I discovered several years ago that there is a difference between a church with a discipleship program and a Disciple Making Church. Trust me, they are not the same thing.
A church with discipleship is usually a church that has a discipleship program attached as an addition to everything else it’s doing. That church’s leadership might see discipleship as an option for people who want to go “a little deeper” or master spiritual formation. A church with discipleship might even be a church that calls Bible education the same thing as discipleship. As long as you are in a class, you are considered to be “in discipleship.”
A Disciple Making Church is a church that understands the importance of the mission to make disciples. Making disciples is what that church revolves around. Discipleship is not one of many programs for that church: it is the main goal. A Disciple Making Church recognizes that it exists to help people go from untrained seekers to fully trained disciples. All of its members have a clear mission and understand a the strategy in place for helping people in their congregation make that journey.
The Disciple Making Church models ministry around the same process Jesus used to make disciples. This process models discipleship as part of a process or pathway to becoming a fully trained disciple. A Disciple Making Church understands that everything it does is connected with its overall mission: to make and multiply disciples.
The Disciple Making Church model starts the process with reaching out. Reaching the lost and sharing the gospel with them is an essential part of discipleship. Worship is a crucial part of the disciple making process. Small groups and ministry teams are ways to help connect people to the church. By initially connecting with the church through those platforms, a person can then be connected and plugged into a process Jesus called becoming a disciple. Once a person has been trained as a disciple, that person can step into leadership and help drive the process of making more disciples. That is the process of a Disciple Making Church.
As you can see, there is a quite a difference between a church with discipleship emphasis and a Disciple Making Church. The difference is the mission. Do you know your church’s mission? Does that mission help accomplish the Great Commission?
At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we exist to inspire people and churches to be and build disciples. One of our objectives for accomplishing our mission is to develop Disciple Making Churches. We have provide resources and training that can help you apply this disciple making process to your ministry. One of our key training opportunities is called The Disciple Making Church Seminar. It is a half-day seminar to help you understand the key ingredients in developing a Disciple Making Church. We will help you make goals in line with the mission of Jesus and help you develop a strategy and process that can accomplish those goals in your church. We would love to help you accomplish the mission of Christ. Learn more about our seminars and other training opportunities here.