Discipleship?Posted: December 19, 2007
I am asked: “A person decides to follow Jesus. What is the next step for them? What is the next 10? All of this in the context of developing a system in a church to help them to go through these steps.”
With this question, we’re not just talking about what kind of program we can tack on to our existing list of options or renaming things that we already do; but we are digging into the ethos of the local church and our understanding of the local church entity’s role/purpose/function within the Kingdom and within the community- with the possibility/neccessity of reimagining our answers to the question: “What exactly ARE we (churchies) doing here?”
If you really have to have a church system for discipleship (which you do, by the way, there’s no getting around it), then you may consider a central nervous system. If Christ is the Head, we may take the analogy seriously and consider the local church as the organised, central nervous system- deeply connected and in tune with the Head, sending out pulses to the body providing direction and instruction.
Viewed this way, consider renaming your connection groups as ‘pulse groups’- just don’t use silly medical graphix or an “E.R.” theme to advert it or i’ll retract the licensing on the idea.
The pulse group is probably the best place to start in terms of a first step. A new believer should be placed in and paired up. That is, assignment (bad word, probably) to a pulse group that makes geographic sense, and paired up with an experienced believer (qualifications?) within that group. This pairing may lead to connecting outside the group, but can be very effective within the group as well. People have both group and individual needs and these can be met, i think, thru the pulse group/pairing idea. It’s going to feel top-heavy at first- until people catch on to the idea- but imperative that the course be set correctly.
I’m rather in favor of the geographic division of pulse groupings, btw. Cara and I have found that if you live in close proximity to people, getting together happens pretty naturally and spontaneously, whereas making plans to meet with people from across town usually requires making plans at least several days in advance. Proximity determines a great deal of how difficult/easy it is to assimilate/grow friendships.
This concept also leads to the idea of pulse groups as the front lines or first-responders (depending on the scenario) of the local church- rather than the church offices or the front doors of the local HS where you meet. I’m all about the church as a living organism, free-flowing and all that… but/and all organisms have a directed pupose and function (or variety of functions) that requires a smart, well-designed system from which they function and take their cue. Hence, the local church and the leaders thereof.
What about the next 9 steps? No idea. My church would have like 3 people in it and they wouldn’t attend consistently. and they’d probably drink alot. and half of them would leave to start a new church- so my credibility is already shot.
Now. Critique this wasteland of an idea!