The Disciplemaking Worldview: What is the Church?

Auxano Navigator David Putman is committed to catalyzing gospel-centered, disciple-making movements. He lives out his mission by helping others go further, faster, and longer than they ever imagined. David’s writings have been the primary foundation of this SUMS Remix.

According to David, disciple making at its core is about worldview transformation. A person’s worldview is the way they see and understand the world.  Our worldview is based on our core beliefs. These non-negotiable beliefs determine our behavior. In other words, what we believe determines our behavior.

As a disciple of Christ we might frame it this way, “What we believe about the gospel determines how we follow Jesus.”

David uses a simple tool he created called the “Gospel Lens” to illustrate this. This tool is based on three questions that he believes have a very unique and specific relationship to one another.

It is essential that we begin with the gospel, move to disciple, and finally to the church in the order we ask and answer these questions. In other words, the gospel informs our understanding of disciples, and our understanding of disciples informs our understanding of the church.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Church 3.0 Upgrades for the Future of the Church by Neil Cole

An expert practitioner answers questions about the burgeoning organic church movement.

Neil Cole’s best-selling book Organic Church described the fastest growing segment of contemporary Christianity-the so-called organic church. Now in this next-step book, he answers questions about how to deal with theological and organizational issues that come up. He talks about issues such as what to do with finances, children, heresy, leader training, rituals and ordinances. Without the top-down structure of a denomination, even people who are proponents of this small, house-church model worry that they are not doing it right.

  • Offers an important resource for anyone involved with or thinking of starting an organic or house church
  • Addresses practical issues of theology, rituals, doctrinal heresy, how to handle children, finances, and other important questions
  • Written by an acknowledged expert who is now and has been for over twenty years an organic church planter and practitioner
  • A new Leadership Network title and follow-up to Organic Church

Church 3.0 offers solid information about organic churches based on Cole’s extensive experience in starting, nurturing, and mentoring in the organic church movement.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

In Christ we are redeemed, renewed, and ultimately all things are restored. Once again Jesus uses the power of a simple parable to convey this pregnant truth. “He told them another parable: ‘the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches’” (Matthew 13:31-32, NIV). In this parable we see the impact of the gospel to restore all things. A mustard seed grows, becomes the larges of garden plants, even becomes a tree, and the birds of creation come and find rest in them. What God began He completes in Jesus.

If you flip over and read the last chapters of Revelation you see this playing out. John “saw a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelations 21:2, NIV). In this picture we aren’t going up, but heaven is coming down in keeping with Jesus’ message of the kingdom of heaven is here or at hand. God is doing a work in His world. He isn’t done. He is restoring all things. What He began in one garden He concludes in another garden.

Now God is working through His church to restore all things. As Paul declares, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his very appeal through us” (I Corinthians 5: 20, NIV). Jesus tells us we “are the salt of the earth and light of the world” (Matthew 5:13 &14, NIV). Salt and light have their greatest impact from within. As restorers we enter into God’s redemptive, renewal, and restorative work. As restorers we enter into the lives of those who are in the most need of redemption, renewal, and restoration. We become God’s ambassadors. The gospel restores us that we might be restorers.

This changes everything. People are not to be seen as a means to an end. People are the end.

When people encounter Jesus, alive and present as King, they get a taste of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

I have come to understand the church as this: the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet. Granted, this is quite broad, but I like a broad definition of church. The Scriptures don’t give a precise definition, so I’m not going to do what God has not done. I want something that captures what the Scriptures say about the body of Christ. In one of only two places where Jesus mentions church in the Gospels, He says, “For where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). His presence then must be an important element of church.

In most of the definitions of church found in theological treatises a list of necessary ingredients is given including things such as qualified elders, regular meetings of believers, practice of the ordinances, and a doctrinal foundation. A noticeable absence is the inclusion of Jesus on the lists. If Jesus is missing in our understanding of church, He will likely be missing in our expression of church as well. Therein lies a huge problem in our churches. We have defined church by what we are and do, rather than by Jesus’ presence at work among us.

It dawned on me one day that the Bible never commands us to plant a church. When the disciples were sent out, they were to bring the Kingdom (or reign) of God to the places where people lived life. When Paul and Barnabas went out, they didn’t think of their task as starting churches but instead making new disciples. Our command is to connect people to Jesus as their King. We are to extend the reign of Christ on earth. The byproduct of this work is church.

