How does PV define discipleship and how do I grow as a disciple?

Be with Jesus. Become like Jesus. Do what Jesus did.

Sounds simple enough, but how do we really live like Jesus in today’s modern world? “Discipleship” is a word that is used much more than it is lived out in our western churches. At PV, our goal is to provide meaningful pathways for disciples to grow and multiply, helping us all become more like Christ and renew the world around us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The steps provided at represent a Christ-centered model that we hope will help you as you begin, or continue, your journey of discipleship.

What are the next steps for the vision/how do we get involved?

INITIATIVE TEAMS are being formed around areas of ministry where our passions and talents as a church family meet the needs of this city. These teams begin not with action plans, but in intentional times of prayer and discernment, listening for God’s direction before any ideas are even brainstormed. Then they begin researching best practices and work toward plans that will glorify God and make a renewing difference in this world.

Some examples of these areas of ministry are: Guest Services, Multi-Cultural Involvement/Bridge Building, Disciple & Empower the Next Generation, Men’s & Women’s Ministries, Sunday Experience, Multi-Ethnic Small Groups, Recovery/Mental Health Programs, Jail Ministry/Campus, Alpha Courses (answering questions of life, faith and God in community), Multi-Site/Campus, More Short-Term Mission Trips (30% of PV participating), More First-Time Guests (1500 per year), Better Support Foster Families/Adoptions/Reunification, Local School Support, GED Programs, Job Skills Development Programs, Church Plants, Support Immigrant Community

If you would like to get involved in any of these areas, let us know!

Questions below are listed in the order they were received.

How can the church as a whole be involved now?

Thank you for your patience! Volunteer opportunities are being added and we ask that you pay attention to the weekly emails and announcements for more ways to serve and get involved. In the meantime, invest in the relationships around you, take time to practice spiritual disciplines that you may have overlooked before and be ready to serve, both in the opportunities that are growing at PV and in your communities outside this church. If there is a particular area of ministry you are passionate about and would like information on starting or joining an initiative team, email Brenda Tipton to be connected to the Vision Team.

How are we defining discipleship?

At PV, we are defining a disciple as someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus. This means that we all take Jesus seriously in our everyday life. It means that our hearts and minds are being transformed by time spent with Jesus and it means that we are each, actively making disciples.

Where are we in the process?

initiative teams are moving at their own pace as God directs them. If you would like specific information on a ministry or team, email the Vision Team.

Is there a true A to B to C methodology or strategy that is in place or forming to achieve these goals or is it more of a 10,000 ft. view with the 40 days of prayer hoping to deliver our pathway to this? If there is more tangible specifics of how… what are they and what actual actions will it require from members?

The simple answer to those questions is yes, all of the above. The 10,000-foot view shared on Vision Sunday is outlined in the “Vision Overview” on this page. While we pray together for 40 days over these initial strategies, PV shepherds and staff are also praying over the church to select volunteers that will begin to form an initiative team for each strategy listed in the “Begin Immediately” section. Staff and shepherds are also developing discipleship pathways to add on the individual level as well as in Sunday morning courses.

Initiative teams will then pray, learn, research and discern together on the best way to implement each strategy. More members will be added, including youth who will lead alongside a discipler, as we go along.

Churchwide, discipleship is the foundation for all our strategies and so the success of any one strategy, as well as the overall vision, hangs on members going deeper in their own personal spiritual development and discipling others. Discipleship paths and training will be shared through very small groups, that will multiply themselves over time, Sunday morning courses, etc.

In what ways does the children’s ministry fit into the vision?

Over the next ten years we will pour hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours into discipling the next generation and passing on the gospel of Jesus-only. Our youth will work alongside disciple-makers, actively involved in decision-making for ministries and committees across the church through a new, “key-chain” leadership approach. As they feel welcomed and empowered as the vital members of the family of God that they are, they will have ownership in the mission of the church and be less likely to graduate from it when they graduate High School. 

We will also break down the traditional barriers between adults, teens and children’s ministries forming a support system around whole families, creating a culture of church-wide discipling, with parents on the front line and the church supporting and equipping them. The first step in that process will be this summer when PV will host a time of family discipling in the gym in between worship services this summer. More details will be coming soon but if you have children in your home, make plans to be there!

Some think the phrase “campuses” meant there would be “mini” churches throughout Little Rock, that people would be “encouraged” to not attend PV, rather to attend one of the campuses. Please define campuses of support.

