Disciple-Making Strategy Questions

flowchartPray. Gather a team with passion for disciple-making. Work through these questions. Don’t be afraid to launch disciple-making actions while working through strategy development. But keep things fluid so adjustments can be made.

Consider these questions as starters:

EVALUATE:

  1. What is the current state of disciple-making (strengths and needs)?
  2. What programs, ministries, and events are accomplishing a portion of the work of disciple-making? Which part? How well?
  3. What are the challenges and hurdles facing disciple-making?

MISSION:

  1. What are we supposed to be doing in disciple-making? What is our mission?

VALUES:

  1. Why do we do what we do in our disciple-making efforts? What do we value?

VISUAL:

  1. How do we do what we do in our disciple-making efforts? What would our disciple-making strategy map/flowchart look like?

MEASURE:

  1. When are we successful in our disciple-making efforts? How could we measure effectiveness of our efforts?

DIRECTION:

  1. Where is God leading us in our disciple-making?
  2. How will we know we are heading in the right direction?

SUPPORT:

  1. How will be build church support of the disciple-making strategy?
  2. How will we communicate the disciple-making vision in response to congregational questions and concerns?
  3. How do we lead the church to “own” urgency for disciple-making?
  4. How will we lead people to recognize our Lord’s vision for disciple-making?

I want to acknowledge drawing help from an article by Will Mancini entitled, 36 Questions for 20/20 Church Vision from Start to Finish.

What questions would you add? As my church’s disciple-making strategy team has discussed many of these question and read various resources, it has been amazing the common language, ideas, and direction they have discovered. Now is a good time to start!

For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these posts:

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New Year’s Personal Discipleship Questions

time4questionsA new year is an appropriate time to reflect on what God has done in your life during the previous year. It is good to pause and reflect on strengths and weaknesses, progress and challenges, new goals and adjustments needed.

Often a consistent set of questions or review categories are helpful. Here is a set of questions from Don Whitney from a post, 10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year. I want to encourage you to read his entire post because he includes 21 extra questions (making 31) which might be useful to ask one per day for every month of this new year.

Here are his 10 questions:

  1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Look and pray through this list. Talk to a friend about this list. Use the questions as you disciple others. Journal responses to the questions. I strongly encourage you to write–helps with commitment and accountability. If one of these questions especially strikes a nerve, post a Comment.

Happy New Year! May God bless and use you this year. Make disciples!

For more posts about discipleship, check out these posts:

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Discipleship Through Church Ministry and Programs

upwardWhat if every church ministry and program…

  • was required to advance individual and/or corporate discipleship and disciple-making?
  • was required to show how it will do so before it could be calendared?
  • was required to show (measure and report) how participants acted, ministered to others, or invited/shared Jesus differently as a result?

In other words, what if every church ministry and program was planned, conducted, and measured according to its discipleship and disciple-making impact? What if we did this for worship? What if we did this for youth ministry? What if we did this for Sunday School? What if we did this for music, women’s ministry, VBS, basketball, missions, and all other church programs, events, and ministries?

How would doing so improve our focus and effectiveness in discipleship and disciple-making? How would doing so help the church in carrying out the Great Commission (make disciples of all nations)?

Think through these questions and share your thoughts or concerns (press Comments)? The church has a mission. The church is struggling with that mission. Could part of the problem be that the church is busy doing things (1) that are not part of the mission and (2) that are not effectively contributing toward the mission?

How can we address this reality? How could the three questions above help? Are there any dangers? I look forward to hearing from you. Make disciples!

For more ideas about discipleship, check out these posts:

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New Year’s Commitment to Growth and Discipleship

newyrThe beginning of each new year is an opportunity to start things, to start over, to start again. It can be a time of commitments and resolutions, a time of review and desire to improve.

At minimum, the Christian should stop to reflect on what God has done in the previous twelve months. This should bring appreciation to our minds, hearts, and lips. Expressions of thankfulness are natural in prayer as well as in conversation with people in our lives.

While attention may be focused upon physical, relational, mental, and life needs and goals, the new year is also an opportunity to consider spiritual, discipleship, and disciple-making goals. What are some questions to consider in these areas as the new year approaches? Consider the following:

  • On which fruit of the Spirit could I grow to be more like Jesus?
  • Toward which person(s) could I be more loving?
  • In which new Christian could I invest and encourage?
  • Which family member, neighbor, or friend could mentor me? (or could I mentor?)
  • What books would help me advance my spiritual goals, plans, and passions?
  • What mission or ministry project could I undertake or lead?
  • For what people, people group, or purpose could I pray?
  • Where and with whom could I serve as a chaplain for spiritual support?
  • What is my Bible reading and study plan?

