By Aaron Wilson
“A church without discipleship is just a gathering.”
These opening words set the tone for the new “Disciple-Making in Community Podcast” hosted by Lifeway’s Director of Sunday School, Ken Braddy. Launched March 7, this new podcast focuses on ongoing groups ministry—an aspect of church life Braddy says is crucial in disciple-making.
“Discipleship happens best when we’re in a relationship with other believers,” said Braddy, who has three decades of experience in groups ministry in local churches. “The goal of ongoing groups, to make disciples, flows directly from Jesus’ command to His church in The Great Commission.”
In line with this goal, the “Disciple-Making in Community Podcast” seeks to address the two greatest ministry pain points reported by pastors. According to Lifeway Research, U.S. Protestant pastors say developing leaders and connecting with people not involved with a church are their two most prominent ministry needs.
“Groups must always be outward-focused and searching for people who are not yet believers; evangelism must be on the forefront of their minds,” said Braddy. “And as disciple-making groups, there must be a focus on teaching biblical truth in a community of believers.”
These two pillars—evangelism with the goal of reaching people far from Christ and biblical teaching with the goal of discipleship and developing leaders—inform the content of each 35-minute episode of the “Disciple-Making in Community Podcast.” The short length of each episode is intentionally structured to allow busy church leaders to catch an episode on a commute, workout, or part of their daily lives.
Enlisting and keeping group leaders
The “Disciple-Making in Community Podcast” will be released in seven-episode seasons, with two to three seasons appearing each year. Episodes will feature two or more guests who are local church leaders and practitioners. The spring 2023 season will feature 16 guests who represent a broad sampling of churches across the country.
“The podcast will balance our guests geographically and in terms of church size,” said Braddy. “It will also provide a balance of men and women leaders who are doing great things in the world of disciple-making.”
Braddy said he decided on the podcast’s season-one theme—the enlistment of group leaders—after listening carefully to church leaders’ post-COVID concerns.
“As I travel the country training pastors and group leaders and hearing their concerns about life in a post-COVID ministry world, the lack of workers and the difficulty of enlisting new leaders is at the forefront of their thinking,” he said. “It was easier to recruit new leaders before COVID struck. Now, things have changed, and we must adjust our approach to enlisting people. You will hear great perspectives about this topic on the podcast.”
Episode one of the “Disciple-Making in Community Podcast” is available now, with more episodes scheduled to be released in the coming weeks. Season one’s content will cover the following topics:
- Episode 1 — 13 Principles for enlisting group leaders (part 1)
- Episode 2 — 13 Principles for enlisting group leaders (part 2)
- Episode 3 — Recruiting new leaders in the mega-church
- Episode 4 — Recruiting new leaders in the normative-sized church
- Episode 5 — Answering common objections when recruiting new leaders
- Episode 6 —16 places to discover new group leaders
- Episode 7 — Retaining group leaders
“The Disciple-Making in Community Podcast” is available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify and on most other podcast providers. Visit Lifeway.com to access all available options and to learn more.
Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.
About Lifeway Christian Resources
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, Vacation Bible School and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles. Based in Middle Tennessee, Lifeway operates as a self-supporting nonprofit. For more information, visit Lifeway.com.