Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

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How to start FULL CIRCLE DISCIPLE GROUPS – Part 1: Thinking Ahead.

multi-ethnic-laughsDo you feel God’s call to start a full circle group for your worship leaders?

First, you need to pray with all your might. Pray that God will lead you to the worship leaders on your team who most need to be brought into this group. Remember that we are “calling out the called,” not just pressing people into service. If someone resists being a part of the group, even if you feel strongly that they should join, don’t force the issue. Pray that God will call out those he has called and move in their spirits to enlist willingly. Ask God to equip you with the skill to lead a group that will grow mature disciples. And pray for courage to find personal openness and transparency in group relationships yourself. This is a challenge for worship leaders because we are hesitant to be vulnerable to church members.

Pray, too, that God will grow each participant to start a full circle group after successfully participating in the original group. Replication of groups at least annually is an important key to making disciples who make disciples. Allowing a single group to meet for a year without replication will invite the group to turn inward. Be sure this plan for replication is clearly understood by all leaders and participants.  As you recruit members of your group, be clear to explain that, after one semester, each member should be ready to start their own group!

Throughout the sessions, it is crucial that your group develop and perform a mission project to your community. The greatest temptation for any discipleship group is self-centeredness. It will be easy to give in to our sinful nature and focus only on your own needs within the group. But full circle groups must develop worshiping disciples on mission. If our intent becomes focused on meeting our own needs, we will have simply recast idolatry in the same old drama with a new script. Find a project together and go on mission. Living on mission with God will give your group the context to grow in discipleship. Remember, Jesus sent his disciples on mission very soon after he called them. Hear his mandate to your group to be on mission from the start as you grow in relational discipleship.

If you decide to lead your worship ministry to establish full circle groups, start personally enlisting spiritually mature group leaders immediately as you begin missional moments in rehearsals. It is very important to recruit these leaders face-to-face rather than by phone or e-mail.

Once your leaders are recruited, immediately saturate the whole worship team with promotion of the full circle groups. This will build on the momentum from the retreat and the weekly teaching in rehearsals. At that time, you can equip your leaders to recruit group members personally, also face-to-face. This will greatly strengthen the relational element of the groups since they will be recruited relationally.

Full circle groups for worship leaders may meet during a weekly Bible teaching hour such as Sunday morning or evening or another night, an extra hour before rehearsal, or for breakfast or lunch meetings. Locations might include church, home, office, school, or a public meeting room. Be creative and think outside the box. Being intentionally cross-generational is a wonderful way to provide mentoring and networking for people in different life-stage and social groups. Do your best to find people from many generations and lifestyles to bring together in your groups to learn from each other.

Full circle groups foster relationships while participants engage in discussion, personal transparency, application, and mission action. They also cultivate ongoing transformation and accountability as the group achieves deeper levels of relationship.

In my next post, I will share exactly how to organize and lead a Full Circle Discipleship Group. See you back here then! 

— Mark Powers



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One Simple Resolution… Grow Disciplemakers! That’s it.

GFC icon And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,

but let us encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24–25a, NIV

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I make a few myself. But here’s the one that really counts in God’s Kingdom: “To Make Disciples Who Make Disciples!”  OK, Worship Leaders, do you have a plan for developing disciple makers in your worship ministry during 2017? NO?  Why not?

Come on, let’s get on it!  There are many great plans out there from all kinds of sources.  Go find one.  If you need some ideas and materials, email me at markpowers@scbaptist.org and I’ll send you several that we promote from our offices.

But make sure, whatever you do, that you use a method that fits TODAY’S SOCIETAL NEEDS!

Avery Willis in 2005 noted the changes in America that are opening the door for storying in our own society: “The post-modern culture drives much of the revival of storytelling in the United States . . . Most of today’s younger generation and even many of the baby boomers of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s prefer to learn through spoken and visual means rather than written word. There is also a preference towards relational, non-linear learning . . . The problem before us is that most of our preaching, Bible studies, evangelism and discipleship are reader-oriented and very linear-sequential. So how do we change? That is the question of the hour. We must do something before this wave engulfs us and before we lose a whole generation for the cause of Christ.”

If you don’t understand Bible Storying as a disciple making method then STAY TUNED to this blog all during the month of January as I lay it out for you.

Jesus knew the power of stories to communicate truth. When we think of Jesus, we naturally think of his teaching in parables. Stories conveying truth occur throughout the Bible. Bible stories are actual historic accounts while parables are metaphors that are developed to illustrate a point of truth. Both are wonderful means of conveying truth through storying.

The simplicity of the storying method of Bible study is obvious. This simplicity creates a reproducible process in a relational environment, and this is the key to the method’s appeal and accessibility. Using this simple method, you can start a full circle group in your worship ministry and lead it to multiply throughout your church and community every six to twelve months. And further, by adopting a mission project for the duration of your group, you are creating a missional community with a goal of establishing a mission outpost that may become an indigenous church with ongoing cultivation.

Get Ready… Get Set… GO make disciples who make disciples!  — Mark Powers

— Willis, “Storying Going Mainstream.”