Disciple Labs: A Game-Changer for Discipleship in Your Church

Is our discipleship model producing disciples? Are they growing? What areas are they struggling? Are small groups making disciples more than our Sunday school classes? What is the real spiritual health of our people? What should we preach on in our next sermon series?

Have you ever asked yourself those questions? I have. The problem is, it’s difficult to answer those questions with any kind of measurable data. Until now.

Disciple Labs

Yes, we need to be praying for the answers to those questions. No doubt. But what if we could begin to track our people’s spiritual health just like we track attendance, giving, conversions, etc. while we pray?

That is possible now thanks to Disciple Labs. We recently got an account at The Crossing where I serve. Why did we get it? We believe this is a tool that can be a game-changer in our church. And I believe it can be a game-changer in yours too.

I talked to my friend, Kevin Fontenot, co-founder of Disciple Labs and asked him a number of questions so you can see what they’re all about. But real quick, here’s the bottom line: you should strongly consider getting Disciple Labs at your church and begin measuring and tracking your people’s spiritual growth.

Disciple Labs: A Game-changer for Discipleship in Your Church

  1. What is Disciple Labs?
    Disciple Labs is a cloud-based tool that helps pastors measure, track, and influence spiritual health in their ministries. Our simple tool automatically sends out our proprietary spiritual health survey on a recurring basis. Inside of our dashboard, pastors can import their people and separate them by ministry group. The data is automatically compiled and allows pastors to see overall church health, ministry area health, and the health of an individual person. This means pastors can create a game plan to improve these numbers as well as a way to track if that plan actually makes a difference.
  2. Where did the idea of Disciple Labs come from?
    I’ve always been passionate about discipleship. I surrendered to the call of ministry as a teenager and have spent some time serving as a lay leader and on staff as a small groups pastor. Over the last couple years, I’ve helped pastors better utilize technology to make a bigger impact. In January 2017, I joined the team at TrainedUp.church, a volunteer and leader training software tool, as the director of marketing. Over the course of 2017, I did hundreds of product demos with churches and heard over and over how they needed a better way to measure how they were making disciples. I decided that I wanted to help them solve that problem. I approached Scott Magdalein and Jared Gibson, the founder of TrainedUp and Director of Engineering respectively, and asked if they wanted to pursue the project with me, they said yes and the rest is history.
  3. How long have you been working on Disciple Labs?
    We started officially working on the project in September 2017 with planning and design. Development, testing, and refinement began in December 2017 and we’ve been focused on that since.
  4. Have you done a lot with spiritual health assessments in the past?
    A few years ago, my wife and I joined the staff of a church plant to help with creative and discipleship. At the time, the church was about a year old and wasn’t doing small groups. As I was outlining what I wanted small groups to look like, I knew that I wanted an easy way to track how effective we were being at making disciples. I created the first version of what is now the Disciple Labs spiritual health assessment for us to use at the church. It only existed on paper and was difficult to get small group leaders to remember to distribute and collect the surveys. However, when people in our groups filled out the survey they all mentioned that it was helpful for them. When I decided that I wanted to help pastors measure discipleship, I knew that the foundation of the spiritual health assessment was a great first step.
  5. Can anyone use Disciple Labs?
    Disciple Labs, as a platform, is designed to be used in the context of the local church. However, we definitely welcome other organizations that want to encourage and track spiritual health!
  6. How does Disciple Labs work?
    Our simple tool automatically sends out our proprietary spiritual health survey on a recurring basis. Inside of our dashboard, pastors can import their people and separate them by ministry group. The data is automatically compiled and allows pastors to see overall church health, ministry area health, and the health of an individual person. This means pastors can create a game plan to improve these numbers as well as a way to track if that plan actually makes a difference. It also empowers ministry leaders within the church to see their specific ministry’s health. Church members are also able to see their individual health.
  7. What are the major problems you aim to solve with Disciple Labs?
    Typically churches measure their health by things like attendance, baptisms, and giving. While these are good things to measure, they don’t actually help us make better disciples. With Disciple Labs, we’re empowering pastors to measure the spiritual health of their church. This allows them to then create a plan of action and measure the impact of that plan over time. This is the first step in a larger vision for us. As we begin to recognize macro trends, we’ll be able to offer more resources and solutions to pastors including personalized discipleship plans.
  8. Will there be a mobile app created for Disciple Labs?
    Disciple Labs exists solely as a cloud-based web application. Mobile apps are typically a lot harder to get people to adopt since more is required of them. By having Disciple Labs as a web application that works in any browser, adoption will be much higher which leads to more success for the pastor.
  9. How much does Disciple Labs cost?
    As someone who has walked in pastors’ shoes, I understand that budget concerns exist. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve made Disciple Labs as affordable as possible based on the feedback from real pastors. Our pricing starts at just $29 per month for a church of 250 and increases based on church size. We offer discounts on annual plans. You can see our pricing at disciplelabs.com/pricing.
  10. When will Disciple Labs be available?
    We’re launching today, April 9, 2018.
  11. What should users look for to determine a disciple’s spiritual health?
    In my experience, determining spiritual health has always been something that’s out of reach in ministry. In the past, I’ve relied on asking questions to people that I’m discipling and it’s always hard to get the full picture. At Disciple Labs, we define a healthy disciple as someone who strives to be more like Christ daily. Obviously, that’s an incalculable definition in itself. However, after thorough research and talking with others we’ve dissected spiritual health into 8 categories: Bible Reading/Application, Character, Evangelism, Fellowship, Giving, Prayer, Serving, and Worship.
  12. What are the eight categories used to break down an individual’s spiritual health?
    After thorough research and talking with others we’ve dissected spiritual health into 8 categories: Bible Reading/Application, Character, Evangelism, Fellowship, Giving, Prayer, Serving, and Worship
  13. What sort of training or support do you offer with Disciple Labs?
    Whenever a pastor signs up for Disciple Labs, we send them a few videos to help them get started. We’re always happy to jump on a video call to help pastors implement and answer questions. We also offer email and chat support, where we typically respond in minutes during business hours.
  14. How often should a church use Disciple Labs?
    We recommend setting up Disciple Labs to send out new surveys every 3 months. But, it can be configured to send out based on your preference. The data collected and compiled by the survey is always visible and helpful for pastors and ministry leaders to develop plans of action to impact the spiritual health of those they oversee.
  15. What’s the overall mission of Disciple Labs?
    We exist to help churches make disciples, plain and simple. We believe the great commission is just that, a commission. We’re honored that we get to work alongside pastors to help them make a real impact in the spiritual health of those they care for. As a software company, we’re steadfast in our commitment to working with churches because it’s a calling to us. In the long term, we’ll continue to develop new tools on top of the Disciple Labs platform to better serve pastors in their pursuit to make disciples.

Have more questions? Go to their website and open up a chat conversation (bottom right of the page). They’ll help you out. You can also send me any questions you might have. I’m diving into Disciple Labs because, as I said above, we’re using it at The Crossing.

Our Ministry Partner

Because we believe in what Disciple Labs is doing, we have become a ministry partner of theirs. So you’ll see their banner on some of our new articles going forward. If you purchase a Disciple Labs account through our link, we’ll receive a commission for sending you their way. This does not increase your price in any way. It just helps us keep the “lights” on around here and helps me get 4 kids through college.

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Spiritual Development Pastor at a fast growing church in Batavia, Ohio, called The Crossing. Among the many things he does at The Crossing, serving on the teaching team is one of them. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.