Develop increased church health through discipleship

The Discipleship team’s mission is to create church health through the area of discipleship. Over the past two years, the team has launched three major initiatives to encourage pastors and create church health in the Georgia Baptist Convention. One of the farthest-reaching initiatives has been Spark, the state’s largest total-church conference. Some Georgia Baptists may be familiar with Go Georgia, which was an in-person event that averaged over 1,000 attendees. In light of the pandemic, the Discipleship team, along with the Research and Development team, shifted to a virtual event called The SPARK Conference. The conference saw over 33,000 views on the website and over 6,500 unique views of the content. SPARK 2021 looks to be equally strong, with nationally known keynote speakers and over 50 breakouts.

The second initiative is “The Watershed Principle” booklet, which is intended to train leaders to develop a sustainable and healthy church experience. A watershed is a ridge of land that directs water flowing from multiple streams, and it feeds a single body of water. Watersheds can supply entire ecosystems and create vibrant life – as long as the watershed is healthy. But the watershed is only healthy if the streams that feed it are healthy. 

In the Watershed Principle, ministries of the church are like the streams that feed the   watershed. Intentional ministries are the vibrant streams that can produce a healthy ecosystem or culture within the local church. The ultimate goal of the Watershed Principle is to see life change that glorifies God and leads to world-impacting disciple makers. This is the mission of the local church.

Since October 2020, the Discipleship team has trained over 2,500 leaders in the Watershed Principle. Over 225 leaders meet regularly with discipleship consultants to understand next steps to becoming a healthy church that makes world-impacting disciple makers. To download “The Watershed Principle” book, visit

The Discipleship team’s third major initiative was to launch Learning Communities. Each member of a Learning Community is part of an “inner circle” for our discipleship team. These consistent and local gatherings of leaders are the relational pipeline by which the Discipleship team celebrates the pastors’ biggest wins, supplies their greatest needs and generally feels the pulse of what’s happening in the field. 

For many, participating in a Learning Community will be a game changer. Consistent engagement with this group will encourage the leader personally and professionally as well as provide an opportunity to hear best practices from across the nation. 

The team wants to help you finish well. This is the best next step for you as a local church leader to grow as a disciple of Jesus, maintain proper family perspective and help your church members do the same. There are 40 Learning Communities established throughout the state. For more information on a Learning Community near you, visit the Discipleship online at

Published April 5, 2021