Good Soil E&D in a Local Church
What is the most effective way to implement Good Soil E&D in a local church?
We often say that Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship (E&D) is not a program—it's a theology of evangelism and discipleship for which we have created some complementary implementation resources. In our training and promotions, we have resisted the term “program" because it often connotes a firmly fixed set of steps that, if followed, will automatically produce good results. Our experiences in the realm of missionary work have taught us that generally an “out of the box" approach to programming for ministry does not work most effectively. We understand and value the need for proper local contextualization of evangelism and discipleship principles.
However, that does not mean that local churches cannot implement this Good Soil approach with its associated resources in the form of a ministry program. But the key is that local church leaders need to determine how Good Soil E&D will work best in their church, in their local setting with their people.
That said, here are some general ideas that should be considered in the process of forming a customized local church program based upon Good Soil theology and resources:
Some competent and motivated person or group of people needs to assume the responsibility for leading the Good Soil efforts. At least one leader (preferably, the pastor) needs to be a strong “Good Soil Champion" from the outset--a person who has received the training and is firmly convinced of the value of Good Soil principles.
Good training is the first major step to the effective implementation of Good Soil E&D in a local church. We strongly recommend that the Good Soil seminar(s) that you offer in your church be led by two or more certified Good Soil trainers with reasonably good aptitudes and skills for training. To a large degree, the attitude that the people in your church will have toward Good Soil E&D will be determined by the quality of the training they receive. You may want to bring a core group of church members to a Good Soil seminar at ABWE, as a basis for launching a Good Soil program in your church.
Gaining Ground With Good Soil – the Book
The very purpose of this book (by Gil Thomas) is to inform and train Christ-followers about Good Soil E&D. The book is designed to be used for (1) personal reading and/or (2) group studies. It's an excellent tool for taking what you have learned in an official Good Soil seminar back home to your friends and fellow church members. Four FREE downloadable resources are available to assist you in your own personal study of the book or teaching it to others:
- Personal study guide
- Leader's guide
- Supplements for group study activities
- PowerPoint presentation for group study
You can order the book from here.
Main Good Soil Models
The Good Soil E&D scale, the worldview noise visual model, and the worldview onion peeling visual model are three key components of Good Soil E&D. We would recommend that people in the church who are involved in your church's E&D program need to understand and review these models regularly.
Some Structure for Accountability
Frankly, most of us lack personal discipline related to faithfulness in evangelism and discipleship. Thus, we need structures for mutual accountability. It's the Hebrews 10:25 principle: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…" Create some kind of “Good Soil group" in your church that meets together regularly for fellowship, encouragement, ongoing training, and accountability. Give it whatever name you want or maybe just call it the “Good Soil Group."
Ongoing Development and Inspiration
The content provided in the Good Soil seminar is only a start—just first steps to Good Soil E&D. We would encourage you keep updated regarding Good Soil E&D news—new products, Good Soil stories, and prayer requests related to Good Soil training events that are occurring across North America and around the world. Become a regular visitor to, and participant in, the websites in our Good Soil Network:
www.GoodSoil.com (products, seminars, Good Soil stories, projects, translations, links, resources, etc.)
http://Facebook.GoodSoil.com (announcements and news, etc.)
Good Soil Catch Phrase
As per Wikipedia, a catch phrase is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Some of these catch phrases become the de facto “trademark" of the group or organization with whom they originated. The Good Soil E&D catch phrase is “Initiate conversations that may become redemptive relationships." If you have provided Good Soil training and can make this catch phrase popular and common among the members of your church, there is a good chance that some of them will become Good Soil personal evangelists and disciple makers.