3DM Mission and Discipleship Workshop, Day 1

From 3DM’s Mission and Discipleship Workshop description: “More and more, people are realizing we are in the midst of a discipleship crisis in the United States which is largely responsible for the state of the American church. At the same time, there is a wave of excitement about the current missional movement that has been bubbling up in the last 10-15 years that many people are hoping will stop the bleeding. The fundamental issue, however, is that unless we are able to disciple people well like Jesus did, any missional movement is unsustainable.
Our general experience is that people are quite intrigued to hear how we’ve used things like Huddles (a discipleship vehicle) and Missional Communities (a missional vehicle) to see discipleship and mission come alive in their church communities, looking more and more like the churches we see in the New Testament. This 2.5 day workshop is a time to look at some of the things we’ve learned in the past 30 years, dealing with post-Christian contexts where as little as 1% of people attend church. It’ll have teaching, discussion, breakout time with your team, a chance to actually experience Huddles and Missional Communities, worship and down time.”

Below are my notes from the day. If they don’t make sense or you’d like to hear more click here to download the audio from the day.

Session 1, Mike Breen

  • At 3DM we are committed to an integrated life. What you’ll see from us is an attempt to integrate everything we do.
  • Two key concepts are at the heart of what we do: Covenant and Kingdom
  • Two key concepts at the heart of what Jesus did: Invitation and Challenge
  • The metaphor we have used for this integrated life comes from the computer world
    • Our “programming language” is the Bible (covenant and kingdom as binary code).
    • Our “operating system” is discipleship. This is not the operating system active among followers today. For most the church is the operating system. If you build a church you will not necessarily get disciples, but if you make disciples you will get a church.
    • The GUI (graphical user interface) is the parables. Text and context come together through illustrations. For 3DM, these are the Life Shapes.
    • The “Killer Apps” of 3DM are the huddles and missional communiities.

Binary Code: Covenand & Kingdom

After God’s relationship with man is broken, God comes to Abram to reinitiate relationship. He points to the stars and says, “Look at my family Abram.” The starry hosts are God’s creation, his family. God promises Abram that this is how his family will be. Abram asks how God can assure him of this relationship, and God responds by initiating a covenant with Abram. He “cuts” a covenant with Abram. They divide animals in half, signifying that the parties lives are joined together. One would die for the other. In this covenant God and Abram become one. God gives Abram a piece of himself – part of his name. From YHWH, Abram becomes Abraham. Sara becomes Sarah. A scar is given, a private mark (circumcision), is given as a reminder of this covenant.

There are three primary elements of covenant and kingdom.


God comes to us as Father

From God our Father we receive our Identity

In light of our Identity we act in Obedience


God comes to us as King

As King he gives us authority.

That authority comes with power.

Our identity is connected to our authority.

Our obedience is connected to our power.


The metaphor of the disciple disappears in the early church. Why is that? The metaphor changes from teacher-disciple to a family. Paul tells the Corinthians that they had many teachers but not many fathers. He became a father to them. The process of a teacher developing a disciple is analogous to a father developing a child. There is information (the Bible), imitation, and innovation. In the church we have focused mostly on the information.

Social Space Breakout with Doug Paul

Introduction to the proxemics research about people and relationships: Public space (75+), Social (20-30), Personal (6-12), and Intimate (2-3). This describes how people experience life. How does what we do in our churches reflect engagement in these spaces?

Is there a tension between people identifying too strongly to a social space (missional community) and not having a strong identity to the public space (corporate gathering)? No, not if they see that connecting their story to something bigger gives them longevity. A missional community may make a difference for a couple years, but connecting to a larger body gives them the opportunity to have impact for a lifetime.

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