In my last post I spoke about how the beginnings of how the Disciple Making Pathway was created. I shared about how our team at Brainerd Baptist Church, led by Pastor Robby Gallaty, worked to develop a comprehensive strategy for making disciples in the church.
As we evaluated the state of the church when it came to making disciples we had the painful task of removing those things that would not contribute or enhance what we believed was the primary purpose of the church—that is, to make disciples. What complicated this process was the fact that we were doing many things well, but those things were taking away from the primary purpose, which was making disciples. In addition, doing many things well kept us from doing the main thing we believed was the vision God gave us.
So we had to stop doing anything (even the really good things) that kept us from the prize—making disciples! That was really hard because everyone had their own “pet projects” or programs that were not bad in themselves, but kept us from leading our church to become a disciple making church.
We’d observed that believers grow exponentially when they are involved in three groups: the worship gathering, life groups, and D-groups. This came to be known as the Disciple Making Pathway. (For a detailed description of the Disciple Making Pathway, see this article by Gus Hernandez)
I believe that this pathway can be effectively used in any church, (traditional or otherwise) for three reasons: The Pathway is comprehensive, takes a holistic approach, and focuses on personal accountability.
- A Comprehensive Strategy
The Disciple Making Pathway is first and foremost a comprehensive strategy for making disciples. This plan helps to maximize and add value to things that most churches are doing reasonably well.
Most Church Leaders already know how important it is to gather together for worship and to live life together in community so you don’t have to convince them of the value of these two groups when you roll out your vision and plan. They already know the value of doing both; in fact, they’ve experienced it already and have seen how involvement in these groups goes a long way in life change and transformation.
The missing piece or the next step would be the addition of involvement in a third group called a D-group, for the purpose of accountability.
- A Holistic Approach
The Disciple Making Pathway is not only a comprehensive strategy; it is holistic in its approach. By that I mean that the Pathway helps create an atmosphere for believers to be well-rounded disciples.
In the worship gathering they are encouraged to experience authentic worship, exposing His value and worth; while being under the proclamation and instruction of The Word! In life groups they are encouraged to live life together in community, encourage one another to love and good works, praying for one another, and serving together. In D-groups they are seeking to develop accountable relationships that will help them walk with God and live a life pleasing to God.
- Accountable Relationships
D-groups are the best venue for establishing accountable relationships in the church. In fact, I would argue that there is no other group in the church where true accountability can happen like a D-group. Because the D-group is gender specific, men with men, women with women, true accountability and transparency can flourish!
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