Spiritual journal discipleship

By Garth Leno

Church planters get pulled in many directions at once. The task of discipling men can get displaced quickly by the tyranny of the urgent. But we must raise up faithful men who can disciple others. It’s critical to our future success in the irresistible task of church planting!

I share often with our men about my spiritual discipline of writing in a journal. You can find lots of articles on the Internet about spiritual journaling because the practice has been around for a very long time. But I share my simple, time-tested method with my guys. And it works!

In my cheap coil-bound, dollar store, journal, I mostly follow this pattern:

  • Write the date. This helps me glance back after months or years of journaling and reflect on where I was then, and where I am now, with God. Am I “experiencing God”? Then I use what I call the “ABCD Method.”
  • “A” stands for “all I read” that morning. For illustrative purposes, let’s use John 3.
  • “B” stands for “best verse” or verses I read that morning. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Yes, many times I write out the verse by hand, just so I can slow life down and allow God’s Word to sink deeper into my heart and mind!
  • “C” stands for “Christ.” Where do I see Jesus in this verse? How is he presented here? Sometimes it’s a verse not directly related to Jesus, but I ponder it and think about Him anyway. If an idea surfaces, I write it down.
  • “D” simply stands for “devotional thoughts.” Here I record what’s in my heart as I muse over this verse. In this particular instance, when I was reading John 3, I focused on John3:16. I wrote, “God’s love is extreme in just about every way. He didn’t just love a few. He loved the world! And he didn’t give a son, he gave the only Son he had! He also declared that anyone and everyone who believes will have life. Furthermore, God does not just give us life, it is eternal life. That’s why I say he is a God of extreme love.”

And then I usually spend a few minutes praying over the verse and my devotional thoughts that come from the verse. “Thank you, Father, that you are a God of such extreme love! You loved me enough to send your Son for me. I’m humbled by your mercy and love. I’m grateful that you loved me, rescued me, and that you include me in the amazing work you’re doing in our church right now. Thank you, Father!”

When I get together with the men I’m discipling, we bring our Bibles and journals. We find a quiet place to talk and share together with open Bibles and open journals. Getting men into the Word is a challenge, but I have found this to be a valuable experience for them … and for me.

Published February 19, 2018

P.S. Get our best content in your inbox

We send one email per week chock full of articles from a variety of Send Network voices.

Garth Leno

Garth Leno lives in Windsor, Ontario Canada, with his wife and one daughter, Jamie. Two more children, Nathan and Kristin, are married with families of their own. Garth is the senior pastor at The Gathering, which he planted with friends in 2014. He also is on the Send Network Canadian Advisory Board. He has a doctorate from Bethel Theological Seminary and loves to preach.