Four Benefits of a Disciple-Making Pipeline

Let’s face it; you don’t have to have a disciple-making pipeline to make disciples.  I would say that very few churches have an intentional pipeline.  At the same time, there may be some benefits that you might want to consider when it comes to a disciple-making pipeline.

Let’s start by looking at what is a disciple-making pipeline? A disciple-making pipeline is a structure for identifying and moving disciples from one level of development to the next. Our goal in developing and implementing a disciple-making pipeline is more and better disciples.  We encourage churches to develop their unique disciple-making pipeline. The table below represents a generic disciple-making pipeline for beginning our conversation and for the development of your own disciple-making pipeline.

The benefits of an intentional disciple-making pipeline are numerous.  Here are a few:

1. It depicts a clear pathway for growth.  I can remember being a brand follower of Christ, thinking I want to be a good citizen.  I had no clue what it meant to be a disciple or that as a disciple, I needed to grow.  Imagine having a clear pathway with clearly delineated measures or competencies at each level of discipleship.  Regardless of how you program around a pipeline, just having one would benefit any church serious about making disciples.

2. It allows you as a church to evaluate your disciple-making effectiveness.  Once you develop your own disciple-making pipeline based on your disciple-making dream,  you have a built-in tool for assessing your effectiveness.  For example, if you don’t have any pre-disciples, it is a good indication that something is off about your overall disciple-making culture.  The same could be true of any level of your pipeline where you may have a deficiency.  A healthy disciple-making culture will have disciples at every level of the pipeline.

3. It integrates both evangelism and disciple-making.  A common mistake that churches make is separating evangelism and disciple-making, but for Jesus evangelism was always a critical part of His disciple-making.   His disciple-making always began with pre-disciples.  Creating a disciple-making pipeline should always begin with pre-disciples.

4. It encourages the disciple-maker to focus on his/her area of greatest strength.  We all have different passions and giftedness.  I may have a passion for working with pre-disciples, while you may be gifted at working with multiplying disciples. Having a disciple-making pipeline gives us multiple areas and places to plug into the disciple-making process as a disciple-maker.


 

To learn more about a disciplemaking pipeline, connect with an Auxano Navigator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Reframing Disciplemaking: Moving from a Program to the Mission

I want to respond to a frequent question, “What is a good disciple-making mission”? While I appreciate and even understand the question, a better question is “What is our disciple-making mission”?  The best disciple-making mission is always going to be your unique disciple-making mission.

​Every church is unique!  At the same time, it is true that our bias is that the big “C” Church has one and only one mission, and it is always a disciple-making mission.  A good mission is our always our great permission with the Great Commission.  Here at Auxano, we believe that “God is up to something cosmically significant and locally specific” in our church.  I will say when taken out of your unique context most mission statements come up lacking.

In developing a mission statement, we begin by taking a deep dive into process work around a specific church’s identity.  We want to look at the unique people, unique place, and the unique passion of the church and specifically where all three of these intersect.  It’s after we do this in-depth process dive into your identity that you are prepared to begin discovering that unique mission and its articulation.

The challenge so often is we fail to have the capacity for this kind of deep processing work.  There are many reasons for this, but three common “thinkholes” that keep us from it includes what we call the ministry treadmill (too busy), competency trap (to smart), and the denominational rut (too stuck).

Also, any articulation of mission or vision language should always pass the “5 C’s Test”.  You can use this test to go ahead and evaluate your current mission.  The Five C’s are: is it clear, compelling, concise, contextual, and catalytic.

Take a moment and evaluate your mission statement on a scale of 1-5 using the C’s.  How did you do?  It’s vital that you did well. Your mission is what we call the answer to question zero.  Question zero is “What are we doing?”  If you get this question, wrong everything is going to be wrong.

I’ve got so much I want you to know, but limited time and space to communicate it.  However, there is one final thing I will add; a mission is always going to be spread by people, not paper.  Therefore it is critical that you build a team and go on a profound collaborative journey that at the end of the day taps into the collaborative genius of your leaders.

