We help disciples of Jesus have a practice-based system for growing and maintaining wholehearted devotion to God.
Mission and Purpose
As someone who was raised in the church, I have seen many ways to make and develop disciples. The most frequent way I have seen the church develop disciples is via a classroom setting. This is where you listen to someone expound upon a biblical text, and, if permitted, you can ask questions, give feedback, or give your perspective. Although people benefit from this approach, this form of training is akin to someone taking a class on shooting free throws but never going with the coach to shoot free throws. A person never became great at shooting free throws by simply taking a class. Eventually, we have to get to the gym to exercise the skills we've learned.
Growing True Disciples exists to create environments where you can "practice your free throws," both individually and in community.
Compelled by the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, our purpose is to make disciples and teach them to obey God. Thus, our mission is to partner with God to create, sustain, and grow disciples of Jesus Christ. We will fulfill our mission by creating environments where current and potential disciples can partner with God and allow Him to shape and sanctify our lives. We accomplish this by building the relevant skills of a disciple through constant repetition. As you partner with God, you will deepen your connection with Jesus and increase your influence in this world. You will become more rooted in God, and your branches will extend higher.
As you grow down, God raises you up.
We are a supplemental group. We can't replace seminary or your local church, but the goal is to help you build skill at your convenience in areas where you need to improve.
Relevant Bible Verses
1 Timothy 4:7-10
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Meet the Team!
Hey everyone! Thank you for joining me on this journey to conform to the image of Christ. My name is Nathan Wiggins, and I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, to Ray and Luwana Wiggins, former pastor and wife of Church of the First Born. Yes, I am a preacher's kid :).
Having been raised in the church, I believe I have a unique perspective on some of the great things that we do as the church and some things we can improve. Throughout all of my years of being in church, especially after I truly submitted to God, I noticed that we do a great job of passive leadership. In other words, the church is great at planting seeds. Although we are great at planting seeds, we can work to improve the cultivation and the nurturing of the seeds that have been planted. Since making this observation, my goal is to use my perspective to help the body of Christ nurture the seeds we plant. As we partner with God to plant and nurture the seeds He has given us; we will begin to see growth and maturation in ourselves and in the church.
By no means am I a biblical scholar; I'm just a practitioner of the word. I live it every day, and my goal is to help you live this every day!
I am currently an Associate Pastor in a church in Huntsville, Alabama. My amazing wife Kadijah and I have been married since 2013 and have four wonderful children. Together our family is alleviating the darkness in this world one day at a time!
Kadijah Wiggins is the wife of Nathan Wiggins and mother to their four beautiful children. She is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools three out of four of their children.
Kadijah is dedicated to encouraging and equipping women to deepen their relationship with God, whether in her local church or through her blog. She also loves to read, hand-letter, and craft in her free time.
Feel free to follow her at her blog, Going Deeper Still, where she blogs regularly.
Matt Bagdonas is married to Julie Bagdonas, and they have three daughters: Chloe, Maddie Mae, and Georgia. He is part owner of a company based in Huntsville, Alabama, and enjoys working with the community in the home services industry.
Matt believes strongly that leadership is ownership of one’s influence rather than a title and believes passionately in developing leaders through developing skills. One of his missions is to help people realize their personal leadership potential through discipline and practice.
Matt enjoys spending time with his family and working out.
Adriane is a former educator turned homeschool mom. She is married to Antonio Cooper and spends much of her time with their four beautiful children.
Adriane serves her church community through prayer, worship, and childcare. She is passionate about seeing God's people empowered through supernatural encounters and spiritual education. She enjoys small social gatherings, watching movies with a well-developed storyline, and low-risk DIY projects.
You can follow her....as she follows Christ :D.
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What is "The Cycle of Devotion?"
The Devotion Cycle is our practice-based system for disciples of Jesus to grow in godliness. It's a simple process where we constantly strive for wholehearted devotion to God by examining and improving our behaviors. We do this through video learning, downloadable worksheets, and a monthly zoom call. Want more information on The Cycle of Devotion? Click here!
Why a practice-based system for wholehearted devotion to God?
There are many ways a person can grow as a disciple of Jesus. Most people have a system of growth already in place, be it a weekly Sunday service or a Wednesday night bible study. The advantage of a practice-based system for growing in godliness is the focus and repetition on different relevant skills. These skills may or may not be taught in church, but even if they are, rarely are they done with intentional repetitions. This is the gap a practice-based system can fill in the life of a disciple; intentional, focused, repetitions of relevant skills.
What is a disciple?
The word disciple simply means learner. However, the word also carries the implication that the learner is following a teacher. Technically, you can be a disciple of anyone you have chosen to follow.
Who are disciples of Jesus Christ?
A disciple of Jesus Christ is anyone who has chosen to learn and follow the teachings of Jesus. You are a learner and a follower of Jesus. Jesus gives us some specific instructions as to how we follow Him in the bible. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says
"23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Repentance/denial of self, embracing death, suffering, and your God given mission, and following Jesus are the gateway into become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
What is a skill?
A skill is something that can be improved with constant repetition. This includes, but is not limited to, our behaviors.
What does it mean to build skill?
To build skill is to engage in the process of improving a skill. This can be done with mental reps, physical reps, or both. This can also be done with active or passive learning. GTD will do our best to emphasize active learning.
What are mental reps?
Reps is an abbreviation of the word repetitions. A repetition is the action of one complete training exercise. For mental reps, the training takes place primarily in your mind. Mental reps are used for the non-physical part of skill building, such as decision making and identifying the solution.
What are physical reps?
Reps is an abbreviation of the word repetitions. A repetition is the action of one complete training exercise. For physical reps, the training takes place primarily in with your body. Physical reps are used for skills that require some form of physical interaction, such as active listening.
What is the difference between active learning and passive learning?
"Active learning involves the student in the instructional process through the use of relevant activities and discussions. This method stimulates and reinforces the student’s conceptual understanding of course material by engaging them within the lesson process, as opposed to merely listing off facts and explaining topics through traditional lectures."...
"Passive learning holds the student responsible for absorbing the presented information on their own terms. The information may be presented in the form of lectures or assigned readings. In any case, the student is accountable for paying attention, asking questions, and performing well on tests."
Is active learning better that passive learning?
No. Each learning style has a valuable purpose. Ignoring one, however, would leave learners potentially deficient in areas of their development.