Why Aren’t Most Churches Making Disciples?

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The reality is we are all being discipled and every church makes disciples…the question is “what kind of disciple?” Some churches produce consumeristic disciples who are following the latest fad or who are being appealed to on the basis of their desires. Other churches are producing Christ-like disciples. There are churches everywhere in between.

There could be many answers to the question – Why Aren’t Most Churches Making Disciples? So I want to focus on one that I believe is extremely important to consider. Most churches aren’t making disciples because they have adopted a paradigm of church that is focused on church (aka the gathering) rather than on maturing believers to be better followers of Jesus in kingdom living.

If you focus on church you will not necessarily get Jesus but if you focus on Jesus you will always get church.

We adopt these consumeristic approaches for a few reasons:

1 – It is all we know. We have been handed a model of church that we perpetuate.

2 – It “works” from a business metric perspective. We got so good at gathering that we can draw a crowd, produce numbers, meet the budget, etc. Someone can be a successful preacher because they preach at a large church and they may not have discipled a single person in their entire ministry.

3 – Because we like it. It is nice to “go to church” and not have all the messiness of dealing with the hard areas of each others’ lives on a regular basis.

You will rarely to never develop solid disciples of Jesus by appealing to the things that draw a crowd.

You will rarely to never develop mature believers by producing goods and services that meet needs.

You will rarely to never develop healthy disciples if your metrics for success are derived from the business world.

Making mature disciples is hard work over a long period of time and it takes patience and dedication. You can’t sit on the back row and have this happen. You can’t not know anyone and make it happen. It is going to take relationships, time, solid teaching, consistent examples, and much more to see this happen and the way our churches are set up, those things aren’t happening on a regular and intentional basis.

Maybe it’s time we sat down and had a discussion about what our churches are producing, what our internal mechanisms are that are producing what we are producing, and look to see if the results and processes match Jesus’ kingdom priority.

2 Responses

  1. Of course, the assembly is THE place for disciple making! This us where the Body SHOULD be efufied, and SHOULD be encouraged to Love and GOOD WORKS.
    But instead, we get there to follow the tight schedule, where a single member gets the majority of the time to tell the rest of the body what they are doing wrong.
    Or, the assembly is used as THE time/place where the non-believers should be convinced to become believers!
    We, as a Body, have lost the sense of lostness, and the one “leading the Body,” tries to convince us that all who claim to be Jesus followers are with us, and we should not worry about their eternal destiny. They are just a “different tribe,” headed in the same direction as “we” are.
    Our “pastors” are taking over the role of spiritual leaders (after all, they STUDIED all of this, and KNOW the Bible better…). Too many ministers among “us” do not accept the spiritual leadership role of our elders (oops, my bad – seems we have to refer to them as shepherds now – according to the Educated Ones).
    In the meantime, too many of our young people prefer to go to those other tribes…

  2. Fishers of Men. It all boils down to Soul-Winning. Most Church Members DO NOT know how to give the Gospel to get someone Saved. Instead, they are “stuck” within the 4 walls of the Church focused on “Making Disciples” to those who happen to wander in. Get YOUR BUTTS Out there and “talk” to people.
    Your Church should provide you with a post card size “Invitation” whereby a Church Member can hand to someone to break-the-ice on presenting the Gospel. Always keep in mind that the GOSPEL is the POWER of God unto Salvation! Not the Law. Not the Church. Only the Gospel! Once a Church Member hands the Invitation to someone, immediately they should ASK – “Do you go to church anywhere?” Whatever their answer is, it doesn’t matter. The next question is the “stepping stone” to presenting the Gospel to get someone SAVED and to get them going on being a Disciple of Christ. It goes like this: “More important than going to church, if you were to die tonight, are you 100% sure you would go to Heaven?” What the church member says NEXT will determine whether or not the Church Member is even a “Fisher of Men” – qualified to make Disciples for Christ – ie) Saved by the Gospel of Christ to begin with. So, Salvation MATTERS when making Disciples for Christ. Settle it now! What are church members “trusting in” to get themselves into Heaven?

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