Have you ever been sitting in church and thought that there must be something more? That’s where we found ourselves in 2004. As an answer to that prayer concern, the Holy Spirit led us to enter a discipleship Sunday school class in Reno, Nevada. During the next several years, God transformed us from pew-sitting Christians who were just checking the box each Sunday to disciples of Jesus who make disciples. We discovered that God wants all believers (not just pastors) to be equipped to help others become spiritually vital.
At that time we were both employed by a Fortune 100 company. Frank ran a technology training center, and Jeannette was a product consultant, trainer and public speaker. God began using the skills and training from our secular careers to expand and improve the ministry He was calling us into.
On Frank’s first trip to equip church leaders in Mexico, the Holy Spirit came over him in the airport and asked him to quit his job and volunteer full-time for the discipleship ministry. Because he had been discipled, he said “yes” – even though our financial budget said “no” according to worldly logic. (As Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”)
That was the first step in God’s adventure for us, and we now lead the “Train the Trainers” division of Discipler Training International, which consults with and trains church leaders who want to implement a robust discipleship ministry. As lay volunteers, we maintain the website and electronic app and help write the free resources designed to equip the saints to spiritually mentor/disciple others in addition to personally discipling.
Jeannette’s father, Hugh Wayman, was the first church planter in the Free Methodist Church’s Oklahoma Conference (now the Mid-America Conference) in the 1950s. In the ’60s, he was elected conference superintendent. He celebrated his 96th birthday on Feb. 29. Her brother Denny Wayman is a retired superintendent and pastor from the Free Methodist Church in Southern California.
After relocating permanently to Florida, we felt God’s leading to join Crosspointe Church, a Free Methodist congregation in Largo, Florida. In April, we will become deacons in the South Atlantic Conference.
As part of our coursework in the spiritual formation class on our journey to become conference deacons, we developed a workshop — “What’s Your Discipleship Strategy?” — to be used with pastors and leaders who are struggling with the “how” of effectively carrying out Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19–20 to “go and make disciples … teaching them to obey…”
If we take Jesus’ last words on earth as a command and not just a suggestion, we need tools and strategies to effectively obey His mandate. That’s Discipler Training International’s goal and mission: “a nondenominational discipleship ministry, providing free discipleship resources for training disciplers (spiritual mentors) to help every Christian grow in spiritual maturity (Colossians 1:28), spiritual fruitfulness (John 15:8) and spiritual reproduction (2 Timothy 2:2).
For many churches, discipleship is weighted toward “corporate discipleship” — one person talking to/teaching many. We have found that by adding a “personal discipleship” component (equipping laity to personally come alongside new believers), the spiritual maturity and fruitfulness of individuals — and the entire congregation — are exponentially increased. We as a church often talk about discipleship, but we need a tool to use, along with training on how to do that. We need more than just theory.
I’m Saved. Now What?
After people accept the gift of salvation, they typically are hungry and open to understanding how to live the abundant Christian life but often don’t know how or where to begin.
They may listen to sermons and podcasts, are told to read their Bible but struggle to understand it, and model their behavior after other believers’ behavior, which often leads to wrong conclusions. So they end up wandering in the spiritual desert rather than living the abundant life God has promised.
Just as a newborn baby needs immediate and intentional care, we have found that “baby Christians” will flourish with intentional individual attention.
DTI’s core resource, “A Tool for Personal Discipleship,” is available at disciplers.org to download and print in English, Spanish or Mandarin, or as an English or Spanish app for digital devices with additional video teaching embedded in the app. The DTI app for mobile devices is an excellent means to reach millennials and Generation X. Visit fmchr.ch/dtiapps and choose English or Spanish.
This Scripture-based material has proven effective in spiritual formation focused on:
- Learning to trust in God’s character.
- Allowing God to transform my thinking, leading to godly behavior, rather than focusing on behavior manipulation.
- Making a decision to surrender and make Him Lord of all aspects of my life, not just Savior.
- Abiding daily, living in dependence on the Holy Spirit, which leads to loving and serving others and spiritual reproduction.
The tool is intended to spark conversation between a mentor and mentee (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) and not about just completing a course of study. It can be used in a one-on-one mentoring relationship (or one-on-two), in small groups, for personal study and growth, or in training faithful believers to mentor others, which helps them grow as the Holy Spirit identifies gaps in their spiritual understanding.
Access our website for additional resources to equip and train spiritual mentors and implement a discipleship culture in your church.
As part of the DTI ministry, we have been facilitating “Equipping the Saints” workshops in the United States and around the world, with a concentration the last 11 years on annual weeklong conferences in a Spanish-speaking creative access country, focusing on raising up local leadership to train and spiritually mentor others, as Paul instructed in 2 Timothy 2:2. God is at work in this Latin American country. Please pray for our 14th conference in April.
Visit disciplers.org to access free discipleship resources, sign up for our newsletter, or contact us. DTI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that accepts tax-deductible donations to help maintain the free resources and support the Latin American conferences.
Frank and Jeannette (Wayman) Meitz have been married 24 years. They live in Belleair Beach, Florida, after retiring from New York Life Insurance Co. They volunteer full-time for Discipler Training International and serve on the board of Victor Newman Ministries (victornewman.org), a nonprofit organization focused on the homeless and people who have addictions or are food-insecure. In their spare time, Frank enjoys scuba diving and sailing while Jeannette likes to read on the beach and play the piano.