Church is not meant to be the agent of change; Jesus is. The Bible doesn’t say, “For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Church.” Church is the result of the Gospel, not the cause. In a sense we are confusing the fruit with the seed. We must plant the seed of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and the fruit will be the changed lives living out their faith together, which is church.

The core importance of God’s church is not how the followers are organized, discipled, or helped. The core reality of God’s church is Jesus Christ being followed, loved, and obeyed. All else is consequence rather than cause. It all starts with a relationship with Jesus, and since Jesus is on mission to seek and save the lost so are his followers.

Neil Cole, Church 3.0 Upgrades for the Future of the Church

A NEXT STEP

Will Mancini believes that if your staff and volunteers don’t know your church’s disciple-making strategy, they invent their own.

Many times, this is not the fault of the volunteers but a failure on the part of senior leadership. Will adapts an article from Harvard Business Review entitled, “How Hierarchy can Hurt Strategy Execution” into some thoughts reframed for ministry. While the interrelated challenges of these obstacles make it hard to put in a ranking, he has attempted to do so in terms of linear progression. Also, there are many ways to define strategy. The one in use is “the process of a picture that shows how you accomplish the mission on the broadest level.

Gather your senior leadership team together, distribute the following list, and discuss how each is evident (or not) at your church.

#1 Too focused on short-term results and tactics. Sunday’s a ‘comin. Enough said.

#2 Not taking time to develop a clear, coherent strategy. Because of the crowd fixation on the weekend worship event, most leadership teams never slow down enough to have the strategic conversation. This ultimately hinders forward progress in disciple-making and subversively reinforces a shadow mission, “to get as many people through the doors on Sunday.

#3 Poor communication of strategy. If you do have a strategy, you can’t communicate it too much. The litmus test is getting the top 25 people in your leadership together and asking them to draw a picture that shows how you accomplish the mission. If they are not drawing the same picture, you’re not communicating enough.

#4 Lack of meaning for the front-line volunteers and their roles. Once it’s clear and being communicated, it must be translated to the front line. It can’t live only in the world of “thinkers,” but must be grasped, and joyfully so, by the “doers.”

#5 Departmental silos and ministry segments with competing agendas. One of the greatest barriers is not individuals but the momentum of church systems stuff from org charts, to decision-making structures. In church, the strategy first splinters to become meaningless in the children, student and worship “departments” which typically focus 100% of their attention on their unique short-term needs.

#6 Inconsistent or indecisive actions from senior leaders with regarding strategy. Once you set the course, you must lead the way. Strategy will set priorities and your people will quickly notice, from small daily actions, when the two disconnect.

#7 No follow-through on strategy with measurement, accountability, or celebration. Strategy won’t become meaningful without it becoming a cultural reality- something that shapes new thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.

#8 Resistance to change. Leading with a strategy will always require some change. Some people will catch it painfully slow, and others will never see the light.

After your discussion time, celebrate where you have overcome these challenges. For those areas where you still struggle, brainstorm specific actions you will undertake to improve them.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 108-3, released December 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

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As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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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.

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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COMMENTS

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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.

Choosing the Long Road to Somewhere Instead of the Short Road to Nowhere

Life is filled with tensions. I’m not just talking about the negative tensions of managing relational conflict or figuring out how to pay the bills this month. I’m talking about the positive tensions of where to apply your greatest effort. In the whirlwind of life-as-usual, in the press of demands and limitations, how do you identify what is most important? How do you know where to invest the most and best energy?

If life is full of tensions, then leadership is the ability to navigate those tensions in the most helpful and effective ways, both for ourselves and for those around us. This is never more true than when we turn to the leader’s most valuable asset: their organization’s vision, its forward-looking view of where God is leading.

Every organization in the world that strives to advance its vision beyond itself wrestles with tensions within itself:

  • The tension between delivery and development. How do we deliver what we do with excellence while we develop the next generation of leaders behind us?
  • The tension between progress and process. How do we “ship” today to the most people while we improve what we do so that more leaders can “ship” tomorrow?
  • The tension between moving people and making people. How do we efficiently funnel masses through a pattern of programs while we spend the kind of time with individuals that influences their lives?

