The Disciple Making Pathway: A Simple Church Model

53618Several years ago I read “Simple Church” by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. This book had a profound impact in my life not so much because it introduced new concepts, but because its research confirmed what I had always suspected: namely that ministry leaders should keep things simple as they develop strategy and empower people. For years I had used the K.I.S.S. method–Keep It Simple Somehow. It was refreshing to have that affirmed by the research. Passages in Simple Church like “Growing and vibrant churches are much simpler in their processes while struggling and anemic churches are more complex and complicated” stuck out to me. The authors went on to say, “Churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are expanding the kingdom.” The Disciple Making Pathway is a simple process that can be easily understood as well as effectively communicated. Simple Process The Pathway is a simple process for a couple of reasons. First, the pathway maximizes and leverages two groups that almost every person who has been to an evangelical church is already familiar with: the worship gathering and small group Bible study (which we call Life Groups at Long Hollow). The pathway helps add value to these gatherings by seeing them as an important part of a more comprehensive strategy. Also, with the simple addition of D-Groups, the Pathway can be the skeleton for a more holistic approach because D-groups help keep focus on accountable relationships. Easily Understood Members can easily understand the pathway because they already are familiar with and know the purposes of a worship gathering and life groups. When casting vision you must help volunteers and members realize the value of the groups they are already a part of and then challenge them to find accountability in a discipleship group. If they are already part of a Life Group and a D-Group, the next step would be to replicate by leading a D-Group. Effectively Communicated It is so easy to pull out a napkin or a sheet of paper and visually illustrate the Pathway, explaining the benefit of each of the three groups and how they help to grow one spiritually. It would be simple to assess where the potential for spiritual growth is by asking a simple question like, “Where are you on the Pathway?” and “How are you finding value by being part of these groups?” Because it is a simple process that is easily understood and effectively communicated I would encourage you to embrace the Disciple Making Pathway as your strategy for making disciples in the local church.