Partnering with Mentorlink Int’l:                                      David A Toth, D Min. - Disciple Maker, Mentor, Leadership Consultant

Front Cover

Go make disciples . . . . (Matthew 28:19-20). 

Perhaps you gave serious thought to Jesus’ command and maybe you even made one or more attempts to engage someone. At best, you end up doing some Bible study and/or filing in the spaces in a manual with no life transformation let alone multiplication. Deep down you really want to follow Jesus. You can! You have the main resource (Bible) and this book will guide you to chose and live out the four attitudes that made Jesus so effective in His disciple making ministry. You too can be a successful disciple maker! You will have confidence to:

  • know what to say and what to do when you are with your disciple(s)
  • guide your disciple(s) to overcome their challenges and issues
  • stimulate your disciples’ desire for Kingdom perspectives and Kingdom solutions
  • encourage your disciple(s) into an ever stronger dependency upon the Father
  • inspire your disciple(s) willingness to embrace a mission lifestyle

You will understand the necessary choices that will empower you to make disciples like Jesus made disciples! You will know what to say and what to do with confidence as you respond obediently to the command of Jesus to go and make disciples! This book will help you move beyond believing to following Jesus. 

  • Languages: English, Russian, Ukrainian, Kazak (It will take some time to get the translations finished and published.

A book on disciple making? Why? There are so many already on the shelves! This one will help the serious disciple maker to make disciples effectively like Jesus made disciples and with multiplicational results!  Jesus’ approach is not program driven or program dependent. It is not an academic nor is it an academic manual with spaces to fill in. It is a “how to” based on Jesus’ style of making disciples. It is based on the research and findings accomplished in my dissertation for my doctorate program. The book is in progress and over 60% done. Pray for wisdom and discipline in my writing.



July 3, 2019


Who Cares?

When viewed impersonally, disciple making can lose the emotional impact and urgency it deserves. Becoming a parent, a grandparent, or even a best friend can resurrect that emotional dynamic. Who will disciple my grandchild? My great grandchild? My friend? What is my part? Do I just hope that he/she will end up impacted by a program? Who Cares?

Making disciples is personal and is passed on from person to person, generation to generation. There are discipleship programs but at the end of the day discipleship is all about people! If we view Jesus as the New Testament disciple making prototype we see a person who cares so much that he gave his life to others, not just at the end of his life upon the cross, but everyday as he made disciples. He cared into his disciples who cared into their disciples who cared into . . . .

Do you have a child? Grandchild? Family member? Spouse? Best friend? Neighbor? Work colleague? Caring now makes all the difference in eternity.

Who cares?

– David


Mission Statement

I remember putting much time into constructing a ‘mission statement’ at my first pastorate. I had many conversations with other pastors who had word smithed a mission or purpose statement for their church and I listened intently to their experience and advice. I also was an avid reader of books and articles that offered insights concerning a mission statement. I look back at that time now and I realize that I was trying to reword the statements of Christ that are often referred to as the Great Commission. The most common reference is the one found in Matthew 28:19-20.  Churches are still fine tuning their mission statements and even hiring consultants to guide the process. They too are trying to reword the words of Christ and make them palatable and interesting to those not yet following Christ.

What would happen if those who do follow Christ were assisted to understand what it means to ‘make disciples?’ During the disciple making days of Jesus Christ people knew what it meant to be a disciple! It was nothing less than absolute commitment to Christ and His Kingdom, covering every aspect of life including issues like stewardship, worship, evangelism, family, marriage, etc., etc., etc. I contend that it would be very helpful to the church to once again clarify what a disciple is (according to the Bible and not someone’s business perspective) and how to make disciples. Allow Jesus’ words to suffice as the mission statement for the church and focus on carrying out that mission! 

We need disciple makers to lead the church! If the church is lead by a non-disciple making person then the church will follow and it will be filled with non-disciple making people. Preaching and teaching are pieces of the disciple making process but preaching and teaching are not equal to disciple making!

Aligning the mission of the church with the Great Commission and assuring that only disciple makers are leading the church is a sure way to glorify God!

