In one corner is the “evangelism is primary” group and in the other corner is the “discipleship is primary” group. While the two groups spar for a watching audience, the fight is useless and unfruitful. Not only are both important but they fuel each other.
As I have transitioned out of a role that served tens of thousands of churches a year and back to the local church, leaders have asked me what lessons I am taking with me. “What learnings from serving many churches are you taking with you as you go back to serving one church?” The first five of ten lessons are posted here, and today I am sharing five additional lessons.
6. Scaling discipleship requires simplicity.
Health professionals know that without a simple plan the vast majority of people will not exercise and eat healthy. In a church, a simple process and plan for discipleship allows for scaling. I have had numerous conversations with church leaders who have a robust plan for discipleship with very low engagement in their plan. If a church’s discipleship strategy is cumbersome or complicated, it likely won’t be scaled and the number of people who engage it will be very limited. Whether using groups or classes, wise leaders make their plan simple for the sake of the people in the church
7. Groups anyone can lead can’t provide the care everyone needs.
For a season a common phrase that church leaders used was, “If you can press play and make coffee, you can lead a group.” These leaders desperately wanted to recruit new leaders but they often made additional and contradictory statements about the groups in their churches. If that is true then the statement, “get plugged into a group so you can be well-cared for” cannot be true. Both statements can’t be true. If churches want their groups to disciple people and shepherd people then it can’t be true that leading a group is simply pressing play and making some coffee.