ABSENCE OF DISCIPLESHIP. Today, it is common to hear “We no longer have a discipleship ministry in my church.” How can that be possible when our Lord called us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)? For years, many churches thought discipleship would be accomplished through worship, Sunday School or small groups, and discipleship courses. But lives were too little changed. Disciples were not being multiplied. The absence of a discipleship ministry is our open door to start fresh!
EFFECTIVENESS? When it comes to discipleship done in different venues/group sizes (see Disciple-making: Using Group Size Advantageously), some are done well and some not so well. Opportunities for discipleship are numerous. Sometimes they are a home run. Sometimes they drain church body attention, time, and resources. Are your discipleship programs, activities, and plans effective? This may be time to consider strengths and weaknesses. It may be time to trim activities and programs in order to focus on a clear path.
A PATH OR STRATEGY. Recognize it takes more than having a discipleship ministry. It takes more even than doing discipleship in every venue/group size–even if what is done is done well. It takes a strategy, a simple plan! It must be simple. Any plan path that is not easily understood is too complicated. If you cannot explain it, that is a bad sign.
SHARE IT! As you read scripture, books, and web posts related to disciple-making, share them. Raise attention and interest. Increase personal awareness and sense of responsibility. Gather a study team. Spend time in the Word together. Read a book and talk about the chapters. Attend a conference together. Evaluate everything your church does and its impact on discipleship. Where are your strengths and weaknesses? Where are the gaps and needs? Put together a simple plan. Implement. Then assess and adjust the plan as needed.
PERSONAL CHALLENGE. At the same time, this effort can and should be a call to a similar process for your personal discipleship. As a result your efforts and those of your study team members, you have an opportunity to evaluate and consider needed adjustments in your personal discipleship. I challenge you to develop a personal discipleship strategy. Where do you need to start? Who could encourage you and hold you accountable to carry out your plan?
For more ideas about putting together a plan for discipleship, check out these posts: