‘Christianity is 168 hours a week.’ New church training disciples from day one.
Pastor & writer
Church planting & multiplication
Discipleship & spiritual formation
Majesty Love embraced Jesus in Jacksonville, Florida, because Paul and Jill Scott carefully explained the gospel, which decades in the Bible Belt hadn't helped her understand.
The next day, Love texted Scott, who started 360 Church in Jacksonville’s Springfield neighborhood, a picture from a city park. Only weeks into her new faith, she led a Discovery Bible Study for others.
"We didn't tell her to do that," Scott said. "She just realized this is what new believers do."
Love used an app that guided her in offering others a chance to read Scripture, reflect on supplied questions and define the next step of obedience.
360 Church, launched in September 2022, desires to multiply disciples by minimizing organizational requirements and empowering believers into Christ's work.
"We have complete confidence in the message of the gospel to transform a community one life at a time,” Scott said. “As we multiply like biological cells, long-term growth will come."
Reaching first-generation Christians starts with one relationship
Converting first-generation Christians starts with one friendship and then discipling them to make disciples. But most churches, Scott learned, have large, medium and small circles of activity. A large circle would be the worship service, while a medium circle would be small groups or Sunday school classes.
He realized that few churches had small circles where believers meet one-on-one — the most beneficial environment for growth. That's something he knew 360 Church had to get right.
"One-to-one relationships, that is the heart and DNA of the local church," he said. "We've tried to go light on the worship service so people have time to have their neighbor over."
360 Church meets twice monthly for corporate worship, while the other two Sundays are described as Love Your Neighbor Sundays. On those Sundays, believers use the BELLS philosophy to Bless their neighbors as they Eat with them, Listen to the Holy Spirit, Learn from the life of Jesus and then be Sent to share the gospel with these relationships.
"Let's start with one relationship," Scott said. "We're trying to reach first-generation Christians, not attract other church members from across town."
Small circles approach helps 27 people follow Christ
The small-circles approach has helped 27 people come to know Jesus and six people get baptized since the church started. That highly relational approach to influence nonbelievers works, even though over 50% of Jacksonville residents say they have no religious affiliation.
Now, the stories from those disciples are coming in.
"They're telling us about people they are ministering to — and they're brand new converts," Scott said. "They're doing the work of ministry, and they have no professional training. They didn't grow up in church."
Scott and his wife, Jill, are moving into the neighborhood with two of their five children. Several relationships are developing as he takes people to lunch or gets to know the single mom who lives next door.
Let's start with one relationship. We're trying to reach first-generation Christians, not attract other church members from across town.
"We know their names," Scott said. "We know their kids' names."
He compared the discipleship of a network of microchurches to a family.
"If they come to Christ, the discipleship's already in place, a lot like a family," he said. "If anything, we want to get them to a neighborhood group. That's the natural way of having people over to your house."
Scott said that disciples who understand from the moment of salvation that they are servants, not consumers, empowered Majesty Love to do what she did in a park with a Discovery Bible Study app.
Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.