Buffet or Amuse-Bouche Discipleship

by Jay Stearley

Where I live (Reno-Lake Tahoe), buffets are very popular.  They are perfect for tourists and locals alike, consuming whatever they desire.  One even boasts of having eight live action stations, where you can order pho, charcuterie, or a salad just as you like, right before your eyes.

Often times church discipleship strategies are like a buffet; all sorts of programs are offered for people to choose from and then they hope for the best.  But is this approach the most impactful and responsible for helping people grow in their faith?  And does it lead to connecting people to the church?

Another strategy to discipleship is to be specifically targeted, intentional, and to track progress.  Keeping with the food parallel, one could call this approach amuse-bouche.  This is when a chef selects a small, special hors-d’oeuvre to serve a guest, often times showcasing what is to come.  It is very intentional and it comes at a specific time.

Amuse-bouche-like discipleship systems are powerful in helping people grow in the faith.  They provide the proper connection points for every individual and ongoing pathways to mature.  Intentional discipleship systems also build synergy across a church.  Leaders begin to understand what the proper next steps are for each person, and they foster appreciation and teamwork. [Connection Pathways worksheet]

Buffets may be great for food, but amuse-bouche is better for developing healthy disciples and growing congregations.

What kind of “meal” are you serving, and are the results all that you and God desire?

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