Making Disciples - Part 3

What Kind of Church Discipleship Strategy is Needed? – Part 3


Randy Pope

President of Life on Life Ministries



In the last video I introduced the idea that you need to have a strategy. What is a simple and effective strategy? It is so important to have a strategy, you know, whether it be sports or business, it’s just common among any aspect of a pursuit of X. It’s just, you’re going to find there is a strategy.

Let me read you a definition of strategy. It’s a plan, method, or series of maneuvers for obtaining a specific goal. Let me tell you, disciple making is no exception. I mean, it becomes a dream of the past very quickly without it. We become discouraged. We began to throw up the white flag and say, “I surrender, I can’t do that.”

I know as a young pastor, I did not personally have a well-defined, good strategy. But I needed a strategy, and I realized our people needed a strategy. It had to be something that was easily trained, and very easy to repeat over and over and over again. It had to be something that would be second nature that people would just think about immediately.

Three words emerged thinking about this strategy, and those three words have become common language around Perimeter Church. I dare say you could meet most any people in our church that have been here any time at all and say, “what do the letters GBI stand for?” They would quickly give you the words, greet, befriend and invite. So, those become the three centers of the strategy.

I want to walk through and help you understand what we mean by those three words. The first is the word greet, and the best way that I can help you understand that is simply by modeling. So here is how I greet. “Hi, my name is Randy.” That’s it. If it’s someone you don’t know, you just simply, have to greet and say, “hi, this is who I am.” That becomes something that can actually be skipped if you already know the people, but for those we don’t know already, that is the beginning. We see somebody, and we build a relationship with them. It’s the idea of, “Hey, I got to meet you first.” I’ve got to greet you by name. Now don’t underestimate the difficulty of this.

In this regard, for an introvert like me, do you know the most difficult step for me is to greet. Once I greet, I feel like, ooh, now I can keep going. It’s like the first domino has fallen and the others will fall in place. So, it’s just learning to look at people as people in need and saying, “I need to greet them.” Who knows? I might be the one that can give them the greatest news they’ve ever heard.

The second word is the word, befriend. Now, what do I mean by befriend? Here’s the way to make it simple. It simply means be friendly. Just be friendly. What do you mean? Well, ask questions. That’s the best way I think to show interest in someone else Ask about them. Ask where they live. Ask how they’re doing. Ask, are you single? Are you married? Just ask questions. People you already know, you can befriend in deeper ways just by doing that one thing, asking questions. Showing interest in who they are. You know what, people today are so craving, so starving for people to show interest in who they are, and what they do. It’s just so helpful, but you know what? It can take a long, long time before we ever get to the next step. But, I’m going to go ahead and tell you what the third is.

The third is the word, invite. When I talk about invite, I’m talking about having good options to be able to invite them. To join me or to do something that would be helpful for them. It’s just having good options of how to invite them, so that in some way, they began to hear and understand the gospel. I’m inviting them into meeting other Christians. I need to find a way to just invite them into an investigation of Jesus Christ.

The first of the three invite options is to read. That is, there needs to be a go-to piece of literature that every Christian has, that in the most simple way, you can say, “Hey, uh, would you like to read this?” Now, there needs to be some brief training—how do you introduce this, or how do you introduce that? You need to have a little plan for that. At Perimeter, we have a book that I’ve wrote a number of years ago for this very purpose. It’s called The Answer, putting an end to the search for life satisfaction. It is just a compilation of things that I have found to be so helpful as I meet with individuals to get them interested to investigate Christianity. I finally put it in a little book where our people can say, “Here, why don’t you read this?”

Some people say it’s just so much easier for me to offer them something to read. And so, in just four or five minutes, we can get a quick explanation of how to introduce the book and get you to the point where you could say, “Hey, I’d like to like to offer you this book.” They key is to have some literature—something to read that exposes them to God’s word.

Now, the second option, and I think we need options in all three, but the second option is to attend. What do I mean by attend? Well, I’m talking about to attend something with you as their guest, as your guests. It’s gotta be something that’s enjoyable and attractive. It could be in a home meeting, it could be a church meeting. It may be the worship service itself, but something where you say, “Hey, I want to invite you to join me” Anything that exposes them to God’s word and God’s people is like a two hook lure. That’s the way you see people come to faith in Christ—constant exposure to God’s word and to God’s people. And so, attend would be a second invite option.

The third option would be to meet. And what do I mean by that? Well, I mean to meet. With you. And that is one-on-one. An finally, this is where we go, oh whoa, this has become too scary. Now, it is a bit scary. It is. But it’s doable with training and tools that we’ll be talking about next, but you can do it.

And that’s the whole idea. At Perimeter we train and equip our people to use some little booklets that are called Life Issue booklets. They are four very simple, very short six page booklets that people can, can take home with them and read the answers to the most important questions that nonbelievers are going to be asking about the faith. I won’t walk through those right now, but they also have in them a little bit of the gospel of John. I’ll be explaining more about the use of things like that. But it’s just having the right tools so we can say, I want you to meet with me and be able to investigate the claims of Christianity.

So you have the mindset, right, you have a simple, effective strategy, and now, the only thing that’s really lacking is tools. And of course, the equipping and the use of those tools. Once those come together, I’m telling you what difference makers, these are. Unbelievable. You’ll be amazed to see how you can effectively begin to share your faith.

You’ve become a disciple maker.

I want to say a word to pastors. I really believe that one of the great contributions that we can make in our leadership is to provide for our church, effective tools. Just options in these arenas. What is our go-to literature? Something very attractive that you can invite people to. We’ve had something called investigative forum here for many years. Our people can bring their non-Christians on a Sunday morning. We have two services and one of the hours, instead of preaching, I’m meeting with the non-believing friends of people. They can ask questions and interact in lots of different ways. And finally, an investigative approach where you can train and equip your people to answer the hardest questions that they’re going to be asked. That’s why so many people don’t share their faith. They don’t have the answers. And so let me encourage you, try to provide those things. I think they will be a major, major contribution to your ministry.

So now, the next thing lacking is this issue of culturally relevant and biblically sound tools.

What do we mean by that? We’ll look at that in the next video.


If you would rather read this series, you can download the Making and Training disciples booklets here.