Beginning with the end in mind
I recently had a conversation with one of my favorite clients where we were talking about upcoming staffing needs for their church. As the conversation evolved I asked him to share with me what the church expected to see happen in the lives of the people they were ministering to. Without hesitation, he shared with me the how they expected to see people participating in the life of the church and what they expected to see happening spiritually in their lives.
One of my favorite questions to ask a church that I work with is this: if someone shows up at your church this weekend for their first church visit ever... and they continue to come every Sunday for the next five years, what do you want to be true in their lives at the end of that five years?
How would you answer this question?
One of the most powerful concepts that I use with churches that I coach is a definition of a discipled person. If the local church exists to create disciples of Jesus, a DDP answers the question, what does a disciple of Jesus look like? In other words, what are we trying to build into the lives of the people we minister to?
Knowing the answer to these questions can radically change the way that you minister to your community. It becomes the keystone to your programming, it helps you say no to great programs that don't help you build disciples, and it allows you to be more intentional about your church's next team member... which is why we spend a great deal of time during our onboarding process working with a church to better understand what they are wanting to build into the lives of their congregation.
So what makes a good DDP? Three things:
- Contextual: We know the general discription of a disciple of Jesus, Galatians 5 does a good job of spelling that out. But what does a disciple of Jesus look like in your specific context? I have lived in the New York City area, Atlanta suburbs, Waco, Texas, and Sacramento, California. The life of a disciple looks slightly different in each of those areas. Take the time to exegete your culture and discern the specific markers of a Jesus follower in your neighborhood.
- Process Driven: Becoming a disciple is rarely a light switch moment. This is typically a process that takes a little time. Understanding the process and defining the steps of the process help you know you are making headway. Take the time to identify the process in your vernacular and define the stages. An example of this could be: uninterested, curious, investigating, new believer, growing, fully devoted follower. Make this your own and generally define what this stage look like.
- Being, knowing, doing: Once you understand the stages of a persons discipleship journey and have roughly defined them, begin to list the markers of those stages. What behaviors does someone in this stage exhibit? What actions do they take and what do they know? These markers help you understand where people are in their journey and whether they are growing or not.
The clarity that comes from a fully developed DDP allows you to develop goals across your ministry environments and measure the impact that your ministry is having. It also allows your team to share a common language when it comes to the spiritual development of the people they serve and allows you to know what to prioritize during your strategic planning.
We'd love to help you think through what this looks like in your church and how it can help drive your next search for a ministry staff member.