David A. Toth, Nov. 17, 2014


Following2Lead  (formerly DEEN)

When I first began overseas ministry I was partnering with Dawn Ministries.  Dawn ceased their ministry in Eastern Europe so I am partnering with Mentorlink, Int’l.  Mentorlink is a global ministry with partners in every region of the world.  This has become a tremendous fit!  Mentoring, discipleship, and leadership development represent the passion of my ministry heart and Mentorlink champions that passion!  The name change is only a title change, the ministry goes on!  Being an intentional follower of Jesus is the basis for leadership!  The name “Following2Lead” just seems to fit my ministry!  If you are a financial partner, please continue to write “DEEN” in the memo section of your check to avoid confusion for the agency that processes the financial support.

David, March 14, 2014


Growth by Accident

On the way back from Ukraine I was reflecting on my goals for the trip and evaluating my productivity.  I was trying to be objective and strong in my self evaluation.  In doing so, I actually wondered if I should be task/goal oriented and whether or not that is contradictory to allowing the Spirit to lead.  No doubt, one can be ‘performance’ obsessed and, in my opinion, one can be overly ‘laissez-faire’ in the hopes that the Spirit will take the lead.  

Since mentoring, discipleship, and leadership development is my focus, that is the context for my present thoughts.  This caused me to reflect upon the ministry of Jesus Christ as recounted in the Gospels.  I was reminded that everything happened in accordance with God’s planning and His prophecies.  Nothing occurred that was happenstance or unplanned.  Jesus knew what His mission was, how He would accomplish it, and when His own death would take place.  His Father and the Holy Spirit were partnering with Him every step of the way, not by accident!

Bottom line, I was re-encouraged to make sure I was in step with the Spirit as I live out my call in ministry.  And I was re-encouraged to listen to His leading as I plan for ministry.  It is not either/or; it is both/and.  Not a contrast, but a complimentary activity wherein the Spirit leads and prompts me to follow and plan accordingly.  

Growth and ministry do not happen by accident!  Some good things do happen unplanned and that is a wonderful bonus!  But, most of the movements of God throughout man’s history has been marked by people who listen to God’s voice and align their obedience and plans to His will.  Even the closing book of Revelation was written by a man who once leaned on Jesus’ breast and learned from Him to make planned and willful decisions to carry out the mission of God.  John’s ministry was no accident!

David A. Toth, Dec. 11, 1970


The Time Standard

Economics was never a special interest to me.  Rather than pursue the intricacies of economic theory I have been satisfied to engage the practical realities of economics as they apply to my everyday life.  I do, however, understand the basic idea of the “Gold Standard.”  The Gold Standard as it applies to the economy and currency says the value of the currency in the market place is tied or ‘pegged’ to the amount of gold on hand.  No more currency can be circulated than the amount/value of gold on hand which the currency represents.  

No country in the world as of 2013 uses the gold standard.  The US abandoned it some years ago and a quick glance at the printing presses in Washington D.C. affirm it’s current abandonment!  Our proclivity is to multiply our wealth even if it only ‘appears’ that we are more wealthy!  Gold doesn’t count anymore, image does!  So we print more dollars even though they are worth less.

What can believers learn from the gold standard and current economic practice to print more currency even though we must borrow to do it?  A key analogy is time.  Time cannot be added, deleted, or multiplied.  24 hours per day is the ‘time standard.’  Since we cannot print more time when we run out, the answer is to ‘delete’ certain activities to free up time.  So, instead of cranking up the printing press, we crank up our preference press and add activities to our life by deleting other activities.  The important issue here is simple, what are we deleting?

I have watched time and time again where someone becomes overwhelmed by life's circumstances and deletes spiritual formation activities while maintaining other preferential activities.  What is interesting is that this always, yes always, comes out into the public eye!  Weeks, or even days, after declaring a personal emergency and begging off activities that are intentionally spiritually formational, that person is engaging other preferential activities that take precious time.

Unlike the gold standard, the time standard does not allow us to print out more time, forcing us to delete some use of time to make room for some other endeavor.  What is your 'default’ delete?  Do you automatically delete activities that are spiritually formative in nature?  Or the ones that are preferential in nature?  How do you manage the ‘Time Standard’?  

David A. Toth, Nov. 30, 2013


Holy Frogs!

George Barna wrote the book The Frog in The Kettle in 1990.  The jist of the book was that the church was like a frog in a kettle of water which acclimates to the ever rising temperature until it is too late.  The book was rather well received but the church has done little to change its precarious state as it sits in a boiling cultural cauldron of godlessness.  

