Over the January break, Southeastern was privileged to have Dhati Lewis on campus to co-teach an urban church planting class with our own Dr. Mike Dodson. Dhati is a urban church planter and practitioner living in Atlanta Georgia and serving as the lead pastor of Blueprint Church and a key organizer of the BLVD conference. Dhati is a gifted brother who exudes practical theology from a distinct ministry perspective.
Dhati’s emphasis on the importance and centrality of discipleship in and through the local church is the heartbeat of his ministry. Blueprint’s vision centers upon “gospel growth in the context of family while living on mission.” Discipleship in relation to family while living on mission is key to grasping Dhati’s methodology.
Below are nine quotes and sayings from the week which provides a rough sketch of his discipleship methodology, those small and profound truths that make you sit back in your chair and think, “wow, that’s good.”
“The church is not like my family, the church is my family.”
The New Testament describes Christianity in familial language. Discipleship over a cup of coffee for an hour, once a week, is a foreign concept to the New Testament. If we would never attempt to raise our children by one hour conversations, then why do we adopt this method for discipleship? Discipleship involves being incorporated into a family.
“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to raise a Christian.”
If discipleship is a familial reality, then it must be a communal reality.
“Do not invite people to a time and space, invite them into a relationship.”
Discipleship must go beyond focusing on events and meetings to focusing on living life with people.
“Intersection not addition.”
Discipleship takes place in the natural rhythms of life—where life naturally intersects people.
“Shrink your world.”
Discipleship involves concentrated focused relationships, which can’t happen with everyone. If you are going to raise your family properly, there are many things you just can’t do. Why should discipleship be any different?
If discipleship takes place in the context of everyday life, then intentional space must be created for this to happen. Hospitality is not so much serving someone in order to change them, but instead creating space for real gospel change to take place.
“It’s not a real problem, if it’s not my problem.”
Proximity is vital for gospel ministry.
“90% of ministry is simply showing up.”
Dhati calls this the “ministry of presence.” If God is going to use you, you must be present—really present! Show up!
“Just maybe, the laborers need to come from the harvest.”
True discipleship is the process of not only creating converts from the harvest, it is the process of creating disciples who make disciples from the harvest.
Mike is an Assistant Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism, the Associate Director for North American Church Planting for the Center for Great Commission Studies, and a National Missionary of the North American Mission Board (D.Miss., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary)