The following is an excerpt from our workbook Disciple Making Leaders.  To purchase the entire workbook go to

I.  The Steps in making disciples or mobilizing a congregation.  This is the primary measure of how much value a paid staff person adds to the mission of the church.

A.      Identify those who appear ready for discipleship.

1. One equipped paid staff person has the capacity to identify 100-125 potential disciples a year. Usually an unpaid servant can identify fewer simply because of time.

a.  This assumes that they are free from managing programs so they can focus   on disciple making.  Remember, laity are the ones who run the ministries.

b.  Spend as much time with this group as it takes to determine how open they are to becoming leaders or disciple makers.


c.      Encourage those who are not ready to go deeper in their faith by pointing them to one of the growth opportunities that might prepare them.


B.  Recruit 50-75 people who are ready and willing to be coached in their faith development (spiritually pregnant).  These people are found within the original 100-125 people.


C.  Discern who is spiritually pregnant.

1.       Discernment is asking AI wonder what gift this new person brings to the Body that we don=t even know that we need?@  Delegation is asking, AI wonder where this person will fit into our organizational needs.@ One focuses on the person and their unique gift and the DNA of the organism; the other focuses on the institutional needs of the machine.

2.       CAUTION: the number one mistake dying churches make is to either allow new people to sit in the pew and vegetate or to swiftly put them on a committee.  Most people today do not have the spiritual maturity at this point.  They need to be in a Bible study or share group first.

3.     A discernment tool or opportunity is used to help this group discover their gifts and places of service within the Body.

a.      The two most thorough are Networking by Bruce Bugbee, and S.H.A.P.E. by Rick Warren. They are  also the longest and most difficult to get a large number of people in a low commitment church to do.


b.      We used the Easum Spiritual Gift Inventory.  It only takes an hour to do and score and it can be reproduced in a church as many times as one needs to once it is purchased.  See workbook Discovering Our Place in God=s World.

c.      Whatever tool you use, make sure the tool is indigenous to your theology.

D.    Equip those who are ready to become disciple makers. Usually a paid staff person can then equip 10-20 of the original group of  individuals into serious, hands-on ministry.

1.            This is a time of internship when the staff person leads while the intern watches and then the intern leads while the staff person watches.

2.            Coaching and debriefing are essential parts of the process.

E.     Deployment into a specific ministry is the next step.  Over time the staff person coaches the most committed of this group into becoming leaders (later called Lay Pastors).

1.            Discernment is more important here than delegating. Delegating means that someone gives someone a task to perform or responsibility for something that needs to be done.  Instead of delegation, disciple makers help people discern for themselves the gift that is within them.  People are deployed on the basis of their gift and how they choose to live it out within the mission of the church and the boundaries of the Value Statement.

2.      Discernment is more important than nominations and voting.  More and more churches are eliminating most, if not all voting, and relying on God to raise up the leaders and ministries needed.  Spiritual gift inventories are replacing Adialing for people@ encountered by most nomination committees when they call people to fill offices that no body wants to fill. Two good books on discernment are Yearning to Know God=s Will by Morris, and Experiencing God by Blackaby.

F.   Empower ALay Pastors@ to be for the 21st century what the Aminister@ was to the 20th century.

1.      Empowerment means delegating to people responsibility for results, not just the task. Individuals or teams must be free to work on their own without interference.  They must feel in control of the results.  They must also be confident they can achieve the desired results.

2.       For more on Lay Pastors later see our workbook Disciple Making Leaders at

3.       The steps involved in empowering people.

a.   All information needed to live out one=s gift on behalf of the Body needs to be shared with the person.

 b.   Reduce or eliminate the barriers standing between the person and carrying out the ministry. Hierarchy must be reduced to where it is not a hindrance to ministry,  a drain on one=s energy, or a drain on the church=s finances.


c.   People must be given autonomy and trusted to do what is best for the Body. Two good books on the subject of empowerment are Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute [i] and Lay Mobilization Starter Kit, from Leadership Network.

d.  Small groups that reproduce and ministry teams that produce are the places where most empowerment will take place. The only people empowered by committees are those who already have power of leadership qualities. Spiritual wallflowers never blossom in committees.  Multiplying small groups and effective teams brings out the latent qualities in people.  More later.

e.      At the early stages when delegation may be necessary, make sure the task and role are clearly defined.  Later in the process it will not be necessary.

 f.        Provide regular encouragement.

g.      Hold the mentoree accountable to the common mission.

 h.  Provide the necessary tools.  Two excellent tool for raising up leaders are Empowering Leaders Through Coaching by Ogne and Nebel, and Raising Leaders for the Harvest, by Logan and Cole, both from Church Smart Resources 1-800-253-4276.

[i].  Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute by Blanchard, Carlos and Randolph (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1996).