In January 2019, we announced our intention to lead every one of our members through an initiative last year that would intentionally nurture their walks with Jesus. We called it the Discipleship Initiative.
The process begins with a church member. There’s a reason for that. We believe and embrace discipleship. We also believe that membership is biblical and meaningful. We love when people attend our church, but we do not have the same level of spiritual responsibility for attenders as we have to those who unite with us in full church membership. That’s another discussion for another day, but a person must be a member to participate in our discipleship initiative.
To enter the process, church members complete our discipleship questionnaire. This helps us hear a bit of their faith story and simply communicates to our leaders that they are taking responsibility to begin the process. It also helps us practically with matching them with a leader as to time of year that’s best.
The matching process comes next. It’s a highly scientific process, 😉 but mainly, we pray, we talk, and we try to connect people by affinity and availability. Our goal is to match people by the times they are available to meet- summer with summer, etc.
On occasion, we’ve not gotten a match right, and that’s ok. We’ve had people email and request someone older or outside of their social circle. We also try to communicate with them that the Discipleship Initiative is only intended to be 6-8 weeks. It’s ok, of course, for friendships to form, but our intent with the DI is to lead every member through the principles of DI first.
The leader then introduces themself to the participants, normally via email, and a time is selected to begin. Participants will meet for about six weeks (sometimes longer due to scheduling). During the course of those weeks, the leader will also meet with each participant individually twice. This helps provide personal coaching and allows for our members to connect with one another outside of a “meeting.”
5. Release & Repeat
After the weeks of the DI is up, everyone fills out an evaluation form, and I contact the leaders and the newly “graduated” participants to enlist further and future leaders so that the DI can continue on into another generation of members.
The chart below shows the process and labels these five stages as four phases: Launch, Match, Meet, Repeat.
At the end of 2019, we celebrated the progress. We saw 81% of our members complete the initiative! Out of these 189 people, we raised up 58 leaders to guide others through the process!
We are now preparing to reach those who weren’t able to participate last year and begin taking new Northstar members since August 2019 through the initiative in 2020. We ask every new member of our church to please prioritize the Discipleship Initiative during their first year of church membership.
Please be in prayer with us as we continue the Discipleship Initiative in 2020! We have new members joining each month, and we are consistently looking for new leaders among those who have just completed the initiative.