Navigating tensions like these is how a leader makes his or her most important contribution to an organization. As the steward of the organization’s vision, the leader must choose what the organization gives its best time and attention to. It is the leader’s responsibility to decide how their organization negotiates between delivery and development, progress and process, moving people and making people.

If we are honest, too often when deadlines get urgent and budgets get tight, we reduce our vision to delivery, progress, and moving people. That is where the most and best time goes when the “tyranny of the urgent” demands it of us.

But the best determiner of whether our vision will truly create the world we hope for is not whether we deliver today or make what-have-you-done-for-me-lately progress that turns the heads of those we report to. Instead, vision becomes reality for those who invest in development and process. The future belongs to leaders whose vision is always about making people and not just moving them.

In other words, in times of greatest urgency, we leaders must make our most counterintuitive move. Instead of trying to maximize our delivery, we must try to maximize our development. Instead of concentrating on progress, we must look at our process. Instead of trying to move people, we must correct our deficiency in making people.

In short, success in attaining our vision lies not with the question we most naturally ask but with the question we almost never ask. We must shift our interest from asking “What’s next?” to asking “Who’snext?”

The unmistakable truth is that our vision is only as good as the people in whom that vision has taken root. And while development, process, and making people are never the path of quickest reward, they are the path of greatest long-term effectiveness.

If, on the other hand, we choose the short path of what most people most value, we will inevitably miss the better path of the better future that got us into our calling to begin with. So today I’m inviting you to choose the harder and longer path of vision. If we recover our focus on who’s next over what’s next, I think we will find ourselves back on the long road to somewhere instead of the short road to nowhere.

> Read more from Dave.


 

Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Rhodes

Dave Rhodes

Dave is the Pastor of Discipleship and Movement Initiatives at Grace Fellowship Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the co-founder of Younique and Wayfarer, and a collaborative partner for 100 Movements, 10,000 Fathers. Before coming to Grace Fellowship, Dave served as the U.S. Team Leader for 3DM and as Lead Strategist for Wayfarer. Dave has authored several books and resources including Redefining Normal: An Open Invitation for Ordinary People Wanting to Become Extraordinary Disciples. Dave graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University and went on to graduate from Beeson Divinity School with Master of Divinity. Dave is married to Kim and the father of 3 fabulous children—Emma, Izzie and Frankie. Normal-and-then-not-normal-fun-facts: Dave enjoys playing golf, watching college football and eating chicken wings—and maybe eating chicken wings a little too much.

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COMMENTS

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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.

The Real Measures of Disciplemaking Success

Every pastor worth their seminary degree will tell you when asked, that real success in their church cannot be found in more people, more money, or more buildings. But, nobody really ever asks that question. As a result, the only measure of Great Commission success most pastors can enumerate has nothing to do with actual disciple-making.

Here is why: We’ve been trained to feel good when more people show up this month than last month, and to panic some when they don’t. We’ve learned to lead strong when people give at least as much, if not more, as they did last year. We lead even stronger when giving is down year-over-year. It stands to reason though that a church can make a budget without making any new disciples, and a pastor can fill a room without filling anyone spiritually. Classic examples of both exist in our modern church culture.

How then, can a leader be sure that the work they have given their life-to is producing the fruit that Jesus gave His life-for? It requires a new success scoreboard.

A new scoreboard must exist in which the points scored are known as disciples made. Stewardship and programmatic engagement must still be measured, but only serve as information for the team… not victory in the effort. After all, a basketball team has never won by committing fewer fouls or retaining more time-outs at the end of the game. They win by scoring the most points. It should be noted though, that a team can lose the game by losing track of how many fouls they have left to give or time-outs they have left to call – Chris Webber anyone? In this way, giving and attendance should be measured, but not measured as success in a genuinely missional call. A team wins by scoring more points than their opposition. And churches can only put points on the scoreboard by making disciples from out of our culture and from out of our cultural Christianity.

At Auxano, the consulting work we do centers around the crafting of this new success scoreboard. Our team of Navigators helps church teams build a visual, verbal indicator of success through disciple-making. Pastors and staff leaders thrive as they are growing people to maturity, not as they are convincing people to give to another building (they aren’t sure you need) or to show up to another event (they aren’t sure they need). Knowing when we are successful takes a shared set of disciple-defining measures. Will Mancini calls them Missional Marks in his book Church Unique, and here are eight reasons to retool your success scoreboard.

