Ottawa DISCIPLE! Conference 2019
Summary provided by Elizabeth Mabie – Spur Ottawa Correspondent
“There is no greater privilege in life than to help people fall in love with Jesus.”
Among His final words, Jesus commanded those following him to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
While many find these words encouraging, long-time Navigators member Bill Mowry believes we need to “de-professionalize the Great Commission”. The Navigators have a long history of training believers in relational discipleship. On October 4 and 5, the Navigators’ Canadian branch partnered with Bilberry Creek Baptist Church, in Orleans, to host the Disciple! Conference.
“Everybody’s given the [Great] Commission, but not everybody feels equipped to live out the Commission,” explains Stefan Cherry, a member of Navigators and the associate pastor of Bilberry Creek. “Anyone who is a follower of Christ can make disciples. We want to equip and empower Christians in the Ottawa Valley to feel like they have the right tools.”
Cherry was inspired by a 2018 discipleship conference held by the Navigators in Hamilton. He calls the experience “eye-opening” and spoke with his church about holding a similar gathering in Ottawa.
“We really felt that God was leading us in this direction,” says Cherry.
One year later, they saw 120 people join them to train in the art of disciple-making, make connections, and listen to the keynote speaker, Mowry.
In Mowry’s latest book, The Ways of the Alongsider, he states, “I believe wholeheartedly that there is no greater privilege in life than to help people fall in love with Jesus.”
“I think that quote sums up the whole discipleship journey,” Cherry says.
Those who took part are enthusiastic about their experience. Sonia Maximovsky and Cody Simpson, a church planting couple from Montreal, found the conference encouraging and inspiring.
“The spiritual momentum of the knowledge I acquired carried into my community group.”
“When we heard about the conference, we immediately wanted to attend because our church plant’s main focus is disciple-making,” says Maximovsky. “Hearing Bill Mowry and the other speakers share their knowledge, experience, and expertise on creating a discipleship culture within the Church was not only encouraging, but also extremely helpful. The conference offered both broad insight as well as specific measurable tools that we could put into practice right away.”
“There was a great atmosphere of Spirit-led generosity from all the presenters there,” Simpson adds. “I found their insights in asking questions and revealing vulnerability to be very helpful. It’s our prayer that this and future work will help revitalize the Church in Canada with intentional discipleship.”
Cherry says that Bilberry Creek is about two years into the disciple-making process taught at the Disciple! Conferences. He says that he’s seeing major shifts in the church’s culture.
“People are starting to spontaneously make disciples,” Cherry states. “We’ve started up triads of two to four people getting together on a regular basis to look at scripture and encourage and pray for each other. We have about 12 people leading these triads. We’re starting to see fruit and it’s exciting.”
“After the conference, the spiritual momentum of the knowledge I acquired carried into my one-on-one meet-ups and community group. I eagerly shared much of what I have learned with my brothers and sisters in Christ,” Maximovsky states. “I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and recommend it for any Christians wanting to dive deeper into understanding the Great Commission and its practical application in our world today.”
Below are resources from the DISCIPLE! Collingwood 2015 conference:
3 Mountains of Spiritual Influence
by Luch Del Monte – presentation length: 20:56
In the first talk of the day, Luch Del Monte shared his thinking on what it looks like to come alongside others, using the illustration of three mountains. He encouraged everyone to consider which mountain they are currently on and what their next steps may be.
Devotions to Devotion
by Pete Kuehni – presentation length: 18:18
Pete’s talk centred around how we can transition from doing devotions to becoming more intimate and devoted to Christ. By moving from our own efforts to relying on the efforts of Christ, it will spring forth from us and spill over to the lives of those around us.
Sharing your Story
by Cathy Kuehni – presentation length: 20:20
Drawing from her own experiences, Cathy spoke on the importance of your story and how sharing it with others is helpful not only for them, but also for you. She used the example of Paul’s testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26 to help hone what your story is.
3 Roles in Disciple Making
by Kimberly Matthisen – presentation length: 27:41
Focusing on the roles of God, the alongsider and the disciple, Kimberly talked about what areas are covered by each in the realm of discipleship, using examples from her own experiences to illustrate.
Christ in the Workplace
by Jeff Russo – presentation length: 22:46
Jeff Russo’s talk revolved around the question, “Is Jesus in the workplace?” and if so, how can we find him. Utilizing his entrepreneurial experiences as a hot dog vendor and fitness consultant, he discussed how he has found Jesus at work and offered advice on how others can too.
Real stories of Coming Alongside
Panel Facilitated by Ron Ferwerda – 51.28
Five individuals who have personally experienced the power of discipleship discuss how it affected them and the lessons they learned as a result of having another come alongside them.
Going the Distance
by Pete Kuehni
As the final talk of the conference, Pete talked about how you can apply what you learned at the conference to your life in such a way that won’t burn you out. He went through five areas, that if addressed and acted on, can enable you to continue pouring into the lives of others for years to come.