Has your ministry team been event-driven with one person overseeing Bible studies, another the retreat, & another the Christmas brunch?
Does your current women’s ministry need to have more structure and purpose to what you organize and fund?
Do you see the same women involved in your ministry with rarely a new face?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of those questions, it is a good time to…
add a disciple-making focus to women’s ministry.
What is disciple-making?
The terms "discipleship" and "disciple-making" often get confused.
Discipleship typically refers to the normal process for Christians to grow in their faith through Bible studies, prayer, worship, & small groups. It usually focuses on individual spiritual growth.
Disciple-making goes a step further than typical discipleship. Disciple-making includes seeing people trust in Christ and grow in their faith. It also includes training Christians to reach new people for Christ and help new believers grow in their faith so those can then reach their own peers for Christ. Disciple-making makes disciples who make more disciples. It is others-focused. Focused is a key concept in a disciple-making ministry…
“An effective disciple-making ministry is not necessarily a big or busy ministry but one that is regularly reaching new people for Christ, building them up in the faith, and training them to reach their peers for Christ. The local church is the best venue for disciple-making to take place.” (Sonlife Ministries, Growing Healthy Women in Ministry)
The disciple-making process consists primarily of these "steps":
• Engage (reach those who need to know Jesus whether unsaved or unchurched)
• Establish (build up the young believers in the truths of the faith so they become mature disciples of Jesus)
• Equip (prepare those growing disciples to reach the lost (ENGAGE) and build up believers (ESTABLISH)
The strategy to add a disciple-making focus to women's ministry
#1. EVALUATE existing ministries for a disciple-making purpose
To evaluate existing ministries for purpose and effectiveness in disciple-making, first list what you offer to women, whether ongoing (weekly/monthly) or occasional (once a year), under the category you would consider the primary purpose of each activity. Include any leader training. If you are unsure about an activity’s purpose, mark it as “Unclear Disciple-making Purpose.”
#2. ENHANCE existing activities for disciple-making
Explore ways to enhance existing activities to make them more effective for disciple-making. This might include making some ministries more receptive for new people or adding a "beginners' group" to your existing BIble studies. Lots of creative ways to do this.
#3. DISSOLVE those activities less effective for disciple-making
Consider how to dissolve or move away from those activities that do not have a disciple-making purpose or have become less effective. Caution: move slowly with your “Operation Kaboom.” Sometimes those can be moved to another church ministry or released to an individual to continue doing it apart from women’s ministry. End it with celebration and appreciation.
#4. CONSIDER new ways to address the weak areas
Three general weak areas to consider in a church ministry might include:
• The lack of preparedness to befriend and share one’s faith with unchurched women
• The disconnected: Who is left out of your current ministry?
• The immediate neighbors: How to reach the women in the neighborhoods closest to the church
#5. TRANSFORM the team to the disciple-making mission
Match the leadership team members to the process of disciple-making (Engage, Establish, Equip) as a way of staying balanced. By transforming your leadership team to the disciple-making mission, you can help the women of your church move away from dependence on traditional event-driven ministries and toward a lifestyle of making disciples who make more disciples. The local church is the best venue for disciple-making to begin. I’ll talk about this step more in a future blog.
#6. RECRUIT a Disciple-making Coach to support discipling relationships
Recruit a “Disciple-making Coach” to support women in one-to-one discipling relationships and assist your leadership team stay focused on your disciple-making purpose. Ask Jesus to bring someone’s name to mind you could ask.
Invite me to come to your church and lead your ministry team through a 2-4 hour process called "Transition to Disciple-making Workshop." We will work through each of the above 6 steps together to help you add a disciple-making focus to your women's ministry.