Simplicity Leads to Reproducibility

Simplicity Leads to Reproducibility

keep it simpleEach week, our pastoral team tries to go out to lunch after our staff discipleship meeting. If you’ve ever been around Robby Gallaty, you quickly learn that you have to make a pit stop for some coffee after lunch before heading back to the office. So recently as we were on our way back from our lunch, we stuffed 6 grown men into an SUV and headed for the nearby Starbucks drive-thru. Robby started us off with his order, “Hi. Let me get a Venti, half the caff, caramel brûlée latte with half the pumps. Thanks.”

After hearing his order, I couldn’t help but laugh and think of how comically complicated his order was. I could imagine the cashier saying, “Have it your way, but don’t get crazy.” (If you laugh like I do at references to Bon Qui Qui’s King Burger sketch, you and I can definitely be friends).

I, on the other hand, had a much simpler order. All I requested was a tall white mocha. After we all placed our orders, I asked a couple of the other pastors in the vehicle to try and repeat Robby’s complete order without messing it up. None of them were able to do so. However, when I asked them to do the same with my order, they all got it correct immediately.

What’s the point of this story?

The power of simplicity. Simplicity is one of the keys to reproducibility. Complex systems rarely multiply.

One of the keys to developing an effective discipleship plan for your church or ministry is to keep it simple. Simple plans are reproducible plans, while complex discipleship plans rarely multiply.

Your discipleship pathway has to be simple in order to be reproducible. You have to focus on creating a clear and concise pathway to move people from being new believers to disciple-makers.

Here’s a simple test. If you polled all your staff, would they all be able to articulate your discipleship pathway? Would their answers all be consistent with each other? Let’s take the test even further. What if you polled all your small group leaders or church volunteers? Would they all know what the plan is for getting people mobilized as disciple-makers?

At our church, we created the following pathway to help our people identify their next step on the journey to becoming a disciple who makes disciples:

  1. Congregation
  2. Community
  3. Core
  4. Crowd

Congregation (Worship Gathering) – A disciple should gather together with the corporate church body for weekly worship. During this time, believers are equipped and edified for the work of the ministry through expository preaching of the Word.

Community (Life Groups/Small Groups) – This mixed-gender group of 10-20 people is the starting point for relationships, spiritual growth, and service both inside and outside the church. Friendships are formed in this context for future D-Groups (Discipleship Groups).

Core (D-Groups) – These are gender-exclusive groups of 3-5 people who meet for 12-18 months. The maturity of these groups is measured by the M.A.R.C.S. of a healthy D-Group.

Crowd (Engage the World) – Through divine appointments and relational evangelism, a disciple engages non-believers with the Gospel by forming intentional relationships in their workplace, neighborhood, and community.

Each step on this pathway is crucial to spiritual formation. The pathway keeps our staff and church focused on helping people find their next step on the journey to obeying the Great Commission.

What’s your pathway for helping people become disciple-makers? Is it working to produce the desired results? If not, is it simple enough for your people to internalize and implement?

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

  • REACT. Do something.
  • RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
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Gus Hernandez, Jr. currently serves as the Spiritual Formations Pastor at Long Hollow Baptist Church. Before joining Long Hollow, Gus was the College Pastor at Christ Fellowship Miami where he was involved in collegiate church planting and starting new college and young adult ministries across Miami. Prior to serving at CF Miami, Gus served as the College and Small Groups Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church. Gus is passionate about equipping people to become disciples who make disciples.
  • Mike Jackson

    Excellent article Gus. Spot on. Internationally, with our national partners we advocate a similar type of disciple making pursuit. I would encourage everyone to read and utilize Robby’s book, “Growing Up.”