It is hard to be on mission without identifying the mission field and making a commitment to cultivate the field. Recent church reports have many leaders concerned about the future of the church. No doubt part of the problem is an inward rather than an outward focus. Properly understood, this is what enrollment is about: an outward focus on the mission field.
- It is a commitment to make disciples. Instead of waiting for people to show up, enrollment commits the group to go and make disciples wherever people can be found. Through the years we have changed the directional intent of enrollment to inward rather than outward. It is not a commitment made by people to come to the group, it is a commitment of the group to go to people. It is a declaration that the group is responsible to disciple those enrolled.
- It is a pathway to evangelism. Enrollment encourages non-believers to become part of a group. Groups have proven very effective in helping people explore the claims of Christ and coming to know Him.
- It is an invitation to belong. Jesus and His disciples invited people to ‘come and see.’ It was an opportunity to get connected and be with people on the journey of life. God has created us relational and to be in community. We still have a need to belong.
- It is an opportunity to minister. Typically, I ask a person if they have people who pray for them. If not, I offer to provide them with a group that will pray for them, share with them, and care for them if they ever have a need. The responsibility is not on them, but on the group to effectively minister through prayer, sharing with them (breaking bread), and caring for them in accordance to what is discovered through prayer needs.
Enrollment is a valuable tool for disciples to use in refocusing on the mission field. “The harvest is plentiful!” Will you commit to be a laborer?
Daniel Edmonds is the Director of the Office of Sunday School and Discipleship at the Alabama State Board of Missions