DNA: Theoretical Foundations
This novel has multiple research sources which are listed below, which form a family tree of informational ancestors to the current work. They provide the theoretical foundations – the DNA – for the current work.
The novel Stories from the Four Cornered Room is based on concepts from my 2008 Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry Project (dissertation) which is available for free download as PDF documents from the Resources page at www.disciplewalk.com.
My first attempt at novelizing these concepts was a trilogy, Circles of Grace, created as a part of Nanowrimo (www.nanowrimo.org) in three consecutive years. The first novel, Ascending Grace, was self-published through CreateSpace.com, and Amazon subsidiary, and is still available. These novels are based on my version and implementation of Neil Cole’s Life Transformation Group for United Methodist Churchs; cf. CMAresources.com for more information, as well as Neil’s books Cultivating a Life for God and Raising Leaders for the Harvest (coauthored with Robert E. Logan).
The best example of using fiction to demonstrate complicated concepts is Eliyahu Goldratt’s novel, The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, which demonstrates Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints in a factory and manufacturing process. Wikipedia: The Goal was originally published in 1984 and has since been revised and republished. This book can be used for case studies in operations management, with a focus geared towards the Theory of Constraints, bottlenecks and how to alleviate them, and applications of these concepts in real life. It is used in management colleges to teach students about the importance of strategic capacity planning and constraint management. Time Magazine listed the book as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books.
In 2008 I began teaching the dissertation concepts online at www.beadisciple.com under the title Disciple Making 101, shortened only to the application sections. That is described here: http://www.beadisciple.com/blog/a-new-way-of-making-disciples-using-the-left-hand/
In 2012 I self-published a version of the online class with the permission of the participants in book form with added material as Disciple Making 101: A Workbook. “What is the simplest system one can use to make disciples and mature them spiritually to the point where they can make their own disciples? A flood of new ideas and methods in evangelism has made us skeptical. The innovation that is needed in churches today is far more elementary yet entirely sufficient: Jesus is Lord. How can we overcome resistance to this innovation? This is a print version of the author’s online class on disciple-making taught three times a year through the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship at www.beadisciple.com. Readers can journal their answers to questions on disciple-making or use the book to lead a small group into becoming disciple-makers for Jesus Christ.” It is available from here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1451505884/ref=cm_sw_su_dp
In 2014 I began revising the material again for a “live” workshop experience with the hope that it might become a regular advanced lay servants course within the United Methodist Church. These materials are available for free download at www.disciplemaking101.com.
These resources and the experts quoted therein are the ancestors of this current novel, which imagines four small churches learning how to make disciples in a “left-handed” manner.
I am writing this novel because of the quantity of bad science on church growth which is literally killing off the small churches and in time will kill off the larger ones. Any church can grow if it will refocus on making disciples that make disciples that make disciples. This is the pattern of Jesus and John Wesley. This is demonstrated as effective today throughout the third world by gigantic cell churches and disciple making movements like CPM and T4T. These realities are unknown in almost all churches and to almost all denominational “experts” – an expert with an open mind, for example, should be aware of T4T or CPM. I’m hopeful that this fictional approach will make them more accessible to the churches that need to hear them.
Nanowrimo is a joyful game, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. More information can be found here: www.nanowrimo.org. It’s a great opportunity for encouragement and to help overcome writer’s block.
This work technically doesn’t qualify under Nanowrimo rules as it uses research from the sources listed above copied and pasted into the work which were written prior to November 2017. I could simply retype them into the manuscript or reword them but see no reason to duplicate the effort.