As ministry leaders, we’re all aware of the importance of disciplemaking. We engage culture, and as people come to Christ we get them connected into faith communities. But as I coach a lot of ministry leaders who are seeking to be incarnational and missional, one of the pieces often missing is the bridge between engaging culture and the disciplemaking process.
How do we bridge people into discipleship as part of the overall ministry flow? We need to think through what are the relational ways in which we can invite people to consider the claims of Jesus. What are the vehicles that move people from relational engagement into discipleship? Alpha is one of my favorites, but there are others– both formal and informal.
The importance of the bridging component is paramount. Without such a bridge, some believers are out there spending a lot of time with nonChristians… serving, having a beer with them, engaging relationally… but they never get into discussion of spiritual things.
Beyond just making friends and having a good time, there needs to be some sort of intentional way to discern who’s receptive and how to bridge into those conversations about the gospel and following Jesus. Those conversations do require a foundation of relationship, but a connecting point needs to exist in order for the ministry flow not to short circuit at that point.
Discuss in the comments section: What bridges do you use? What type of intentional process has been helpful to you in bridging the gap between engaging culture and the discipleship process?