with an “ing” ending). Disciples are marked by “going," “baptizing," and “teaching” obedience. This lesson goes into some depth about all three.

Session 8: Jesus’ Preparatory Model of Making Disciples

Focus: Jesus made disciples through his relational, intimate association with a select few. This should serve as a model for us as well.

Session 9: Paul’s Parental Model of Disciplemaking

Focus: We might conclude that the goal of disciplemaking is to bring people to maturity, in other words, to become adults. That is true, but Paul’s goal was for people to become spiritual parents.

Session 10: The Dependency vs Equipping Model of Disciplemaking

Focus: Why has the church been so slow in adopting the relational, disciplemaking that is so evident in the model of our Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul? A part of the answer is that the church has been trapped in a dependency model that identifies ministry with “ordained or professional ministers.” For a disciplemaking model to flourish, an equipping model which sees ministry as the province of the laity must be reinstated.

Session 11: Relationship: Life Investment

Focus: Disciplemaking as modeled by Jesus is fundamentally an intimate, relational process. This differs from the usual programmatic approach that dominates church life.

Session 12: Multiplication: Through the Generations

Focus: The goal of disciplemaking is to see multi-generational reproduction of disciples by everyday followers of Jesus.

Session 13: Transformation: The Four Necessary Ingredients

Focus: The “secret sauce” of a MicroGroup is that it creates an environment where four transformative elements can be maximized.

When we… (1) open our hearts in transparent trust to each other; (2) around the truth of God’s word; (3) in the spirit of life-change accountability; (4) while engaged in our God-designed mission…we are in the Holy Spirit’s hothouse of transformation.

Session 14: The Role of the MicroGroup Leader/The Importance of Curriculum


1) The leader of a MicroGroup is equivalent the driver. This person just might be the most important leader in the church because he/she is at the center of transformation and multiplication of disciples.

2) The curriculum is at the center of the reproducible process because it is the map or the GPS that guides you to your destination.

Session 15: Creating a Disciplemaking Culture/Sinkholes and Potholes  

Focus: A culture defines a way of life built upon values, customs, traditions and practices that shape the attitudes and behaviors­ of its participants. We are looking to intentionally build in values, customs, traditions, and practices that form “our” church to explicitly reinforce a commitment to make disciples who make disciples as our first priority. We also cover common sinkholes that can scuttle your ministry and potholes that you will most likely encounter in your transition to a disciplemaking culture.

Session 16: Becoming a Model Church: The 3-5 Year Plan of Transforming into a Disciplemaking Congregation/Ministry

Focus: The ultimate goal for each of our churches is that the Lord would allow to them to become a model church for others who would want to become a disciplemaking church. The first step toward this ultimate outcome is to become a disciplemaking church. In this last session you will create a three year strategy and plan that identifies the framework, processes, and phases that will move your church or ministry toward being one whose central purpose is to make disciples. The plan will build on the groundwork laid down during your two years within the cohort as we assume that the majority of churches require at least five years to implement and instill a disciplemaking culture.


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