Discipling Handbook

When the Holy Spirit brings a person to saving faith in Jesus Christ (be it through infant baptism, reading Scripture, someone sharing with him or her God’s message, or some other means) the person has been “born again” and is a Christian. Jesus, through His Spirit now indwells him or her. Jesus lives in that person.


Just as a human infant is fully human at birth (really at conception), so a person is fully Christian when s/he is “born again.” However, just as a human infant, although fully human, is not yet fully developed or mature, so a Christian, although fully Christian when s/he is “born again” (comes to faith), is not yet fully developed or mature. Jesus lives in him/her, but Jesus is not yet fully “formed” in him or her. Developing and maturing as a Christian is a lifelong process. Although we do not become “more Christian” through this developing and maturing, through this developing and maturing Jesus does become more fully formed in us. 


As Jesus becomes more fully developed and formed in us, we become increasingly transformed into His image, His likeness. We do not become more Christian, but we do become more Christ-like. As Jesus increasingly is formed in us, His presence and character are increasingly demonstrated and experienced in and through us in the fruit of His indwelling presence: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. 


To be a disciple is more than being a “believer” who knows salvation through Jesus’ cleansing blood, and it is more than living by a certain “moral code.” While being a disciple of Christ most certainly includes knowing salvation and living by a moral code, it is much more than that. To be a disciple is to be a “follower,” and to be a follower of Jesus is to be a person of mission and in mission, for Jesus is a missionary God. He is a God of mission in mission. This means we are to be “fishers of men [+ women and children]”, to love as Jesus loves, and to bear fruit. Jesus tells us: "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.""A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.""This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."


Public worship, Bible study, and Christian fellowship are important activities meant to feed and nurture discipleship, but they are not the primary evidence of discipleship. The primary evidence of discipleship is seen in and through the missional lives we live in our daily environments – our regular and natural spheres of influence. It is in loving (agape) all those we encounter. Discipleship (being a disciple and discipling others) is the process of Jesus increasingly becoming formed in us and of our becoming more and more Christ-like (doing what Jesus did and does). This handbook has been developed and put together to aid in that process. 


Think of this handbook as a toolbox in which you have a variety of tools. A carpenter picks and chooses the tool(s) s/he will use depending both upon the job needing to be done, and, also upon his or her skill level. Individuals and groups using this handbook need to pick and choose the tools in it that best fits the occasion in which they are using it and the particular participants involved. There is no “one” way to use the handbook or tools, nor even a “best” way. Pray for guidance and get creative in your use of the various sections and tools herein – make them work for you! My prayer is that users of these materials might grow not merely in knowledge, but in discipleship – in their personal relationship with Jesus and in their following Jesus in missional living as they grow in Christlikeness. May God guide and bless you. - Bill Cullen

 

Find the Discipling Handbook here.

Find the Discipling Handbook Companion here.  Grow your Christian faith with these Bible study resources.

The Gospel of Luke

“We can all recall Linus getting up on stage and reciting the Christmas story in the peanuts. We might all have the parable of prodigal son memorized. Some of the most famous and most popular episodes from the gospel’s come from the Gospel of Luke. But Luke wasn’t inspired only to write a series of disconnected stories but a full and orderly account to instill certainty in the saving work of God through his son and messiah, Jesus. Luke, who has written one quarter of the New Testament has a grand vision for what God has done through Jesus and that vision is meant to help us see what God continues to do through Jesus our Lord. 


Come and and join Pastor Alex in a pastor led bible study as we see God’s big Good News picture in the gospel according to Luke on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at 9am. This new pastor led study will begin on September 11. Make sure to sign up!”   Click here to sign up.

Worship Resources

Join us for online worship with our live stream each Sunday at 8am. This week's service can be viewed here.

You can also see previous services here at our YouTube channel.



Personal Study Resources

Here you can find a variety of resources to aid your personal and devotional study on a variety of subjects, prepared by Dr. Bill Cullen. Click on the red titles to download. We hope these bless and strengthen your Christian walk!

Bible Study Resources


Aides for Personal & Group Bible Study: Dr. Cullen's resource for anyone interested in digging deeper into personal and devotional Bible study.


Micah Study Guide: The Mt Olive Staff is currently studying Micah together; this is the guide we are using. Sharing with anyone who wants to study this book on their own; feel free to ask questions of Dr. Bill or the Pastoral staff!


Habakkuk Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Habakkuk.


Gospel of Matthew Study Guide: Dr. Bill has made us a number of these studies on various books of the Bible, to accompany and/or guide you in personal study of each book. Enjoy!


Gospel of Mark Participant's Guide: the devotional guide from the Connections summer 2020 session, which can be used anytime you find yourself studying this Gospel. 


Gospel of Mark Devotional: to accompany personal study of Mark.


Gospel of Luke Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Luke.


Gospel of John study guide - to accompany our Monday morning Bible study study


Acts Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Acts.


Romans Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Romans. 


1st Corinthians study guide - to accompany personal study of 1st Corinthians.


2nd Corinthians study guide - to accompany personal study of 2nd Corinthians.


Galatians Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Galatians.


Ephesians Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Ephesians.


Philippians Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Philippians.


Colossians Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Colossians.


1st & 2nd Thessalonians Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Thessalonians. 


Pastoral Epistles: to accompany personal study of Timothy, Titus and more.


Hebrews Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Hebrews.


James Study Guide: to accompany personal study of James.