What additional questions come to your mind as you read these questions? Did one resonate deeply with you as you read the list? I encourage you to write down your plans. Share them with a friend. Encourage each other to grow this year. Make disciples!

For more ideas about growing spiritually and making disciples, check out these posts:

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Stumbling Blocks to Our Spiritual Growth

trippingI read an article entitled 2 Keys for Spiritual Growth. It reminded me of this scripture passage:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).

Too often disciples are weighed down by and stumble over bad things as well as good ones. I often think of Lot’s wife (in Genesis 19) who was told to flee from Sodom and not look back or stop anywhere before the coming destruction. The problem was she looked back and got stuck in the destruction (became a pillar of salt).

I am confident that she was not looking back at that moment whistfully longing for days of sin. She was looking back at her home, at good memories, and hard-earned possessions. In and of themselves, these were not evil things. But when things (even good ones) get in the way of our obedience to God, they are stumbling blocks to our spiritual growth.

The article, 2 Keys for Spiritual Growth, mentioned two potential stumbling blocks:

  • Past Failures and
  • Past Achievements.

Because of forgiveness, failures should not incapacitate us. At the same time, we should not rest on yesterday’s successes. Paul emphasized letting go of the past and reaching for the prize in your spiritual growth.

Pause and take inventory. With what are you struggling the most in your life as His disciple? Where are potential stumbling blocks (good and bad)? Are there past failures or achievements that distract you from what He desires from you today? Confess these to Him. Ask for His help to release them. Focus on the direction forward that He is leading. Grow as His disciple. Make disciples!

For more ideas about making spiritual progress, check out these posts:

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Are You a Convert, a Disciple, or a Disciple-Maker?

mtnclimbingFrom the beginning, let me be clear. I am not trying to judge or brand anyone. I am simply asking a question for mutual self-assessment. Allow me to clarify the terms:

  • CONVERT. The root of the word points toward “one who turns” or “one who changes.” A convert has turned away from sin and self toward Jesus. For our purposes, a convert made the critical first step of turning but did not continue in that direction. They did not grow further in their understanding of Jesus and His demands. Many Christians remain here for a lifetime.
  • DISCIPLE. The root of the word points toward “learner” or “follower.” A disciple is a convert who made the critical second step of choosing to follow the ways and leading of Jesus. Time spent with Jesus changes Christians in thoughts, attitudes, and actions throughout their lifetime making them more like Him. Many Christians remain here for a lifetime.
  • DISCIPLE-MAKER. The point of the term is multiplication. A disciple-maker is one who makes the critical third step of investing in others to follow the ways and leading of Jesus. Jesus commanded His disciples (historical and present-day) to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). All converts and disciples are commanded to join in the effort to make disciples. Too few Christians are obedient to this command. By the way, a disciple-maker will continue as a perpetual learner (disciple) as well.

The separations between the terms are somewhat fuzzy. But with the understanding shared here, where are you? What next step do you need to make to join Jesus in his disciple-making vision for our world? Choose to turn, follow, and make disciples!

For more ideas about disciple-making check out these blog posts:

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Bible Reading Plan Plus Journaling

journaling2Over the years, I have used many Bible reading plans. I can honestly say that those plans have helped me to read more of the Bible. They have allowed me to read the Bible through many times. I have a greater understanding of God and His work in sending Jesus for us.

At the same time, reading plans have not always been easy or even completed. Likely you have experienced some of the same challenges I have:

  • missed days leading to getting behind,
  • some readings/days that are boring,
  • difficulty focusing on what is being read,
  • quitting because I was so far behind,
  • no immediate sense of progress or growth,
  • allowing Bible study time to become routine,
  • reading to check my duty off the list,
  • and more.

How do you turn Bible reading into relationship time with God? How can you make the most of this spiritual growth opportunity? What can you do to turn your Bible reading into a daily experience you don’t want to miss?

My simple suggestion from personal experience is journaling. Get your Bible, a pen, and a bound set of paper. The paper can be a journal, a notepad, a spiral bound notebook, or other.

