So you want to help the church “make disciples of all nations.” How can you get started? First I want to recommend praying. You don’t have to pray about whether our Lord wants you to make disciples. He has already commanded that. Rather, pray for the team you will assemble to lay out the strategy for doing so.
Second, go after the team. I would suggest including 4-8 people. A smaller group helps planning to flow faster. Lay out the vision and need (but not the strategy). Set a deadline and timetable.
Third, when the team is enlisted, set a date for a retreat where you the team can make a significant start. Ensure that everyone can be there. Make sure to include everyone in the planning and schedule for the day. I would suggest 4-6 hours for that retreat. Work toward consensus in your planning–don’t vote. Don’t get bogged down too deeply in any issue in this first major meeting. Keep things moving and fun.
Fourth, in advance (one week) of the retreat do some spiritual preparation. Ask team members to pray and look through some key disciple-making scripture passages. Ask them to write down thoughts about what God is saying about disciple-making in each passage. Invite the church to pray for the team and the retreat.
Fifth, consider including some of these key questions:
- What did we hear God say about disciple-making?
- Why is disciple-making important?
- On the basis of scripture, what is a simple, memorable definition for disciple-making?
- What disciple-making actions are taking place in the church? (Consider examining each of the social arenas mentioned in Disciple-making: Using Group Size Advantageously.)
- What personal practices should be evidence of growing disciples?
- What church ministry, program, or event could contribute toward undergirding each personal practice? (Before starting any new disciple-making efforts, ask how can you use what you are already doing to strengthen disciple-making efforts.)
- What are the major steps of the strategy and how can you move disciples from one step to the next (without losing any/many)?
- What are the deadlines for implementing the pieces of the strategy and who is in charge of each part?
- How often will you gather in the months ahead to check on progress and make adjustments as necessary?
Sixth, there is still time to attend one of the three remaining Disciple-Making Forums:
- Monday, November 2, 6:30-8:30 PM (Central time), First Baptist Church, 216 Jenkins Rd, Eddyville; Register at 270.388.7693
- Tuesday, November 3, 6:30-8:30 PM (Central time), Warren Association of Baptists, 6448 Scottsville Rd, Bowling Green; Register at 270.842.4160
- Saturday, November 7, 9:00-Noon (Eastern time), Northern Kentucky Baptist Association, 301 Riggs Av, Erlanger; Register at 859.727.6522.
These disciple-making forums are planned for conversational exploration of the goal, strategy, and methods for disciple-making. They are designed for pastors, discipleship directors, and key leaders. The forums will focus on:
- defining disciple-making,
- strategic disciple-making questions,
- assessment of the disciple-making impact of programs/ministries, and
- ideas for launching successful disciple-making plans.
There is no cost for any of the Forums, but registration is requested in order to have materials for everyone. Call the associational office number listed and tell them how many you plan to bring to the event with you.
Disciple-Making Forums will be led by Darryl Wilson, Sunday School & Discipleship Consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.