Those who observe living things know that growth happens seasonally. A child, for example, may go months without significant change in height and then, suddenly, they’ll add several inches in a single growth season. The same is true for spiritual growth. Disciples grow seasonally. After periods of relative quiet, followers of Jesus often experience seasons of significant spiritual advancement precipitated by a variety of providential circumstances. Churches committed to making more and better disciples learn the importance of embracing seasonal growth.
Here are 7 commitments that leverage seasonal growth in disciple making:
MAKE RELATIONAL MINISTRIES SEASONAL
Small groups flourish when they’re structured seasonally. Introducing a spiritual growth emphasis and encouraging people to join a time-bound group to discuss that emphasis will multiply participation. People rarely join relational groups that have no agenda or end date.
ENLIST THE POWER OF SPIRITUAL CAMPAIGNS
Campaigns provide an “all in” short-term discipleship emphasis utilizing sermons, various tools and intentional relationships. One church created a “Project 119” (based on Ps. 119). For 119 days a single text was sent every morning to every member to stimulate a fresh passion for reflecting on God’s Word.
SET CHALLENGING SPIRITUAL GOALS AND OFFER REWARDS
People love a challenge and a reward for completing that challenge. One church challenged their congregation to read through the Bible in a year and then held a banquet at year’s end for those who accomplished the goal. An engaging biblical-archeologist served as the keynote speaker.
INVEST IN CREATIVE SPIRITUAL GROWTH EVENTS
Spiritual growth events are single gatherings that provide a deep dive into a particular topic. One church created an event entitled “reMARKable.” A creative biblical scholar utilizing an array of multi-media tools taught through the entire book of Mark during a single multi-hour Saturday gathering.
ENLIST THE POWER OF RETREATS AND MISSION TRIPS
Retreats and mission trips have long been a staple of student ministries for their power to encourage Jesus following. Retreats and short-term mission trips can be utilized for every age group. Consider leading a family mission trip or taking a mixed age group to a local monastery to re-discover a life of prayer.
CREATE SEASONAL INVITATIONS
Instead of weekly challenging worship attenders to invite friends and neighbors limit that challenge to unique times and events (i.e. Christmas, Easter, V.B.S., Alpha, etc.). With this challenge provide high impact invitational tools and develop high quality gatherings that will impress invited guests.
LEVERAGE THE CALENDAR FOR SEASONAL GROWTH
Utilize the seasons for seasonal growth. In the fall, as people are re-engaging schedules, emphasize a return to spiritual practices. During the holidays teach sacrificial giving. During Lent help people embrace Gospel hope. In Spring get out and do community service. In Summer nurture neighbor connections.