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How to Implement a Discipleship Process for a Healthy Church

We are sent, on mission, to make disciples. It is for making more and stronger disciples that the church exists. So … what’s your process for making them?

There are two significant weaknesses common to struggling churches.

  • They’ve never discovered or clarified the biblical purposes for which they were founded.
  • They’ve never clarified or pursued a basic strategy for making disciples.

Healthy, purpose driven churches have made these two issues very core to their existence. They understand that they exist for the five purposes of worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry and fellowship. And they understand that discipleship happens best through an intentional process.

Particularly, there are five questions that must be answered by every church’s leadership about their discipleship strategy.

1. How do we help the community around us become part of our crowd? This is the evangelistic mission of the church.

2. How do we help the crowd that gathers on Sunday become a congregation? This is a matter of helping people discover membership in the body.

3. How do we help the congregation remain committed to growing spiritually? This is discipleship—helping people grow in spiritual maturity to be more like Christ.

4. How do we move committed members into the core to serve others? This is how we expand the ministry and help believers to invest their time, talent and treasure.

5. How do we help people glorify God in every aspect of their lives? This is the all-encompassing goal—the worship and magnification of God so that he is glorified in, around and through us.

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Brandon Cox is Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church, a new church plant in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as Editor and Community Facilitator for Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox and was formerly a Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In his spare time, he offers consultation to church leaders about communication, branding, and social media. He and his wife, Angie, live with their two awesome kids in Bentonville, Arkansas.