Church Life & Discipleship 4

Structuring for Discipleship

It would be desirable for any church wishing to put discipleship at the heart, over a period to do the following:

  • Clarify our focus on spiritual growth and discipleship with the whole congregation. A high degree of intentionality is 
  • Work at making organisational culture reflect this core vision, possibly starting with a chart that links all activities to core ministry goals
  • Evaluate our activities according to it, perhaps helping leaders of all activities to examine and vocalise how their activity fits with our overall ministry vision
  • Capitalise our existing opportunities. ie spotting things that are already at the heart of the vision, or that could be, and directing time and resources to them
  • Develop clear strategy and accompanying resources list, so that people know what is available to them to help them take the next step. Churches in American seem to do “adult education” programmes much better than in Britain. I would like to see that change
  • Bring changes to church life and cutting activities where necessary

Changing the organisational culture of churches all at once is neither desirable nor possible. I envisage a clear focus on discipleship emerging in three ways:


  • Small tweaks to existing activities and structures
  • Large meeting regular communication about discipleship
  • Specific small developments over time


Possible tweaks to existing activities and structures


  • Can we refocus the church meeting to always include a component on growth and discipleship? This would likely mean severely reducing the extent of the business agenda, but it would be worth it if the church meeting became known as the  “discipleship, growth and business meeting” with the practical business being conducted in the light of a clear discipleship agenda
  • Can we introduce a section on growing in God into our weekly bulletin? 
  • Can we introduce a “maturing leaders” component to all leaders' meetings
  • Training home group leaders to be better disciplers, perhaps taking all of them through “Discipleship Explored” training?



Possible large meeting regular communication developments


  • Can we devote a Sunday evening per month to doctrinal and apologetic growth, styled as “adult education”, with a clear curriculum and interactive format. Possibly with groups at different levels in different parts of the building. Possibly with a leaders’ track
  • Can we have a home group sabbatical in the summer for a mid-week discipleship series. Consider an annual 6 week small training class on a theological theme
  • Can we have weekly testimony slot in which someone explains how they are seeking to grow in God
  • Can we introduce “Discipleship Explored” as an annual feature in conjunction with Christianity Explored and Church Membership Course



Specific small developments over time


  • Establish the annual calendar of discipleship and leadership training activities
  • Develop notice boards that reinforce a spiritual growth climate
  • Ensure all leaders of activities receive training on organising their activity according to our core ministry vision. Possibly through establishing an annual “leaders’ Sunday”
  • Have a bookstall. Its no good believing people will take responsibility for their own Christian reading or for the quality thereof
  • Reconfigure the meeting of home group leaders into an intentional “disciplers team”?
  • Train church welcomers to communicate core vision to visitors when they ask what Crofton is about
  • Train church membership visitors to stress discipleship and growth