I know lots of churches that are doing a good job assimilating people into community, but very few churches are good at moving people into a disciple making core. In fact, most churches are content with assimilating people into a group, serving, and membership. Those are all great steps, but they still fall short of what it takes to make fully trained disciples.
When Jesus moved His twelve into community, He was not content to leave them there. Jesus turned His twelve followers into a core of fully trained disciples that could eventually become leaders of His movement. Jesus moves people into community so that they can be trained as core of disciple making ministers who are able to fulfill His mission.
We make a big mistake when we think discipleship is only for the really committed, or for an elite group of people desiring spiritual disciplines. Discipleship is for every believer to become trained and equipped for Jesus’ mission. Discipleship is ministry training.
Moving from community to the core requires two things: A challenge, and an environment. People don’t automatically gravitate toward discipleship. They have to be asked.
Even Jesus gave His disciples a challenge to come and remain in Him. Jesus was challenging His disciples to a life of obedience to Him. He was calling them to be more than followers and spectators. Jesus was calling them to be trained for ministry.
Discipleship also requires an environment. Jesus created the perfect environment to equip and train His disciples. Jesus used a small group environment where He could make the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. In less than three years, Jesus was able to shape the lives of a handful of men into world-changers. Jesus took a group of guys from unschooled, ordinary men, and used them to turn the world upside down.
Churches need to be more intentional about creating environments for disciples to be trained. Disciple making is not something we add on to everything else. Disciple making is the core of what we do.
If you want to help people move from community to a disciple making core, you would need to do several things:
1. Present the challenge to join a disciple making group. There are dozens of ways to present the challenge, but the important thing is to be clear about the expectations.
2. Create groups where discipleship can happen. Make sure these groups are led by qualified leaders. You will weaken the process if your leadership is not qualified.
3. Find a unified tool or resource to use for your discipleship training. I suggest using a resource that drives people to the scriptures and a resource that uses Jesus as the model for disciple making.
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to help you be and build disciples. If you need resources or training for disciple making, feel free to check out our website or contact us at impactdisciples.com.