“Breakthrough” by Ken Braddy is a new book that has the potential of helping church plants, revitalizing stagnant churches, or bringing organization to the whole discipleship process.
Braddy is the director of Sunday school for Lifeway Christian Resources and has written 230 pages full of strategies to develop an ongoing discipleship ministry. He uses the illustration of a golf scorecard to measure the health and well-being of churches and small group ministries.
His LIFE acrostic gives readers four key directives for spiritual development:
L — Learn and obey God’s Word
I — Invite people to become disciples
F — Form deeper relationships
E — Engage in acts of service
He writes, “The purpose of a group or Sunday school class is to reach people and make disciples.” Using the Sunday school for discipleship has too often been a neglected or overlooked reality that has resulted in declining attendance across the Southern Baptist Convention.
Along with very practical suggestions, Braddy presents the idea of micro groups — smaller groups within the larger group where two or three people disciple two or three others, who in turn disciple others. “Jesus had 12 disciples, but He had a micro group out of the 12: Peter, James and John,” he states.
How can a group or class reach people when the members themselves believe they have exhausted all potential prospects in the area? Braddy recommends the 3X Exercise. “Statistically, every person knows three people who are not connected to a church,” he writes. The first step is an old-fashioned prospect list that uses the 1:1 rule — one prospect for every group member present. He then reminds readers that “programs do not connect people; people connect people.” He says people need to know they are wanted.
Another useful tool for Sunday school classes and small groups is projects — good deeds like preparing a meal when someone is sick, visiting a nursing home, etc. The key for dynamic group life is releasing people to serve, he emphasizes.
He points out that the old score card was attendance, but the new score card is relationships.
Can a church grow using Braddy’s methods? He writes, “If you want to reach more people, you need more groups. New groups reach people!” The book has 16 chapters plus an epilogue. It is published by Lifeway Christian Resources.