39 episodes

Have a heart for discipleship? Need guidance and wisdom on what it looks like in a post-Christian culture? You're not alone. Join pastor Oliver Hersey, as he hosts relevant and thoughtful conversations with seasoned ministry practitioners on how to make disciples and build communities that transform lives. Email the podcast at discipleship@smallgroups.com.

Transforming Discipleship SmallGroups.com

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Have a heart for discipleship? Need guidance and wisdom on what it looks like in a post-Christian culture? You're not alone. Join pastor Oliver Hersey, as he hosts relevant and thoughtful conversations with seasoned ministry practitioners on how to make disciples and build communities that transform lives. Email the podcast at discipleship@smallgroups.com.

    Pete Scazzero on Slow, Deep Discipleship in The Early Church

    Pete Scazzero on Slow, Deep Discipleship in The Early Church

    How did the early church fathers practice discipleship? What can we learn from them and apply to our lives today?In this episode, Oliver Hersey explores those questions with Pete Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation
    In addition to studying the early church Scazzero also studied the gospel of Matthew for years to learn how Jesus discipled the twelve apostles. “The disciples wanted to be popular,” he explains. “They didn’t want suffering and failure.”
    Those temptations and struggles still exist today. But how can Christians reject popularity, and embrace the cross? That’s where Scazzero looks to the riches of church history. To develop into people who are deeply changed by God, he suggested we should slow down, follow the crucified Jesus, make space for grief, and measure spiritual maturity by how we’re loving others.
    “Discretion was a quality of abbots in monasteries—the ability to let things unfold,” Scazzero notes.
    Join Scazzero as he lays out a blueprint for how to let your ministry flow out of your own life with Jesus.
    Learn more about emotionally healthy discipleship on his website.

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    Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter
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    • 38 min
    Nicky Gumbel on How the Church Can Help People in the Wake of This Pandemic

    Nicky Gumbel on How the Church Can Help People in the Wake of This Pandemic

    How can the church come alongside people after the pandemic? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Kelsey Bowse explore that question with Nicky Gumbel, Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in London, England. 
    He’s also the pioneer of Alpha, a program that started in 1977 that helps people explore questions of faith in fifteen sessions. He left his legal career behind, to work in ministry full-time, with his wife Pippa Gumbel. 
    “This is the greatest evangelistic opportunity of a lifetime,” Nicky said. His church had its largest turn out for Alpha in 2020, with 1,600 people attending online. 
    He said “There’s going to be a huge amount of poverty, even in places like the UK and the U.S. It’s an opportunity for the church to do what it’s supposed to do, to care for the poor and to preach the gospel.” 
    The explosive growth of the church came directly after the epidemics of 165 AD, and 251 AD, according to Nicky. This is ultimately what separates Christians, from everyone else, their willingness to run towards people who are suffering.
    Check out what was referenced on the podcast: 
    Rodney Stark's book The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History

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    Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter
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    • 31 min
    Five Discipleship Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus, with Rich Villodas

    Five Discipleship Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus, with Rich Villodas

    How can you live a life that’s deeply formed in Christ? In this episode, Oliver Hersey explores that question with Rich Villodas, author of “The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus.” He is also the lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a multi-racial church in Queens, New York. He wrote the book out of pastoral concern, and lays out a vision for spiritual breakthrough in five key values. He covers five areas of ministry that inform his church’s overall mission, preaching and discipleship:
    • Contemplative Rhythms Value: slowing down our lives to be with God.
    • Racial Justice Value: examining a multi-layered approach to pursuing racial justice and reconciliation.
    • Interior Examination Value: looking beneath the surface of our lives to live free and love well.
    • Sexual Wholeness Value: exploring how our sexuality connects with our spirituality.
    • Missional Presence Value: living as the presence of Christ in a broken world.
    He indicated that prayer is about listening to God listen. “Prayer is an exchange of souls, not necessarily an exchange of information or words. It’s a communion of hearts,” Villodas said. 

