Chapter five in Discipleship that Fits covers the benefits of the Public context – the large gathering. Francis Chan and others have pushed to move away from this. What are we losing in the process? How can large gatherings be beneficial for the overall process of making well-rounded disciples of Jesus?
One of the biggest mistakes churches make with the big church context is trying to make it accomplish smaller group goals and purposes. You don’t go for intimacy in a room full of 500 people. Again, this is why the invitation is typically lacking – you are asking people to do a 10 person thing in a 500 person room. It isn’t that the preacher’s power of persuasion is lacking – the ask doesn’t fit the space.
In a disciple making church the focus is going to shift from the gifts of the few to the gifts of the many. That means those who are on staff are going to see themselves, not as the main show, but as someone who pours into the lives of the disciple makers in the congregation.
What would big church look like if the focus was discipleship and making disciples? What kinds of stories would be told? What would the sermon be like vs what it is now?
Next, how would our resource allocation change if we decentralized our focus away from the Sunday big show to more, smaller venues for disciple making? Where would that leave big church? It would leave big church as a launching pad or a spring board to encourage and launch disciple makers into the community!
The bread and butter of this chapter is found on pages 88-91. I am not going to tell the all the details, you need to read this book! I will tell you that the advice given on these few pages is super helpful. It has to do with some adjustments existing churches can make to “maximize the public context as a place of discipleship.”
We don’t have to toss “big church” if we are going to get serious about making disciples. But we do have to refocus and repurpose it. This chapter will help you re-envision that process.