These past weeks I’ve been thinking really hard – what is the process to grow a person from the moment she is an unbeliever to a mature disciple of Christ? During my internship with Faith Methodist Church, we wrestled with this same challenge and realised what is needed is a Discipleship Roadmap.
In my own reading, two books have interested me: Simple Church (Thom S. Rainer) and 4 Chair Discipling (Dan Spader). The premise of Simple Church is that a church must simplify it’s discipleship process by knowing four things: Clarity, Movement, Alignment, Focus. Each process of discipleship must have only ONE program assigned. I found that a good idea but quite limiting. Discipleship must be more holistic. While Simple Church doesn’t provide a framework of the stages a disciple goes through, 4 Chair Discipling does. Spader presents 4 chairs that a person has to step through from unbeliever to disciple-maker. I found it’s a pretty solid process to use (at least in theory so far).
As a Singaporean Methodist Christian, I amalgamated these two books into a process based on the context I am in. Feel free to adapt however you like, there’s no copyright issues! There are four stages that are like a checklist. If you think like an RPG gamer, these are tasks that must be done before you can level up to the next stage. It is also a form of assessment where a person is on the roadmap. If you are serving (stage 3) but never been baptised, I’ll categorise you as a young believer (stage 2). You got to do the list of items before you can progress further.
Hope this helps you in your ministry.
1. Seeker (Win)
– Aim: To lead the seeker to accept Jesus as Saviour.
– Attend Alpha (Gospel is given, relationships with Christians are formed)
– Invite Seeker to Small Group or Church events (Cultivate, Plan, Reap)
2. Believer (Build)
– Aim: To build the faith of a new believer.
– Learn the Basics of the Faith (Navigator series 5+8 weeks) Can be done in a group setting.
– Attend Baptism and Membership class (includes ministry time for Healing and Deliverance)
– Writes and delivers a testimony during baptism and other outreach events.
– Join a Small Group and attends it regularly.
3. Worker (Equip)
– Aim: Equip a worker in God’s kingdom to serve effectively.
– Do spiritual gift assessment test (e.g. Network)
– Start serving in ministry based on gifting (not a leadership role)
– Have a mentor assigned, preferably from the ministry Worker serves in
– Learn how to evangelise and practice it (e.g. One verse gospel bridge)
– Systematic Bible reading and study program (e.g. Disciple study by Methodists)
4. Disciple-maker (Multiply)
– Aim: To multiply fruits by being a disciple-maker of disciples.
– People who qualify for DM are in Spader’s words, AFTER more: Available, Faithful, Teachable, Enthusiastic, Responsive to leadership.
– DM starts serving in a leadership roles. Possibly:
1. Small Group leader
2. Alpha facilitator (Stage 1)
3. Teacher of Navigator Basics class (Stage 2)
4. Facilitator and connector of Spiritual Gift test (Stage 3)
5. Ministry leadership (e.g. youth group leader, Sunday School lead teacher)
– DM starts mentoring a few people possibly in own ministry (5-3-1 model). This 5-3-1 model is proposed by Doug Fields and means that we connect with 5 people, develop 3 and focus on 1. It’s just a guide based on his observations. In the rare case that all 5 are super-interested in growth, the mentor can invest more into the relationship.
– DM continues to learn the Bible in-depth (e.g. Bible study program, Disciple 2)
– DM attends courses on mentoring and leadership in Christian setting.
– DM can be allowed to create niche ministries based on their gifting and passion.