Discipleship in the Church: Innovation and Implementation (Phase Four)


This is part of the series How to Shape Your Ministry Around Disciple Making. Listen below from 16:12–19:11.


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The fourth phase is what we call innovate and implement.

At this point we know what we need to be doing in ministry. We need to make disciples of all the nations so that they might obey all that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded. And the way, the means, of making disciples is the Word of God and prayer. As the Spirit of God backs the Word of God, people become disciples

Innovating and implementing is asking ourselves: Where has God placed us? Who are our neighbors? How do we make disciples of those people? And that’s going to look different depending on your context.

How we go about discipleship is different in different contexts – whether you’re a pastor leading a church, whether you’re a student working on a campus, whether you’re a youth group leader during the week, or whether you’re the person who helps lead Sunday School classes for children on Sunday morning. It’s thinking through pathways for disciple growth:

  • How can we engage people?
  • How can we evangelize people?
  • How can we establish them in the faith?
  • How can we equip them to do the work of ministry?

That cycle repeats itself. The person who is equipped now engages people, evangelizes and establishes them, then equips them, and the cycle repeats. That’s how God is building His kingdom. Be creative: think through the ways you could prayerfully meet people with the Word of God in the context God has placed you in.

I want to give you an example: Some years ago in a country I was pastoring in, we had a young man who was a student thinking about ministry. He was a surfer. He left for the summer, and we didn’t see him.

Four months later he showed up with long hair and a glowing suntan. We said to this young man, “Where were you?”

He said, “I was surfing all summer.” We thought, “Well, that’s a nice way to spend your summer!” And he said, “Actually, I wasn’t just surfing. I was making disciples. Because I can surf, I met with other surfers. All these people in the surfing community are not Christians, but because I’m a good surfer, they respected me. They let me join their surfing community. God opened doors for me to evangelize these surfers all summer, hanging out with them on the waves and having picnics on the beach at night.”

By the end of it so many people came to Christ that he said they needed a church. It was hard for him to put people in other churches. He asked us, “Would you train me to be a planter for the surfing community?” So, we trained him to be a planter, and he went back to that surfing community and planted a church.

So, there’s a situation where a guy was just innovating and implementing along the way. How can I reach surfers with the gospel? How can I get trained, so I can plant a church for surfers on the west coast? He made disciples in a creative way but did it around the Word of God and prayer.

Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.

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