When a pastor is called to a church, the process is always exciting. The new pastor is usually anxious about the new assignment, and the church members anxiously await what changes the new pastor is going to make.
I can remember when I was called to my current church, and the first day I was asked, “Well pastor, what are you going to change first?” At that time, I didn’t have an answer to what needed to be changed, but I knew what needed to be added, a clear plan of discipleship.
A clear plan of discipleship is much needed in all churches but is required in the process of church revitalization. Here are three reasons why.
Discipleship Plays A Biblical Role in Revitalization
The Great Commission calls all Christians to make disciples. Matthew 28:18-20 is commonly known among churchgoers and pastors. So why do Churches continue to forget what they are called to do?
A church that is in the process of Church Revitalization must understand that when they do not make disciples, they are not fulfilling the commission to which Christ has called them. Therefore, a Church that is not practicing discipleship is disobedient to their Lord, Jesus.
Furthermore, discipleship is what has defined the church. Jesus modeled discipleship as he walked with his disciples and taught them about the Kingdom of God. Acts 11:21-26 describes Paul and Barnabas following Jesus’ example by making disciples in the early church. The church is defined by this Great Commission to make disciples; the Commission is a part of their purpose and identity. Therefore, a church that is not making disciples is a church that has forgotten her mission and has lost her identity.
Discipleship Plays An Vital Role in Revitalization
Churches may be great at implementing many different ministries. They may have a fantastic children’s program, student program, women’s ministry, and men’s ministry but if they are not fantastic at making disciples they are missing the most important thing.
In the consumer church culture, it is understandable how the church can emphasize whatever programs their culture desires. If a church is a traditional Christian area, they may focus on remaining traditional in worship style to meet the desire of the culture. If the church is in an area with young families, they may focus energy on the children’s ministries to satisfy the desire of the culture. While it is perfectly okay to contextualize ministry for the culture, a church must be diligent in keeping discipleship the focus of the ministry. Therefore, if the church is not teaching people to grow in their walk with Christ instead of the culture, the church is missing the point.
Discipleship Plays A Valuable Role in Revitalization
I don’t believe that anyone would argue that Churches going through revitalization are in need of some new growth. And the great news about discipleship is this; Discipleship helps the church to grow.
A church that is evangelizing the lost, teaching their congregants the Scripture, and challenging them to share the gospel with their lost friends and family is a church that will inevitably experience growth. God is faithful, and when we are obedient to his call, He blesses our obedience. Therefore, when we make disciples as He has called us to, He brings the growth to the church.
While church growth may reveal itself in different ways over the life of the church, growth is an indicator of church health. For some churches growth may present itself through an abundance of lost people becoming Christians, for others, it may be an increase in small groups, and others it may be Christians being sent out to start new ministries. Therefore, A church that is not growing is not a healthy church.
The simple truth is, No church makes disciples by accident.
Which should cause a church to ask a few questions…
- Is my church growing?
- Is there a clear path of discipleship for people to follow?
- Is the path of discipleship producing the results desired?
While many more questions must be asked and answered, this should get you thinking about how your churches’ discipleship process is working or not working.
The church has been Commissioned with a great responsibility to make disciples, and we have been given enormous power to accomplish that mission. May our churches be known by how we make disciples for the cause of Christ.
For more posts in this series check out these previous posts.