Discipleship sounds like a good plan, but it’s not entirely bulletproof. Here a few things that have caused would-be disciple-makers to run aground.
- Inviting just anyone – While every believer is called to be a disciple, not everyone in your church is ready – or willing – to commit to the process. Make sure the invitation is open to all but vetted for the devoted.
- Not counting the costs – You might want as many people as possible involved in discipleship at your church, but don’t let that tempt you into lowering the bar. Discipleship is hard work that takes time.
- Replacing instead of supplementing – Most of your new ideas and approaches shouldn’t be designed to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Stick with basic principles and augment with modern tools.
- Making online impersonal – It’s easier to exhort and correct people in written form than face-to-face. Don’t get in the habit of being “nicer” in person or disciples will wonder what standard is the one they should follow.
- Automating authenticity – In your excitement to engage in new ways and with new audiences, don’t rush to templatize and automate everything. There’s nothing like a personal touch, even if digital.
- Forgetting to follow-up – Without follow-through, your efforts will amount to little more than getting good content in front of your people. Discipleship starts after the lessons have been learned when experience becomes the teacher.
- Diminishing the impact – It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and begin to focus your discipleship efforts on the personal growth of the disciple. When they feel it’s only about their development it diminishes the Kingdom impact.
- Making it multiplicative – Because many disciple-making programs focus on the disciple instead of the making there is no vision beyond the singular. Require all disciples to make disciples from the very start.
Scott is the Vice President of Sales at ACS Technologies. He spent nearly a decade as the Executive Pastor for The Bible Chapel in McMurray, PA, and has extensive knowledge of sales and management best practices with several Fortune 500 Companies. Scott currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for ANA Panama. A ministry focused on the care of abandoned and orphaned children in Panama.