Curious, by Jo Hood, is a monthly column. Jo is the Visionary/CEO of mainly Ministries, an organisation that remains curious as they resource and support local churches, church plants, missional communities, and Christian schools to connect with whānau in the community. 

I’m curious about how teams work together. Would working as a discipling-focused team rather than a task-focused team have benefit?  

Discipleship is the on-going journey of becoming a disciple of Jesus. On-going; not a 12-week course and not an event. Every day of every week of every year of our earthly life. The on-going discipleship journey is not prescriptive. It requires our focused input as well as the input of others. The journey requires patience and determination, character development, and community; along with vulnerability, authenticity, and being tuned to the prompt of the Holy Spirit. Discipleship isn’t a straight-line activity; there are plenty of bumps along the way. Why? Because we’re human! 

Consider this – often when we are involved in a team who are a community-facing or church-facing ministry, we come because we agree with and are passionate about the purpose. Like, creating a joy-filled community of belonging where Jesus can be revealed for whānau/families. There are tasks or activities to complete; there are relationships to be built. Tasks or activities and relationship building are not mutually exclusive. However, because we can mark off tasks and activities, they often become the focus. They have a beginning and an end, even though they get repeated. Relationships, however, go on and on.  

I’m curious – do you have a focus on the people for whom the connection point has been established or on the people who are making the ministry happen? Or both? What mainly Ministries has observed is that for most, the focus is on the tasks and some focus on the people who attend. What would happen if we thought of our ministry being established for both/and. The people who attend AND those who make the sessions happen; that is, the team. The relationships AND the tasks. For the moment, let’s put the tasks to one side. 

If we believe the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of everyone, those who attend AND those who are on team, our relationships become first and foremost. Within those relationships, how we reveal Jesus becomes priority. 

A discipling team might look like this … 

Team sharing in each other’s lives; spending time together over kai/food. Sharing the stories of your life and your interactions with those who come to the place of belonging (within the boundaries of privacy) so that we share in prayer and practical help. 

Talking about what we have recently read in the Bible. Seeking understanding and sharing our insights. 

Talking about what we learned from Sunday’s sermon or talk; Sharing what it meant for us. Asking questions for clarification. Holding each other accountable. 

Being real and vulnerable. Being comfortable to say, “I’m struggling with this.” Being open to someone helping rather than you being self-contained. Not judging someone who is struggling; instead providing help by coming alongside. 

Not responding with, “Good” when a member of your team asks, “How are you?” Answering truthfully. 

Praying, together, for each other, individually and corporately. 

The outcomes 

If you need a starting point to vision the outcomes, here are some to consider: 

  • Your team becomes a tight but not exclusive community. Adults attending your sessions look on and say, “I want that”. 
  • Your team become closer to God, demonstrably grow in their faith, have more hope, are more resilient, and you all become aware when the Holy Spirit is at work in your midst. 
  • All team have more confidence to pray together and with others. 
  • People of peace join the team and talk of how authentic your faith in Jesus is. 


What will be your next step towards becoming part of a discipling team? 

Read other Curious columns by Jo Hood here. 


Photo: supplied by mainly Ministries, from iStock  

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