How to use data to track discipleship signs of leadership

Posted by Boyd Pelley on 8/3/21 2:00 PM
Boyd Pelley
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Praying"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

Here is another place that Jesus makes it clear what His disciples look like. 

Training.  Disciples know and intentionally live out (hold to) Jesus' teachings.  Knowing Jesus' teachings requires an investment of time to be trained.  It is an intentional and ongoing learning process.  Many cultures have been significantly influenced by Jesus' teachings.  But being part of a "christian" culture isn't the same as being a student of the master teacher.  Students spend time with their teacher.  They carve out time to learn and study.  From this they get to know Jesus personally and over time believe He is God's son and surrender the direction and values of their life over to Him.  They choose to follow him.  They become trained.

Invest.  Training is an important part of the process, but applying that training by living it out (holding onto it) is the goal.  Maturity in Christ means leading the way in following him, and doing it in such a manner that others take note.   With time trained students (see 2 Timothy 2:2) become parents to or leaders of others in their circle of influence.  Jesus' commission wasn't just to be disciples but to be  makers of disciples that is, leaders.  This is supposed to be the norm, not the exception.

Data.  So, what data do you have in your church software that indicates where someone is at on this training spectrum of disciple to disciple-maker?  Here are a few that I bet you have.

  1. Enrollment and attendance for training classes.
  2. Date stamps for successful completion of training.
  3. Group roles that identify leaders.
  4. Groups made up of leaders.
  5. Coach or Staff in organizational structure.
So, what if you created a custom leadership attribute with dropdown options like these.  (Data points related to each response is included.)
  1. Mentor - Coaches and Staff in your CT organizational structure.  
  2. Investor - group role or in a group of leaders.  
  3. Trained - member of a "trained" group or have a finished class date stamp.
  4. None - Not engaged in leadership development.

Once you have decided these different levels of leadership: 

  1. Create a custom member attribute called Leadership and use the above levels for the dropdown options.  Members > Settings > Member Attributes.
  2. Pin the attribute by going to Members > Settings > Pinned Attributes. 
  3. Select the report type.  Reports > Member > Mass Update Member Attribute.  Select the attribute (Leadership) and then the response you want to populate (ex. Trained).  
  4. Select the filter options that indicate a person is trained, say based on a member attribute.  Filters > Members > Custom Member Attributes > Select the class and the completion date range.  If you choose multiple classes they will have had to completed all of them.  You can create separate reports for each class if desired.  Also, find the Leadership attribute and "Exclude" those who are already "Trained" from the report.
  5. Save the report.  Click "Add to Saved Reports" and give the report a name.  Example: Disciple - Leadership / Trained. 
  6. Create and save similar reports for each response to the Leadership attribute.  For attendance reports, see the "signs of love" blog.  For role based reports see the "signs of serving" blog.
  7. Schedule the reports.  Reports > Schedule Reports > +Schedule a Report.  Fill out the details form including the frequency and start date for running the report.  I would think that running the report to populate leadership once a month would be fine, but you may want to do it more frequently.

Here is the result of an updated, data-driven, pinned attribute for Leadership, Serving, Community, Giving, and Commitment located above the Custom Member Attributes dropdown on a member profile. 

5 Dship Signs

The great thing about being trained and investing in Jesus' way of life is that you are learning, from the Creator, the way life was designed to be lived.  This is the  truth that sets people free!  

Tags: Discipleship

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