Seven Disciplemaking Imperatives in Your Church

Churches across the globe have begun to realize the importance of the biblical mandate (Matt. 28:19–20) for disciple-making, and are imagining the transformation of lives and the culture where their church exists. Church leaders like you are dreaming of a congregation and community saturated with mature followers of Christ willing to do whatever it takes to further God’s Kingdom.

As you contemplate that dream, consider these 7 imperatives to disciple-making.

1. Whether your church is a church WITH small groups or OF small groups, if your church is making disciples who make disciples you are accomplishing the Great Commission.

2. Curriculum is not the key to making disciples, however choosing the right curriculum at the right time is important. Disciples are made as the Holy Spirit works in tandem with a human disciple-maker to move a disciple to be more like Christ. Curriculum is simply an important tool in the disciple-making process.

3. It is vital that the pastor and all staff members of any disciple-making church be the leader of a disciple-making group of or is involved in a disciple-making group. If any of these key leaders choose not to be part of the disciple-making ministry, others will find no need to be involved themselves.

4. The most important promoter of the disciple-making ministry must be the senior pastor.

5. Pray that God would lead you to the right people to be your first disciple-makers. Jesus prayed prior to choosing His, it is vital that we do the same.

6. It is vital that the group’s first studies teach the disciple basic spiritual disciplines, doctrines, and practices of a disciple in relation to the church they are members of. While felt-need studies and sermon based discussions have a place in the church, a disciple without a firm foundation to stand on will easily become self-focused and begin to serve themselves rather than focusing on the cross and Jesus’ Kingdom agenda.

7. Utilizing a “reproducible process” is the key to long-term success. It has been proven that disciples who make disciples are much more likely to do so if they utilize the same principles and practices as well as the same curriculum as those who discipled them. It is for this reason that I recommend training every group leader using the Real Life Discipleship Training Manual and that each group do the three studies, Growing Strong in God’s FamilyDeepening Your Roots in God’s FamilyBearing Fruit in God’s Family, as their foundational and first studies.

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Barry Sneed

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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