For thirty-five years, Saddleback Church has been making disciples through a very intentional, purpose driven process. And we’ve helped train tens of thousands of other churches to do the same. We’ve always been concerned with five big goals, and as we face another new year of ministry, we’re working toward these same five goals again.
As you plan your preaching, prepare your budget, and arrange your calendar, I’m convinced the following questions will help you to make more disciples, more effectively.
GOAL #1: We will increase our weekend service attendance.
The first step in our disciple-making process is drawing our surrounding community together on Sunday to be part of our crowd. Jesus drew large crowds and then challenged them to commit. Peter challenged the enormous crowd to follow the resurrected Jesus on the Day of Pentecost, and three thousand did so.
We want as many people as possible to be brought into close proximity to the gospel, so that they will hear about Jesus. That’s the starting point, for most people, on the journey to spiritual maturity. So what will you do in the upcoming year to increase your primary weekend worship attendance?
- How will you use social media?
- How will you utilize local media outlets?
- How can you leverage local events or host special events?
- What invite tools will you put in the hands of your members?
- What major campaigns will you use as an entry point for new people?
GOAL #2: We will help attenders to get better connected.
You can only make disciples when people who join the crowd stick around. It’s actually easy to get a bunch of people to come. What’s difficult is getting people to stick, to keep coming back, and to feel that they are truly part of the family.
The real issue is, how do we help people see that they really belong, and that the best way to grow spiritually is to be a committed part of the body. As we face another year, we’re wrestling with questions such as:
- How can you get every member into a small group?
- How can you give every member a job, a role serving the body?
- How can you best challenge more people to commit to membership?
- How do you get people to take ownership of the mission of your church?
- How do you reward long-term faithfulness?
GOAL #3: We will help our members grow in spiritual maturity.
Disciples follow Jesus. They imitate his character and learn to be more like him, which only happens as they grow deeper in his truth and grace. And growing disciples don’t depend solely on the weekend message as their source of spiritual nourishment. They become self-feeders who study the Bible, pray, give, and serve.
Our role as church leaders isn’t to produce spiritual maturity. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But it is certainly our job to create the environment and supply the tools for God to work with.
- How will your next twelve months of preaching challenge people to be like Jesus?
- How can you get devotional material into people’s hands daily? (Hint: You can always start with the Daily Hope devotional.)
- How can you remind people of the power and potential of prayer?
GOAL #4: We will deploy more people in ministry and develop more leaders.
When your members get involved in ministry, they are far more likely to become bringers. And the more leaders you have involved in ministry, the more your members feel connected and cared for. Your church’s capacity to grow increases as people leave their seats to serve others.
- How can you help people discover their unique, God-given SHAPE for ministry?
- How can you make people aware of all the opportunities there are to serve?
- How can you open more opportunities for people to serve?
GOAL #5: We will fulfill the Great Commission locally, globally, and cross-culturally.
The end game of making more disciples, is making more disciples. We reach one more for Jesus so that the family of God grows and becomes more influential in reaching a lost generation with the good news. There are still thousands of unreached people groups in the world, and when the body of Christ works together, we can get busy reaching them.
Every local church is responsible for reaching the world. We can’t leave it to denominations and parachurch organizations. Your church is part of the solution.
- How can you invest more funds into missions?
- How can you personally connect with every mission field you support?
- How can you send more people on mission trips this year?
- How can your church partner with a local church in another nation?
Obviously, these five goals revolve around the five biblical purposes of the church, which never change and remain constant in any culture. Every year, re-evaluate and re-align your structure and strategy to fulfill God’s purposes in your surrounding culture.