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The Importance of Having a Discipleship Plan

Jennifer Byrd September 15, 2016

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Discipleship doesn’t just happen. It only occurs in churches that are intentional and have a plan to execute it properly for all attendees. What is lacking today in many churches is true discipleship.  A plan is vital to growing, but more importantly to take people to a deeper level in their relationship with God.

Our model for discipleship rests in the Gospels as Jesus Christ trained a rag-tag group of guys and taught them what it meant to be a follower of Christ.  After 3 years of on-the-field-training, the disciples were prepared (even though they didn’t realize it) to lead others toward Christ.  The Holy Spirit obviously was key to this movement, but the personal time with Jesus led them to a place to lead effectively.  So what is the model today that can help churches have an effective discipleship plan?

In most churches, you have all different levels of spiritual maturity in attendance.  Plus, you add in the fact there are people who are searching that may be close to following Christ as well.  Because of the extreme mix of people in your congregation, a discipleship plan is a must to help all move forward in their spiritual journey.  Here are some thoughts to consider when formulating a plan for your attendees:

1. Ask some tough questions such as – What is the end goal of our discipleship plan? How do we measure success?
2. Consider your technology support for your church attendees and what will be a help to them.
3. Spend some time in prayer to sense what is best for your local congregation.
4. Identify key leadership that can help develop the discipleship plan and take it to the next level.
5. Utilize proper tools to promote the plan to your church body.  Make sure to build excitement so that they will be eager to get started and invite others to join in.
6. Keep it simple – North Pointe Community Church in Atlanta is a great example of this.  Their model takes people from the foyer to the living room and to the kitchen, which is the most intimate place to build relationships.

An awesome resource  to reference is Turning Attendees into Disciples.

This guide shares some great info about the 4 C’s of discipleship which are connecting, communicating, coordinating, and committing.  When discipleship is working at its fullest, your church body will be spiritually healthy, which should result in tangible growth. The New Testament church in Acts is a shining example of what all of our churches can look like as we grow closer to the Lord.  May God lead and bless you as your church enters new territory in this key area of spiritual growth.

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