One of the common things you tend to hear from those who have studied the western church is: “We haven’t done discipleship well for at least fifty years...”
I remember some time ago talking to a couple whose young adult daughter was a youth leader at their church. The daughter was mentoring a group of 12-year-old girls. She was in an intercessory prayer group. She practised a daily devotional time. She was part of a simple but effective outreach programme at the local high school. As we talked, the mum who was a ‘born and bred’ Christian herself said: “I could never do all that! She knows more than me about faith and all. I wouldn’t know how to read the bible like that or share my faith like that... I’m not actually sure what my testimony would be...”
As I think about these sorts of conversations over many years, it seems to me, that there are too many good church people who are chronologically middle-aged or seniors – but spiritually, it is as if their faith-growth has frozen at the somewhere in middle school and they’ve lived with their with their peers at the level of a youth group for the next fifty years.
The less well we do discipleship, the more we need professional ministers on whom we are dependent. These become the chaplains who pastorally care for us; who run our ministries for us; and employ youth pastors to socialize our kids for us. The less we practice discipleship, the more we struggle with change; or mission; or conflict; or evangelism. The ‘priesthood’ of all believers becomes the ‘club membership’ of all believers.
Says Mike Breen: “What is the engine of the church? Discipleship. I’ve said it many times: If you make disciples, you will always get the church. But if you try to build the church, you will rarely get disciples. If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get moreleaders than you’ll know what to do with. If you make disciples like Jesus made them, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing. Always.”
Here’s what Al Hirsch says: “Evangelism can’t be our focus! We must not stop sharing the good news, but here’s the deal, here’s the wonderful thing, it gets done along the way as you do discipleship. The great commission is just about going to disciple the nations and you know what happens... as you disciple them evangelism takes place, because it’s done in the context of discipleship. Here’s the issue: We have to reframe evangelism within the context of discipleship”
We need to rediscover discipleship, spiritual formation, if we are going to see the church become fruitful.
Don't miss our Leadership Day coming up soon! We will be hearing stories of discipleship focussed churches and learning core principles from experienced teachers. It will also be an awesome time to get to know each other and share about how we see God leading us. We’d really like you to join us.
Friday 8 Feb 6:30pm - 9:00pm & Sat Feb 9 8:30am — 4:00pm.
- Cost: No charge, we really would like our leaders to join us!
- We’ll be meeting at Diamond Valley Baptist Church
- RSVP to your church office by 01 Feb 2019