Is the environment in your church changing lives? Try this!

Is the environment in your church changing lives?

Jim Putman says doing this one thing might help!

Startup Stock Photos

Startup Stock Photos

Being disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus – discipleship – has been a forefront topic for the past couple of years in churches and leadership conferences across the country. It is an accepted and acknowledged commission of the church given to us by Jesus himself in Acts 28:19. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Seems pretty simple right? This means every church should be a disciple making church, with a culture that promotes and enables discipleship.

Of course, there are also people involved in the process….. And whenever people enter the picture, things can quickly go from simple to complicated! Creating a culture means bringing leaders, teams, and members into alignment towards the same goal. And then constantly beating that drum to keep the vision and mission in the forefront. One of the first and easiest way to muddy the water of a culture is by not having a unified definition of terms.

Because of this, the first place to begin to build a culture of disciple making in your church is to have a unified, biblical, simple definition of a disciple of Jesus. Because lets face it – people are always creating disciples, followers, imitators. They just aren’t always disciples of Jesus. If you don’t begin with a solid, unified pattern of what you are creating, you will end up with a wide range of results.

In our DiscipleShift 1 trainings, one of the first things we ask in our small group sessions is for the group to privately write down their definition of a disciple. The definitions are then handed in to the Group Facilitator who reads them aloud. It is the rare group that all write down the same definition. The majority of the time, the teams that serve together all have definitions that vary a little bit, with some being substantially different! There is always some surprise from the team leader or senior pastor when this happens, as they often assume everyone is on the same page.

Senior Pastor Jim Putman addresses the problem this way – ” So, if you’re on a football team and you call a play in the huddle, but not one person defines the play the same way, what happens when you get to the line of scrimmage? Chaos! And that chaos ensures that the goal of the game is not reached.”

At Real Life Ministries, we find the definition of a disciple of Jesus is  captured within the invitation Jesus issued to his disciples in Matthew 4:19 ‘And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This is the foundation for our definition, which is –

A disciple of Jesus is one who is:

  • Following Jesus (Follow me)
  • Being changed by Jesus (and I will make you)
  • On mission with Jesus (Fishers of men)

(A free resource of this definition is available for download at the end of this post)

This definition is biblical and simple. And it is intentionally visioncast throughout membership classes, trainings, ministries, and from the pulpit. Repeatedly. Monthly. Yearly… Because people forget. And new people come in. Leaders may get tired of saying the same thing over and over, but it is essential.

This is the passage Real Life Ministries has chosen to use for our unified definition of a disciple of Jesus – that does not mean it is the only passage or words that will work. We encourage the leadership of each church to come up with something that works for them. The point is just to have a Biblical, unified, definition, and to make sure your entire team and church members know it! Then you can move towards alignment in living as disciples of Jesus,  who are making disciples of Jesus!

To learn more about our DiscipleShift 1 Training, where we share Jesus’ model of #relationaldiscipleship and how to build a culture of disciple making on your team and within your church, go to our web page a DiscipleShift.org.

We also have a free resource available to help you share with others what a disciple of Jesus is – download it at this link!

DiscipleShapes