Why Disciple Planting?
For millenniums farmers have sown their seed upon the ground hoping with all their hearts to reap a huge harvest. In the gospel of Mark 4:3-20, we learn that the purpose of the sown word of God is no different. The harvest that God desires is a field of mature, reproducing followers of Jesus Christ.
This is why The Discipleship Plant exists, to plant the next generation of disciples and leaders in pursuit of the lost and the least. Because something that everyone seems to agree on is that there is a leadership crisis within this country, and that it stems from a lack of character. We should not be surprised at this phenomenon, considering that so many other societies throughout time have placed character training and integrity at the center of their children's educational upbringing while we are not even allowed to talk about it throughout most classrooms today in America.
Moreover, for those children fortunate enough to be brought up within the faith community, most at graduation will know how to solve complex algebraic equations, but will be unfamiliar with most of the books in the Bible. We cannot continue to say that something is number one in our life and remain largely alienated from that something in our day to day. The change needs to occur within the family. After all, families tend to do together what is most important. What could be more rewarding and fulfilling than discipleship training for the entire family.
Discipleship for the Family
When Jesus was being tempted in the desert by the devil He quoted the following scripture, "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4 ESV). Likewise, the apostle Paul says the following, "...Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next" (1 Ti 4:7-8 NLT). Imagine what we would look or feel like if we ate just once a week, or a high school football team who only practiced or worked-out occasionally. It is crystal clear throughout the scriptures that the life of a disciple is a daily walk with God. The Discipleship Plant aims to help people fill in the gaps between Sundays in a very systematic fashion through a video classroom that can be viewed either from home or listened to on the go with Bible questions provided to help guide the process of learning how to read the Bible closely.
I remember early in my career when I was doing personal training, it became surprisingly apparent that every client had one or more of the same three needs: 1) instruction, 2) accountability and motivation, 3) a systematic approach for long-term success. I have found that spiritual fitness is no different. From a child all the way to a geriatric retiree, The Discipleship Plant aims to instruct, inspire, and build a foundation to support a lifetime of Christian growth.
Disciples in Pursuit
After spending the last two decades working with and ministering to widows, shut-ins, the poor, the handicapped, the disabled, and the broken, I have concluded that more than anything else disadvantaged people need God, family, and wisdom. This means that disciple-based churches remain the greatest hope for the lost and the least. Unfortunately, almost none of these people will be coming to us, so that means we need to go out to them, following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus.
This is why The Discipleship Plant is so valuable, because it has the ability to reach people in rural and economically oppressed areas by equipping and empowering additional leaders to go beyond the church walls where traditional church plants have been unable to touch due to financial considerations. Moreover, The Discipleship Plant addresses the number one reason why Christians fail to make disciples in these untouched areas, a fear of teaching God's Word incorrectly (Mt 18:6, Jas 3:1).
Many people have told me over the years, that they would have loved to study at the seminary level, but were unable to either due to financial limitations or time restraints. The Discipleship Plant addresses both of these problems, and enables God's dream of a royal priesthood to become a reality among all believers (1 Pe 2:9). For Jesus himself said, "...The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Lk 10:2 TNIV).
The founder of The Discipleship Plant, Ben Hodge, has his Master of Divinity, is a Kern scholar, and a member of Eta Beta Rho: a National Honor Society of Students of Hebrew Language and Culture. He has served as a teacher and a leader in multiple capacities both within and outside of the church for more than two decades, equipping both children and adults in the areas of Christian Discipleship and Health and Fitness. He also holds a degree in Physical Therapy, and has held certifications as both a Personal Trainer and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Ben currently lives on a farm with his beloved wife and three children.