Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thurs Thinking - Growing Deep: Making Disciples

I have always wanted to help our church become a discipleship community. A place where we are trying to grow deeper, not just bigger. After years in ministry, the biggest question I have is whether or not there really are that many people who truly want to be disciples of Jesus. It seems to me that most churches are focused on proclamation of a gospel message, attracting people to church, leading people to become Christians, trying to build community, and encouraging service. My experience is that while those for things may grow or strengthen a church, they don't necessarily produce committed and growing disciples.

I am hoping that in the months and years ahead, the church I pastor will make some strides in helping our people understand what it means to be a disciple and how to measure progress as a disciple. Jesus said you can know a tree by its fruit. How can people in my church know they are growing disciples?

What follows is a quotation from an article I came across earlier this week. It has me thinking, but it also gets me back to my question of how does a program or strategy actually become a tool for discipleship? How do we move our church people to turn the "want to" switch to the on position? Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

From Grow Your Church Deeper by Ken Stewart
Your church probably provides numerous opportunities for people to grow spiritually. Worship services,  Bible  studies,  small  groups,  prayer  events,  classes,  socials,  ministry  teams—all  are offered in the hope that participants will be built up in their faith and strengthen their relationship with the church.

It  is  the  perpetual  temptation  of  churches  to “program”  these  activities  and  then  rely  on  the program, forgetting that spiritual growth is a spiritual, and individual, process. Even more, it’s the reason the church exists.

Heavy reliance on programs also can lead to what the software geeks call “scope creep,” where the project expands beyond the original goals. A church must continually revisit and recommit to its goal of making disciples. Otherwise the church can become about adding programs rather than building disciples.

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