Where are you headed and how will you get there? Have you prayed? Our Lord has promised to be with us, and He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV). You don’t have to ask what to do. Making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20) is our task. But knowing how and where to start is worthy of intentional and serious prayer.
After praying alone, gather a team and pray together. Continue in faithful pursuit of disciple-making while you are praying. In other words, don’t quit making disciples while you are praying. But be open to new ways, new directions, and new focus for the year ahead.
- ATTENDANCE.We will increase our…attendance. Work to increase the numbers of men, women, teens, and children who are being discipled. Increase attendance in your courses and groups. While attendance is only one number, it is one indication of disciple-making. Extend personal invitations. Use social media. Mobilize your disciple-makers. Capitalize on your gatherings and events to invite new people.
- CONNECTIONS.We will help attenders get better connected. An ember pulled out of a fire, goes out. The body of Christ needs each other. Those with friends in class tend to stay connected. Those without drop out. It is difficult to disciple those who are cocooned and not connected. Notice and pursue irregular attenders. Care for those who miss a group meeting. Connect people with common affinities. Pay attention to people and their relational connections–or lack thereof.
- MATURITY. We will help our members grow in spiritual maturity. Our goal is more than knowledge. Our goal is spiritual progress of every member. That is all the more reason why attendance and connections are important. How can you help each member take steps toward spiritual maturity this year, this month, this week? How can you help them to grow in their relationship with God and man? How can you help them grow in the fruit of the Spirit? How can you help them live obedient, Christ-like lives? Make courses and disciple-making relationships practical.
- MINISTRY AND LEADERS.We will deploy more people in ministry and develop more leaders. Seek to involve every member in service. Focus on getting new members involved with you. Enlist a ministry involvement leader to lead members find places of service and ministry. Meet needs together. Train them. Discover their gifts, abilities, passions, and experiences. Mobilize them into ministry and leadership opportunties.
- GREAT COMMISSION. We will fulfill the Great Commission locally, globally, and cross-culturally. Make disciples of all nations. This can be launched from disciple-making relationships, small groups, Sunday School classes, or other groups. Carry out projects in the community, nation, and world. Think Acts 1:8. Pray. Identify needs. Find areas of common passion and interest. Serve. Give. Go. Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs. Serve together.
All five of these goals are worthy of attention this year. Pray about where to start and how to pursue them. Make plans. Set deadlines. Make assignments. Carry out the plans. Check on progress. Adjust if needed. Making disciples is a huge goal that we cannot do alone and will seldom be accomplished accidentally. Make disciples this year!