A new year means a new beginning for many. This is the time of year when gyms get packed by people starting a new resolution to get in shape. Banks have new customers opening savings accounts determined to save more money in the coming year. A new calendar on the wall waiting to be filled with new activities and familiar routines. In many ways, getting started on something is easy. If you are like me, it is the finishing part that often becomes the challenge. Sometimes, we all need a fresh start.
I was given this word of advice long ago in regards to writing a sermon, “always begin with the end in mind.” I have found it applies in a lot of other areas as well. Even as we talk of beginnings, this is a good reminder. It can be easy to get bogged down or wander off course from the start if we don’t know where the end is supposed to be. I have shared many things with you all about making a discipleship plan, and I want to put some of those principles in practice here as well. Here is the plan for Dakota Disciple in the coming year.
We will be posting something new each week. Current plan is to post on Mondays with either a blog post or a podcast. We will bring you helpful tools, interviews, resources, and other content about making disciples. I appreciate all the encouragement and support I have received over the past year as we have tried to learn how to best utilize this resource. If you haven’t already listened to podcasts from the past year, I would encourage you to go back and check them out. There are good insights on discipleship from other pastors and leaders around the Dakotas available and we will be doing some follow up interviews with some of those folks as promised. New content and follow up interviews are coming your way starting next week.
The online version of the toolkit is still being updated as new resources are identified. We will not have an exhaustive list of all the resources out in the world, but will continue to focus on those that people from around the Dakotas have identified as helpful in their ministry setting.
Training for the Local Church
I have been working over the last year or so to develop training materials and sessions for our local churches. Several churches have helped to refine this material as we have used it in local training events. We continue to look for ways to engage and impact the people in the community where God has placed us. The fundamental key to reaching and keeping people engaged in our churches is utilizing the power of the small group. You can call it Sunday School or Life Groups or any of a dozen other names, but if your church isn’t doing them, you will not see long term growth in either your people or your congregation.
Studies show that 16% of people who are only involved in worship services at our churches will still be attending within five years. Those same studies show that 83% of people who get involved in a small group of some kind beyond weekly worship will still be active in our churches at the end of the same five-year period.
We have developed this training to help your church see why groups are important in the life and health of the church and how groups can be implemented or improved in line with your mission to go and make disciples in your community and beyond. Help your people catch a vision for fulfilling the great commission through the power of groups. Get in touch with me if you would like to know more about this training or to set up a time for training in your church or association.