Creating A Discipleship Improvement Plan With Disciple Labs

Discipleship is not a one-time event, it’s a commitment to continual change. When I first started thinking through the idea of Disciple Labs, one of the first decisions I made was to make the spiritual health survey automatically send every three months. The reason was simple — I knew that in order to see long-term growth a church needs to continual measure results and make changes.

After the results from the first Disciple Labs survey are calculated, it’s important to not jump immediately towards the planning stage. Only after reflection and analysis can effective planning take place. This process includes spending time in prayer, talking to your team about the results, and asking yourself tough questions. After you’ve done these things, then the planning can begin.

Brainstorm solutions with your team

Chances are you don’t know everything. There are perspectives that you would never naturally consider. This is why teamwork is so important when trying to implement solutions. An average leader has good ideas, an exceptional leader comes up with great ideas with the help of their team. Invite your staff members and key lay leaders to a brainstorming meeting.

Ask each person to think of 3-5 ideas each and present them at the meeting. This will ensure that people aren’t simply agreeing with other people’s ideas. It’s also a good practice to ask for both why you should and shouldn’t implement a particular idea. Don’t just look for something that sounds good. You need to think through each item.

Focus On One Or Two Big Things

Don’t try to implement everything at once. Instead, focus on one or two big things that you can achieve. If you spread your church too thin, you either won’t see the results you’re looking for or you won’t be able to easily identify what did and didn’t work. By focusing on one or two big things, you will have a higher likelihood of people embracing them.

Every church is going to have a different plan because every church is going to have different results. Your church may have a relatively high spiritual health score with only a couple of health areas that are lower than the others, while another church may find that they have a low health score church-wide. Each church is going to need to focus on different action items.

Plan For Each Ministry

The church is the sum of its parts. We’ve built-in the ability to track spiritual health in each ministry area to increase accountability and to help identify action items on the micro level. Each ministry needs its own plan of action. While the goal of increasing spiritual health is the same, it’s going to look different in each ministry.

After you’ve established church-wide action items, meet with the leaders of each ministry area to help them think through action items for their ministry. If there are ministry areas with similar results, meet with both leaders at the same time to help them bounce ideas off of each other. Finally, chances are that you’ll identify a few ministries that are doing great and have others that need more help. Have the leaders from the healthy ministry areas work with leaders from the areas that need more help. This will encourage a team spirit and help your team to bond with each other and know that ministry truly is a team sport.

Analyze Impact With Next Survey

Once you’ve implemented changes church-wide and in each ministry area, you can’t stop there. It may take one to two cycles of survey results to see how things are trending. If you’re seeing progress, it may be time to add on additional action items from the first brainstorming session. If you’re seeing stagnant or declining trends in health, it may be time to dig a little further into what is causing that.

Rinse And Repeat

No matter what happens, it’s important to continue to look towards your why. Discipleship is a process and will not happen overnight. It takes organizational commitment to ensure that your church moves towards being spiritually healthy. If you’re not seeing progress, you may need to bring in additional people to help you get to the root of what’s going on. If you’re seeing results, it’s important that you don’t think that you’re in the clear. A continued emphasis on measuring and improving spiritual health is necessary for lasting results.