Without a shared set of disciple-defining measures at your church:
  1.  Each growing believer will strive toward a Biblical picture of maturity that is highly individualized and likely random.
  2.  Knowing more about Jesus can be misconstrued as growing more in Jesus.
  3. Leaders can only hope that people are making a healthy application to their lives from sermons or Bible studies
  4. The celebrations that inform and shape culture cannot take place because celebration requires a shared language of success.
  5. People get the feeling they are there to grow a program, rather than know that the programs are there to help them grow.
  6. Small group leaders struggle to make consistent connections between the lessons each and every week.
  7. Elders can only provide conversational, marketplace wisdom for simple decisions, rather than leverage their experience to strategize Kingdom-level transformation.
  8. Family ministry becomes a series of connected events across age groups, led from an org chart position, rather than a spiritual continuum of maturity across every age, leading toward family discipleship.
Replacing the disciple-making scoreboard in your church starts with scheduling your discovery call with an Auxano Navigator today. We can help you move from simply hoping your people grow… to newfound confidence in helping your people mature in Christ. It’s time to start putting points onto a new scoreboard… start here, today.
> Read more from Bryan.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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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.

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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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.

Disciple Making Takes More than a Pipeline

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Disciple making is our one and only mission, as a church.  This mission-based pursuit means that our measure of success is more and better disciples that are making more and better disciples.  More and better disciples means have a growing pipeline, when it comes to disciples.  A generic disciple-making pipeline consists of pre-disciples, new disciples, growing disciples, multiplying disciples, and catalyzing disciples.  Therefore, a healthy pipeline means that we have a healthy number of disciples at every level, as described in the chart below.

The Disciple-Making Pipeline can be a good tool for assessing your overall effectiveness when in comes to making more and better disciples.  A simple place to begin an assessment is by identifying the percentage of individuals that fall into each of these categories that attend your Sunday Morning Gathering.  In a healthy disciple-making culture the results may look more like a normal bell curve.   ​

The Disciple-Making Pipeline is one tool, among others, when it comes to assessing our overall health and effectiveness in the area of a disciple-making culture.  Other areas that you will want to include in an assessment are culture, leadership, mindset, and strategy.

> Read more from David.


 

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Discipleship >

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.

Why Your Lows Can be Highs When It Comes to Making Disciples

When you grow up in Texas, as I did, you were schooled up in the stories of the Alamo. It’s legendary – a small group of freedom fighters that took their stand against incredible odds in the small mission in San Antonio (of course, I only later found out that these “heroes” were not quite the upstanding patriots I thought they were as a kid, but I digress…)

Stories of Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Barrett Travis were the stuff of legend. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who petitioned his or her parents to, at some point, jump in the car and make our way down to San Antonio to see the real Alamo. And one year, we did.

I was… disappointed. I don’t know what I expected, but it was certainly a little more than what was there. Just a few crumbling walls. Right in the middle of the city. In fact, the only real part of the tour I remember was that they had Davy Crockett’s actual razor.

That’s sort of picture of life in some ways, isn’t it? You get yourself worked up over something – some vacation, some promotion, some relationship, some next stage of life, and then that “thing” happens. The vast majority of the time, it in no way lives up to the expectations you had for it in your mind. Or even worse, it doesn’t happen at all, and you are crushed under the weight of what might have been. What should have been. At least in your mind. But in the end, the result is the same:

Disappointment.

And yet here again we see the truth that the best school of discipleship is life. Real life is where our faith is honed, grown, and proven. And moments of disappointment are moments ripe for discipleship. If you’re experiencing some measure of disappointment today, then consider for a moment that this disappointment is actually a chance for spiritual growth for at least these four reasons:

1. Disappointment reminds of the only lasting satisfaction.

Ecclesiastes is a book all about disappointment. Solomon tried everything, and he tried everything to the extreme. But no matter what he devoted himself to, no matter what it was that he soaked the marrow from, he came up empty. His constant refrain through all his attempts at satisfaction was “Vanity! Meaningless!” There was nothing under the sun for him that offered true and lasting satisfaction.

