As I stated yesterday, if we don’t clearly understand what it means to be a disciple and make disciples, we can actually find ourselves doing more to harm the cause of Christ than help it! We have got to think outside the box (and outside the walls) when it comes to discipleship! Yesterday I talked about helping people think fruit not meat. Here are some more examples of ways we can rethink discipleship.
To make disciples that look like Jesus, we must help people think LESS not MORE.
I don’t know how the early church made it without Christian bookstores, bound Bible Studies, Christian Athletic Leagues, Family Life Centers, and Preschools. But they did. In fact, I would make the case that they thrived because everything was simple! They meet in the Temple once a week for worship, then worshipped together in their homes during the week, and shared the Gospel as they worked. That sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
On the flip side, contrast this with the typical traditional church calendar. We’ve got athletic leagues, programs and studies up at the church building offered every day (and every night) of the week...and that’s just for adults! Throw in all the children’s activities and student activities on the calendar, combined with the sentiment by congregants that every pastor should be present at every function, and no wonder the average Pastor is burned out and wants to quit!
So what do we as church leaders do? Learn to say “NO.” Church leaders, there are so many good ideas that walk in the doors of our churches every day. These good ideas are not always GOD ideas! Many of these things are good things and things we COULD DO. However, there’s a difference between what we COULD DO, and what we MUST DO. As leaders, we need to hold ourselves accountable to only pursuing the things Jesus says we MUST DO. Elsewise, all the good things will by nature crowd out the GOD things!
It’s always awkward saying NO in response to someone’s good idea right there in the church lobby. However, I always tell leaders: “It’s easier to say NO now and YES later, than it is to say YES now and NO later.” As leaders who are relentlessly focused on the vision God has given us, I believe this actually requires that we say NO a lot!
In my new book, Be Mean About The Vision: Relentlessly Preserving and Protecting What Matters, I talk about the need for more courageous leaders who are willing to have courageous conversations with people and make courageous calls to keep the church focused on the vision God has given the church. I truly believe there’s a need today for more prophetic leaders who worry less about how people will respond and worry more about pleasing God and making disciples!
Saying NO includes both a corporate commitment by the church to say NO a lot; but it also requires a personal commitment to do the same! Most church leaders are trying to do too much. We have placed yolks on ourselves that Jesus did not place on us. It wasn’t Jesus who told us we had to do all the marrying, all the burying, all of the hospital visits, and of the counseling. It wasn’t Jesus who told us we had to be up at the church building every day. It wasn’t Jesus who told us we had to be available to the congregation, even at the expense of our own relationship with God and our families! It's out fault. We’ve got to stop. We must stop pleasing people at the expense of pleasing God! We must repent: To God, our church, and families. We need to start thinking we have be everything and do everything to make disciples. We need to do LESS for MORE impact! We need to become equippers of ministry instead of do-ers of ministry! That is our call! Doing LESS and equipping MORE will make more and better disciples!
What about you? How do you need to think LESS not MORE so your church can make disciples more effectively? Let me know your thoughts!