Recently I had the opportunity to discuss via email the need for making disciples being a priority for a new church plant. In this discussion I shared a few things that I think would be a value for those who read this blog.

Let me recommend to you a book that has just been published on discipleship: “Search & Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Makes a Difference” by Neil Cole (author of Organic Church). This is a great resource with clear application. I would recommend any church that is serious about making disciples read this.

How serious are we about making disciples when planting a new church? What I mean is, if making disciples is the priority, then we should be doing that before trying to organize as a church. When disciples are being made, then church happens, forms, and leadership, vision and direction emerges for that specific congregation. Unfortunately the traditional method of erecting a church with its vision, mission, philosophy and style before disciples are being made causes the church to never really get there (the there being making disciples) because we spend all our time, assets and budget on serving the structure, institution or one man’s vision rather than making disciples.

To do this would take a radical step. That is the way Jesus did it, he poured his life into 12 men, discipled them and from that process the church was birthed in Jerusalem. To erect a “church” first causes the church to fall into the errors of: sectarianism, being a business rather than a family, being staff and facility focused rather than focused on Jesus and making disciples. Other errors are division and constant philosophical battles and playing politics and finally an institution that is not Kingdom of God centered, but the kingdom of that “church” entity centered.

Let me clarify what I stated above regarding making disciples first. The simple biblical pattern for church planting is as follows:

  1. Someone or a team is sent.
  2. They share the gospel and begin to make disciples of these new believers.
  3. These new believers become the church that is planted. (this eliminates the plague of transfer growth).
  4. The form in which the church takes fits the community on all levels rather than having transferred into the community patterns, ideas, methodologies imposed upon them rather than emerging from their own growth and spiritual understanding.
  5. They (the congregation) matures faster and is able to do the same in other neighborhoods and regions spreading the gospel spontaneously rather than institutionally.

This method at the start is much slower, but in the long run many more are reached and lives are transformed by the pure gospel rather than the efforts of men’s ideas, methods and ability to convince people to come to their meetings. They are attracted to Jesus rather than a product or personality.

Sounds like fun – go out and make some disciples!