As I continue to work through learning disciple-making there are a number of light bulb moments that are happening along the way. Many of these are several puzzle pieces finally coming together to make a coherent picture.
Thom Rainer wrote a great book a number of years ago called High Expectations. His premise was that when you study growing churches they typically have high expectations for the involvement of their members. That is pretty simple.
What finally coalesced in my mind is this principle of high expectations combined with disciple-based ministry rather than program based ministry.
Here is why that matters. When I ask someone to commit to a ministry they are committing to volunteering to keep the program running. If I sit down with four or five people in a discipling group and ask them to covenant/commit to the group (the relationship and the discipling process) I have a real opportunity to bring about spiritual formation!
It is so easy to praise or blame the success or failure of the church on the preacher or the elders. They are easy skapegoats. The real measure of potentiality of the movement of the church is whether or not the members themselves will respond positively to the call to commit to discipling processes.
Let me say that another way. You can blame this or that but if you aren’t personally willing to try something that will result in the health and growth of the church then you are just making excuses. Who is holding us back on entering discipling relationships? The elders? The preacher? Has an elder or a minister told you NOT to do this? Or is what is holding us back our own personal level of commitment?
Whether or not the church is ready to explode or stagnate is not entirely in the hands of a select few. It is in the willingness of the membership to enter into disciple-making relationships and ministry.