It’s still true. All these things on which we hang our greatest expectations will in some way come up short. The disappointment we feel is a cue to remind us again and again that true satisfaction can only be found out from under the sun. Take heed not only from Ecclesiastes, but from the prophet Isaiah in this:

“Come, everyone who is thirsty,
come to the water;
and you without silver,
come, buy, and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without silver and without cost!
Why do you spend silver on what is not food,
and your wages on what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and you will enjoy the choicest of foods.
Pay attention and come to me;
listen, so that you will live” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

2. Disappointment exposes the truth in our hearts.

We have an incredible knack for self-deception. Often times, we don’t actually know the depths of our own hearts. We don’t know just how much of our hope, how much of our joy, how much of our self-worth and value we have invested in a particular thing until that thing goes away. The level of disappointment we feel is more than just painful; it’s revelatory. It shows us the truth about our own hearts. And the truth is always a good thing.

It’s a good thing for us because we have an incredible capacity for self-deception. We can talk ourselves into thinking that we are loving Jesus, treasuring Jesus, valuing Jesus above all things. In fact, the only way we might know that it’s not true is through our level of disappointment. So when we are disappointed, it’s a great chance for us to have a window of clarity in our own hearts so that we might repent and then continue forward with Jesus. So says the prophet Jeremiah:

For my people have committed a double evil:
They have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug cisterns for themselves—
cracked cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

3. Disappointment is a chance to grow in perseverance.

It’s really not a question of whether or not you will be disappointed; it’s only a question of when, and to what level. So if it’s a certainty that we will experience disappointment, then we ought to be asking ourselves what will happen next. Disappointment can either crush us, paralyzing us into inactivity, or we can carry on. Keep moving. Keep showing up.

If we choose the latter, then we find ourselves in a posture ready for discipleship, for that willingness to doggedly move forward, despite disappointment, is about perseverance. And perseverance is an essential component to growing in Christ:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4).

4. Disappointment reaffirms our faith in God as Father.

Finally, disappointment is an opportunity for discipleship because it’s a chance for us to remind ourselves of God’s goodness as our Father. Jesus taught His followers about the good Fatherhood of God in Luke 11:

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13).

Jesus’ point is pretty simple here: God is a good Father. And a good Father knows how to give good gifts to His children. That doesn’t mean He gives His children everything they ask for; this would, in fact, make Him a weak, insecure Father. He’s better than that. He only gives fish. He only gives eggs.

Sometimes from our perspective, it might look as if God has given us a snake or a scorpion because we did not receive what we wanted from Him, and we feel disappointment. But in that moment, it’s a chance for us to remind ourselves that despite what His answer looks like, He has given us a good gift. We can move forward in confidence, even if we are disappointed, because by faith we trust our Father.

Friends, you will be disappointed soon. Remember, disappointment might be painful, but it’s also an opportunity. Don’t waste it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Kelley

I’m a Christ-follower, husband, dad, author and speaker. Thanks for stopping here to dialogue with me about what it means to live deeply in all the arenas of life. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife Jana who is living proof of the theory that males are far more likely to marry over their heads than females are. We have three great kids, Joshua (5) and Andi (3), and Christian (less than 1). They remind me on a daily basis how much I have to grow in being both a father and a child. I work full time for Lifeway Christian Resources, where I’m a Bible study editor. I also get out on the road some to speak in different churches, conferences and retreats.

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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.

5 Reasons Why Disciples Need Ministry Tools More Than Sermons

The discipleship results of your ministry are not defined by content of your preaching alone.  One significant factor that impacts disciple-making is tool-making.  Unfortunately, you might not recall any seminary classes or conference breakouts on making ministry tools.

Why not? The simplest explanation is that we rely too much on teaching. As a result, we as pastors, do not become good at training and spend little time on toolmaking. In fact the average pastor rarely pursues improved competency as a trainer. But pastors go to great lengths— attending workshops, digesting sermons, and reading books— to become better preachers. 

Think about it for a minute: Is your church better characterized as a teaching center or a training center? Do you consider yourself more of a bible-communicator or a people-developer? When is the last time you thought about finding or making ministry tools?

I know what you want to say— “It’s both Will, why would you separate it?” Of course your intent is both to communicate well and see a disciple form as a result.  But I want to separate the two so that you can double check your assumptions and expectations about how people change and grow. Does your teaching provide the pathway toward the modeling, practicing, and evaluating of new life skills? Are you really helping people develop new life competencies in the way of Jesus?  Or are you just preaching?

