Systems of discipleship in church planting

By Matt Henslee and Kyle Bueermann

Discipleship and evangelism are two sides of the same coin. It’s the intersection of theology, community and mission.

Theology is to know God. Community is knowing God with His people, and mission is serving while knowing God and knowing His people.

As busyness is a growing norm in our society, how do we disciple our church to know God and His people while living on mission without adding to their already hectic lives?

The last thing any of our members want is another item on their ever-growing to-do list. The leadership at our church began asking how we could help members grow in their Christian lives without adding programs to their already busy schedules.

Healthy Systems

To create balance among theology, community and mission in our lives and in a church plant, we need systems of discipleship.

I know—hearing the word “systems” probably makes you want to zone out, but systems and processes are a strategic way to shape the path of discipleship. You can’t know how to help the men and women you lead to take their next missional step until you know where they are at, and we know where they are by investing in them through consistent interaction and conversation.

At City Church, we work hard to create easy pathways for people to connect and be discipled by creating systems where people intersect their lives and the things they’re doing with gospel intentionality.

Here are five practical ways we do that through weekly Small Group rhythms:

Family Time

All of our Small Groups share a meal together. Community enhances relationships, which in turn fuels discipleship. There are few things that are as disarming and relational as the dinner table.

Bible Study

Every week, small groups write an application from the Sunday sermon. They have an open discussion about how they can apply the Biblical truths to their lives and in their community.

Discipleship Groups

All of our Small Groups break up into smaller, gender-specific groups to dive deeper into their lives and how they’re doing. This is usually a more intentional time of discipleship and accountability.

Missional Hangouts

We want to create easy-access environments where non-Christians can experience community and hear the gospel, so small groups go out and share the gospel in a location where people in their community hang out. They also invite their non-Christian friends to give them a context to be around God’s people.

Local Missions

Every fifth week of the month, small groups serve in a local mission project together.

Thinking through healthy systems helps church planters move their people into greater commitment to Jesus and the mission of advancing the kingdom.

Published September 18, 2020

Matt Henslee and Kyle Bueermann

MATT AND KYLE (@ReplantingRural) are serving in the trenches of southern New Mexico in places all but forgotten by most. Their passion is to see pastors choose the road less traveled (even if it requires four-wheel-drive) to see God breathe life into dying churches.