Ministry is about life change and most often, this happens through relationships. And while relationships are invaluable, we often get so focused on building those relationships that we forget to make disciples.
And it’s understandable. Meeting new people and making new friends is fun and exciting but in the context of ministry, we have to remain focused on the greater goal: growing disciples.
Ministry is about life change and most often, this happens through relationships
Here are some ways to have your cake and eat it, too – or, in this case, make new friends and grow disciples, too:
Look beyond attendance.
Keep a finger on the pulse of how people interact outside of church services and small groups for a good indication of how connected people are to one another and more importantly, sharing in their faith through action.
Foster a culture of discipleship multiplication.
When a church can transform an audience into disciples of action, it creates a culture of inspiration and multiplication – a church culture where disciples inspire and create more disciples.
Establish a mentoring program that connects the younger generation with the older.
Discipleship isn't just knowledge; it's also about gaining perspective. And perspective only comes through life experience.
Do a service project together or an overnight retreat.
Whatever ideas work in the context of your ministry, don’t be afraid to challenge your church members to step outside of their comfort zones to grow in new ways.
Leverage information in your church management system to identify those who might benefit from intergenerational discipleship.
This could boost interest from several segments within your church community and perhaps provide some additional ways to bridge to those outside your church.
Arrange for families to ‘adopt’ an older member, spending some time each week or month with those who are not as mobile as others.
For older members who aren't living close to family or no longer have any family members alive to help care for them, this helps develop a strong sense of other-centeredness for the adoptive family in addition to a discipleship opportunity for those being served.
Building relationships is integral to building disciples.
But we can’t rest on our laurels once we’ve made new friends. To make disciples, we need to leverage our relationships to become – and create – intentional disciples of God.