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A Leadership Training Manual on Avoiding the Ditches

Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy | Bio

Daniel McCoy

Daniel is happily married to Susanna, and they have 3 daughters and 2 sons. He is the editorial director for as well as a part-time professor of philosophy for Ozark Christian College. He has a bachelor’s in theology (Ozark Christian College), master of arts in apologetics (Veritas International University), and PhD in theology (North-West University, South Africa). Among his books are the Popular Handbook of World Religions (general editor), Real Life Theology Handbook (with Andrew Jit), Mirage: 5 Things People Want From God That Don't Exist, and The Atheist's Fatal Flaw (co-authored with Norman Geisler).
Photo of Bobby HarringtonBobby Harrington | Bio

Bobby Harrington

Bobby is the point-leader of and, both collaborative, disciple-making organizations. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (by the Harpeth River, just outside of Nashville, TN). He has an M.A.R. and an M.Div. from Harding School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than 10 books on discipleship, including Discipleshift (with Jim Putman and Robert Coleman), The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (with Josh Patrick) and Becoming a Disciple Maker: The Pursuit of Level 5 Disciple Making (with Greg Weins). He lives in the greater Nashville area with his wife and near his children and grandchildren.

*Editor’s Note: We will be giving away a copy of An Authentic Experience to each registrant at the Gathering on October 15, in Franklin, TN. Here is why it is an important resource for us to feature.

[Click HERE to learn more about the Gathering.]

We at are convinced that disciple making is the core mission of the church. Disciple making is the road which Jesus has paved for us.

Roads come with ditches. When the church isn’t focused on upholding the teachings of Jesus for disciple making, there is a ditch on either side the church will likely swerve into.

On the one side is a ditch we could call an “ineffective traditionalism.” This is the church that says: This is the way we’ve always done things, so this is the way we’re always going to do things. This is a traditionalism that doesn’t really care too much if we’re reaching the culture as long as we’re feeling good about ourselves. So not much thought is given to cultural effectiveness. And without effectiveness, our disciple making efforts aren’t going to be sustainable.

On the other side is a ditch we could call an “unfaithful progressivism.” This is the church that decides to rewrite the script of Christianity in order to fit in with the culture. This is an unfaithfulness that doesn’t really care too much what the Bible says if it doesn’t fit with what culture teaches. So, not much thought is given to faithfulness. And without biblical faithfulness, our disciple making efforts aren’t going to be sustainable.

So, if you care about both cultural effectiveness and biblical faithfulness, then good news: There’s an entire network of us committed to effective and faithful disciple making. If that’s you, then you’ve found your tribe.

And for those who would like a training manual on how to lead a church in avoiding these two ditches, we just published Corey Trimble’s An Authentic Experience: Creating an Inviting Culture with Biblical Integrity.

Written with Corey’s straightforward, honest style, the book packs a punch—but manages to season the punch with grace. In fact, we recommend this book so highly that we are giving a copy of it to each registrant of our Gathering on October 15.

Corey Trimble started The Experience Community in Murfreesboro, TN, in 2009, and before COVID-19 they were seeing over 5,000 gathering with them weekly, while planting other churches. This disciple-making, Bible-believing church is proof that the book’s subtitle can happen: Church leaders can create an inviting culture with biblical integrity.

In other words, a church can uphold the teachings of Jesus without swerving into an ineffective traditionalism or an unfaithful progressivism. A church can be inviting to outsiders and yet solid on biblical integrity.

In An Authentic Experience, Corey tells the stories and strategies behind The Experience Community’s notable growth and rare maturity in such a young congregation.

If you are looking for quick church growth tips and hip strategies, you will be disappointed. But if you are hungry for the type of inward maturing and leadership habits which will make for sustainable disciple making, then you will love An Authentic Experience.

First, Corey teaches Christians how to develop a personal culture which is both inviting to outsiders and faithful to the Bible. From there, he focuses on what kind of church yours needs to be if an outsider does decide to check it out. Finally, he describes how you can replicate the process, so that you can invite other disciples to follow and be empowered to make more disciples.

More good news: Whatever size of church or geographical region you are in, you will find the principles described here transferable to your context.

As Corey explains in the book, the same biblical principles which make disciples and grow the church in Middle Tennessee are put to effective use in post-Christian New England.

Perhaps the only frustrating feature of the book is that it doesn’t allow the reader to jump straight to theorizing about how the church leadership should be doing a better job. Rather, from the beginning, Corey zeroes in on building an inviting personal culture, which obviously means starting with you.

For a free copy of An Authentic Experience, register for the Gathering here. The book is also available for purchase. With short chapters and discussion questions, the book is ideal for small group study, and if you buy 20 copies or more from, you will receive a 20% discount, plus shipping and handling, by contacting