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Church Planter Ricardo Tranquini shares what he learned about discipleship from the Exponential Conference.

Making disciples is one of our callings—and specialties—as ministry leaders, but what does it look like to make disciples who make disciples? In the busy and sometimes overwhelming demands of running churches and ministries, sometimes we can lose sight of discipleship and why it’s so important.

Going back to the roots of discipleship is something that Pastor Ricardo Tranquini got to explore through the Exponential Conference, which brings together a community of leaders committed to accelerating the multiplication of healthy, reproducing faith communities. 

Ricardo, who planted La Casa de Mi Padre Comunidad Cristiana (My Father’s House Community Church) in Fennville, Michigan, was able to take a step back from daily ministry and take a deep look at discipleship. Discipling and training leaders is an important aspect of Resonate’s work, so we asked him some questions to share his takeaways with you:

Q: What’s your biggest takeaway from the conference?
Ricardo: One of the speakers aligned his message with the theme of returning to making disciples, urging leaders to embody the change they wish to see in their congregations to ensure the multiplication of disciples who make disciples.

Pastor Léonce Crump emphasized the importance of returning to disciple-making. This is part of our DNA in ministry, however, sometimes we risk overlooking it. Crump highlighted the challenge of defining discipleship in our day and age and the need to go beyond building larger congregations and focus on forming disciples. He proposed that disciples are those who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, love God, others, and their enemies, transcending cultural and social, political, and even racial divisions. 

He also emphasized the need to re-engage directly with Scripture. While this is a basic teaching for us, he challenged us to discern local cultural influences that devalue the teachings of Jesus, and to establish clear contextual markers for discipleship unique to our community.

Q: What’s something that will stick with you?
Ricardo: I’ll remember this formula: Longevity x Health = Movement Impact

First, longevity means doing the same thing over and over—long obedience in the same direction without expecting microwaveable results or instant gratification. It’s more about building a certain kind of life than it is about experiencing quick success.

Second, anything can be reproduced or multiplied. Cancer is just that. We need to reproduce and multiply something that is healthy. Reproduce who you are.

Finally, there’s impact in movement. There are changes in people that go far beyond what you can see or do yourself—that’s how the Holy Spirit moves in and through you.

Q: What is one thing that you will bring back to your congregation?
Ricardo: I would like to equip more members of my congregation to become disciples who make disciples, or spiritual mentors. I would like everyone to have a deep understanding of this work and how they can use it in their family, community, and any sphere of society. Since we’re a new church, I’d especially like our leaders to take these steps. My wife and I believe that disciplers (multipliers) are the future of the church.

Q: How has this conference changed the way you approach ministry?
Ricardo: I am reflecting more on personal discipleship and mentoring relationships. I desire to grow and implement a culture of discipleship in the church by participating in life-to-life tutoring. I think I am returning to the idea of ​​promoting the development of character of God in each one and to encourage relational investment for growth as a group.

Q: Why was this conference important to you?
Ricardo: I am a great believer that God continues to call us to return to the main purpose of the church. We must intentionally seek to take steps based on that call. That's why I wanted to be there.

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*Ricardo’s responses have been translated from Spanish into English