This blog entry is part of a series of three that focuses on the three environments for making disciples: peer-to-peer discipleship, guided discipleship, and focused discipleship. Each of these represents a relational, intentional way to make disciples within our churches.

focusedThe focused discipleship approach is especially useful for either brand new believers who need more focused attention or for fruitful disciples who are emerging as leaders. Focused discipleship relies on coaching as its means. People grow through a coaching relationship tailored to help them discern how they’re going to grow and serve and what steps are next for them– in both personal development and ministry development.

Focused discipleship asks the question: What’s God asking you to do next in your life and ministry? The coach helps the person identify their strengths, where they need to grow, and how to move forward. Part of a focused discipleship relationship is ensuring that the person being discipled also begins discipling someone else. The discipling relationship is not complete until this step takes place.

From my experience, it’s usually best to engage focused discipleship in groups of either 1:1 or 1:3, but not 1:2. When someone is coaching two people together, there’s inevitable comparison. One is doing better. One is more advanced. This comparison creates imbalance. But when you add a third person to the mix, all of a sudden you have community and support. However, if you add a fourth, it becomes too time consuming for the coach to give individual attention to each of them; it becomes a small group in terms of dynamics. These small groups provide a proactive approach oriented toward people who are in the process of becoming leaders.