Discipleship Plan Description
Does effective ministry just happen? No! There must be a vision (Prov. 29:18), and a specific plan in place. God warns us against confusion (1 Cor. 14:33); those in leadership know that good intentions can deteriorate into busy activity, clever programs, and other efforts which are only distractions from the goal. If we are to fulfill God’s calling to discipleship within our Churches, there must be vision, strategic planning, and practical implementation.
A leader in the Church should know God’s Word, and be committed to living in obedience and power. No one will ever be perfect, but a believer must understand the life of a disciple and be walking that path to be able to lead another. As our materials demonstrate, there is a process and order for the discipleship ministry. There are many Christians, even leaders in the Church who have not been discipled themselves on the importance of daily devotions, abiding in Christ, the foundational truths of the faith, and the biblical instruction on tending to spouses and children. Therefore, we recommend that leaders go through this training first.
Disciple the leaders: Why is this first? Because believers cannot lead other people into a lifestyle that they do not understand and apply themselves. Unless leaders know and are following God’s will and ways in their own lives, there will be serious consequences to the body because their homes are not in order (Titus 2:7 & 1Tim. 3:4-12.)
Pastors are encouraged to go through the workbooks and personally experience the fruit of this study themselves. Then, with hope and conviction, you can start discipling your leadership team. We recommend going through at least these three books: A Strong Foundation Discipleship Workbook; Marriage Discipleship Workbook and Parenting Discipleship Workbook, the electronic versions are free at www.discipleshipworkbooks.com, or print versions are available at www.fdm.world. We also have the video series Marriage is a Ministry and Parenting is a Ministry for small groups with leaders guides and workbooks at www.fdm.world.
An elder or leader who has gone through a book, is applying the principles faithfully, and is willing to proceed can begin to disciple others. Over the last 10 years we have witnessed this cycle in motion in Churches locally, nationally, and abroad, and it is bringing hope, transformation and glorifying God’s great power in believers who are involved.
While discipling others with this material, follow-up is important to ensure that they are applying the principles in their lives and homes. We have discovered that consistency is difficult without accountability; many Christians, even those in Church leadership, do not truly understand the consequences of compromising God’s instructions in these areas. A pastor needs to be very diligent and clearly communicate that the truths in God’s Word are not just suggestions.
Isaiah 48:17-19 “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; His name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me.”
God so wants to be glorified in and through each of His children. It is not busy activity that makes us better ministers for Christ, but it is doing the will of God, (1 Sam 15:22-23). God even gives instruction to pastors regarding the character of those who can be considered for leadership.
1 Timothy 3:5 “…for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the Church of God?”
1 Timothy 3:10 says, “But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.”
The Amplified Bible says,
1 Timothy 3:10 “And let them also be tried and investigated and proved first; then, if they turn out to be above reproach, let them serve [as deacons].”
One of the above Scriptures says “…first be tested…” which means a season of faithful obedience in tending to and fulfilling the will of God in these specific areas. The pastor has the authority and has been charged by God to disciple his leadership. Those sheep to whom the Lord has given unique gifts for edifying the body must first be discipled and given a season to demonstrate their intention to be obedient. It is so important that the pastor exhorts his leadership to see these instructions as necessary priorities that need to be implemented in their lives.
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
1 Peter 5:1-4 ”The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
John 15:4-8 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”