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Some Draft Elaboration on a Disciple Making Pathway

As I have prayed and prepared for the next step in the Education Summit, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the ‘Disciple Making Pathway’.   I’d like to ‘download’ into this blog entry some of my thoughts, partially to get comments and ideas flowing, partially so there is room in my brain to think about some of the other important questions raised by the Summit so far.  This entry contains two main parts, a description of the disciple making pathway itself, and then a more detailed plan for the Trinity Vision Small Groups

Trinity Disciple Making Pathway

As part of the Education Summit, we’ve been talking about improving our intentionality in making disciples.

Trinity’s vision statement says : Trinity Fellowship
is a body of believers whose goal is to glorify God
by growing toward maturity as disciples
of the Lord Jesus Christ – through faith.

If our goal is to make disciples, we should have at least an outline of how that happens in the body. Therefore we are thinking of implementing a simple, three-tier disciple making pathway that consists of the following.

First Tier: Newcomers
Newcomers will be enthusiastically encouraged to attend a Trinity Vision Small Group (see write-up below) whose purpose will be to get people familiar with our vision, it’s Biblical basis and its practical outworking, while at the same time allowing them to get to know others at Trinity and develop prayer and care for each other.

Second Tier: Learners
Once a person has been through the Trinity Vision Small Group, they will be encouraged to attend one of the other kinds of study and fellowship groups at Trinity: traditional small groups, Sunday Morning Small Groups, Men’s studies, Women’s studies and youth and young adult groups. These groups, in turn, will be asked to directly or indirectly foster discipleship by emphasizing the commitments of our vision statement:

to learn and obey His word,
to depend on Him in prayer,
to exalt Him through worship,
to love and care for one another
and to share His love with others
in order to make new disciples
in our community and around the world.

Third Tier: Leaders
As people continue to grow as disciples, they will be asked to become leaders in ministries at Trinity – Awana, teaching, leading small groups and Bible studies, men’s ministries, women’s ministries, youth, helping ministries, etc.

In order to foster continued growth among these leaders, the elders will sponsor, once a quarter, an evening or Saturday event for the Leadership Community – that is, all the kinds of leaders just named. The Leadership Community meetings will have three components:

Teaching some area of practical leadership skills, or challenging leaders to faithful leadership from the Scriptures.
Prayer for the needs of leaders and ministries
Communication and feedback between ministries, including calendar coordination.

Trinity Vision Small Groups

Intellectual – to get people new to Trinity familiar with our vision, it’s Biblical basis and its practical outworking.
Relational – to bring people new to Trinity together so they get to know and care for each other.

Trinity Vision Small Groups will meet once a week for seven weeks. The first week will be introductory, will include a meal or other time of fellowship and will allow for the distribution of materials.

The following six weeks will address one aspect of Trinity’s vision and commitments:
Second Week – becoming disciples
Third Week – learning and obeying His word
Fourth Week – depending on Him in prayer
Fifth Week – exalting Him through worship
Sixth Week – loving and caring for one another
Seventh Week – sharing his love with others

Each of the current elders and one other experienced small group leader will prepare a draft of one of these weeks, along with instructions for leaders. We will divide the responsibilities and select key Scripture passages at an upcoming elders meeting.

Bob will revise and edit the six weeks of material and try to make it fairly uniform. The revised materials will be approved by the elders and ready for use before the end of the summer.

Once the materials are ready every Bible study group at Trinity (Small groups, Sunday Morning Small Groups, Mens’ Groups, Women’s groups, youth and young adults) will be ask to go through the Trinity Vision studies sometime in the next six months. This will mean that pretty much every current small group member at Trinity will have the opportunity to be exposed to this material.

Feedback from this major round of groups will be used to revise and strength the studies.

After that all newcomers to Trinity will be enthusiastically encouraged to attend a Trinity Vision small group. These will begin about once every eight weeks, and will be led by a rotation of the elders and other available small group leaders.