Category Archives: Reflections

Small Groups and Discipleship

“Jesus’ command was to ‘make disciples,’ and after countless hours of debate among our leadership team we concluded that discipleship happens most naturally in the context of meaningful relationships. And we have learned that meaningful relationships are most likely to develop through the dynamic of a small group. We are not suggesting that a small group is the only place for discipleship to occur. It just seems to us that discipleship happens best with a group of friends who are ‘doing life’ together.”
(Seven Practices of Effective Ministry, Stanley, Joiner, Jones, p.91)

The ‘modern’ idea of church

“The ‘modern’ idea of church, or ecclesiology, it seems is that the church exists as a venue to “attract” the lost through dynamic programs, performances and events—the more dynamic the better. What one pastor friend of mine referred to as “theo-tainment.” The problem with emphasizing this approach exclusively is that a disproportionate amount of the church’s time and resources go into these efforts at the expense of discipleship and training the already saved. The result is the proverbial church that “is a mile wide and inch deep.” Yes, the local church may grow in numbers but rarely in spiritual maturity and the witness of the Church is often rendered lackluster.” (Michael Craven, What Happened To Making Disciples?)

From the inside out!

“One of the most important conclusions we’ve drawn from our study of comeback churches is that they first had a spiritual experience that redirected and reenergized their lives, beginning with their leader. This spiritual experience gave them a vision of what could – and surely would – be. The vision provided a compelling focus, helping them develop practical and powerful plans. Spiritual empowerment from their ongoing time with God allowed them to persevere in implementing their plans. God was at work in their church! They had an unwavering sense that what God had called them to do would be accomplished (Philippians 1:6). As people saw the leader’s passion and spiritual fervor, they began to want that in their lives. They sought opportunities to serve, to grow, and to share with others. The church changed from the inside out. And when it did, the community took notice that something special was happening.” (Comeback Churches, Ed Stetzer, Mike Dodson, pp.15-16).

The goal… and the question!

The fundamental goal and activity of the church should be to – teach and train every believer to become a ‘disciple making disciple’.

Biblically and theologically, if we’re to become effective at ‘growing the church’, at strategically achieving ‘true gospel growth’ (both numerically and spiritually), then we’re to implement the scriptures call to build churches where making ‘disciple making disciples’ is our – ‘core vision’, and where challenging every believer to that task becomes our – ‘call to action’.

What’s needed in churches today to achieve that kind of vision is a culture change, a return to the practice of daily and mutual discipleship and disciple making. Such a culture change will require a redirection in the order of our priorities, renewed focus in our lives, and greater gospel intentionality in our ministries.

If the goal is to ‘make disciples’, and more importantly, to make disciples who make disciples (disciple-making disciples) the question is – what processes, activities or ministries must be put in place to most effectively achieve that goal?

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