My New Practice to Disciple Leaders
First, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ec 1:9) But there is always something new to us. For me and the Small Group Leaders at LifePoint, the following process is new. We have been blessed with a growing number of new leaders and participants. Every six months we conduct a connection event where potential and new leaders are given a chance to lead and disciple others. For years we have had the infrastructure of Coordinators and Coaches who were tasked with discovering, discipling, and developing leaders. This is a major undertaking and has proven challenging due to time, relationships and information on how to disciple. So we went back to the drawing board on the basic commission and command: Matthew 28:19-10…”Go and make disciples” and Mark 12:31 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
First, we listed all our small group leaders into four categories based on years of service and their experiences. (Don’t over analyze this part.) Then we made a list of 6-8 leaders, one or two from each of the four categories, and invited them to a meeting in my office on Sunday morning. My plan was to meet with every leader in a huddle over the next 10 weeks.
Our first huddle was a men’s huddle. I planned only two guiding requests and a lot of listening. The first request: “Tell us about your small group.” This took 30 minutes with each of the leaders telling exciting or apologizing stories of their group’s life. Most felt they were inadequate or had been failing in their leadership. Some of this was based on not completing a study in time, not doing enough service projects or not adding enough people to their group. I did not speak to these issues, but let the next person proceed in sharing his group’s story.
We refilled our coffee and grabbed a donut then asked the second request: “Tell us about one of the biggest discipleship moments in your life.” I could see the shock, the mind searching, the heart racing on each of their faces. What kind of question is that? Oh, I have so many. What?
The next 40 minutes guys shared from their past, about people in their life, about decisions (good and bad) they had made. Half the group cried either from their own story or a brother’s story. We celebrated what God had done in our lives and challenged each other to keep the focus on this kind of SG leading that leads to life change…not the attendance, service projects or curriculum. That will all happen if we are discipling people.
I have asked one person from each of the huddles to lead the next meeting with this same group. One of our questions will be “What have you done since our last meeting to disciple people?”
(For those of you like me who just can’t stay away from numbers, I am happy to report that after three huddles we have an average of 79% attendance. That is better than any other “training” event we have conducted.)
How can you create a new look, a new focus, a new gathering to help focus your leaders on discipleship?