D-Life Boot Camp – Training Believers for a Discipleship Lifestyle
Six years ago Bill Wilks was frustrated.
As senior pastor of NorthPark Baptist Church in Trussville, Alabama, he saw believers complete one Bible study after another in the discipleship program, but saw few develop into true discipleship-makers. It seemed that nothing in the church was really multiplying.
“We were great at teaching the Bible, but weak at making disciples who make disciples,” Wilks admitted.
He began to delve into the four gospels, studying Jesus’ relationship with his 12 disciples. The study led Wilks to realize that discipleship is not a program; It’s a lifestyle.
This simple but profound truth changed Wilks’ ministry, he said, and became the foundation of D-Life – a lifestyle approach to making disciples.
D-Life equips believers by following Jesus’ six practices of discipleship: fellowship, teaching, prayer, ministry, multiplication, and responsibility. The ultimate goal, Wilks said, is to see a global, local, discipleship-making movement.
He began leading the D-groups of D-Life, asking NorthPark staff to join him in leading three to five men, following the model of Jesus. Each week Wilks wrote study guides for groups, focusing on reading the Bible, discussing Bible passages, and ministry and evangelism outside church walls.
“D-Life is a discipleship-forming lifestyle that people can live anytime and anywhere,” said Wilks, pastor of NorthPark Baptist Church in Trussville. “I often say, ‘You don’t need permission to do the Great Commission. ‘ “
Wilks eventually wrote four years of study guides which were published and made available by D-Life online and the D-Life journals of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
“We have been commissioned by Jesus to make disciples, and therefore our life, our lifestyle, should be about making disciples,” said Tim Smith, director of missions for the Floyd County Baptist Association in Georgia. “Living D-Life is giving people a tool to help them make disciples. “
Smith has witnessed the impact D-Life can have in the lives of believers. As a former Georgia Baptist Mission Board Sunday School and Discipleship Director, he began to use the approach in his own discipleship efforts and then shared it with churches across Georgia.
Smith now partners with Wilks to lead D-Life training camps in Alabama, as well as training camps and Legacy and Leadership for Georgia pastors.
D-Life Boot Camps provide training for the disciple’s lifestyle. Participants learn a simple, biblical, and repeatable process to help them make disciples who will make disciples for the rest of their lives.
During the four-hour camps, believers receive intensive training, learning how to implement the process Jesus used to make disciples. The dual purpose is that each participant will leave believing that they can live the discipleship lifestyle and that everyone will be equipped to make disciples.
“In a D-Life boot camp, we’re not just talking about making disciples, but we’ll equip you to be a disciple maker for the rest of your life,” Wilks said, noting that his wife, Rondie, and others were assisting him. by conducting training opportunities.
The team also runs D-Life Women’s Retreats, D-Life Women’s Day Lectures, and Student Boot Camps.
Legacy and leadership
D-Life offers a 12-week Legacy and Leadership Track for Pastor Disciples or Wives of Pastors. Many association leaders use heritage and leadership to showcase discipleship, Wilks said.
Thousands of churches and ministries across the United States and in eight countries use D-Life to equip believers for the discipleship lifestyle, and Wilks noted that D-Life Online is offered in Spanish and Haitian Creole. , with a Hindi translation in preparation.
Wilks added that an eight-week “Positive Choices” track is used by emergency pregnancy centers to train women who come to clinics.
Come to christ
“I’ve had people who didn’t know the Lord who were saved in the D-life group,” Smith said. An unmarried couple made salvation decisions while participating in the process, and Smith baptized them and then performed their wedding ceremony.
Wilks’ most recent book, “The Greater Work – Make disciples. Whenever. Everywhere. ”Will be available in February. It describes the history of D-Life and what God is doing in people’s lives through effort.
“I have never been so excited about what God is doing in our church in NorthPark,” Wilks said. “We see people leading D groups who have never led something like this before. Those who participate in our D-Groups are growing spiritually… and we are doing more ministry and evangelism in our community than ever before.
“The threefold purpose of each D-group of D-Life is: 1. to grow in spiritual maturity, 2. to serve in missionary ministry, and 3. to reproduce disciple-makers. Thanks to D-Life, that’s what we see at NorthPark and across the country. “
On Saturday, January 22, NorthPark will host the D-Life Alabama-wide training camp from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register, click on here.