Discipleship Pipeline

Do you have a long-term plan?


by St John Eyre/ November 4, 2014

I watched a documentary the other day on the building of the Taj Mahal. It was built as a testament of love. Twenty-one years in the making—an investment in time, money, and purpose. It has stood for over 350 years as it continues to carry the vision of its originator.

As a leader of children, God is trusting you to guide them in their early years. Like the visionary behind the Taj Mahal, I want to make a lasting impression that will stand for a lifetime in these children’s lives. It will take years of investment, opportunities, faith, prayer, and instructions if we are to be successful.

Building a disciple is a process that requires a vision and a solid plan. I first set my vision by defining what I wanted a first-grade child to be when they turned 21. What values should they have grasped? What impact do we want them to make in our church, community, and world? That vision became my goal. Then I started asking God to help me lay out the blueprints for the discipleship journey from childhood to adulthood.

I wanted them to:

  1. Know God.
  2. Know God’s Word.
  3. Grow in wisdom and stature.
  4. Develop a heart of compassion to serve others.
  5. Duplicate themselves in the years ahead.

Coming from a business background I was familiar with a term called ROI—Return On Investment. I felt certain that there would be some type of return down the road for my investments made today.

I use a pipeline model in discipleship. I have worked very closely with our youth and young adults ministry leaders to develop an ongoing disciple program. It will be many years before a child may return back to children’s ministry to serve as a leader. As I write this article I’m excited to share that one of my first graduates from my Servant Leader group will be leading worship at summer kids camp next year—ROI!

Here is a snapshot of our disciple blueprint:

Fourth–fifth grades:

  1. Enter into our Servant Leadership program.
  2. Operate all kids’ church media and audio systems.
  3. Serve alongside kids’ worship team.
  4. Help check in kids for church.
  5. Be an ambassador to children who are first-time attenders.
  6. Place others’ needs above their own.

Sixth–eighth grades:

  1. Join “Summer 180” for a short-term junior internship program.
  2. Develop advanced skills at media/audio stations.
  3. Begin Bible discipleship classes.
  4. Lead portions of youth activities and church services.
  5. Become adopted by prayer partners (adults within the church).

Ninth–twelfth grades:

  1. Attend World View Academy.
  2. Take an overseas missions trip.
  3. Take a trip to Washington D.C. to learn about our national heritage and its godly foundations.
  4. Continue to develop leadership skills within youth and adult church services.
  5. Serve in events for children (camps, community outreach, etc.).
  6. Take advanced discipleship classes.

College and Up

  1. Enter our 2-year internship program working closely with church leadership.
  2. Lead discipleship programs.
  3. Lead department and outreach events.
  4. Lead services in all age groups.
  5. Influence the next generation.
I want to encourage you to continue to develop strong and influential disciples. Work in partnership with other leaders at your church. Always look at your strategy and make course corrections where and when needed. Keep your plan adaptable. Finally, always keep your discipleship efforts covered in prayer and always bring before the Lord those you are discipling.