• Will Spink
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    Executive Assistant
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    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    Youth/Children
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Angela Sierk
    Assistant Director, Children's Ministry
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    Director, Community Development
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    Director, Facilities/Finance
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Staying on Mission: Discipleship and Connect Communities


Staying on Mission: Discipleship and Connect Communities

The process of making disciples is multi-faceted.  There is not just one form of ministry that will accomplish the whole task.  Making disciples starts long before one even comes to faith.  It begins with Contact, a first introduction that an individual makes with a believer.  That moves into Connecting, when a relationship is established where the Gospel can be demonstrated.  Hopefully, that will eventually move to the stage of Confronting this person with the claims of Jesus and a call to repentance and faith.  This is all before actual conversion takes place.  Once this person becomes a believer, she then needs to be Included within the church community, knowing that it is vital for her faith to be with other believers.  Within this community, the Building of her faith takes place that she might grow in the knowledge of her Savior.  She then is to be Equipped to be the Ambassador for the Kingdom that she is called to be.  Once equipped, she is then Sent out to start the process all over again.  So, you can see that disciple making is not a simplistic process.

Churches often make the mistake of focusing their efforts and resources on only one or two facets of the disciple-making process, such as Including and Building.  Every gathering is basically a teaching session.  Those might be effective for certain things, but not for everything.  You need different approaches to equip folks properly for the work of ministry or for building community.  If we hope to be a healthy church, we must engage in every aspect of disciple making.  We are called to engage the world outside the church in relationship.  We are also commissioned to equip our people to be effective in that engagement.  If we miss any of these vital aspects of making disciples, we will not achieve vital health as a church, nor will our people become strong and healthy ambassadors.  All aspects of discipleship are critical.

So where do our new Connect Communities fit in?  Connect Communities are specifically designed to address the needs of Including and Building.  Primarily they are geared to allow people, those who are new as well as those who have been around Southwood a long time, the opportunity to make and build relationships around the Gospel.  Everything we do in these communities is designed to “Connect,” as the name says.  From introductions at the door to social engagements to Gospel-centered teaching, everything is designed to engage members of the church family with one another.
Because Connect Communities are particularly targeting Including and Building in the disciple-making process, they will not offer in-depth studies.  They will not be our most intensive training grounds for evangelism or theological education.  Although we certainly welcome them here, these communities are not specifically targeting non-believers.  We need other ministry options to address those areas, and we have them, including men’s and women’s discipleship groups, community outreach efforts, Leadership Training classes, and various seminars throughout the year.  Connect Communities are not the end all of discipleship.  They play one particularly critical role in the much broader process.

We long for every member of the Southwood church family to be a part of one of these Connect Communities (for many, that means beyond Sundays).  It is not because we want big numbers.  It is because we are so committed to effective discipleship.  We know from Scripture that our great joy is totally rooted in finding Jesus all-satisfying and beautiful, and we know from Scripture that health and growth in Jesus cannot be found outside of relationships.  Therefore, we want to be relentless in working with and for you in that pursuit.  This is why we designed these communities.  This is even why we changed the Sunday morning schedule.  We want to remove all of the barriers we can that might inhibit your participation, because we are committed to working for your growth, your health, and your joy.

So, come and join us beginning September 9 in our Connect Communities.  Come and connect with others like you and different from you.  Come and find support and encouragement in your pursuit of faith.  Come and find greater joy in Jesus in the midst of His people.