We’ve spent the past several weeks talking about the new work from our friend Alex Absalom of Dandelion Resourcing who, along with his co-author Bobby Harrington, has written a tremendous new book — Discipleship that Fits — that helps church leaders create a discipleship model that works for your church, your people, and today’s world. And we don’t think anyone would deny that today’s world is more deeply integrated with technology than at any point in history.
So how can church leaders leverage the power of technology in helping create discipleship models that fit for today’s church? How can leaders help create an environment where discipleship is likely to happen using technology tools?
Technology is a powerful tool for church leaders to use to create discipleship that fits, and, sometimes more importantly, find opportunities for discipleship that may not be so easy to see. Where many church leaders have relied on going with their ‘gut’ when it comes to connecting people to the church and to each other, technology lets us see the macro and micro trends and indicators that can more effectively build community.
Technology bridges the gap between our good intentions and our limitations as leaders. Research has shown that human beings can only really retain the information we need to connect with about 150 people, so church leaders who try to keep it all ‘in their heads’ can’t continue to do so as their churches grow. That’s where technology comes in — it keeps track of the personal details of the people around us when our brains can’t. Technology, specifically church management software, lets church leaders know who’s attending worship and events and who’s not, and helps us identify and reach out to people who may have slipped through the cracks. It lets churches grow beyond the 150-member point.
When you look at how technology can assist in creating discipleship that fits, as Alex and Bobby have envisioned it, a few examples come to mind immediately:
- For Public Context gatherings like Sunday worship, it can help new visiting families feel comfortable with a streamlined child check-in process.
- For Social Context gatherings, which are usually 20 to 70 people, it can help you track who’s actually coming to those events versus who said they would come — and help you start to understand why.
- For Personal Context gatherings like small groups, it helps group leaders communicate up to ministry leaders who’s engaging, who’s serving, who’s attending, and who’s growing.
Technology shows us how our discipleship efforts are working, so we don’t have to rely on gut intuition or general feelings. And by leveraging these tools to work alongside an amazing God who is transforming lives all around us, we get that many more chances to celebrate those efforts going into lives that are forever changed.
How are you using technology to work alongside your discipleship efforts?