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    Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter 
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    • 40 min
    Why Jesus Called Levi, the Tax Collector to Follow Him

    Why Jesus Called Levi, the Tax Collector to Follow Him

    How can you model your small groups after Levi’s house? In this episode, Oliver Hersey tells the story of Jesus calling Levi, or Matthew, the tax collector to follow Him. Many Christian scholars believe that Levi also wrote the gospel of Matthew, and witnessed the Ascension of Jesus, according to the Oxford Bible Commentary the Gospels.
    “After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him (Lk. 5:27-32).”
     Soon after this encounter, Levi invited Jesus, and his tax-collector friends over for dinner, to dine with Jesus. The Pharisees questioned why Jesus would dine with sinners, and tax collectors. In response, Jesus said “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mk. 2:17).”
    Oliver indicated that Alpha is a small group ministry, that encourages seekers, and non-believers to ask questions about Christianity, in a welcoming environment. “The genius is that all it involves is food, and people, and drink and the presence of Jesus. He will grab people’s attention, when it’s time to,” Oliver said.
    If you work in ministry, there’s a good chance you’ve already left many things behind to follow Jesus. Holding onto your desire for greatness, fame, love, comfort, and convenience might still be a temptation, though. Here are a few questions to consider, if you'd like to start small group(s), where everyone matters:

    How can you model your small groups after Levi’s House?

    Have you left behind your desire for greatness?

    Are sinners welcome at your small group?


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    • 20 min
    Kristyn Getty on Singing Classic Hymns with Her Family and Church

    Kristyn Getty on Singing Classic Hymns with Her Family and Church

    Why is singing an important part of worship? Kristyn Getty and her husband, Keith wrote a book entitled “Sing: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church” that explores this question, in light of the Christian faith. They’re both known as modern hymn writers, and global ambassadors for the genre. Kristyn and Keith are best known for the modern hymn “In Christ Alone.”
    She aims to write beautiful songs that people can sing, highlighting Biblical truths, with stylistic influences from early hymn writers. Since she became a mom in 2011, she started wondering what it meant to teach her children how to sing.
    Kristyn said “We started doing a hymn a month with our kids, and that has been a wonderful thing.” Last month, they taught their children “It Is Well with My Soul” which has led to questions about who Satan is, and what it means to have assurance. 
    “What we sing is incredibly important. So much of what we sing is what we remember, and how we talk about our faith, how we pray, how we share our faith with unbelievers,” she said. Singing is an extension of our prayer life, and allows scripture to “dwell in us,” according to Kristyn. She indicated that the congregation is the ultimate choir, and is the life blood of the church.
    She said “There are some churches that sing robustly and have very carefully crafted worship services. Maybe it’s going down a liturgical path. And other churches have a more loose approach to how things are put together.” 
    Check out what was referenced on the podcast:
    Sing! In Christ Alone: Getty Music Worship Conference
    C.S. Lewis’ Essay on “Three Ways of Writing for Children”

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    Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter
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    • 37 min
    John Stott, and the Mission of God’s People, with Dr. Christopher Wright

    John Stott, and the Mission of God’s People, with Dr. Christopher Wright

    How can you participate in the mission of God? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Dr. Christopher Wright, author of The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative discuss prayer, scripture reading, and theological study as ways to enter into God's mission.
    Dr. Wright said “we need to be men and women of mission. We need to see that we are participating in God’s mission in this world. We need to be followers of Jesus who are about the things that Jesus was about.” 
    In regards to prayer, and issues of social justice – Dr. Wright pointed to the Psalms and said “we need to be praying into the situation into much more Biblical ways.” He also points to the Lord’s Prayer as a way to enter into God’s mission, here on earth. 
    He also serves as the International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International, a ministry founded by John Stott. Stott realized the church was lacking in resources for pastoral care and teaching. Because of this, he established a number of ministries, which later became known as Langham Partnership. Stott famously said “pastors can’t preach if they don’t study, and they can’t study if they have no books.”

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    Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter
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    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

SarahWurm ,

Dynamic podcast

This podcast is such a cornucopia of delight! I like to listen when I go for walks or cook dinner. I always gain some new wisdom and insight from the guests. And the hosts do an amazing job at asking the right questions!

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