One proof that you are good at training is the presence of ministry tools. What tools have you given to people lately through one of your sermon series? When was the last time you brainstormed with your team about a new ministry tool to create? If you have small group leaders in the church, what ministry tools have you provided for them in the last year?

What’s the bottom line? If you are not adding ministry tools to the lives of your people, you are not close to maximizing a disciple-making culture. You are probably not equipping people that much.

Before explaining why, let’s define what we mean by a tool. One definition reads:

Tool: A handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task. The basic definition brings to mind a hammer or screwdriver that you hold in your hand. The definition may expand if a tool doesn’t have to be literally handheld. Another definition reads: a device or implement used to carry out a particular function.

The term “device” broadens the range for disciple-making purposes. For example, the model prayer of Jesus was a device to train the disciples how to pray. Jesus used questions, metaphors and parables as devices or tools of disciple-making that weren’t “handheld” per se.

So what are examples of ministry tools? Here are five:

  • A church does a sermon on praying and provides a prayer journal (ministry tool) as people walk out the door.
  • A pastor preaches on missional living and creates a table tent (ministry tool- a triangle-shaped brochure that stands in the middle of the dinner table)  for family conversations designed to encourage the application of being better neighbors for the sake of the gospel.
  • A team codifies a definition (ministry tool) of what kind of disciple their church is designed to produce and then creates a self-assessment (ministry tool) to use in small groups.
  • A pastor uses a 4-question, gospel fluency matrix (ministry tool) –drawable on a napkin–to help the congregation apply the gospel to the daily fluctuations of sinful emotions and actions.
  • A bible study leader passes out a business card (ministry tool) with a daily bible reading schedule and three applications questions to ask for every passage of scripture.

This is a short list that begins to illustrate the endless possibilities of ministry tools. Keep in mind that I didn’t even reference the internet or digital devices that really explode the possibilities ministry tool-making.

Now that we have defined and illustrated what a ministry tool or device is, let’s get to the heart of the post. Why do disciples need ministry tools more than sermons? Why should we not rely on preaching alone if we are to train people to follow Jesus?  Here are five compelling reasons:

#1 – A ministry tool signifies importance.  A tool highlights the greater importance of the idea thus setting it up for application and helping stand out among the competing messages in every area of life. When a tool is introduced in the flow of communication, the idea behind the tool will trump every other idea. The tool immediately indicates the value of repeatability as well.

#2 – A ministry tool activates learning. A tool utilizes a part of human brain that is activated by a concrete object to hold and use, or an audio device to return to like a question or repeatable story. Again this sets up an important step toward application. It engages visual and kinesthetic learners.

#3 – A ministry tool guides application. This is the main idea. The tool itself provides a “how to” that can be practiced, repeated and eventually mastered. It shows the way and validates when action has been taken or not.  The device clarifies a step of implementation. In a way, a tool gently brings accountability to the table–every time I see the tool, I know whether or not I have used it.

#4 – A ministry tool creates energy. A tool helps people feel excited about ideas. It helps people win. And by the way, may pastors can unintentionally create a sense of failure for their people.  As people listen to sermons year after year, they oftentimes feel like they aren’t growing like they should. A tool can reverse that dynamic. It’s focuses application, so they can do it. And that gives pastors the opportunity to celebrate their new skill development. Then, even more energy is created!

#5 – A ministry tool reproduces training. A tool makes every person a trainer not just the pastor or preacher. As a leader, it’s not important what you can do; it’s important what you can duplicate. If you make a tool, it can outlast you and be passed from disciple to disciple to disciple until Jesus returns again.

This last principle has changed by personal conviction that I must spend time to make tools. In fact my two most important books (tools themselves) are Church Unique an God Dreams each of which cover how to create a master tool for church leadership, the Vision Frame and the Horizon Storyline, respectively.

I would love to hear from you. What is your favorite ministry tool? What ministry tools have you created recently?

A final illustration of one of my favorites is a how-to PDF and video on creating a family tree. This tool comes from a short sermon series at Clear Creek Community Church, my home church. To help people gain perspective and apply the gospel to the brokenness of extended family dynamics, they encouraged everyone to practice writing out their family diagram.

