In this three-part series, I have introduced and explained the value of a discipleship planning team. In Part 1, I suggested 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 enlarged the first three of those focus areas. In Part 3, I will enlarge the final three focus areas.
Planning Team Focus Areas
- Group Connections. Want disciples to stay connected? Relationships matter. Care and encouragement make a difference. Sunday School and small groups make a huge difference. The church communicates the expectation for all new members to be involved in a group. This team or team member makes appropriate suggestions about groups to join. They encourage group leaders to reach out to connect with these new members. This team or team member encourages the class or group intentionally to develop relationships with new people in class and beyond class time.
- Serving Together. A natural outgrowth of growing as a disciple is investing SHAPE (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences) into serving the body of Christ and the community. This team or team member helps disciples discover their SHAPE and opportunities to serve so disciples will be fulfilled and fulfilling. Serving together helps disciples live out what is being discovered about God and self as well as for relationships to be developed.
- Multiplication. All disciples have the responsibility to “make disciples of all nations.” This team or team member comes alongside disciples to help them look for opportunities for witness and teach about Jesus along life’s path. This team or team member shares tools for witnessing as well as for relationship development with people at home, school, work, and in the marketplace.
Tracking individuals through each focus area is essential. These six areas are critical in assimilating and moving disciples toward maturity. When these areas are neglected, discipleship can become stagnant and typically 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 naturally moves beyond the walls of the church.
Do you see one of these focus areas missing from 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!