Randy Pope – The Journey (Discipleship) – GCA Conf

Pastor Pope suggests contacting Bill Wood. Wood, a former GE executive, is on their staff and his entire job is to help pastors who ask for help. Pope, Wood and others are now trying to make this material available to others.
LIFE LEARNING REGARDING DISCIPLESHIP
1. The importance of investing in faithful followers of Christ.
2. The need to equip apprentice leaders.
3. The advantage of multiplication.

You sign up to go to the Discipleship Group for one year. If your leader finds you faithful, you are allowed to go for a second year (if you agree to do so). It is meant to last three years. After three years, you are done. (And they’ve actually struggled to get the people out of these groups.)
They encourage leaders to start their group with four people. These are all men or all women groups. It is four people + a leader. And then, they tell the leader: “Ask the two more mature folk of the group to agree to sign up for a two-year, rather than a three-year, period.” So:
FIRST YEAR:
Leader
Two Rookies
Two Veterans (the ones you’ve selected)
Next year: the veterans can only come back if they agree to lead a group the next year (could be a group for youth or kids). Hence, they become assistant leaders. If they don’t agree, they are done. If they agree, they ALSO each need to go out and get two rookies.
SECOND YEAR:
Leader
Two Veterans
Two Assistant Leaders (ALs)
Two Rookies – that the leader recruited
Two Rookies – that one assistant leader recruited
Two Rookies – that another assistant leader recruited
And some part of each meeting is spent divided: Namely, the two Assistant Leaders with their four guys/gals.
So that’s how the the group multiplies. Perimeter church has gotten 5,649 people through this cycle in 10 years.
Can a non-Christian join a group? Randy says yes, because it has worked so often.
What if a husband and wife both want to be in a group — they would have to be in separate groups, but how would they swing it family-wise? Some groups meet at lunch, others in the morning, and others in the evening. And they do tell church attenders, “This might not be the right thing for you at every time in your life.”
About 20% of Randy’s groups are really good, and about 20% are basically “small groups on steroids” (i.e., not much more than a small group). They do coaching to try to take them up.
4. The importance of having an excellent curriculum.
Pope went off on a retreat and thought about what things people need to be strong. And he put that into a three year program.
5. The importance of a balance between biblical, systematic and practical theology in one’s curriculum.
6. The necessity of balance between structured and organic discipleship.
7. The advantage of multiple group synergy.
Try to find a place where lots of groups can meet at the same time. (E.g., in a large cafeteria) Pope does this for the groups that meet at night. All the group leaders have dinner together on Monday night. Pope stresses one truth for about 10-15 minutes. All the leaders interact socially. And then they all go off to run their groups. [The groups that meet in the morning or over lunch do not receive this benefit.]
8. The necessity of good theology in the follow-up of new believers.
TFL — Theological Foundation for Leaders. This is material that Pope had developed for elders. They decided to offer it by invitation to any prospective leader, not just prospective elders. You cannot get nominated to be an elder or deacon in their church until you have been through this program.
Perimeter Church now has 225 elders. They have about 50 people ready to become elders.
With respect to their curriculum, over the years they have pulled out three topics:
1. How to share your faith
2. How to discover your gifts
3. How to know the Bible is the Word of God
They found that their discipleship leaders were not strong in teaching this material. So they now receive it en masse from Pope or some other church leader.
CLOSING THOUGHTS
Besides taking care of your family, what do you need to be diligent in as a church planter?
1. Be a sincere worshiper.
2. Be faithful at sharing your faith with non-Christians.
3. Be an effective disciple trainer.
For Pope, lunches with non-Christians and a small group on Monday night are his #2 and #3.

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