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Discipleship during Lock down

The Church has never had so much access to great online content about God, but what makes people part of your congregation is their connection with each other and with you — the way you live life with God together as people: discipleship.

Rev Benedict Atkins

2 Ways Church Leaders Can Disciple People During Lockdown

The Church has never had so much access to great online content about God, but what makes people part of your congregation is their connection with each other and with you — the way you live life with God together as people: discipleship.

There is a danger for many of us, in wanting to respond, have simply moved everything during lockdown to the online domain. So we’ve been learning Zoom, YouTube and live-streaming. But is this everything we need to grow our people as disciples or is it helping us feel like we are doing something?

Here are two ways you can serve your church right now to help them grow as discipleship during lockdown.

1. Find out what your church would most appreciate from you during this time.

Since the task of leadership is to lead people from one reality to another, we have to understand someone's situation in order to be most helpful to them. Two months ago everyone's situation changed — different people's in different ways — so we need to do some research to help us bring the safety and stretching to our people that good leadership provides.
 
Asking people what they feel they need from us may feel strange but responsive leadership like this is something we've always done — it's just that we were so used to knowing people's situations that we rarely needed to proactively find out.

We can't do everybody's shopping for them, but understanding their new and nuanced pressures, worries and passions will help us connect the good news of Jesus to their 'new normal'.
 
You could use a tool like SurveyMonkey, email out or simply call and ask some helpful questions, such as:
 
 - What are you finding hardest about lockdown in general?
 - What's hardest about being a Christian right now?
 - How could the church family support you?
 - How could you support others in the church family?


2. Help people process the change they're experiencing and make space for those conversations to happen.

There's lots going on for people right now. Our ability to grow through times of change is tied to our ability to process the changes that are taking place. Teaching your way through a relevant New Testament Letter will be even more useful if people have had a chance to catch up with themselves and what they're experiencing. Using coaching-style questions will help people process, free-up their emotional bandwidth for new information and create meaningful conversations. Some examples would be:

1. What do you miss about how things were?
2. What are you learning to embrace about how things are?
3. What are you getting used to?
4. What are you still finding difficult?
6. Where do you need God's courage at the moment?
7. Where do you need God's comfort?

You could send these out by text, use them in a phone call, post them on social media or host a Zoom coffee catch up where people can reflect together.

Use what you learn from those steps to make a plan of action. Take the pressure off creating dazzling online content because your church want genuine human connection more than they want a picture-perfect livestream. Both are useful, but be mindful of how much time you’re investing in either. When this is over, would you rather have grown in technical ability or in relationship?

 

Benedict leads a church in East London with his family and friends. https://www.saintmatts.co.uk

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A discipleship podcast for beginners, doubters, confused and long term established Christians. In this podcast, we talk about everything related to growing in faith but in a really simple way. We are honest with our struggles, learn from some wise people and hit some brick walls… a little bit like the original disciples.

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