A Diagnostic Tool and a Word of Encouragement

By Paul Wilkinson

Here’s a diagram I was taught last week during a 3-day training conference at LifeWay in downtown Nashville (click on diagram to enlarge):

Hopefully, you recognize the head, heart, hands language as the categories for the transformational learning model. And the wedges of the pie are the foundational dynamics for balanced small group discipleship. These categories fit within the transformational life strategy (LIFE) model. Bible Study in the form of weekly teaching and Discipleship Groups which provide personal space development would be the F function. Fellowship understood as non-group time gatherings, Ministry Inreach which is prayer and nurture within the group, and Financial Benevolence which is financial aid for those struggling in the group would be split between the L and I functions. Missions understood to be foreign missions through group trips or adoption of missionaries, Ministry Outreach which is personal evangelism and adding the unchurched to the LIFE group, and Community Projects understood as local missions would be the E function.

Use this pie, in addition to your other leader information, to diagnose where your LIFE group is springing and where they might be dragging their feet. If you see an area that needs attention, invite others to champion those causes. If you have a group member who has a passion for orphans, then empower them to champion projects at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. If you have a group member with a heart for missions to Nepal, then empower them to champion that cause for the group. If you have group members who love to schedule meals for the sick in your group or who would love to call members who miss a week to see how they are, then empower them to champion that cause. Your job is not to do all the work; rather, your job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12) by bringing the Word to your group, by encouraging your group to a balanced discipleship through each of the discipleship spaces, and by casting a vision for these other areas of ministry in the pie above. As many in business are told: only do what only you can do. I would modify that for the body of Christ as: do what you are uniquely called to do; invite and empower others to do the rest.

Now for the word of encouragement: you guys do these functions really well. Being “out of the office” for 3 days allowed me to look at the big picture rather than the minor cracks here or there, and I was convicted that I do not tell you enough that you are great. I appreciate your work for the Lord, your service for BBC, and your leadership for your group members. What a blessing you are to me!

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