FAQ: What is the Discipleship Atlas?
The Discipleship Atlas is our primary internal marketing piece for small groups at NCC. It is released at the beginning of each semester, and it lists all of the small group and ministry opportunities available for that semester. Most of our recruitment efforts are wrapped up in this magazine. Two weeks before the semester begins, we hand out a copy of the Atlas to every person who walks through the doors of NCC.
Each small group listing includes a picture of the leader or leadership team, contact information for the leaders, information on group meeting times and locations, and information on the group's topic. NCCers are encouraged to prayerfully read through the magazine and ask the Holy Spirit to point them towards the group they need to plug into.
In addition to the group listings, I write a "Field Notes" column about some discipleship/spiritual formation topic, and we publish articles writted by some of our small group leaders or participants. The Atlas breaks down out Discipleship Map into individual islands and highlights those core discipleship opportunities available on each.
It's a lot of work to put this thing together and it costs a lot of money. But we're okay with that because it communicates the priority we place on small groups. A spreadsheet could just as easily and more efficiently communicate information about groups, but it wouldn't necessarily communicate the importance of groups.
Each year, we have give the magazine a unique look and feel. In 2005, we focused on teamwork within our small group ministry, so we spoofed Sports Illustrated and published Small Groups Illustrated.
Last year, we released our first draft discipleship map, so we decided to spoof National Geographic and published National Community Geographic.
This year, we decided to move away from the spoofs and create something unique to NCC. Since the discipleship map has become the central metaphor for our discipleship strategey, we decided to go with the Atlas theme. I can't take any credit for this one-- I think zone leader extraordinaire Nathan Gonzales received a burst of creativity during a run along the National Mall.
You can see a .pdf of the entire thing here.