> Read more from Will.


Would you like to learn more about the ministry tools? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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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.

Three Practices to Help Reframe the Heart of a Disciplemaker

When asked, there are many reasons church leaders give for lack of effectiveness in making disciples. Here are a few common responses:

“We have uncommitted volunteers”

“We reach many distracted families”

“We suffer from ineffective curriculum”

“We find ourselves with unavailable leadership”

“We are experiencing diminishing giving”

“We need to get beyond our under-performing staff”

“We are stuck through over-complex processes”

While the above may be resonant, they are likely not the actual reason your church continues to struggle to make disciples. From observation of hundreds of churches over the past few years, disciples are not made for one singular, and strikingly simple, reason:  actual, biblical discipleship takes much more time than expected and produces very little immediate return on investment.

Herein lies the problem. Rather than thinking long-term process, and setting expectations five to ten years down the road, we lead through short-term programming. We lead by constantly changing the discipleship curriculum, schedule or structure every few months. We lead with the expectation that discipleship requires only a season, rather than years of nurture and growth.

The approach and practice of making disciples is more like running a tree farm than tending a backyard vegetable garden.

Vegetable gardens, while taking some time – maybe a few summer growing months – yield a rather immediate harvest and tangible results. Within weeks, seeds germinate, vines grow and blooms emerge. Soon after, windowsills and countertops are overflowing with vegetables and fruit, ready for eating, canning and freezing.  And as the cool mornings of fall consistently make their annual appearance, plants are removed, soil is turned and beds are prepared for a new, fresh season of production.

Tree farming requires a completely different process and outlook. Saplings take root – not with an expectation of months-long nurturing – but years of grooming, tending and shaping. The average 8-foot Christmas Tree takes seven to twelve years to mature and be ready to stand proudly as the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. Running a tree farm requires a commitment to think long-term and necessitates a patient discipline for measuring results in observable quality, through the health of the plant, rather than numeric quantity.

When we treat discipleship as a seasonal activity, expecting immediate results we produce undernourished and unprepared followers of Christ. We then blame volunteers, travel baseball, or ineffective systems for our own misunderstanding of the nature of discipleship.

Here are three practices for 2017 to help reframe the heart of the disciplemaker through the mind of a tree-farmer.

  1. Mark time in seasons of a life, not seasons of the year… because discipleship takes more than two or three semesters of study. What would we develop in a young married husband if we pictured a healthy tenth anniversary? How would an incoming sixth grade girl be biblically prepared for the upcoming challenges of high school? What are the spiritual habits of a senior adult that develop a next generation of Christ-likeness?
  2.  Measure health of each individual, not the number of individuals who appear healthy… because not all growth is spiritual growth. What are the marks of a growing disciple in your context? What are the daily habits and practices of growing followers that produce and reproduce dependence on Christ? What small indicators can be identified that build to big steps of growth
  3. Celebrate annual multiplication of a few, not seasonal addition of the many…because what is celebrated gets replicated. How might you point beyond collective programs toward individual development? What rites of passage in your culture would mark significant progress in spiritual growth? What consistent language can you develop to encourage participation from every church member?

Want to learn more about developing disciplemakers? Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Bryan

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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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.

6 Ways Your Team’s Commitment to Discipleship Impacts Programming

Discipleship is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus. As we behold the glory of Christ, He transforms us into His image with ever-increasing glory. Of this, the apostle Paul wrote:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

In this passage, Paul is reminding us of Moses who climbed Mount Sinai to meet with God (Exodus 34). Moses was so impacted by the encounter with God that his face was changed and shone with the presence of God. Each time God and Moses met, Moses put a veil over his face—and the veil covered the fact that the glory of God was fading (2 Corinthians 3:13). We are different than Moses. We have unveiled faces, and the glory does not decrease but rather increases. The glory does not decrease because the Lord lives within us and is continually forming us into His image. Unlike Moses, we never leave the mountain; we never leave the presence of the Lord.

How should a theology of discipleship impact a church’s programming?

Some leaders don’t like mixing the two conversations. There is discipleship and then there are church programs, and the two don’t intersect. But if that is the case, the church wastes a lot of time offering and inviting people to attend programs. A team’s commitment to discipleship should impact programming conversations. Here are six thoughts on discipleship and programming.