One important point to keep in mind is that this is a ten-year vision and some strategies, like “multi-site/campus” will be discerned and carried out much later in the process. That being said, the idea for additional sites comes from the knowledge that Pleasant Valley is what most would call a “commuter church,” i.e. it is not uncommon for members to travel more than 20 minutes to worship in person with us. Having a campus in another area of Central Arkansas would allow members to attend church closer to their homes and schools and make it easier to invite friends and neighbors. These campuses would operate under the vision, name and leadership of PV, most likely with a rotation of gifted preaching staff and worship teams. So yes, if a PV member lived close to a new campus they would have the option to worship in that local facility on Sunday mornings instead of commuting to PV but would not be pushed away from the 10900 Rodney Parham campus if that is where they choose to stay.

What are some of the benchmarks for the next two to three years to determine if there should be changes or keep moving the way we are?

Measurable goals will be so important along the way and will be developed by the members and staff working within each initiative. They will be the ones doing the praying, planning, and pivoting within each strategy because they are the experts in each area. 

What will the discipling of families look like? Will it be multigenerational, through classes, or do in dedicated smaller groups?

It could be all of the above. A foundation of discipleship will be vital to every type of small group, class and ministry moving forward and those decisions will be made by the leader and volunteers who are most involved and knowledgeable about it before moving forward. The first opportunity will be the family discipleship time mentioned above.

My question concerns our current mission points. Where can we find updates on our missionary families and where do they stand in the vision?

Missionary updates are added to as soon as we receive them from each team. To be added to the missionary email listserve, please contact Ricky Bittle. Foreign missions have, and always will, be very important to PV. There are no plans at this time to discontinue the support of our current missionaries and future plans within the vision will be decided by a team of PV leadership and members with the focus on how we can best grow and multiplying disciples through each mission point and within this church body. One specific addition will be the discipleship of PV members through more short-term mission trips.

Will short term missions be more domestically or foreign focused?

Both. Those decisions will be made by a team of PV leadership and members with a focus on how we can best grow and multiply disciples through each trip.

How does the budget look to pay for all these new ideas?

The good news is that the fundamental changes proposed in this vision involve more of a culture shift than costly programs and events and many will not have any financial impact. For strategies, like the bus ride, that are beyond our budget, we will raise funds separately from our weekly budget through capital campaigns or work them into future year’s budgets when appropriate.

Is there a plan for PV to be debt-free in the next ten years so that funds can be used more efficiently toward our new goals?

We hope to have a capital campaign in the near future to fund specific parts of the vision and pay off debt.

How do we teach people to disciple who have never been discipled? Where do we start and how do we start with discipleship?

Organizationally, we plan to start with a Jesus model in mind; small groups, learning and practicing spiritual disciplines together. We are currently developing a discipleship path that will ensure that every small group, Bible class and even committee is helping to not only accomplish their individual goals but disciple the members within the group, keeping the mission to follow Jesus, build bridges and make disciples at the forefront of everything we do.

There will also be small groups dedicated just to discipling each other, much like the teens have modeled for us for years. On an individual level, we recommend a person begin working through personal spiritual disciplines in your own life. The Rule of Life Workbook is a great place to start. If you would like some additional book or personal study recommendations contact Jonathan. If you would like to get involved in these initial small groups, let a minister or shepherd know.

You mentioned a new school partnership. Has that school already been identified? Will we continue to work with Boone Park?

Within the scope of the vision, PV leaders have identified the importance of supporting a local school that is close enough to also be convenient to parents and families of students. We have some ideas and recommendations but acknowledge first that those who have volunteered within the walls of Boone Park for years are the experts in that area. They will be part of the team meeting, researching, praying and discerning God’s will in how we move forward in this ministry. All that being said, we will definitely NOT arbitrarily the flip the off switch, so to speak, on our support of the Boone Park school. We are invested in their continued success and committed to that end. 

What does the term, “crisis of masculinity” mean?

There are numerous indicators that physical, psychological, and social well-being are trending negatively for males. Arkansas is the 2nd highest state in the US for domestic and sexual abuse. The vast majority of those crimes being committed by men. Men commit 90 percent of homicides in the United States and represent 77 percent of homicide victims,” writes Stephanie Pappas in the APA Monitor. 

“They’re the demographic group most at risk of being victimized by violent crime. They are 3.5 times more likely than women to die by suicide, and their life expectancy is 4.9 years shorter than women’s.”

Addressing the crisis of masculinity does NOT mean that our women’s ministry will take a back seat, but that our vision recognizes the church’s failure to disciple men well has led to broken homes, lives, and hearts. Over the next decade we will be deeply committed to the discipleship of men of all ages.