Daily write down the date, passage(s) read, and questions along with insights from God. Being careful to seek understanding about the original context, write down what God is saying and how He expects you to respond.

Then every few days read recent entries–paying close attention to how He expected you to respond. The purpose is to see if you have obeyed (are obeying).

How does this help? Why does this work? When your Bible reading becomes an appointment with a living God, you look forward to the time. You pay more attention. Your relationship and understanding grows.

I want to challenge you to try it for no less than three weeks. This is the amount of time it takes to develop a new habit. If you give it three weeks, I believe journaling will move from an awkward struggle to a natural spiritual discipline and relationship time with God.

Read. Journal. Listen to Him. Follow where He leads. Make disciples. For more ideas about spiritual growth, check out these blog posts:

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Characteristics of a Maturing Disciple

3stopI know life is fast-paced, and you were looking for a quick, relevant read. But I want to challenge you to STOP and make a list of the characteristics you would expect to find in a maturing disciple. What would the evidence in heart (passion), hand (action), and head (attitude) look like?

After you make your list, look through the following actions, practices, or evidence. What would you add to this list, leave out, or state differently? Consider these practices:

  • salvation
  • membership with the body of Christ (a church)
  • regular participation in private and corporate worship (favor with God)
  • growing relationships (favor with man)
  • regular involvement in Sunday School or small group (learning and practicing together to think, believe, and act like Jesus)
  • daily quiet time (prayer and intake of God’s Word)
  • serving the body using spiritual gives, talents, abilities, passion, and experiences (expressions of leadership as appropriate)
  • tithing, giving, and stewardship
  • sharing, meeting the needs of others
  • witnessing, sharing Jesus and what He has done/is doing
  • multiplication: discipling family, friends, and others.

While this is far from a complete list, it is a healthy start. What would you add, subtract, or adjust? How are you communicating, supporting, and encouraging movement of disciples in the direction toward these practices of maturing disciples? With no target or intentionality, there will likely be no progress. Take one step this week! Make disciples!

For more ideas about disciple-making, check out these blog posts:

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Where Does Making Disciples of All Nations Begin?

boysMy sons are young adults. One lives a couple hours away; the other lives nine hours away. But when we are together in person or connecting by phone or electronic means, I am often amazed at how much I hear me in them. I hear my dry humor. I hear bits and pieces of my Christian worldview and philosophies of life. (By the way, they hear it too!)

I fully recognize the truth of Proverbs 22:6 (ESV), “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” That is where making disciples of all nations begins. At home.

Why should the world believe us about Jesus when our children do not? If we do not train (disciple) them to follow Jesus, why should others follow us to Him? Does your family reflect your relationship with Jesus?

If not, don’t beat yourself up over it. But keep this in mind: it is not too late. Start now. One conversation. One Bible verse. One act of care. Keep pointing to Jesus. Point them to God’s Word. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw and convict and change. Even you.

Start at home. Don’t allow yourself to get too busy to invest yourself in your precious family. And never give up!

For more ideas about making disciples, check out these posts:

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Discipleship Impacted by the Power of the Gospel

circle3stepsWhile attending the National Disciple Making Forum earlier this month, I attended a breakout session entitled, “How to Use the Power of the Gospel Daily to Bring Transformation in Discipleship” led by Monte Starkes and Charles Hooper of Perimeter Church in Atlanta. They recommended what they called the Gospel three-step waltz:

  • repent,
  • believe,
  • obey.

These steps repeat and flow from one to the next with obey flowing naturally into repent.

Charles and Monte mentioned these two-step failures which need to be addressed/avoided:

  • focusing on obey and repent only can lead to moralism,
  • focusing on repent and believe only can lead to licentiousness, and
  • focusing on believe and obey only can lead to legalism.

They gave credit for their thinking to Bob Flayhart and his Gospel-centered mentoring along with his dissertation.

Could discipleship be as simple as leading those we mentor to dance the Gospel waltz?

If you were designing a strategy based upon these three flowing steps, how would you go about ensuring practice while avoiding potential failures listed above?

During the conference, I recommended that the heart (center of the three steps) should be the word, “encounter.” What I mean is that the Holy Spirit is needed to help guide repenting, believing, and obeying. When we open God’s Word and meet Him in Bible study, He draws us into a relationship with Him, others, and ourselves that changes everything. Without an encounter the circle becomes shortcircuited.

For more ideas about a disciple-making strategy and resources, check out these blog posts:

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