Discipleship Best Practices

by Tom Cocklereece
Even with all of the recent focus on discipleship, many churches remain paralyzed in their 20th century silo-style of discipleship delivery which has proven ineffective at transforming lives and making disciples. In fact, silo-delivery of discipleship reinforces behavioral compartmentalization defined as “a state in which some integrated part of a person’s life becomes separated from the rest of the personality and functions independently.” You know this concept: people hear teachings of Christianity in a Bible study or sermon and then fail to integrate the principles into their lives since, as they see it, they have their church life and their other life. A ubiquitous (all inclusive-everywhere present) discipleship delivery system provided in a process manner is much more effective.
There are eleven delivery methods of a ubiquitous discipleship process which include but are not limited to:
  1. Passive Discipleship: the least effective method but essential to support other methods
  2. Private Discipleship: the Christian and the Holy Spirit (most effective but under used)
  3. Presence Discipleship: In times of crisis the disciple invests time, assistance, and prayer.
  4. Participation or Proximity Discipleship: applies to all areas but most of all to giving
  5. Projected Discipleship: Actively but humbly projecting a Christian example of living Christ’s teachings.
  6. Platform or Presentation Discipleship: preaching in church and lecture-style Bible study
  7. Program Discipleship: Pre-packaged materials delivered in large or small groups.
  8. Personal Discipleship: One-on-one discipleship (very effective but seldom used)
  9. Peer Group Discipleship: Bible study and Sunday School
  10. Practical Discipleship: Hands on service, evangelism, and missional projects
  11. Proficiency Discipleship: Leadership Development
  12. Proclamation Discipleship: Evangelism and preaching to unchurched
  13. Process Discipleship: All of the above delivered in a systematic way
If your church is only using three or four of the delivery methods through the course of a year, your church is not effectively making disciples. At issue is whether the church leadership is intentionally employing each of these discipleship delivery methods in a process manner continuously. It is even better if the leadership is measuring the effectiveness of the process on a regular basis.

For more on this article, and for articles on each of these discipleship methods, visit http://drthomreece.wordpress.com

We are working at Metrolina Association to encourage and equip our churches to practice discipleship and disciple-making in ways that will help us fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).  Stay tuned for ways we can work together to see this happen here in our mission field.