How Does Your Church Make Disciples?
“How does your church make disciples?”
It was a simple question. I had a simple answer. I described the different discipleship tools and processes we used.
“But how does your church make disciples who make disciples?”
I think that question is what caused me to start squirming.
I was the recognized discipleship expert in our area. I attended a national discipleship training event every year for nine years in a row. I was the pastor of a growing church with many different discipleship groups. My bride and I led discipleship training events across the state.
I was also a little fuzzy about how to make disciples who make disciples.
Dallas Willard said, “Every church needs to be able to answer two questions. First, what’s your plan for making disciples? Second, does your plan work?”
Like many pastors, perhaps even most, I counted on my better-than-average preaching to lead people into deeper and broader relationships with our Father in heaven. (We are all above average, right?) I assumed the members of the congregation were growing in devotion to God and to his personal mission for their lives.
Putting on my Fruit Inspector hat led to a different conclusion. There was a lot more rotten fruit than any respectable farmer would tolerate.
The team I work with observes that nearly two-thirds of the pastors and staff members we serve have never been discipled. Therefore, they do not have a pattern to go by for how to make disciples. They do not know how to make disciples who make disciples who create a culture of discipleship.
Think about the things we measure regarding discipleship:
◦ Bible reading
◦ Church attendance
These are good behaviors of disciplined lives. They are not necessarily the fruit of changed lives. Larry Osborne of North Coast Church in California says, “The tools of discipleship are not the same thing as discipleship.”
To borrow from the mission statement of Willow Creek Community Church, what does a fully devoted follower of Christ look like? What are the characteristics which demonstrate true life change?
Beyond that, how do we create a culture of discipleship in our churches?
◦ What is your plan for making disciples?
◦ Does your plan work?
If your answers to these questions are not crystal clear with demonstrable results, you are not alone.
How has God uniquely wired your church to extend his kingdom? What is your next step of obedience toward creating a disciple-making culture?
We want to help you answer these questions. We want to help you multiply disciples for the kingdom of God.
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Genesis 17:1, 2 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in my presence and be blameless. I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.” (CSB)
Genesis 12:1-3 “The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (CSB)