Joining God In The Journey

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“Without the presence of God in the conversation, no discipleship process will work.”

John 5:19 English Standard Version (ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

This is not a new idea. But it may need a new application. Making disciples is a life long pursuit for me and for many of us who work in vocational ministry. I often find myself in conversations about disciple making and how we can accomplish the mission of “Reaching the world for Jesus, one person at a time.” I love these talks and I love the passion with which men and women attack this topic. It is a joy for me to see people everywhere whole-heartedly sold out to God’s Kingdom, His work, and His results.There is a nuance to this conversation that is subtle on the surface but profound in execution that I would like to offer here that will hopefully empower each of us in helping others become everything that God intended them to be. It is not flashy, but it will change everything about how we develop and lead disciples to make disciples.

“What’s your process? I get this question at least twice a week and usually much more. How do we make disciples? And how do we program for maximum disciple making effectiveness? And how should we staff for disciple making? And how should we budget for disciple making? And what should we teach in your small groups or classes – or sermons? These are all good questions. And they are helpful. Wrestling with these topics will help a church become better at facilitating disciple makers that are making disciples.

But therein lies the rub. While we have set the church up structurally to succeed we haven’t necessarily given the proper tools and attitudes for a person to be able to succeed at making disciples. So, what about our “SCMD” process? It is also helpful. It helps me understand how people mature and develop. And it gives me a way to answer 3 very fundamental questions about disciple making: where are they, what do they need, and where can they go to get it?

But there is something below the surface here that doesn’t get enough attention. In the moment of the conversation – the real arena of making disciples – am I aware enough of what God is doing in that moment to be able to respond to His leading? I told you, it isn’t flashy. But this may very well be the single most important part of making disciples. Without the presence of God in the conversation, no process will work.And if I am dialed into the Holy Spirit’s work in the moment, perhaps whatever process we use can be effective. I just wonder if sometimes in our making of disciples, we get lost in strategizing and programming and branching and growing and we miss the amazing presence of God in the moment. I know I struggle to stay focused on that.

It takes a different level of engagement in the conversation for me. It takes a different kind of questions. It takes a different commitment to walking the journey with others, regardless of our process.

Processes aren’t bad. They are necessary and can be very useful. But the very thing that gives us power for living, wisdom for making decisions, and awareness of how we can grow in Christ is the Holy Spirit living and working in us. I just wonder if we don’t sometimes want process at the expense of relationship – with God and others. And maybe those relationships were the point to begin with.

Next time you are in a “disciple making” conversation, try being fully engaged and present with the person and the Holy Spirit. See what happens. It may very well change everything that you thought about how to make disciples well.

Author:

Aaron Couch: Lead Coach at Real Life Ministries, Moscow/Pulman
Aaron has been in ministry for over twenty years. As a pastor in his second church plant, he is still amazed at how God works. God has been truly faithful. Aaron has been privileged to be part of a movement of churches that is changing the face of how discipleship is accomplished within the churches of America. As a result of this, he gets the opportunity to travel and speak often. Aaron has a master’s degree from Hope International University and a bachelor’s degree from Boise Bible College, but his greatest joy is his family. Aaron is married with four kids. Aaron and his wife, Kelli, have served in ministry since the beginning of their marriage. They love the church and love watching God empower people to be set free.

 

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