WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER!
The Relational Discipleship Network (RDN) is made up of like-minded disciple making churches that relationally support each other through coaching, training and equipping.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE RDN?
In 2007 Real Life Ministries in Post Falls Idaho (Founded by Jim Putman and Aaron Couch) was one of the fastest-growing churches in America with an average Sunday attendance of 7,000-8,000 in an area of a population of 30,000 people. As a result of this, Pastors from across the nation came to Post Falls, Idaho to find out how they were growing so fast. What they found out was that Real Life was intentionally focusing on making disciples of Jesus in real authentic relationships – doing their best to walk out Jesus’ method for disciple-making.
To meet the demand and answer some of the questions from pastors across the country, Real Life Ministries formed an annual conference called the Care Conference. This conference was an opportunity where they could share with pastors how they started using Jesus’ method and model for disciple-making. However, the fascination and demand from pastors who were seeing and hearing about transformed lives grew. Real Life Ministries was now faced with the challenge of how to meet the growing demand? Senior Pastor, Jim Putman knew they needed to hire someone to build a training team to address the need.
Jim has a strong belief that churches should disciple everyone and put people’s various gifts mixes into play serving the kingdom. Jim needed a leader who had the leadership and the track record of growing things and meeting the demands. God showed him, Luke Yetter. Luke was a businessman who had recently sold a nationwide company that he founded and grown. Luke and his wife Casey had come to know Jesus at Real Life Ministries. Luke was given a place to play (serve) as a homegroup leader and also helping invest in the Real Life Ministries staff with leadership development.
Jim met with Luke to hear what his thoughts were about the Care Conference that Real Life Ministries started. Luke explained that he thought that the content was really good but wasn’t necessarily equipping the pastors attending. He felt that the conference was more of a lecture format and that most people learn hands-on. Hands-on learning is something that Jim believed from his experience as an All-American wrestler in college and wrestling coach. Jim knew that hands-on experience was vital. Luke explained that there is a place for monlogue and a place for dialogue. The lecture format can be effective, however, often the perspective of the student is it’s not so effective. When you combine dialogue with hands-on modeling, you can get something very effective.
Jim asked Luke what he would do differently? Luke said that if he were to revamp the conference, he would invert everything. Luke explained that he would do much less “talking head” and he would break the attendees into small groups where the topics at hand would be modeled and experienced by people who were making disciples of Jesus on a daily bases.
Jim then asked Luke if he would like an opportunity to make these changes. Jim knew that if this were possible, it would be quite the challenge to pull it off. (Luke found out later that Jim was a masterful recruiter).
Luke accepted the challenge and went on to build a 2-day hands-on training experience, which later ended up being called the Discipleshift1. The Discipleshift1 is very little “talking head.” This is a conference where key disciple-making topics are tackled, discussed, dialogued. All of this is accomplished and modeled in small groups that are lead by two facilitators who have a current track record of doing just what they are talking about.
The Discipleshift1 training took off and has had a significant national and international impact. The number of pastors coming from all across the nation, learning how to make disciples and disciple-makers grew.
After the two day training, pastors went back home and started making disciples in their own lives and then in their ministries. They were seeing lives being transformed, and people were growing because they were doing this in real relationship with God and His people. But this growth brought about a new set of challenges and questions started to arise.
Pastors that were beginning to walk out relational discipleship had many many questions and they began to call the Real Life Training team for coaching, resources and additional training. The training team was not currently set up to coach or provide ongoing training at this capacity. God was doing something. He was drawing pastors from across the country to learn about disciple-making, but the need was much greater than just a two day training and equipping.
Luke set out to solve the challenge of how to help these pastors that had gone through the Discipleshift1 training who were asking great disciple-making questions and seeking more training and/or coaching. Luke knew how to scale an organization, he knew it had to be bigger than one church. Luke identified five churches that Real Life Ministries had intentionally invested into for three years, helping them become disciple-making churches.
Luke met with each senior pastor and asked each of them if they would personally be willing to coach and lead a small group of other senior pastors (no more than 4-5), who had just gone through the Discipleshift1 training and were requesting help; would you help them make the SHIFT? All five churches responded yes to the invite. They knew that making disciples of Jesus in real relationship has been life-giving and life-transforming not just to them personally, but also to their staff and people”.
These five churches became our first coaching churches and later became the RDN Board members. The RDN board consisted of churches from across the country with different demographics, sizes, and denominations. This diversity has allowed the RDN to help train and coach a very diverse swath of churches.
