6 Components to the discipleship process

discipleship“In quality control, the product isn’t the sole worry.  It’s the process we’re concerned about.  If the process if right, the product is guaranteed.”  A statement from a QC expert. 

If that’s the case, what processes do we need in the church to develop the end product of disciples?  Of course, there are so many variables when you are talking about a person, but the process is still important.

In fact, without a process, there won’t be nearly as good of chance for disciples to be made.

What is your church process for making disciples? Is the process clearly defined?  Do people know the process?  Do you have a process for connecting with and developing a person as they walk through the doors?

I love the verse in 1 Cor. 3:6 that says:  someone planted the seed, someone else watered it, but it’s God who does the growing.  In many ways, the burden is on the shoulders of the Spirit to work in the lives of people.  But it’s our privilege to be used by the Spirit.  We need to carry the burden of being ready to connect with each person.

The process will look different in churches as they vary in size, but here are a few things that the process needs:

Relationship component – people need to connect to someone.  In a small church, that may be the pastor.  In a medium church it’s probably a combination of pastors and staff.  In a larger church, the connection point may be some trained person at the information booth or connection table.  And in 80 percent of all cases, the person may be the friend who invited them or someone they personally know at the church.  In all these cases, it’s a face to face relationship that aids in the process of someone becoming a disciple.

An invitation to “seal the deal”.  At some point, either through a conversation, a publication or video, the person has to be invited to attend the class, make the commitment, get involved or become a member.  There has to be the turning point in the process where they get to decide to make the leap and begin.  Closing the deal in sales is what separates successful salesmen from the ones that don’t make it.  Every believer is qualified to witness to their faith and talk about it. But there has to be a moment when a person is able to say “yes”.

A mindset that every person is a potential for God’s grace – you don’t say no for people or for God.  We always want to be reaching out and evangelizing – it’s what the church is called to do. But, we minister to those who are responding.  As they begin desiring more, we give them tools and opportunities to move forward.  What structures are in place to aid them?  The church that programs for many different ages may have different levels of ministry (children, teen, young adult, young families, older families, empty nesters, retirees, senior citizens).  But a church doesn’t have to all those levels to minister and disciple effectively.

Congregation’s understanding of the process and why it’s important.  Knowing the mission is a crucial part of the process.  Why do we need people to become disciples?  It might seem like a basic question, but go ahead, take a moment to answer.  It helps clarify the main role you are trying to accomplish as a church. And make sure your church knows why too.  Do we need more people in the church?  Who owns the church?  What is the purpose of the church?  Part of the process is for the congregation to understand the process.

Getting involved in the mission is crucial.    If you can get people involved in the mission quickly, they will become part of the discipleship process sooner.  JD Walt once explained that the church, in some ways, has it backwards.  They often think worship is about receiving and mission is about giving.  When in fact, scripture points to worship as the place we give and mission as the place we receive from God.  Get people involved in mission quickly and they begin to understand what it means to be a part of the church and they begin to grow as disciples.  They begin seeing God at work in their lives.

The Basics – most of what has been mentioned in this list are specific toward someone coming into your church and how to move them forward.  Other basic components, some understood, include, praying for the people, living a life that would model Christ’s love, meeting with people, inviting someone, serving as a mentor for someone, reading Scripture, making sure that your family / kids are in the discipleship process in the home, etc.  The great commission is about going to make disciples.


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