“In order to develop a framework, it is necessary to be clear about what you are trying to accomplish;
what are the identifiable traits of loving God, loving others and making disciples.
You need to start with the big picture.”
As You Go… Make Disciples by Colin Noyes
March 2020 we launched our first Leadership Collective. The Leadership Collective facilitates a learning community of up to 15 church planters, pastors and network leaders to assess and strengthen their leadership pipelines, beginning with the newest disciples of Jesus. After the 2-day, in person event, the state of CA shut-down! Little did we know then, that the shut down would last as long as it has.
What did we learn about disciplemaking through the Leadership Collective during the pandemic?
- The mission will always trump religion!
- The Gospel will thrive during times of adversity!
- The process of making disciples must be reproducible!
Let me briefly unpack each of these points:
The mission will always trump religion!
Sadly, Barna reported that 1 in 3 practicing Christians stopped attending church during the pandemic (July 2020). What does this statistic suggest? I’m not a statistician but I believe the last year did some necessary sifting and the result speaks for itself.
- Church leaders that were making disciples before the pandemic were able to bare down on the mission.
- Church leaders that weren’t making disciple were reminded what the mission is and made a quick pivot.
The Gospel will thrive during times of adversity!
You might be wondering what thriving looks like? Thriving in my use of the term here is the manner in which followers of Jesus chose to respond to the circumstances sourounding the pandemic. Some chose to remain open, curious and committed to learning. Others chose to be closed, judgmental and unwilling to learn. Those who chose the former are thriving and those who chose the latter – not so much..
- Church leaders that had an intentional small group ministry with 80% or more of their adults in small groups, survived and some are thriving.
- Church leaders tested new platforms for virtual ministry to expand their reach.
- Church leaders that did not meet that threshold are playing catch-up.
The process of making disciples must be reproducible
Leaders in the Leadership Collective were challenged to share their disciplemaking cycle using a napkin, record their explanation and enter the 3-minute video in a friendly competition. The idea is that if you can illustrate your cycle on a napkin it will probably be clear and simple enough to reproduce in other disciples. This is what we discovered last year.
- Church leaders with a reproducible process put more and more energy into making disicples, that were making disciples.
- Church leaders that had a rough idea of their process further refined it to make it more transferable.
Where are you and your congregation?
Below are a couple of resources that might help you assess your disciplemaking process, begin coaching disciples you are making and replicate that with other disciplemakers.