Since the inception of the RDN in 2011, we have coached, trained, equipped, supported, and encouraged over 100,000 leaders across the world to be churches that are making disciples of Jesus and committed to helping other churches do the same. We believe that we are stronger together!
WHAT ARE THE NETWORK DISTINCTIVES?
The RDN provides solutions to the three biggest struggles churches and pastors face today:
- “How do I make disciples of Jesus who can make disciples of Jesus?”
- Moving from Education to Application – Living it out personally. Relational discipleship is not an event.
- Loneliness to Real Authentic Relationships
We help ministry leaders who are tired of program minded discipleship by providing effective training and coaching that equip them for living out authentic, relational disciple-making.
The RDN was not created based on the need for a network. The RDN was created because there was a need for churches to BE the Church by being and making disciples.
Our training and coaching is accomplished through a collaboration of like-minded churches who have SHIFTED their own churches over several years. These churches are willing to give back their time, money and energy by helping coach churches who want to make the SHIFT and experience the results of making disciples in authentic relationships the way Jesus modeled it.
These Mentor Coaching Churches (MCC’s) and their leadership teams are passionate, determined, focused, and committed at a heart level to be and make disciples of Jesus. With such strong conviction, they are willing to do whatever it takes to lead there own church and ministries to be a disciple-making church. In doing so, this conviction has carried over to help coach other churches and their leadership teams to do the same.
Areas that set RDN apart:
Our core values:
• Making Disciples of Jesus in relational environments: Relational discipleship is the core mission of our network. Every Christian has a place to “play”. We all are given the responsibility to be a disciple and make disciples in real relationship.
• Authentic Relationships: With God and with others that are deep, meaningful friendships, you can rely on and process real issues with.
• Collaboration: We are stronger together, pushing past the difficulties and challenges that can come with working together and collaborating for the greater good.
• Coachable: Having the humility to know we all need help at different times. To be willing to ask for help by allowing others to speak into our lives.
• Fun: It’s an amazing experience to go from strangers to acquaintances, from acquaintances to friends. Celebrating how God can use a team comprised of different churches and backgrounds to further His kingdom is very inspiring, refreshing, and yes, very fun.
Discipleshift1: A two-day conference is the first step for a leadership team to experience relational discipleship together. Designed for participants to have a personal “heart shift” toward being a disciple and making disciples of Jesus. We believe that “more is caught than taught.” These two days are done in a small group environment, facilitated by pastors in our network that have been walking and living out relational discipleship in their homes and their churches. You and your team will spend over 16 hours not just hearing about relational discipleship but having it modeled for you. You will be given opportunities to get hands-on practical experience and applications that you can take back to your church.
Discipleshift2: A three-day experience for your team (7-11 people) where the focus is on team alignment. We will help align and equip your team to walk out relational discipleship. Intentionally focusing on how each person “does” relationship and how much that matters. How do each of us define “loving one another”, what is the positive and challenging aspects of being “loved” by others, and examining the question “What’s it like to be in relationship with me?”. What am I doing that is propelling relational discipleship and what am I doing that is hindering relational discipleship. Let’s align and strengthen our team to be relationally equipped to love God and his people in a way that draws them.
Church Planter Boot Camp: A six-day event where we combine Discipleshift1 and Discipleshift2 with the perspective of a team going into a new area and setting the DNA for reaching the lost and making disciples of Jesus. We will help equip your team to focus on being a disciple-making team that can recruit and invest into others in such a way that they want to be part of the team – God’s team!
Spend time in a highly interactive small group setting as these experienced Elders will answer your questions, share stories, practical steps and best practices to building a healthy relationship between the Senior Pastor and the Eldership, as well as, building a strong, unified Elder team.
Join with them as they tackle some of the top issues and challenges that Church Elders face as they live and walk out relational discipleship.
- How to identify Elder candidates
- How to intentionally create a relational environment with your Elder team.
- How to lead effective Elder meetings.
- Elder vs. Staff decisions. What should we decide on as Elders?
How to stay involved, but let staff lead?
RDN VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The RDN will know it is being successful in God’s eyes, as we continue to hear more stories of lives being transformed on a local, regional, national and international level. Seeing more and more churches willing to work out there relational tensions in a God honoring way with one another. Seeing and hearing about Churches reaching into there communities and being the church-reaching the lost and making disciples of Jesus.
WANTING MORE INFO?
Looking for more info about the RDN or would like to be part of it? Contact us today!