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Developing a Strategic Pathway for Discipleship in Your Church

  • Posted on: 27 June 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

In my experience as a pastor and in my interactions with other church leaders, I know that churches sometimes struggle with how to make disciples most effectively. Approaches that worked well in the past may not be as effective today. 

In this blog, we will look at a holistic process for making disciples that involves churches growing in 11 key areas. This strategic pathway of discipleship attempts to integrate a biblical understanding of discipleship with an understanding of contemporary culture. Obviously, some elements may be more important in a particular context while other elements not included in this list may need to be considered.

1. Prayer Saturation 

Prayer permeates disciple-making churches. How can we grow a culture of prayer—a culture in which God delights to work deeply in peoples’ lives?

2. Loving Christ-centered Community 

Discipleship occurs best in deep communities where people lovingly practice life-on-life discipleship. What can leaders do to develop this kind of intimacy?

3. Growth Orientation 

When everything in the church is geared toward helping people take next steps, growth becomes normative and expected. Discipleship can flourish in this kind of growth-oriented environment.

4. Personalized Approach 

Even though programs can provide a context in which discipleship can occur, we must strive to come alongside individuals and help them take next steps. This personalized approach is a requirement for in-depth discipleship.

5. A Missional Mindset 

Without a strong desire to reach lost people, churches are unlikely to have the passion and motivation to devote a significant amount of time and energy to making disciples. A main goal of making disciples is so that we can make more disciples.

6. Biblical Teaching 

Good sermons can help people know and follow Jesus. We need strong biblical teaching that exposes people to the whole counsel of God and motivates them to greater depths of obedience.

7. Practical Training 

A Leader's Most "Effective" Character Quality

  • Posted on: 14 June 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

I’m convinced that character is foundational to long-term leadership effectiveness. The link between a person’s character and their influence is too strong and too consistent to be ignored. Character is not only one of seven key dimensions of leadership, I believe it is the defining characteristic of leadership. You can teach others what you know, but you can only reproduce what you are.*

Yet, the specific character qualities that most greatly impact a leader’s effectiveness are unknown. This is why I’m conducting an online survey on the character qualities that contribute to long-term leadership effectiveness. The results will help me develop a “character map” that I can help leaders follow as they seek to strengthen the character qualities that are essential for leadership over the long haul.

I would like to invite you to take the survey. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to articulate 10 character qualities that you believe are important for long-term leadership effectiveness. You will also be asked to prioritize them and describe how each one looks in the life of a leader. The online survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

As a small “thank-you” for the time given to this strategic study, you can choose to enter into a random draw for one of two $25 Starbucks gift cards (provided you participate by June 30, 2016 and choose to provide your e-mail address). 

Thanks for considering this request. To participate, click here, read the consent form, and proceed with the survey.

- Randy Wollf

How to Avoid the Summer Collapse

  • Posted on: 8 June 2016
  • By: Keith Reed

Dads and grads receive a lot of attention during the month of June. But this is also the season when many church programs near their finish line. For some ministry leaders, this means added responsibilities. This can also mean more hours and more stress. 

June might feel like the final leg of your ministry marathon and your lungs might be screaming for you to stop. You might find yourself dreaming of a post-marathon collapse, but if you choose to jump off the treadmill before cooling down, you will feel the effects of this decision for the rest of the summer.

Cooling down is essential for the well-being of yourself and the people around you. The discipline of gradually slowing yourself to a stop will help you recover from what you just completed and also prepare you for what’s next. The result is better short-term health with the added bonus of long-term sustainability.

Your mind, body, and spirit need adequate recovery time and slamming on the brakes after exiting the highway is a dangerous idea. I’m not suggesting that you cancel your vacation plans or ignore the urge to recline your chair. These are critical components to the leadership cycle. Just make sure that you ease into your recovery time so that when you fully disengage from your ministry responsibilities you can recuperate more restfully. 

Here are some suggestions for your cool down cycle:

  • Use your rear-view mirrors 
    Look back on the past season of ministry. What went well and why? Did you reach your goals and accomplish your ministry objectives? What will you do differently next time?

  • Check your blind spots
    Is there a critical issue or challenge that will require additional attention over the summer? Think of scenarios like leadership needs, technology changes, new initiatives, or approaching deadlines.

  • Express your gratitude  
    As you evaluate the past season, pay attention to the contributions that your team members have made. Find creative ways of thanking them and do this in ways that they will most appreciate.