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Casting A Wide Net With The Discover Course

Joel Seymour

Joel Seymour

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The promise of Jesus to his first disciples was that they would be fishers of men, that they would catch people like they caught fish. For first century fishermen, poles, lures, and bait were not the tools of the trade. Rather they used nets to haul in their prize. I sometimes think about leadership development tools the same way. Some tools can be used to hone in on one potential leader and others can capture the imagination of a whole group.

Multiply Vineyard’s Discover course is a tool that can be used either way. The course helps students discern the call of God on their life. Using short videos like the one below, discussion or reflection questions, and spiritual exercises, students discover who God has made them to be and what they are potentially called to do.

This course can be taken individually online or collectively as a class in your church. I have often casted a wide net with this content, hosting it as a Friday night and Saturday morning training. I use this event to point people towards our Residency+ training, a year-long program that takes a potential church planter or ministry leader through an intense course of formation, discipleship, and study. By inviting in lots of potential leaders, I am able to give them a taste of what committing to Residency+ is like.

Both our Youth Pastor, Johnny Friesner and our Pastoral Intern, Brian Sunderland took the Discover course at our church, the Lancaster Vineyard. As a recent hire, Johnny desired more training. While he had plenty of ministry experience and some formal education, he was interested in more theological and practical ministry training. He told me, “I wanted a broad view of ministry and wondered if Residency+ could help with that. The Discover course was an entry into the Residency+.” Similarly for Brian attending the Discover course allowed him to see what he was getting himself into should he decide to attend Residency+.

Another strength of offering the Discover Intensive before Residency+ is that it allows spouses to attend and be exposed to what their husband or wife will be committing to. Johnny found it incredibly helpful to have his wife there. He said, “A calling isn’t just a personal thing; it affects your marriage and your family. Having my wife there to process calling with me was crucial.”

By casting a wide net you won’t be restricting training to just those who you think could be staff level leaders or planters. Brian added, “This is good for everyone because its kingdom work. [In the training] a story was shared about a logger going to work at a logging company leading people to Jesus. Before he knew it he had enough disciples to have a group and then enough to have a church. He didn’t set out to be a church planter but by loving God, loving people, and making disciples that’s what happened. Everyone should be involved in making disciples. Out of that they’ll discover their calling.”

To put on a Discover Course at your church:

  • Schedule a Friday Night/Saturday Morning or 4 weekly meetings.
  • Ask your leaders who they see potential leadership on. Invite as large of a group as you can.
  • Print participant guides for your students.
  • Set up a room with a large TV or projector and a good internet connection.
  • Make a ‘Next Steps’ handout that is specific to your church. It should include detailed next steps for their continued growth like how to join Residency+, suggested courses at Vineyard Institute, or taking the 10 Questions to help you figure out what’s next.
  • Give plenty of space for prophetic prayer and ministry time.

Discover Course

Check out the videos and download the facilitator guide to hose a Discover training at your church.

Joel serves as the Senior Pastor of the Lancaster Vineyard. Joel graduated from Kentucky Christian College in 1994 with a BA in Christian Ministries (preaching emphasis) and a BA in Biblical Studies.

Upon graduating Joel and Kristi were a part of a church planting team in northwest Ohio. In 1998, after 4 years at the Oasis Church in northwest Ohio, they felt called to plant a Vineyard church in Lancaster. Besides being the senior pastor, Joel serves as an Area Pastoral Care Leader for VineyardUSA and has been known to be an assistant little league coach.

He’s in love with his wife Kristi and together they have three great kids: Jesse, Luke, and Emmie. Joel dreams about growing old with his wife, raising his fun loving kids to be lifelong disciples, seeing a Vineyard in every county seat in SE Ohio, and watching the Reds go back to the World Series one day.

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