This post is not directed toward the church (local) nor even the Church (global).  Rather, I am thinking about families, families that are professing followers of Jesus, families that are holy frogs!  Like the analogy in Barna’s book, I am in fear for the christian family that is immersed in a culture whose world view is 180 degrees opposite the Biblical world view and is acclimating more to this world's culture than to the Kingdom culture.  These families are pursuing the attractions of this world while sitting in an oppressive mixture of egocentric hedonism, consumerism and materialism, they are frogs in grave danger!

This world’s culture is enticing, exhilarating, and mesmerizing.  But only for the short term.  In the here and now it seems right for families to work hard to live in upscale homes, drive SUVs, and dress in designer clothes.  After all, isn’t this part of the American dream?  Working hard takes many hours of employment and/or business activities; hours away from the family.  Those hours are justified by providing for chic clothing, endless school and extra-curriular activities, and saving for college education.  All this seems right, no reason to jump out of this pot, right?

Wrong!  Here is why:

  • As a matter of priority, the Jesus follower should reflect Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (NASB).  The context is meeting daily needs and Jesus clearly encourages his followers not to make the pursuit of one’s daily needs the first, or prominent, pursuit of life.  Our priority must be to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  Upon examining the average family’s pursuits, it is overwhelmingly obvious that the resources expended in the pursuit of His kingdom and His righteousness are dwarfed by the pursuit of the materialistic and egotistic priorities of our culture.
  • The danger is real!  The frog does not realize the coming disaster!  Neither do families recognize the coming disaster.  All one has to do is look around and assess the catastrophe already in progress.
    - Moral failure is no less common in christian families (abortion, divorce, adultery, etc.) *
    - Financial ruin is no less common in christian families (bankruptcy, repossessions,etc.)
    - No meaningful difference in lifestyle between Jesus followers and non-Jesus followers

Why do families sit in this culture like frogs in the water, seemingly oblivious to the impending disaster in the near term and also for their children and grandchildren in the longer term?

  • The reasons for our ‘frog like perspective’ are nearly as old as our species!
    - The first reason is the strength of temptation and the weakness of our flesh.  Satan tempted Eve and then Adam by appealing to their fleshly appetites, for their want of possessions, and for self aggrandizement.  John gave Satan’s temptation the categories noted in 1 John 2:15-16 "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”  I more horrified by my own brokenness in each category!  We must acknowledge our vulnerability and then fight it!
    - The second reason is the lack of spiritual development caused by the lack of time as a result of our fleshly pursuits.  This is a double kick in the butt!  Not only are our fleshly pursuits damaging, but they are double damaging in that they are prohibiting the cure from taking place!  Spiritual formation takes resources and time, just like any family or school activity.  Choices have consequences and a majority of choices in any one direction usually results in wholesale movement if not commitment to that direction.  Even the simple tabulation of time invested in extra-curricular school activities as opposed to intentional discipleship activities should set off alarms!  I am not at all framing extra-curricular activities, for example, to be bad in and of themselves.  I am only making a point about the priority and amount of resources invested in activities of any kind in differentiation from those that are spiritually formative.  

Many christian families are holy frogs.  “Holy” because we profess to be followers to a beat of a different drummer; followers of Jesus Christ, who is holy and who beckons us to pursue his righteousness.  “Frogs” because we are too often oblivious to the cultural influences in which we are drowning and also our children and grandchildren.  Not only oblivious, but impervious, thinking that we and our families will escape the God awful statistics of our society.  And worse, we may even think that God’s grace and mercy will overrule his righteousness and cause him to turn a blind eye to let an unGodly person (someone in our family) enter and dwell in his kingdom for ever.  What has this comfortable warm water done to us?  How has it corrupted our thinking about God?

* Note Barna’s research found online as well as the statistics found in his books: Growing True DisciplesFuturecast, and others.  He uses the results of research to substantiate the alarming state of the christian family in the US culture.

P.S.  I do hope that any readers who are offended by the strong assertions in this post take into account that I stand guilty of every line and felt the weight of my own words as I wrote them.  I am a holy frog too.  But I have not fallen asleep yet and I have jumped out of the kettle.  I’m looking for other frogs who are willing to make the effort to jump!

