The Next Steps Principle

"Spiritual leadership involves moving God's people on to God's agenda"  Henry Blackaby

One key difference between a leader and a follower is that the leader knows what the next steps are along the journey. The "Next Steps" principle is one of those missional principles that transcends culture, geography and philosophy of ministry.  Every church needs to determine how they are going to engage people down a path of discipleship, service and kingdom advancement.

Next Steps refers to offering meaningful opportunities for individuals to take the next step on their spiritual journey.

Next Steps are opportunities that speak to the heart issues of those who are spiritually searching as well as those who want to deepen their walk with Jesus. When I speak of meaningful opportunities, I like to outline them around three initial commitments into the community of faith: 1) a commitment to relationships, 2) a commitment to Jesus, and 3) a commitment to the community of faith.

In my experience, it takes about 18 months for a person to make the last of these three commitments. On the other hand, our experience says that a church has about 6 to 8 weeks to help a person get relationally connected for them to move to the next commitment on the journey. (Source: Church Planting Landmines)

Here are a few examples:

Moving people towards a relational commitment:

  • Family Friendly Event
  • Family Friendly Service Project
  • Affinity Events (Mens, Womens, Singles, Youth, etc.)
  • Newcomer's Luncheon

Moving people towards a spiritual commitment:

  • Bible 101 (Four week small group experience introducing people to the Bible)
  • Christianity 101 (Four week small group experience introducing people to the Jesus, a follow-up to Bible 101)
  • Spiritual Discovery Retreat
  • Newcomer's Luncheon

Moving people towards a community commitment:

With Easter behind us, what "next steps" are you offering your Easter guests?  


Church Planting, Easter, Spiritual Foundation, Gary Rohrmayer