I often tell people we are shaped by the environments we place ourselves in! We place ourselves in a fitness center to shape our physical condition. We place ourselves in a school to shape our intellectual condition. We may place ourselves in a social club to shape our relational condition. We place our lives in a church to help shape our spiritual condition.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus used the power of the right environments to make disciples. Without question, Jesus strategically shaped his disciples by leading them into large group, small group, one on one, and hands-on ministry environments. Jesus shaped his disciples by placing them in the right environments at the right times to produce the right results. Jesus was never random about where he was leading his disciples.
To be effective in making disciples today, we need to learn from the disciple making environments that Jesus used. We need to use large group, small group, one on one, and ministry environments to give our disciples content, contact, context, and correction.
Content means we give our disciples instruction. Jesus used both the large group and small group to transfer truth to his disciples. Contact means we give our disciples relationship. More is often “caught than taught” through relationships. Context means we give our disciples real life experiences in ministry. Disciples need more than a classroom; they need a laboratory for learning to do ministry. Correction means we help our disciples change and grow. Loving accountability creates an environment where people can be transformed.
Some would debate this but I believe Jesus started the first expression of the church when he created the ideal environment for making disciples. I also believe that is exactly what the church needs to be doing today. Is it possible that we are doing so many good things in our churches that we are not doing the best things in our churches? I believe that to be true.