David, Nov. 2, 2013


Sent Affiliate

In the course of studying the discipleship approach of Jesus in the gospels for my Dmin program, I have been moved to consider how his words to the disciples apply to his followers today.  One statement Jesus made is particularly.  In John 20:21 he said, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

Using a bullet list approach with questions, this is how his words impact me.
•  Jesus' statement was directed to his disciples.  Am I a disciple?
•  Jesus sent his disciples.  How am I functioning as a sent one?
•  Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples.  If I am a disciple, what does my relationship with the Holy Spirit look like?
•  Being a disciple, being sent, and having been given the Holy Spirit, Jesus intended his disciples to minister to sinful people.  What does my ministry to sinful people look like and is it a forgiving ministry?

Being a disciple, a Jesus follower, is both an exhilarating honor and a sobering reality.  I pray for God's empowerment and his grace as I follow 2 lead.  

October 16, 2013


Social Media

There is so much power for good in social media venues.  Connecting with friends, sharing information and pictures, and overcoming distance through technology are but a few of the positives.  But there are disappointments as well.

In just the past few weeks I have noticed some posts made by people I know that claim to follow Jesus.  The posts do not reflect the values or attitudes of the Jesus they claim to follow.  My heart sank on more than one occasion when reading text that indicates a mind set that is not focused on a Godly lifestyle.  Some verbiage was vulgar and profane.  Some of these people are engaged in ministry and are attempting to parent children!  

Social media provides a window into the lives of participants.  An important point to remember, it is impossible to separate or categorize one's life so that what happens in one sector of life (entertainment, hobbies, work, etc.) does not impact or influence other sectors (one's faith, morality, relationships, etc.).  That window is open to all and can be a powerful tool to communicate the good news.  It can also communicate bad news.  I think Jesus would use the social media.  I think his posts would always glorify and please his Father.  May our posts do the same.

– David, September 6, 2013


Second Choice?

Posted: August 27, 2013

A.B. Simpson wrote,

"God has his best things for the few
That dare to stand the test.
He has his second choice for those
Who will not have his best.

It is not always open ill
That risks the promised rest.
The better often is the foe
That keeps us from the best.

Give me, O Lord, thy highest choice;
Let others take the rest.
Their good things have no charm for me
For I have got thy best."

My prayer, "Lord, I pray that you will transform my heart that so often charms me towards the rest."  – David


Church Transfusion

Posted: August 26, 2013

In his latest book Church Transfusion, Neil Cole writes, "For decades the church in America and many other parts of the world has been treated like a business. Principles of business management have been used to help the church grow and accomplish its mission. Pastors have been transformed into CEOs and church members into spiritual consumers. We sincerely believe that many churches are more concerned about market share than they are about bringing light and life to a dark and dying world. Think about the focus of the average church. For most, it’s all about Sunday services. Regardless of which day or days you meet or how many times you meet per week, the same issue remains. The time and energies of church leaders are consumed by the need to produce some sort of event that will appeal to a certain constituency. In other words, they spend their time creating spiritual goods and services to be provided to and consumed by a spiritual marketplace."*

Neil goes right to the core of the cause of so much church dysfunction.  Regardless the model church, this book is spiritual wind to mobilize the church to great commission ministry.  Get the book, read it, apply it!

* Cole, Neil; Helfer, Phil (2012-08-07). Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically--From the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) (pp. 16-17). Wiley. Kindle Edition. 


Charlie Brown Syndrome?

The book To Change the World by J. D. Hunter is an interesting and challenging read.  He posits that the church's methodology to change the world one person at a time has failed, is failing, and will continue to fail.  The reason is, he argues, is because the church is not intentional about its discipleship ministry.  He does not suggest that the church does not meet needs whenever and wherever they are present but he does argue that the church should be apostolic in impacting societal arenas like the political, educational, and entertainment sectors.

Charlie Brown was shooting his new bow and arrow.  Each time he shot it; he would run to the fence and draw a bull’s eye around the arrow.  Lucy saw what he was doing and informed him that he was not doing it correctly.  His reply to her was, “It works.  I always hit the target.”  Too often, this is the story of the church as it attempts to carry out the Great Commission.

It certainly seems the case with making disciples.  Most churches argue vehemently that they are a great commission church and that they are indeed making disciples.  But very few could point to any intentional, consistent, inclusive ministry where even 80% of "attenders" are involved either formally or informally.

Wake up church!  Do not be like Charlie Brown!


What are You Passionate about These Days?

