Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Can Others See Your Intentional Approach to Discipleship?

Can Others See Your Intentional Approach to Discipleship?

Once you are every single thing written down, you are ready to begin evaluating your model (or lack of model).

3. Arrange your list into a discipleship journey.

Your next step is to consider how a person in your community living far from God and church will engage with your church and move through a journey to discover Jesus and grow in Christlikeness. Look at your list and arrange every program by the intended participant. If you’ve never considered this method, use the following people categories:

    • Stranger: The people in your community living outside of a faith relationship with Jesus and outside of a church connection are strangers. They may be entirely unchurched or now de-churched.
    • Friend: These people in your community know about your church and mostly like what they’ve seen and heard, but they have not engaged in person or online. They wouldn’t claim your church as their church. But they are open to your church. They most likely like a person who attends your church, though. 
    • Infrequent Attendee: These people claim your church as their church, but you rarely see them in-person or online. They may show up occasionally. They may follow you on Instagram. They might even comment on your Facebook post or listen to your podcast from time to time. But they aren’t involved.
    • Frequent Attendee: Now we are getting to your church people. This group makes up your broader church family. They are usually known by someone at your church and know your church. They participate on some level, but they aren’t necessarily all in. However, if stopped at the grocery store, they’d openly claim you as their church home.
    • Engaged Attendee: Stepping it up, the Engaged Attendee contributes to the mission. They’re most likely in a group, serving on a team, and/or generous to the mission.
    • Evangelist: The last group is your raving fans. They are engaged in the mission and invite everyone they know to experience their church, not your church. They act like owners because they feel ownership. Your church most likely transformed an aspect of their life, and they are grateful enough to share their story within their sphere of influence.

Take this list and place everything you do within one of these target people categories.

4. Ask the hard questions.

You’re probably slightly shocked and saddened if you’ve made it this far. Shocked that your church is doing so much. Saddened that your church has significant gaps along the discipleship journey.

Now it’s time to ask these four critical questions:

    1. What’s working?
    2. What’s not working?
    3. What’s missing?
    4. What’s confusing?

Answer these questions only against the mission AND the target people categories. It doesn’t matter how many people attended or how many positive comments were received. The simplified mission plus the intended person is your benchmark for success.

5. Make some tough decisions.

Honest answers to the four critical questions will reveal much. You’ll need to remove some programs from your model. Others will require adjustments to best fit the target customer and fulfill the mission. There will no doubt be gaps in your discipleship journey. There will be confusion if steps along the journey aren’t easy, obvious, and intentional.