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Another Church Pursues Discipleship as it's Top Strategic Focus Area

After facilitating strategic planning at several churches over the past 5 years, it never ceases to delight me when this happens. A church works through the strategic planning process, beginning with "What is our purpose?" then core values, then vision, then mission, and eventually working their way down to where the rubber hits the road -- "What is the most important thing that we need to do over the next year to move toward our vision?" They brainstorm a long list of possibilities, then weight them according to impact on the vision and mission. And life-on-life discipleship comes to the top.

In a recent encounter I overheard some of the leaders talking afterwards, saying that they were surprised that they had not been talking about that need, let alone planning toward developing something. But there was no denying the weight of the result. In fact, it was just ahead of no.  2, which was coming up with a leadership development process. And I believe this was the correct weighting, because in my experience leadership development STARTS WITH intentional discipleship. In fact, an effective discipleship process should be producing spiritual leaders, even if a church doesn't do anything else to develop the leaders. (I'm not saying there aren't several other significant things you can do to enhance and build on that, however).

Here's the thing. If a church wants to become more "missional," start with discipling believers to maturity, and you will see hearts grow for the least and the lost with skills developed to share the gospel, spiritual gifts and passions discovered, and support to help "commission" and coach people to get involved where they are called. This is all a part of life-on-life discipleship done effectively.

If a church wants to become more Biblical community oriented, start with discipling believers to maturity, and you will see hearts opened to our brothers and sisters in Christ and an understanding of what deep Biblical community is all about because we are experiencing that in our discipleship groups.

How fulfilling it is personally and honoring to God when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and our processes and speak into our hearts as leaders of the church!


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