Five Ways to Make Disciples (part one)

This series of blogs will examine five levels or methods of discipleship that should and can be happening in every church. I welcome your feedback and ideas. Let me know how you are making disciples in your church.

The first level we will examine is the Pastor’s (Staff) Discipleship Ministry. This is also called Platform or Public Discipleship.

Discipleship happens when the pastor and staff intentionally preach or teach on the subject of discipleship and the Holy Spirit moves people deeper in their faith walk. 

Some would argue that this is not discipleship because there is not much interaction when you preach, however I believe that discipleship centered preaching can greatly raise the level of discipleship awareness in our churches.

This method is already happening on different levels in most churches, but it can be greatly enhanced if we become more intentional.  We know that people are not changed unless the truth of God’s Word becomes personal so to improve this method, add another layer of study in a small group format (Sunday School, home or small groups).

Example: You might be preaching a series of messages on stewardship or sharing your faith or finances, why not add a small group study guide on that particular sermon series for Sunday School classes, small groups or home groups. In some settings the pastor could even lead this on a Sunday night in a small group where the sermon is unpacked in a discipleship format. This adds a whole new dimension to this process.

A good example of the success of this method is the forty day studies like “Purpose Driven Life.”

A pastor could also do more to make the series more creative by including in your preaching, worship elements like testimonies, video, dramas, and the arts.  Let people share how God is changing their lives.

Questions to Consider

What can be done in my church to raise the level of intentional preaching and teaching on the subject of discipleship?

When was the last time our church focused on one thing that was connected in our preaching and Sunday School (small groups)?

Big Idea: Look ahead at the upcoming Sunday School (small group) curriculum for the next year. From those topics develop a preaching series based on one or two upcoming units of study. This creates synergy between your Bible study small group experience and your worship/preaching. Your congregation will think you are a genius for coming up with this idea!

You can also look at prepared series from publishers that have both of these components (preaching and small group studies). I would not do these every Sunday but one or two times a year this could have a huge impact on your congregation.

Remember pastors what your job is according to the following Scripture.

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be….pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)

We are to “prepare God’s people for works of service.” That is discipleship! Let’s get busy!

Keep the Son in your eyes,

Mike James

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