Questions Part 6: Discipleship
- Sheldon Clowdus
If being a church plant is comprised of disciple-making disciples, then how are we doing?
I think one can make a very convincing argument based on biblical texts concerning the church and biblical texts concerning believers in general that the very purpose of the/a church is to make disciple-making disciples. I also think that one can make a very convincing argument that if this is taking place, if we are making disciples, then we will find the answers to the previous questions in this series much more to our liking.
I think the answer to this question and the way we go about trying to achieve this objective both tell a great deal about our churches. I think there are a few things that must hold true for a church to legitimately call itself a disciple making church.
1. The primary focus of the church must be disciple making.
I know this seems self evident, but just saying your church desires to make disciples does not mean your programming and priorities actually lead in that direction. Your Sunday morning services must be geared towards believers, not designed to attract lost people. The seeker sensitive model of church will not make disciples.
2. All of your staff must be on board with this being the most important task of the church.
The message of discipleship must begin at the pulpit and must permeate all the way down to the nursery. Everyone needs to be preaching the message of growing up into the fullness of Christ.
3. You must teach doctrine to your people.
As much as we resist the idea sometimes, there can be no growth where there is not increase in our knowledge of who God has revealed Himself to be. Theology is important.
If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones — bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas. For a great many of the ideas about God which are trotted out as novel ties to-day are simply the ones which real Theologians tried cen turies ago and rejected. -- C.S. Lewis
There is no such thing as a Christian without theology. The only question is whether your theology is correct or incorrect. Do you really know God or not? Only with a right understanding of God can we make disciples of God.
If the above three things are not happening, then I don't think your church is really making disciples of Christ. You are making disciples certainly, since we reproduce what we are, but not disciples of Christ. There are different methods one can go about the process of discipleship, from very structured to very laid back, from groups to individual (although I think at some point one of one contact becomes necessary). But if we want our churches to be know as disciple making churches that plant disciple making churches, we must be about at least the three items above.
How is your church doing?