There are two missing ingredients from churches that struggle to make disciples.
I’ll get to that, but first I need to say that most churches simply don’t know what they don’t know.
Most pastors have been trained to keep to their 3-point sermons, do a conference 3 times a year, and maybe do an occasional men's or women’s retreat.
For many, the Church has become the only place for spirituality—a secluded place for holy discussions and Bible reading. However, the Church is meant to go outside of the building and transform the world around us. To be in the world, but not of the world, is our mandate!
The separation between what is sacred and what is secular has hindered the Church from discipling nations.
Why am I saying all of this?
Because it’s this mindset of exclusivity that halts discipleship. Discipleship CANNOT happen when it is limited to the confines of church meetings.
So what are the two missing ingredients?
Discipleship is built on connection and consistency! Both of which stretch beyond the “office hours” of any church meeting, conference, or retreat.
Seeing someone once a week at a 90-minute church service simply won’t cut it. If a church wishes to disciple its members, they need to become more than members. Why was Jesus’s ministry so successful? Because He did life with His followers. His disciples were more than regular church attendees, they were friends! They were family!
So as a leader how do you connect with your church? You do it outside of the four walls of your building. You break the barrier of sacred and secular. You meet them for lunch at their favorite cafe, you go for a walk in their favorite park, you meet them in what they love and do.
All of this allows them to know that you actually care. You don’t just say “Hi” to them on Sundays. You actually connect with them. You call them when you think about them and check on them. You send them a text when you have an encouraging word for them. You become the church everywhere you go.
Then, as you build trust and as you strengthen the connection, you will have a place to speak into their life and minister to them directly. Instead of only giving them a message at the service, now you can speak heart-to-heart with them.
As you practice consistent connection, it needs to be organic. Why would you consistently connect with someone? Because you actually love them! You actually care about getting to know them.
This can’t be accomplished with the occasional “How are you?” A relationship is like a construction project. You lay the bricks of trust daily. You don’t stop halfway through and hope for the best. You consistently develop the connection and you find ways to be intentional to show them that you care.
At the same time, if you make it a ritualistic “Hey, meet me every week on Wednesday so we can have a relationship,” then it won’t be effective. Why? Because you’ve removed authenticity from the equation.
I’m not saying to throw out your calendar and stop scheduling meetings. I’m saying don’t be so stuck and rigid to a form or else it will just feel like another church meeting for them. You should feel like a breath of fresh air, not like a pharisee!
I make it a goal to balance fun activities with serious conversations. These go hand in hand while building a relationship. If you are constantly doing nothing but fun activities, you won’t have an opportunity for a deeper connection. On the other hand, if you are constantly only having serious conversations, the connection may feel more like a “business” or a “professional” relationship.
I hope these two important ingredients have been explained in enough detail to be implemented and practiced! I pray that your church (no matter what position you have) will be blessed by the grace and abundance of heaven!
If you are a church leader and you received something from this, I encourage you to share it with your team. If you want to learn more you can read my book: “The Lost Art of Discipleship” or get access to my Online Course below.
An Abundance of Grace,