> Read more from David.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Permissions of the Great Commission

Jesus gave His commission to the early church in Matthew 28:18-20. Though it is one of several commissions given by Jesus, the church-at-large has come to call this statement: The Great Commission. Let me remind us what it says,

Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (CSB)

In the Western portion of the world where I live, we preach The Great Commission and plenty of affirming nods are given. However, it is not practiced very well. To fulfill The Great Commission, we need change. Allow me to offer five potential changes we need and one reminder to encourage you in the changes.

Change #1: Move from working as campus chaplains to advancing as kingdom missionaries. Churches are not to hide on campuses. Jesus tells us to “go” with a verb that means continual activity. Wherever there are people in our communities and around the world, the church needs to be present as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom. We should treat a church campus as a launching pad instead of an Evangelical monastery.

Change #2: Move from participating in religious programs to becoming lifestyle disciple-makers. We often default to building programs because they are the paths of least resistance. Meanwhile, disciple-making is messy. Programmatic growth can be accomplished even when it is the last-ditch effort of a spiritually sterile ministry. The numbers in attendance fool us into thinking that Kingdom growth is occurring. The metrics that numbers equal success is simply not enough. We need to switch to a desire for relationships that result in eternal transformations.

Change #3: Move from a perceived home field to active global engagement. We do not live in a spiritual Promised Land. Rather, the church is in exile in a spiritual Babylon. As a believer, you may live in a country with religious freedom and even one built on Judeo-Christian virtues but you do not yet fully live in the Kingdom of God. Our commission is to take the gospel to our community and not stop there. God calls each church to the peoples of the world (see, people groups, ethnic groups, all nations). Your church should consider itself as a missionary outpost in your community and a global sending center for God’s work in the world. Each believer is not here to simply keep the church programs populated. Each believer is commissioned as a global missionary to pierce the darkness with the light of the Gospel.

Change #4: Move from creating consumers of religion to community builders of the church.Christians are the purveyors of hope because of our own spiritual transformation. In baptism, we declare that we’ve surrendered to the sovereignty of Christ. Secondarily, baptism is a public alignment with a church family. At my baptism, I said, “I’m one with you in God’s mission.” As individual believers and as congregational families, we need to kill the consumer mentality. It should die a quick death so we can have a hyper-focus on the need for the lost to be saved and the church to be built by Christ’s work through us.

Change #5: Move from being knowledge junkies to Jesus followers. Too often, our knowledge has outpaced our obedience. As church leaders, it is easier to desire behavior modification from masters of biblical trivial pursuit than deal with accountability for life change. But that is not discipleship. In his book The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard said, “The gospel of sin management has produced vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else.” We need to move from just playing mental games with the Bible to becoming obedient to the Bible. Jesus wants followers. He began the apostles’ work with “Come” and ended his training with “Go.”

 One Empowering Reminder: The authority and presence of Jesus is what makes all of this a reality. Jesus has all of the authority and promised to never desert us. With His declaration, we can race after His commission. We know that none of the five changes are possible by our own wit and self-determination. Jesus, however, loves to do the impossible. His authority and presence at work in your church will bridge an impossible divide and accomplish miraculous Kingdom work.

I hope that all of our churches will once again lean into the beauty and the mission of Jesus’ work in this world.

> Read more from Philip.


 

Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about a disciplemaking process for your church.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Nation

Philip Nation

serve as the Director of Advancement and Global Impact Churches with the Baptist World Alliance and frequently speak at churches and conferences. I earned a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2010-2012, I was the national spokesperson for the Back to Church Sunday campaign from Outreach. Over the years, I’ve served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. My latest published work is the video-based Bible study Pursuing Holiness: Applications from James. In 2016, I published Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out with Moody Publishers. I’ve coauthored two other books: Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. I was also the general editor of The Mission of God Study Bible. Along the way, I have written the small-group studies Storm Shelter: Psalms of God’s Embrace, Compelled by Love: The Journey to Missional Living and Live in the Word, plus contributed to The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Lifetime.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.