Four years ago Woodbury resident Jill Spry phoned for information about The Timothy Network. She was ready for a change in the direction of her spiritual life.
Although a life-long church goer Jill confessed, “I knew the word of God, but not the God of the word. THAT was the missing link!”
Admitted mistakes put Jill on a journey of soul searching and repentance. She arrived at a place of deep spiritual hunger and became dissatisfied with “Sunday morning religion.” She was thirsty for an authentic relationship with Jesus. Gnawing pangs within Jill’s heart caused her to seek out the kind of purposeful discipleship that our work emphasizes.
After spending two years in a discipling circle with my wife, Karen, and three others, Jill has followed through by discipling women in her community. She’s still at it, and her commitment shows what intentional discipleship can accomplish! Jill is equipping the women she disciples to also find and disciple other women. But that’s just where the Woodbury story begins.
I soon recognized Jill as a “person of peace” that the gospel of Luke (chapter 10) describes. She has obvious influence in her community. Her example also caught her husband’s attention, leading to his own interest in our work.
Jill’s husband, Tim, a deacon in his congregation, sought out two other church leaders to participate in a discipling circle and invited The Timothy Network to help launch a training effort for men in Woodbury beginning in January 2015. Steve Henegar, another Timothy Network leader, joined me and what followed in Woodbury has been a big encouragement for all of us.
Although leaders in their church, none of the three men mentioned above had ever experienced the kind of relational discipleship that Jesus practiced; nor had they been equipped to intentionally disciple others. As we often see, however, once believers are immersed in this form of disciple making along with a few others (i.e. like Jesus did it) the light comes on! As with Jill, the process certainly took root with Tim, Greg Rogers, and Tim Knox and each is now discipling others.
Discipling multiplication has grown from four people to about forty men and women in the Woodbury community over the past 39 months. This includes men and women from both within and outside the Woodbury congregation. These four leaders are now practicing the simple and reproducible type of disciple making modeled and commanded by Jesus, and we expect to see an even greater ripple effect of disciple making in Cannon county. We are thankful for their committed efforts and for the supportive partnership of the Woodbury church of Christ. And we remain very thankful for the backing that many of you provide in helping us stay on track in practicing and promoting relational discipleship!