Guest Post by Whit Lewis – Pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany, MS. As a pastor and ministry leader, I am constantly trying to develop, challenge and encourage leaders. At Hillcrest we’ve decided the best way to develop long term, grace filled, spirit-led leaders is through disciple making. Our desire is not to be so focused on a leader’s skill, but on their walk. Admittedly, some of what can be defined as our greatest ideas; we’ve stumbled into accidently. Our intentional priority of getting our leaders to the Discipleship Blueprint is one of those accidental ideas that we’ve seen turn into an incredible blessing. Our plan is simple; we constantly send lay leaders as well as ministerial staff to each Blueprint. We take those that are in leadership and those currently involved in our discipleship groups (D-groups), and ask them to take a couple of days to attend the conference. This gives our leaders a chance to peek under the hood and see first hand the importance & interworking of our disciple-making model. As a result of the Blueprint, we’ve not had to urge (beg) leaders to start D-groups or be involved in disciple-making. For two days our leaders are immersed in an environment of discipleship that is contagious. They return with an internal motivation to actively make disciples. Allow me to share the response from a few of our leaders: Mr. Steve Robbins, Financial Chairman, “Blueprint was a game changer for me. I came as a seeker of knowledge on a subject and left committed to a process of discipleship that I knew would work at my church. The group leaders were rich in knowledge, experience and deeply committed to making disciples of Christ. This is not flavor of the month, and it is not complicated, but it is transformational and I look forward to seeing where our congregation is in five years.” Mrs. Kathy Adkins, Pastor’s Assistant, “I came to the conference already knowing that making disciples who could/would then make disciples was Christ’s command for the church. I had been in a group of ladies here at our church for a few years, but did not really know how to take it further. I tend to want to overcomplicate things so the Discipleship Blueprint gave me practical tools but, mostly importantly, the confidence and support to move forward in disciple-making. I was challenged that disciple-making is a long process. As much as we want to see groups starting up all through our church, we must be willing to take the time to invest in people who will then be able to go on and teach others.” Rev. Don Chandler, Worship Pastor, “As I approached my 25th year of being a worship leader, 17 being at the church where I now serve, the challenge of making disciples was placed on my heart by God and our pastor. The countless hours of rehearsals and gathering music is important in my role as worship leader but I was convicted this role was very shallow when it came to making disciples that looked like Jesus. The Blueprint gave me practical ways to make disciple-making a part of my life and ministry. As Tim LaFleur taught from Ephesians 4, my lack of depth became clear to me and gave me a burden for those I was supposed to be leading in the worship ministry. Reflecting over my years and influence in ministry, spiritual depth became a major concern. Tim made a statement that convinced me of the need to start my own D-group, “If I will work on the depth of the ministry, God will take care of the breadth.” Dan & Haley Chapin, lay leaders, “After leaving the Blueprint, my husband and I knew that our life as Christ followers had changed forever. We now filter everything that we do as individuals, as a couple, and as parents through the Great Commission. Now that we have seen God’s plan clearly, life doesn’t look the same. We are now able to implement a Biblical strategy for making disciples of Christ. We found that the GO’ing started to take care of itself. God’s redemption story is being seen in the lives of those we are sacrificing for and the story has only begun. There is no greater joy on this side of eternity.” As a Pastor, I’ve noticed when your leaders catch the passion of disciple-making it will effortlessly spill over into your church. Go to the Blueprint and take a few of your leaders with you. Allow God to plant a passion within their heart and watch in amazement as discipleship moves from a dying program to a life giving movement within your church.
How the Discipleship Blueprint Helped Us Build a Disciple-Making Culture
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