Exponential 2013 Notes: Jim Puttman – disciple-Making Church

Disciple-Making Church

Jim Puttman


The following are my notes from a breakout session from Exponential 2013:


Every Christian is a disciple-maker

Not everyone has the gift of leadership.

Not everyone is a small group leader.

Not everyone is a teacher.

But every person is supposed to be a disciple-maker.


Every parent is supposed to disciple their children.

If we do not make disciples who can disciple, we hinder the process of spiritual growth.


If a church targets leadership development, everyone there who is not gifted to be a leader is left out, just watching to help leaders develop.

That is not biblical.

Everybody is to be a disciple and a disciple-maker.


The only people who can create disciple-making churches are disciple-making pastors.

You cannot give what you don’t have.


The job of a good teacher is not to figure out how to use his gift, but to figure out how to help people actually learn and do something with what you taught them.


Keys to a Disciple-Making Church

5 things


Key 1: define what a disciple is.

Have a definition.

It needs to be agreed upon.
Tower of Babel illustration: unified language matters.


Puttman’s church definition

Matthew 4:19

Follow Jesus.

Be changed by Jesus.

Be committed to the mission of Jesus.

We need a clear, unified definition.

Yes, we are to make disciples.

But we are to lead a church that makes disciples.


You also need a biblical methodology

Jesus told people to come and be with him.

He did not invite them to a 5 part sermon series.

We will make disciples when we ask them to be with us in life.




Small group leader

Regular people under the leader


Each one coaches someone from the level under them.

How do people move up the list?

They do the work and show that they can.


Regular people are on the front lines, not pastors.

We want to equip them to storm the gates of hell.



Key 2: we need a maturing, more mature, spiritual leader.

If 90% of the people who call themselves Christians are immature, what happens when you put them all in the same room?

People get hurt.

You need a more mature person in the room who understands what it looks like to make disciples.


You cannot focus on making the masses of the people happy.

Children are selfish.

If you do not make disciples, you will have people who want to be fed instead of learning to feed themselves.


If 90% of your people are spiritual infants and brats, why would the world want to be a part.

Why unleash an army of spiritual brats on the world?


Jesus invested in his leaders.

Of course he cared about the masses.

But Jesus’ method of reaching the masses was to train up and unleash his disciples.


Bird hunting illustration

One bird, one shot


Key 3: You need a relational environment.

A relational environment is not a program or small group structure.

A relational environment is not a means to an end, it is the end itself.

You start loving people because you change.

They share with you and you share with them.


Knowing the truth and doing stuff is not enough.

It is not real Christianity.

Yes, real Christians learn and do.

But there is more.


A relationship-less Christianity is not Christianity.


The most lonely people in the church are pastors.

They have been taught not to let anybody get too close.

This paints a false picture.

You have to do life with your people.

You should be confessing your sins and holding others accountable.

Bear one another’s burdens.

As we do things together, even hard things, we build life.


It is not possible to abide in Christ without abiding in the body of Christ, the church.

We only bear fruit when we abide in Christ.

We do not bear fruit apart from the church.


Key 4: a reproducible process


A pastor’s job is to help people understand the process so that they love me but do not need me.

Can your ego handle that?



A leader understands the game, sees the process, identifies where a person is in the process, and can develop a plan to help that person get better.


How do you make people who understand the faith, understand growth, know how to see where people are, and who know how to help them grow?


Puttman and his group created the SCMD process.


S – Shared who he was

C – Connected with them.

M – Trained them for ministry

D Sent them out to make disciples

Go out, preach, come back, and let’s talk.







We want people to know this process.


Share who Jesus is.

Those who come to know him are invited to connect.


When we connect, we are part of a family.

You know and care about your family.

In connection, we learn to be a family and to be a minister.


We are created anew by Christ for good works which God planned beforehand (Eph 2:10).


So, as the people who are connected learn what their gifts and abilities are, we help them to minister to others.

This is all how we train them.


Then, as they are trained up, they will go make disciples.

They will disciple their own children.

Youth ministers will be there to support parents, not the other way around.


Plus they will share the gospel with others and help make others into disciples.


We can help people to suffer through life with Jesus as we connect and minister.

If we are really doing this, we do not paint a falsely easy picture of the faith.


One more thing

We want people to understand the stages of spiritual growth they will go through.


Everyone starts out dead.

Those who hear the message are born again and become infants in Christ.

They move into childhood, 1 John talks about little children.

Young adulthood



When an infant fills its diaper, I am not offended.

When a child acts like a child, I expect that.

When a young adult acts like a teenager, thinking they know everything, I am not stunned.


Help people recognize what they are looking at.


Share with the dead


What do dead people say?

What do they do?


What do I do with them?

Find out if they are open to talking.

Find out if they will hear you.

Find ways to show them love.


Share your life with and connect with infants.

What do infants do and say?

They need to be connected with somebody who can help.

They need to be connected with somebody who can teach them.

They need love.

You need to help them find spiritual parents.



Very self-centered

Feed me.

I didn’t like that music

I had to park a long way off.

I am irritated by having to wait to check my kids in.


Childish language, it is all about me


What do I need to do?

They need some parenting.


Be careful, just because a person serves does not make them a grown-up.

Ask why they are serving.

What motivates their service.

They need to be parented.


Young adults

They want to try it now.

They want to do it themselves.

They are very zealous.

But they are not parents yet.


Parents are different than young adults.

Parents are intentional.


Young adults are


They want to minister

Young adults do not reproduce.

They get focused on taking care of a small group of people, but they will not think of discipleship and reproduction.


Parents are intentional leaders

They think about how to help people to solve their own problems.

If you have 10 people in the church who are parents, you would have a movement.

If you only put on a good show at every level, you will not have parents.


Last thing: you need an organizational system to put these things in the process.


You cannot rely on a structure and systems alone.

You need to be personally connected.

Teach people to know the Bible so they can teach people to know the Bible.