A recurring thought has been nibbling at me for some time.  I have interaction with people locally and globally and while paying attention to people I notice: their activities, conversations, interests, hopes, and regular choices over the course of days, weeks, months, and years.  It is easy to pick up on their passion for some interest or activity.  And, strong emotion is expressed regarding an event, whether it be a family, social, or sports event.  It is easily recognizable as to what is most pressing or energizing, and also obvious as to what they are planning for in the future.  Choices are made, even with sacrifice, to accomplish some special activity.  However, it is rare to hear the same kind of heart felt expression and passion concerning their life in Christ.  

Jesus spoke to the issue of emotion and passion as it relates to our life in Him.  He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  Mat. 22:37-39.  Even the original text uses the word "all" three times!  "All" your heart, "all" your soul, and "all" your mind!  Jesus' words make it clear that our walk with Him should be a matter of heartfelt concern, impact all of one's life, and be of intense focus.

Jesus also said, "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other.  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" Rev. 3:15-16.  Jesus makes it clear that He wants us to be hot in our life journey with Him.  If we are hot, should that not be easily recognizable?  Should not our hearts, minds, lives, and actions be charged with emotion and passion that comes from serving the Lord God Almighty?

The word "enthusiasm" has an interesting etymology.  En (in) thus (God from the word theos) iasm.  Literally, it means in God!  Being in God should elicit the most powerful passion!  Being with Him, engaging activities with Him, serving Him, growing in Him should make the super bowl a boring event by comparison.  I think many may indeed be enthusiastic about their walk with Him, but may hold back talking about it out of fear of being labelled an extremist.  Let's not be afraid of that!  Let's encourage one another to engage activities and conversations that reflect a passionate life in Christ!  Let there be no doubt about what fuels our passion!

Intense or Intentional?

When does a believer 'take things too seriously?'  When is a believer so intense that he/she has gone too far?  When does that happen?  How can one identify that the line has been crossed?  I have some thoughts and perhaps you have some thoughts as well.  Send them to me.

The first thought that comes to my mind is that there are very few in danger of crossing that line!  Their concern is crossing a line at the other end of the spectrum, a line that is truly dangerous!

It is also possible that those judging a believer as intense may not understand or exhibit concern for living a strong christian lifestyle and therefore their judgement is severely skewed by their personal spiritual condition.  

Another thought is that what may be intentional is mistaken for intensity.  If one gives disciplined, or intentional, thought to being a strong disciple it could be mistaken as intensity.  Intentional in this context means choosing carefully to steward one's time for discipling self, family, and others and could easily be mistaken for being consumed or obsessed with that lifestyle.

The line is crossed when one's lifestyle is out of spiritual and/or emotional balance where balance is the capacity to conduct constructive relational activities.  One must be able to worship, serve others, have fun, perform at work, and be able to converse meaningfully with others.

What other ways are there to determine when one is too serious about their faith?  What does that look like?

Discipleship: Ministry or Lifestyle?

Jesus' great commission command was not to make worshippers, though we should be worshippers!  He did not command us to feed the hungry, though we should feed the hungry!  He did not command us to help the broken, though we should help the broken!  He did command us to make disciples.  It seems that the issue of making disciples was of primary importance to Jesus Christ.  Perhaps, when understood correctly, it is of more importance than most anything else we should be or do for the cause of the Kingdom of God.  

Question, "is making disciples a ministry that one should engage or is it a lifestyle that should define who we are as believers?"  Another way of putting the question would be, "am I an engineer who makes disciples or am I a disciple maker who happens to be an engineer?"  How did Jesus live His life and how would He have answered the question?  

When we read the words of Christ known as the Great Commission, what sense of urgency do we detect?  How does that impact our lifestyle?  How does it impact the lives of those we are discipling?

how to make sure there are not enough leaders

How does a ministry insure that leaders do not reproduce?

  • Choose training times that eliminate people
  • Choose training venues that cannot be replicated
  • Use training methods that require resources difficult to obtain
  • Teach, train, and treat adults like children
  • Qualify potential leaders with non-biblical criteria
  • Focus on organizational leadership rather than on transformational leadership
  • Prioritize skill over character
  • Emphasize positional authority over spiritual authority
  • Impart a policy attitude rather than a grace attitude
  • Present a top-down hierarchical paradigm emphasizing top leadership
  • Talk about plurality of leadership while protecting singular authority
  • Promote only successful business people into spiritual leadership
  • others?
© David A Toth 2006 - 2018