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Adult Discipleship Plan

Adult Discipleship Plan

PARK CITY ADULT DISCIPLESHIP PLAN

THE IMPORTANCE OF A SIMPLE STRUCTURE

Jesus has called us to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). At Park City, we believe a simple discipleship structure is the most effective way for us to fulfill that call and develop mature followers of Christ. A simple structure is essential because it allows people to invest their time and energy in the few areas that will promote the most growth.

OVERVIEW OF DISCIPLESHIP PLAN

In developing our simple disciple structure, we hope to accomplish three goals:

  1. Help people build a solid biblical and theological foundation.
  2. Spur them on to greater growth in Christlikeness.
  3. Encourage them to live their lives on mission.

To accomplish those goals while maintaining a simple structure, we have adopted the following strategy:

  1. Create a few basic courses to help people build a solid biblical and theological foundation.
  2. Utilize sermon-based small groups to spur people to greater growth in Christlikeness.
  3. Mobilize small group leaders to encourage group members to live their lives on mission.

BASIC COURSES TO HELP PEOPLE BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION

            Why We Want Everyone to Build a Solid Biblical and Theological Foundation

We want to help everyone at Park City build a solid biblical and theological foundation because:

  • It Promotes a Deeper Relationship with God: God has called us into a relationship with Him. However, it is difficult to have a close relationship with someone we do not know very well. Solid biblical and theological teaching promotes a deeper relationship with God because it helps us to see more clearly who he is, what he has done for us, and how he continues to work in our lives.
  • It Provides a Biblical Worldview: A significant amount of false teaching is circulating in the world. As a result, many Christians unknowingly embrace false ideas about God, themselves, and the world around them. These false beliefs are dangerous because they directly impact how we relate to God and interact with the world. Solid biblical and theological teaching corrects those false beliefs by bringing them in line with God’s truth.

Three Basics Courses

To provide people with a solid foundation, Park City will develop three basic courses:

  1. Exploring Your Faith: This course will introduce participants to basic theological concepts as they explore the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
  • Exploring the New Testament: This course will provide an overview of each book of the New Testament, helping participants to understand not only the message of each book but also how each book contributes to the overarching biblical story of redemption.
  • Exploring the Old Testament: This course will provide an overview of Old Testament teaching, tracing God’s redemptive plan from Genesis through the prophets.  

SERMON-BASED SMALL GROUPS TO SPUR PEOPLE TO GREATER GROWTH IN CHRISTLIKENSS

Why we want to spur people to greater growth in Christlikeness

God has called believers to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This call is at the heart of what it means to be a mature disciple of Christ. As we grow in maturity through the Holy Spirit’s work, we begin to think and act in ways that are consistent with the character of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5). To follow Christ is to live as he did (1 John 2:6). That means, if we are going to fulfill our mission of making disciples, we need to be intentional about spurring people on to greater growth in Christlikeness.  

Sermon-based small groups are our primary strategy for spurring growth

One of the biggest impediments to spiritual growth is our lack of focus on applying what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.We gather each Sunday for worship, and the sermon is a central part of that worship. As we open ourselves to God’s Word, we believe the Holy Spirit intends to use that message to transform us through the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2).

For that reason, we ask small groups to focus on:

  • Taking something specific away each Sunday: We believe the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives and intends to use God’s word to conform us into the image of Christ. If we believe he speaks to us on Sundays, we ought to make note of what he is telling us.
  • Listening to the Holy Spirit throughout the week:  Often we need to hear something more than once before it makes a difference in our lives, so we should not be surprised if God finds ways to keep reminding us of what he said on Sunday. We, therefore, should continue to look for and listen to those reminders throughout the week.
  • Looking for opportunities to apply what the Holy Spirit is teaching us: God wants to do more than just teach us. He wants to change us. That means we ought to expect him to give us opportunities to put into practice whatever he is teaching us. We need to pay attention, so we do not miss those opportunities.

Entryways to Sermon-Based Small Groups

Because small groups are our primary strategy for helping people to grow more like Christ, we would like to see everyone at Park City involved in a small group. To that end, as opportunities arise, small groups are encouraged to invite new members throughout the year.

However, we recognize not everyone is comfortable joining an existing group where the other members have already had a chance to get to know one another. To encourage the formation of new sermon-based groups, we will offer Alpha and Rooted on a semesterly basis.

Alpha is a ten-week study for believers and unbelievers alike where they discuss the big questions of life in a low-pressure environment. Rooted is a ten-week, group-discipleship experience that introduces participants to foundational Christian beliefs, stories from the global Church, and spiritual rhythms for daily life.

Our hope is that most of the members of each Alpha and Rooted group will choose to continue meeting and will transition into a sermon-based group after the Alpha and Rooted sessions are completed.

            Occasional Non-Sermon-Based Topics

Although our plan is for groups to focus on applying the weekly message, leaders have the freedom to occasionally choose a different area of study to meet the needs of their members. In that event, leaders should:

  1. Notify the Small Group Ministry Leader.
  2. Submit the intended study materials to the Small Group Ministry Leader at least one month in advance to allow adequate time for review.

If the proposed study and materials are consistent with Park City’s statement of faith and discipleship plan, the small group ministry leader will approve the study. In general, we ask small groups to limit such non-sermon-based studies to one per year to maintain the focus on applying what the Holy Spirit is teaching us each week through the sermon.

