Discipleship Needs: How Do I Address Them?

In conversation or as a result of a group survey, you discovered some discipleship needs. Now what? What are your next steps? What are your options for how to address the needs you uncovered?

Discipleship Needs Conversation

In order to understand the needs more thoroughly, further conversation is usually helpful. This may be conversation of discipler with disciple. This may be conversation of a Sunday School teacher or small group leader with his/her group. Conversation may be with an age group leader, such as a children’s director, with parents.

There are many questions which may help, but here are four that may help you as you begin:

  • Are my understandings and assumptions about the needs correct? (This can save much time.)
  • Is this an individual need, group, or corporate need?
  • Is this the best time to address the needs? (For example, it may best to wait for plans that are already in process.)
  • Are there others with whom I should have conversation about these needs? (This could include content experts in fields in which you don’t feel prepared: finances, pornography, addiction, etc. But this also may be about the pervasiveness of the need and/or options for addressing the needs.)

Options for Addressing Needs

After conversation, you should have an idea of which of these options or combination might fit best. Consider the following:

  • Sermons. Some discipleship issues can be dealt with by the pastor (or special speaker) through a special service or sermon emphasis.
  • Sermon series. Other discipleship issues are larger than one service or sermon can address. Spiritual disciplines, addictions, marriage, and many others may be examples.
  • Individual discipling. In your discipling sessions and life interactions, needs may be discovered and immediately addressed through and ebb and flow of questions and conversation. Study, scripture reading, and homework may be required. (This might include parent and child conversation.)
  • Group discipling. Group conversations tend to require more time. That may or may not be possible in your regular sessions together; as a result, special meetings may be planned.
  • Topical courses. This could be a course designed to address how to study the Bible, prayer, one or more spiritual disciplines, finances, time management, parenting, anger, marriage, and more.
  • Short or long-term groups. This could include recovery groups dealing with issues such as divorce, grief, addiction, and more. These groups tend to address a narrower set of discipleship issues and topics than many discipling relationships.
  • Events. This could be a weekend, all day Saturday, all week long (like a revival), or some other combination. The events might address many of the options already mentioned but might benefit from an extended time together rather than starting and stopping between sessions. I think of the benefits of a silent retreat and reconciliation training which I experienced.

What would you add to this list of options for addressing discipleship needs? Share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the Leave a Reply block below this post. Listen. Identify needs. Look for ways to address those needs. Make disciples!

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