Discipleship Planning Team, Part 2

In this three-part series, I am introducing and explaining the value of a discipleship planning team. Too often churches enlist a key leader, such as a discipleship director, to do all the discipleship work. The work is often too large for one person.
In Part 1, I mentioned scaling the planning team down or up to your church size. I also shared six key planning team focus areas: community relations, first impressions, new members, group connections, serving together, and multiplication. In Part 2, I want to enlarge the first three of those focus areas.
PLANNING TEAM FOCUS AREAS
  • Community Relations. This team  or team member leads the church to focus on relationships with people beyond the church property. This includes a focus on the church website thinking about how to help people discover the church and church’s ministry. In addition, this team or team member leads the church to be concerned about the appearance of the property as well as working to develop great relationships with neighbors, key community leaders, as well as community groups.
  • First Impressions. This team or team member leads the church to focus on helping guests have great experiences when they step on the church property. This includes everything from the parking lot, to church doors, to welcome center, through hallways, to classroom, in restrooms, in the sanctuary, and to follow up. Smells and visual appeal are of concern. Greeter teams are trained. Smiles, greetings, and help are offered. Guests are expected and treated with care.
  • New Members. People are invited to join. This team or team member ensures that new member orientation is offered–whether in a group or by individual conversation. Encouragement and expectations are offered through assignment of an Encourager coach who walks with the new member through the first year (a period of time when as many as 80% of new members drop out). New members are guided toward involvement in Sunday School or a small group. They discover their spiritual gifts and passions in order to be fulfilled in a place of service.

These three areas are critical in assimilating and helping prospects become guests, guests become new members, and new members to thrive. When these areas are neglected, discipleship can become inwardly focused. Keep in mind that Jesus commanded us as we are going to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). That means discipleship begins beyond the walls of the church.

In Part 3, I will enlarge understanding of the work of the final three focus areas: group connections, serving together, and multiplication. Do you see a focus area missing from my list or your ministry? Leave a reply to share your ideas, insights, or questions. Our Lord was serious about disciple-making. He deserves our best effort. Make disciples!

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