ENCOURAGEMENT TO LIVE LIFE ON MISSION

            Why We Want People Live Their Lives on Mission

We want everyone at Park City to actively participate in the mission of God because we believe this is what the Church is called to be and do. Jesus himself says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Furthermore, ordinary believers are called to function as ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20). That means that we go everywhere on behalf of God and as spokesmen and women for the King.

How Small Groups Leaders Can Provide Weekly Mission Motivation

  • Pray for non-believers within their group’s sphere of influence: Small group leaders should encourage members to identify at least one non-believer they know for whom they and the group can be regularly praying.
  • Remind members that our daily lives ser part of our testimony: Small group leaders should also regularly remind their group that the way we live our lives is part of our testimony to those around us because it provides evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work.  
  • Remind members to look for Spirit-led opportunities to help non-believers to take a step closer to Christ: If we are living life on mission, we ought to be looking for opportunities to help others come to know and follow Christ. One obstacle to living out our mission in this way is the belief that it means we need to lead someone to faith in Christ all at once. This belief often hinders our efforts because we do not frequently have encounters with unbelievers where that seems to be a likely outcome. As a result, we fail to take full advantage of the relationships God has given us. To counteract this tendency, small group leaders ought to regularly remind their group that the Holy Spirit is the one who does the work and that helping an unbeliever take even one small step toward faith Christ is an important part of fulfilling our mission.

Support for Small Group Community Outreach Opportunities

Small groups are also encouraged to participate in at least one community outreach project each year. Park City has developed a budget to aid groups in this area. If a group has a community outreach project idea that requires funding, the small group leader can submit a request for up to $200 to the Elders outlining the details of the project, the amount requested, and a description of how the funds will be spent. The request needs to be submitted at least 60 days before the funds are needed. Elders will evaluate the request based on the following factors:

  1. The project’s consistency with Park City’s Mission and Statement of Faith.
  2. The urgency of the need met by the project.
  3. Park City’s current budget.

Small group leaders will submit receipts accounting for the funds spent on any approved project within 30 days of the project’s completion. No group may receive more than $200 for community services projects in a year.

Park City Will Also Offer Regular Short-Term Missions and Community Service Opportunities

Short-term mission trips provide believers with an opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture to learn about what God is doing there. Because we believe those types of opportunities have the potential to increase our passion for global missions, Park City is committed to regularly offering short-term trips to work alongside some of our global partner ministries.

LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Why Leadership Training Is Important

In order to effectively implement the above discipleship plan, we need to ensure we have leaders who have already developed a solid biblical foundation, are growing more like Christ, and have the skills to help others do the same.

Leadership Training Strategy

In keeping with our overall discipleship philosophy, we want to keep our leadership training simple. The goal is to equip leaders while giving them the time and space they need to serve in their given ministry areas. To that end, our leadership training strategy has just two components:

  1. Basic Biblical and Theological Training: All Ministry Leaders are expected to have completed or be in the process of completing the Exploring Your Faith, Exploring the New Testament, and Exploring the Old Testament courses, which are part of the discipleship plan for all Park City members. Those considering becoming a Ministry Leader are also strongly encouraged to complete these basic biblical and theological courses.
  • Semesterly Leadership Training: Each semester, we will provide ongoing training for Ministry Leaders. Existing leaders are expected to attend regularly. Prospective leaders are invited to attend as part of their preparation for leadership. The specific content of the semesterly training will vary, but the general focus will be on:
  1. Supporting our leaders’ spiritual growth and health.
    1. Discussing practical issues leaders may be facing in their groups or teams.
    1. Supplying training on leadership skills.
    1. Providing biblical teaching on difficult issues leaders may need to address.

ADDITIONAL SHORT-TERM DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES

            Need for Additional Short-Term Ministries and Events

The above plan outlines our general strategy for accomplishing the mission the Lord has given us to make disciples. However, we recognize this plan cannot address every individual spiritual need people may have depending on their particular circumstances. We are therefore committed to remaining flexible and offering additional discipleship events and ministries as necessary. These short-term ministries and events would include:

  1. Women’s events where the women of our church can come together to learn from and encourage one another, as well as receive biblical teaching on issues that are of special interest to them.
  • Men’s events where the men of our church can come together to learn from and encourage one another, as well as receive biblical teaching on issues that are of special interest to them.
  • Outreach events to reach those outside our typical sphere of influence.
  • Short-term classes or groups to provide biblical teaching on issues that may arise, which are not addressed by our basic discipleship plan.

Submitting Suggestions for Short-Term Ministries and Events

Suggestions for a short-term discipleship ministry or event need to be submitted to the Elders at least 90 days before the suggested event or ministry would begin. To assist the Elders in their evaluation the suggestion should include the date(s), location, and a detailed description of the event or ministry, including the purpose of the event or ministry; the number of volunteers required; and an estimated budget listing all anticipated expenses.

            Evaluating Suggestions

The Elders will evaluate all short-term discipleship event and ministry suggestions based on the following factors:

  1. The event or ministry’s consistency with Park City’s Mission and Statement of Faith.
  • The urgency of the need being met by the proposed class, group, or event.
  • Whether any other existing ministries meet that need.
  • The cost of the event or ministry.
  • Space in the church calendar. Although exceptions can be made, to maintain the simple discipleship structure, we typically limit additional short-term discipleship events or ministries to a maximum of two per semester.
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