The older I get, the more I realize that it is the simple things most people find the hardest to practice well. With this in mind I want to give you some very simple and practical things to consider as you are planning for your Disciple Now. You might be amazed at how a little eternal perspective can totally change how you plan and, more importantly, what the Lord might do as a result of seeking Him first.
- Begin with Prayer. This is so easily forgotten but is so vitally indispensible. Consider the viewpoint of famous preacher C.H. Spurgeon who said, “…[the] power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal.” There is no obstacle that can stand in the way of the Lord working in and through you and your students and families when you start your D-Now on your knees.
- Begin with the Word. So many times I have heard about student pastors who spend more time thinking about a D-Now concept than they do in searching the scriptures. Nothing pains me more than to see God’s Word cut and pasted to fit some “awesome” D-Now theme. Start with the Word and let that drive what you do. You may not be able to stick with one text for all your sessions, but you can at least be expositional in how you handle your passages. This fidelity to God’s Word will reap benefits long after the weekend is over.
- Begin with the Community. How often do we look to the brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we serve to help guide the ministry effort? The gospel is our message, but that message has to be planted in the soil of biblical community in order to grow. Let your own dependence on a small group of brothers and sisters in Christ set the example for your students and families. Let your community be your source of encouragement, accountability, and prayer.
- Begin with where You Are. Everybody likes to dream big, and there is something to be said for it, but the best place to start is where you are. Don’t try to compete with the mega-church down the road. Cast your vision big but do it within the character and framework of your people. Don’t try to do something that is incompatible with who you are as a ministry. Besides, just because it worked at First Baptist doesn’t mean that it will work at your church.
- Begin with Service. A D-Now that doesn’t engage your students and families in serving each other and the unbelievers in your area is just a party. Parties are great, but they are not life changing events that further the cause of the gospel. Get your people out of their comfort zone by rolling up their sleeves and taking on a hard task that will open doors to the gospel. This might be serving at a homeless shelter, taking food to low-income families, or doing a service project in an economically depressed neighborhood or school. You will be surprised at the many needs that are yards away from the door of your church and are waiting for you to meet them.
So before you start looking at budgets, volunteer lists, and providers of blow-up games, take a few minutes to consider the previous five steps. You might be surprised by how an eternal perspective can ensure that the effects of your D-Now last long after the fellowship hall is clean and the kids have gone home.
Curriculum Author and Editor