1st & 2nd Peter Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Peter.


1st Epistle of John Study Guideto accompany personal study of 1st John.


One Chapter Epistles Study Guide: to accompany personal study of Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.


Heilsgeschichte: a study on the unfolding of God's covenant promises




Discipleship Resources


Disciple, Discipling, Discipleship: An article on....you guessed, it, what it means to be a Disciple! 


Activating the Church : A resource for honing vision in mission. This can be applied to our daily lives, as well as our church lives. 


Jesus did not Come to Set Up a Program: A tool to get us to think about how we "do" church, and what assumptions we bring to church work.


Cutting to Grow: Who do we want to be? Who does God want us to be?


Mission/Outreach Resources


Neighboring Seminar handout- What does it mean to be a neighbor, and how can this be part of our Christian mission?


Five Point Friend - advice on intentional friendship


Proclaiming the Gospel Vs Defending the Gospel: What is the difference and why is it important?


Education Resources


Being Strategic in Christian Education: A resource to get us thinking about missional thinking in discipleship and education.


Christian Education Using the Social Sciences: Using educational theory and methodologies to enrich the teaching-learning experience


Teaching With Humility: Education Vs Indoctrination: A guide on this nuanced distinction and how it comes to bear on the effectiveness of our teaching. 


Word Study--Kingdom: A detailed guide on how to do a Biblical word study and teach concepts surrounding the Bible's references to the Kingdom


Word Study--Love: A detailed guide on how to do a Biblical word study and teach concepts surrounding the Bible's various love languages


Theology Resources


Luther's Theology: an introductory guide to some of Luther's theology


Luther's Treatise on Christian Liberty: a guide for the study and application of this core text on Lutheran discipleship


Law and Gospel: This is a phrase we hear a lot, but how do we understand it?


Justification and Sanctification: Two integral concepts with a lot to unpack. A guide for doing so. 


One Way to Measure Spiritual Maturity: What does it mean to have spiritual maturity?


Confession with Conviction: notes on understanding confession, conviction and forgiveness

High Deep and Wide- 

Summer Sermon Series Bible Studies

This July we explore our mission identity at Mt. Olive: loving people to Jesus by being


High in Worship,

Deep in the Word, and

Wide in Witness.


Are these just fun slogans for our church or are Worship, Word, Witness a more central aspect of God’s plan for his Church?

As we focus on this aspects of our mission in our sermon series, our prayer is that we grow more into the full biblical story as we “Love People to Jesus".



Below are the links to the bible studies written by Dr. Bill Cullen to accompany the sermon series.

High Deep and Wide- Loving People to Jesus - Bible Study

HIGH-Worship With Variety- Bible Study

DEEP-Going Deep With Jesus Through His Word- Bible Study

WIDE-Witness Through Word and Deed-Bible Study


Following Jesus With James - Bible Study

The book of James is a challenge for Christians of all times and places as the half brother of our Lord bids the Church to live out its confession of faith. In his relevant call to embody our discipleship, James provides wisdom for how to be Christians in the world in difficult times. He addresses the hard topics of temptation, prayer, where we find wisdom, how we use our words for teaching others, the stress caused in communities of faith by attending the needs of the rich and ignoring the poor, among others. Throughout all these topics we hear in James' words the echo of Jesus' own teaching found in the gospels, freshly applied to the needs of contemporary Christian living. This makes this a book worth exploring as we listen to the living voice of our Savior.

We are excited to invite you all to join us, this lententide, in "Following Jesus with James.", produced by Pastor Alex, Pastor Krause, and Dr. Bill Cullen.


Week 1: James 1:1-18  Maturing Through Trials- Pastor Alex video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.


Week 2: James 1:19-27 Hearing and Doing the Word- Pastor Krause video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.


Week 3: James 2:1-26 Faith Displayed Through Works- Dr. Bill Cullen video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.


Week 4: James 3 Faith Displayed Through Works and Wisdom-Pastor Krause video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.


Week 5: James 4 Wars and Battles- Pastor Alex video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.


Week 6: James 5 Following Jesus in Mission- Dr. Bill Cullen video

Discussion questions click here.

Handout for bible study click here.

God's Story Our Mission

God's Story Our Mission Curriculum

This Bible Study is a church-wide small group series, with a curriculum written by Pastor Alex.


Week 1 video lesson available HERE

Week 1 participant guide available HERE

Week 1 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 2 video lesson available HERE

Week 2 participant guide available HERE

Week 2 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 3 Video Lesson available HERE

Week 3 participant guide available HERE

Week 3 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 4 Video Lesson available HERE

Week 4 participant guide available HERE

Week 4 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 5 Video Lesson HERE

Week 5  participant guide available HERE

Week 5 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 6 Video Lesson HERE

Week 6 participant guide available HERE

Week 6 facilitator's guide available HERE


Week 7 Video Lesson HERE

Week 7 guide for both facilitators and participants HERE


Week 8 Video Lesson HERE

Week 8 guide for both facilitators and participants HERE


Week 9 Video Lesson HERE

Week 9 guide for both facilitators and participants HERE

1st Peter Bible Study


Click HERE for Session 1

Click HERE for Session 2

Click HERE for Session 3

Click HERE for Session 4

Click HERE for Session 5

Click HERE for Session 6

Click HERE for Session 7

Click HERE for Session 8

Click HERE for Session 9