A Word from Jay Zinn
To those who are called to disciple the nations…
In the summer of 2011, God gave me the assignment to write materials in the form of a three-year system that Christian men and women could use to reproduce disciples. This systematic curriculum was completed in January of 2019.
So why this assignment?
Most Christians don’t reproduce or invest themselves in others because they don’t know how to or where to begin. Their best effort has typically been a Bible study or a particular book on a topic they go through with others (perhaps a book on discipleship, about discipleship). Though these are excellent and valid things to do, the key to reproducing the lifestyle of a disciple comes only by way of long-term, systematic investment into a relationship where measurable achievements and growth are visible and experiential. This isn’t something merely attained by attending a church service once a week. Discipleship is much more involved, just as Jesus involved his life into a systematic, ongoing relationship with twelve men, and more specifically with his closest disciples—Peter, James, and John.
The material in my discipleship system comes from 40 years of experience in planting and pastoring churches. I also hold a Doctor of Ministry and a Ph.D. in Theology which has equipped me to provide the fundamental teachings of Christ and the tools to help you rightly divide and handle the Word of Truth.
Through all my years of ministry and study toward my graduate degrees, I’ve discovered one important truth—that my growth and maturity in Christ was accelerated through a systematic and disciplined pattern of education that required me to think and to seek out God’s Word for truth. It is my conviction that unless we train disciples in a similar way, that is, to think for themselves, study on their own, and discover truths in the Word on their own (as the Holy Spirit teaches them), we will never wean them from their singular dependence on weekly sermons to mature as Christians.
Weekly sermons are essential, I’ve preached thousands of them. But they’re not enough to make mature saints, equipped to hear from God on their own. Accelerating growth in any Christian requires training and instilled discipline to dig for the truth in the Bible. This is why Jesus asked questions of his disciples. He didn’t just tell them things, he asked questions to get them to think, to ponder, to consider what they had witnessed of his life, and the insights they gained from it.
During dark times in history, we observe the most effective way totalitarian regimes conquered a people and kept them from rebelling was to keep them ignorant and uneducated—entirely reliant on what someone more educated than they would tell them was true. The same outcome happens to Christians. If Satan wants to keep us conquered and under his thumb, he does so by keeping us out of the Word and believing that one Sunday meal a week is all we need to be active, healthy saints. The problem, however, is that we’re kept ignorant, not a threat to Satan, ill-equipped to discern God’s Word and study it accurately, and, therefore, lacking the experience of true freedom and liberty in Christ.
Satan wants to keep us enslaved and trapped by our ignorance. It makes us then vulnerable to the deception of his false prophets and teachers. Why do you think the Dark Ages in history were so dark? Because only the religious leaders, the educated, had access to the scriptures and kept the members of the church entrapped by their ignorance of the truth. That’s why we must equip and train disciples of the Lord to discover the truth in God’s Word, able to share their discoveries with three other disciples in a weekly meeting of their own.
I believe the church is weak today because the saints are weak in their knowledge and understanding of the Word. And because they’re complacent and lazy in their studies of scripture, they place all their confidence in their teachers as the sole source of revelation. Yes, we are to learn from sound preaching and teaching by God’s leaders in the church, but if that’s all we do, we won’t grow, and we won’t become disciples that reproduce other disciples.
In my journey as a disciple of the Lord, I’ve taken the approach to train and equip the saints to learn how to dig out truths for themselves. In Book One, I lay a foundation that layers each week upon the previous weeks and prepares the disciple for the next book. There are a total of six books, each containing 26 weeks of assignments (it takes a minimum of six months to complete each book with a group). Each week has six to seven tracks of assignments, easily done within 15-20 minutes of study a day (before they meet with their discipleship group). Everything presented in the books lays the groundwork for the next week of assignments (and the next book) until three years of discipleship is complete. Jesus gave us this model of three years himself. For his church to be thriving and his kingdom to be carried on after his death and resurrection, he laid the groundwork for his disciples to carry on his kingdom purposes through disciplined training.
Those who go through all six books will obtain a significant knowledge and grasp of the Word by experiencing the tools to learn how to dig for the truth in the Word as they are taught by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27). In my system the disciples are trained to feed themselves, to be able to hear the Holy Spirit’s revelation of truth and to be able to advise, share, teach, and educate others.
Most seminary students graduate with knowledge, but not always with experience in discipleship. Those who complete my system will not only know how to study as effectively as any seminary student, they’ll also disciple others along the way, and have many layers of discipleship groups below the three they have discipled in their group. They’ll come out of their three years of daily/weekly study as “seasoned” saints, able to lead a congregation of their own if that is the Lord’s will for their life. My discipleship books are designed to train and equip disciples to become leaders and influencers of others with God’s kingdom principles and values.
I believe God is bringing back serious, intentional discipleship to his church. I’ve been assigned to do my part to help produce strong, mature, equipped, empowered men and women to carry forth his great commission to make disciples of all nations. Would you pray about joining me in my campaign to provoke a culture of discipleship in the church−by becoming a disciple yourself?
God bless you!
Dr. Jay Zinn
Jay Zinn www.jayzinn.com
www.iZeeBooks.com (where my other books may be purchased)