Adult Ministries Discipleship Planning

Grace Church
Adult Ministries Advisory Team
Discipleship Planning
February 7, 2009
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.




Grace Church


Adult Ministries Leadership Team

November 2008

Grace Church established the Adult Ministries Leadership Team (AMLT) to serve as resource, represent the congregation and volunteer leaders within adult ministries, and to coordinate the strategic planning process for adult ministries. The team also serves as a focus group and sounding board for various activities and functions within the adult ministries domain.

The team consists of a group of people representing various elements within adult ministries, and is linked to the Elder Body of Grace Church by the incorporation of two lay elders.

Purpose of the Team:

The AMLT’s initial purpose is to successfully complete a strategic planning process for adult ministries at Grace Church. Each member will serve as a voice and as a resource towards the completion of this process.

Accountability and Authority:

The AMLT will serve as advocates for and implementation of a strategic plan focusing on the educational/training/discipleship domain for Grace Church.

The AMLT serves in an advisory capacity to the pastor of adult ministries and is ultimately accountable to the Grace Church Elders and senior pastor.


Ask Tough Questions

Chuck Gaines, church consultant for LifeWay Christian Resources, was asked at a seminar for his personal observations about the characteristics of “growing, exciting” churches. Gaines comments, “These churches don’t look for answers—they look for questions,” especially questions relating to forming and implementing a process for discipleship. Gaines said churches that ask tough questions experience growth and excitement in the process of finding the answers to them. He listed some of the questions such churches ask:

  1. How does our church define discipleship?
  2. What is the history of discipleship at our church?
  3. How do we define disciple?
  4. How do we define discipler?
  5. What does a disciple look like?
  6. Do we have an intentional process of discipleship?
  7. Does our church know this process?
  8. Does our leadership team know this process?
  9. How do we communicate this process?
  10. How does this process relate to the purpose of the church?
  11. Has our church prioritized distinct practices that relate to the discipleship process?
  12. Does our church practice the principle of abandonment based on the idea that activity doesn’t always mean productivity?
  13. How does our church measure maturity?
  14. How does our church evaluate the effectiveness of the discipleship process?
  15. How does our community describe our church?
  16. What does a church committed to discipleship look like?
  17. Do our church families spend more planned time in a week at church with each other or in the community with non-believers?
  18. Can one size fit all?
  19. Are we creating clones or disciples; what’s the difference?
  20. Are “spritual disciplines” and “discipleship” synonymous?

From an article by Chuck Gaines, Pastors Today, 01/19/08


Steve Miller’s Questions:

  1. How can we promote the working of the Holy Spirit in the people (all of the group) we work with?
  2. What are we currently doing to promote Christians to become Disciples of Christ?
  3. What is the fundamental purpose of the educational ministry (learning Biblical based truth, individual spiritual growth, ability/desire to disciple, all of these?)
  4. How do the “groups” we promote interact with our fundamental purpose?
  5. How can we (or should we) evaluate/assess our effectiveness?
  6. As Group Leaders do we believe that attendance equates to “learning” or “spiritual growth”?
  7. How does (should) accountability look for Group Leaders?
  8. How can Chris be accountable for each group and their group leader(s)?
  9. Do we want a linear curriculum (pre-school age through retirement age), sermon based, or group specific – or a combination of each – if so who decides?
  10. What skill development opportunities do group leaders have regarding meeting the needs of adult learners?
  11. What emphasis/expectations are placed on Group Leaders to model the behaviors Grace Church would expect?

I like this quote: If you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always gotten.


Church Models of Discipleship

Growing True Disciples by George Barna (2001)

  • Competencies Model (Pantego Bible Church, Ft. Worth, TX.  David Daniels
  • Missional Model (Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, AR. Robert Lewis
  • Neighborhood Model (Perimeter Church, Duluth, GA. Randy Pope
  • Worldview Model (Fellowship Bible Church North, Plano, TX. Jeff Jones.
  • Lecture-Lab Model (North Coast Church, Vista, CA. Larry Osborne

The Competencies Model: Pantego Bible Church

  • 30 specific foci
    • 10 core beliefs
    • 10 core practices
    • 10 core virtues
  • Celebration/congregation/cell
  • Christian Life Profile
  • Topical adult-ed classes


The Missional Model: Fellowship Bible Church

  • A blend of the Competencies & Worldview models
  • Six core qualities/competencies
  • Introduction class
  • Small group
  • Specialty classes


The Neighborhood Model: Perimeter Church

  • Combination of Worldview, Competencies, & Missional models
  • Inquirer’s class
  • Neighborhood congregation (15-20 people)
  • Discipleship Team (5-9 people)
  • Church-authored discipleship curriculum
  • Modeling evangelism


The Worldview Model: Fellowship Bible Church North (Chase Oaks Church)

  • Imparting biblical wisdom that leads to personal transformation
  • Goals:  participation, service, understanding, decision-making
  • Two-year, small group process
  • Discovery Series:  4 topical books
  • Issue-oriented
  • Dissonance-based
  • Peer mentors


The Lecture-Lab Model: North Coast Church

  • Delivery of content through sermons (lecture) and small groups (lab)
  • Biblical knowledge + faith-based relationships à godly character & Christian service
  • Sermon outlines
  • Small groups as the primary forum for learning


Barna’s “Best Of” Model: Don’t reinvent the wheel

  • Look for principles not templates
  • Senior Pastor as champion
  • Church membership linked to discipleship
  • All ministry programs tied to discipleship outcomes
  • Minimized programs to focus on discipleship
  • Coordination of all teaching
  • Discipleship tied to the church mission statement
  • Use of PDPs
  • Disciples in small groups
  • Disciples in mid-size groups
  • Disciples in worship services
  • Disciples in community service
  • Disciples with mentors/coaches
  • Annual evaluations & revised PDPs
  • Coordinated sermon content