In our corporate training and ivy league consulting experience, we've discovered ways to accelerate knowledge and application that are ten times more effective than traditional lecture, sermon, and small group methods. We've been given a chance to study how change actually works, both individually and organizationally, and found that the right combination of people, information, methods and technology has incredible power to create transformation. Our mission is to promote these innovative methods in the church.
Here are some of the method elements:
Every campaign or discipleship initiative should provide a compelling answer to the question, "What's in this for me?" As much as we don't want to admit it, we all make decisions in terms of personal payoffs, and we live very busy lives. Without a clear sense of the benefits of any particular discipleship program, few are willing to commit to a multi-week process of learning and transformation. Kickoff events have the power to solidify focus, boost motivation, and set people up to participate fully and succeed.
No one gets on a bus without first knowing where it's going. Same is true for a discipleship initiative. People are much more motivated when they have a clear sense of where they are and where they're going. Once these are known, they can take steps in the right direction. By offering an online pre-assessment and discipleship program, Project 28 offers participants the ability to achieve measurable outcomes, dramatically increasing motivation and participation.
Frequent, Short-Form Self-Study
In Ecclesiastes 12:12, Solomon said, "Much study wearies the body." Church members will heartily concur. Experience has shown that when information is presented in a concise, relevant way, the participant has the ability to retain and apply the information much more effectively than if they are given a lot of information in one setting. We need to feed our minds like we feed our bodies, in small portions over time. Otherwise, we experience the fatigue of mental gluttony.
Structured Group Interaction and Reinforcement
When a discipleship group or small group gets together to reinforce and apply what they learned during the week, they sharpen each other. "As iron sharpens iron," wrote Solomon, "so one man sharpens another." Group interaction energizes the content, gives you different points of view, and helps you put it to work much more effectively than when you're going solo.
When groups get together to reinforce learning and assess how each member is doing, it creates a powerful accountability that motivates us to excel. This is why office pool weight loss challenges are often so effective. Whenever we have leadership and peer groups holding us accountable to a clear standard, our performance goes up. We participate in a whole different way, and we accelerate our transformation.
Once a group has cycled through a six to ten week small group program, participants can measure their improvement and see what's needed next by taking the same online assessment again every month, comparing with their initial results as they go. As they see measured progress, they feel empowered, and strive to continue on to mastery of the material.
Celebration of Mastery
Once a participant reaches a certain assessment score, it is vital that their accomplishment is celebrated publicly. Leaders who offer graduation certificates and reward participants publicly motivate and inspire others to do the same.
By using the right mix of these vital principles, church leaders will be much more effective in creating disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission.