I’ve met some pastors over the years that seem content with drawing a crowd. If they have a good weekend service with plenty of people present, they have hit their goal. They have mission success!
If the mission of Jesus is simply to draw a big crowd, then the weekend service becomes the main thing. However, if making disciples is the mission, then drawing a crowd on the weekend is simply one part of the mission; it is not the ultimate indicator of mission success.
Having a large crowd at a weekend service is important! The goal, however, is to help those in the crowd become “fully trained” disciples; that means helping people in the crowd move into community.
Jesus demonstrated the principle of moving people from the crowd into community when He invited His disciples to come and follow Him. Jesus was calling potential disciples into a deeper relationship with Him. This relationship meant more than simply being a part of the large group. Jesus was calling people into community and building a small group where Christ-centered community could exist.
The small group became the place where Jesus and His disciples cared for one another and where they grew in Christ-likeness. The small group was where Jesus drove His mission of being and building disciples. The small group was where true Christian community was experienced.
Helping people move from the crowd to a small group community is still an important part of the disciple making process Jesus used. In the church today, we must figure out systems to help people move into community. We must develop ways for people to take next steps in the process of becoming fully trained disciples. We have to help people transition from the crowd to community.
In the church where I pastor, we are very intentional and strategic in the way we help people move from the crowd to community. Here are some of the ways we help people take the step into community.
First, we follow up with new people in our church, thank them for coming, and invite them to attend a class called “Next Steps Orientation.” At The Next Steps Orientation, we give people a map for how our church can help them grow as a disciple. We know that discipleship is a journey, and we all need a map for the journey.
The second step we take is to invite people to a class called the “Step of Connecting.” In the Step of Connecting, we help people identify a small group that is right for them and fits in their schedule. We actually encourage people to try several groups until they find the best relational fit for them.
When a person has moved from the crowd to a small group, they have taken another important step in becoming a fully trained disciple. This is not the last step, but it is an important step and hopefully they are now connected relationally and in an environment where they can grow and be cared for.
At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we have developed discipleship curriculum for small groups, and we provide training to help churches make and multiply disciples. Register for our next seminar coming up in Jefferson, GA by clicking on the link below!