Saturday, March 11, 2017

Discipleship and Leadership Development Guide

Over the past year I have been working with my ministry partner in crime—Pastor Tyler—towards a better understanding of the development of a disciple. The most helpful resource in this endeavor has been the book Discipleshift written by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman.

In this study we outlined a plan to raise up and equip leaders using a five-stage disciple-making maturity guide. It is our belief that every disciple of Christ is a potential leader because every Christ-follower is expected to grow into the full measure of a man that is defined using Christ as the model (Ephesians 4:13). I’ve included the graphic we will use going forward to help guide our efforts (this graphic is originally from Discipleshift, we made a few minor tweaks).  

Click to enlarge
As you look at the graphic from the 12 o’clock position, you see the beginning of every disciple and potential leader: We were all once DEAD in our sin and unbelief. When we came to Christ, we craved spiritual milk like any INFANT would. At FAC we provide that “milk” through 1-on-1 relationships that use Francis Chan’s and David Platt’s Multiply material as the structure for sharing life, truth and new habits (that’s what a “baby Christian” needs to grow to the next level). As the disciple matures into the CHILDREN phase, a different need presents itself: a need to grow from one’s desires of getting one’s personal needs met to the maturity level where one’s desire becomes more about serving others in worship to God. We believe that—and studies have shown that healthy churches believe—small groups meet that need. When the leaders of the church—many of whom will be the small group leaders—recognize that the disciple has matured to the YOUNG ADULT phase they will be introduced to the executive pastor for the beginning process of training and equipping for leading in various church ministries. When the disciple is equipped and experienced, they are folded into these various church ministries so that they are positioned to serve the body. In their service they help in discipling others who are growing through the same process. As PARENTS the disciple has become a trainer as well as a leader whose goal is to reproduce themselves. 

My hope is that the thought of this process functioning in the body gets you excited. Will you consider what you need to do to grow? If you are new to Christ and know your greatest need is to understand the Bible, will you contact leadership so that they can direct you to a one-on-one discipling relationship? If you are not already involved in a small group, would you contact leadership so that they can help you find a group in which you can grow? Imagine a church where everyone is involved, functioning according to God's purpose and design. 

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