Story by Tiffany Doss
One year we spent $40,000 on evangelism and community outreach—and zero relationships were built,” recalls Jennifer Deans, pastor of the Living Faith church in Dulles, Va. After attending a church planting conference, Deans realized the church didn’t need a better discipleship program; it needed a paradigm shift. “It’s God’s job to grow the church, and it’s ours to make disciples,” she says. “I came across Generate One, a discipleship program that teaches these biblical principles.”
Deans has begun introducing this shift to her church. “We’re focusing on how to have a spiritual conversation, share our stories and stay in tune with the Holy Spirit. We’re tempted to think we just need to share biblical knowledge—but if that were the case, Satan would be saved,” says Deans. “Through relationships we are able to share God’s love. That takes time. I’ve discovered this investment of time not only changes the individual, but it changes you. I’ve developed some of my closest friendships by following Jesus’ example of discipleship.”
The intensive training is a two-year process for church members, but goes quicker for new believers. Six members are currently going through the training, and Deans says the church’s culture as a whole is already shifting and has resulted in 10 baptisms.
Pastor Jennifer Deans (middle) stands with Alison Porter (left), who use to be Dean’s neighbor, and Rema Simms (right), who is actively going through the discipleship training.