1. View programs as tools.

When Moses was transformed by the Lord’s presence, the Lord did all the transforming. All Moses did, by walking up the mountain, was put himself in the position to be transformed. At their best, programs are environments that help put people in a place for transformation. For example, the Lord will use a worship service that is rooted in Scripture and points people to Jesus to change hearts. He will use a small group where people shepherd one another and the Scripture is applied to the people’s hearts.

While we must be careful not to equate assimilation with transformation, a wise church leader wants to utilize the church’s programs as tools the Lord will use in the transformation of His people. A church’s programs must be viewed as tools for the people, not the people as tools to run programs.

2. Program based on your discipleship process.

If you have articulated an overarching discipleship process or strategy, line up your programs with your process. Because you don’t want to create a Christian bubble cluttered with a plethora of programs, consider offering one regular program/environment for each phase of your discipleship process. If you over-program early in your discipleship process, people will not have the time to move to other steps in your process.

3. As people move through your process, ask for greater commitment.

Because discipleship should result in transformation with “ever-increasing glory,” as people progress through a church’s discipleship process, the level of commitment should increase. In other words, when someone moves from being in community to leading others in the church, there should be higher expectations and training/challenges that accompany the greater commitment.

4. Clarify and communicate the goal(s) of each program.

In light of a church’s overarching discipleship process, the goal of each program should be clarified and communicated. Leaders should be recruited and trained with those goals in mind. If a program does not help make disciples in light of the church’s discipleship strategy, the program merely wears people out and robs resources from that which is most important. A.W. Tozer wrote of church programs “justifying themselves” in light of a church’s mission to make disciples:

In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord of the work and quite literally wear our people out as well. I have heard more than one pastor boast that his church was a “live” one, pointing to the printed calendar as proof—something on every night and several meetings during the day… A great many of these time-consuming activities are useless and others plain ridiculous. “But,” say the eager beavers, “they provide fellowship and hold our people together.” If the many activities engaged in by the average church led to the salvation of sinners and the perfecting of believers, they would justify themselves easily and triumphantly, but they do not.

5. Design the hand-offs between the programs.

In a relay race, the most critical part of the race is the hand-off. Teams work extremely hard to ensure the baton is seamlessly handed from one person to another. The people who attend our churches should be treated with more care and passion than a baton. If your church’s process is to move someone from a weekend worship gathering to a small group, consider how effective your hand-off process is. The most effective hand-offs are obvious, easy, and relational (credit goes to Andy Stanley for 2/3 of that statement). In terms of moving people to groups, here is a broad example of a hand-off that is obvious, easy, and relational.

  • Obvious: Consistent invitations to get plugged into a small group with a list of open groups in the bulletin. This is obvious, but the hand-off is not yet easy or relational. 
  • Obvious & Easy:Consistent invitations, a list of groups, and time in the worship service for people to sign up for a group and “drop the paper in the offering plate.” 
  • Obvious, Easy, & Relational: Consistent invitations, a list of groups, and time to meet leaders after the service where leaders can personally invite people to their groups.

6. Evaluate movement between the programs.

Program managers merely run great programs. Leaders who think in terms of a discipleship process look for movement. Leaders who think strategically about discipleship and programs do not view church programs in isolation. They think about progression through their discipleship process.

When Thom Rainer and I conducted the research behind Simple Church, we noticed that leaders who thought in terms of their discipleship process “measured horizontally” instead of vertically. Measuring vertically is measuring through the lens of a program, while measuring horizontally is through the lens of your process.

For example: Imagine Harbor Church offers both worship services and small groups, and part of their articulated discipleship process includes moving people from worship to groups. Viewing their attendance vertically is viewing each program in isolation. Viewing them horizontally is evaluating the progression between the two. If the weekend service grows 10 percent in one year but the number of people in groups remains the same, then the leaders of Harbor are able to spot congestion in their process.

Again, assimilation does not equate with transformation. Moving people to programs does not ensure people’s hearts are being changed. At the same time, it is foolish to offer programs without intentionality and without a desire to provide environments where transformation can take place.

Your mission of making disciples should drive your programs.


Would you like to learn more about programming and your church’s commitment to discipleship? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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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.