How many disciples have made disciples? Great challenge from Alan Briggs in his new book Guardrails: Six Principles for a Multiplying Church.
Reproducible discipleship looks beyond numbers to count generations – it measures how many disciples have made disciples… When we aim at mere numbers, we will rarely multiply disciples, but when we aim at generations, numbers come naturally.
Love this thinking! If church is about making disciples and one thing disciples do is make other disciples, we should be able to begin measuring generations within the first few years of our church. Take a look at your church roll and see how many generations deep you can go. If not far, examine your goal for people. Are you making disciples or just attenders? This is a mistake I have made in ministry. Attendance makes pastors feel good and populates the chairs on Sunday’s. Disciple making makes the kingdom grow and populates heaven.
Guardrails is a great book to help you get back to the simplicity of discipleship. Here’s a few other great quotes:
- healthy ministry always centers around making disciples.
- Our mission is to make disciples. That’s what missional people do.
- Spiritual leadership is not about gaining followers; it’s about making disciples.
- Disciple-makers are very ordinary people who take God’s mission seriously.
- Discipleship is a beautiful and rugged journey into living like Jesus.
- Discipleship is not something to be comprehended and mastered by something to be lived out and passed on to others.
- Every follower of Jesus has the capacity to become a multiplier of the message.
- When we portray discipleship as complicated, ordinary people leave discipleship to the experts, and reproduction is killed before it starts.
- We simply cannot afford to choose building our churches over making disciples. We must follow the progression of making disciples, developing leaders, and leading churches – in that order.
Grab a copy of Guardrails. Refreshing, challenging book to fuel the mission of making disciples. See the Trailer for the book HERE. Looking forward to having Alan Briggs as one of our Equippers in 2017 & 2018 for our Multiply Louisiana Church Planting Network! More info soon.
Grateful for Tim Keller’s latest book Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, in which he writes that the New Testament call to preach goes beyond just pulpit ministry. Keller argues that there are three levels of preaching.
Level 1 would be through everyday Christian conversation. “Paul calls all believers to ‘let the message of Christ dwell among you richly’ & ‘teach & admonish one another in all wisdom’ (Colossians 3:16).”
Level 2 would be through things like “writing, blogging, teaching classes & small groups, mentoring, moderating open discussion groups on issues of faith, & so on.”
Level 3 would be preaching as we typically define it today – “the public preaching & exposition of the Bible to assembled gatherings.”
I appreciate these distinctions, because I’ve run into people that say they are called to preach, but then when you suggest they come along to the jail or start a small group or teach a sunday school class, they are unenthused. Biblical preaching seldom included a pulpit because such a thing didn’t yet exist. And sometimes we seem to think that vocational preaching is the highest rung on the ladder & everybody else is just a mere volunteer. Praying we recover Levels 1 & 2, without neglecting Level 3 & that we see all our conversation as preaching instead of preaching as just a possible career.
A few other favorite quotes from Tim Keller in Preaching:
- Every Christian needs to understand the message of the Bible well enough to explain and apply it to other Christians and to his neighbors in informal and personal settings.
- It is dangerous, then, to fall into the unbiblical belief that the ministry of the Word is simply preaching.
- No church should expect that all the life transformation that comes from the Word of God comes strictly through preaching.
- We must beware of thinking the Sunday sermon can carry all the freight of any church’s ministry of the Word.
- a church’s gospel ministry should be “pulpit-centered, but no pulpit-restricted.”
- while the difference between a bad sermon and a good sermon is mainly the responsibility of the preacher, the difference between good preaching and great preaching lies mainly in the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the listener as well as the preacher.
- Every time you expound a Bible text, you are not finished unless you demonstrate how it shows us that we cannot save ourselves and that only Jesus can.
- we are loved sinners in Christ – so loved that we don’t have to despair when we do wrong, so sinful that we have no right to be puffed up when we do right
- the temptation will be to let the pulpit drive you to the word, but instead you must let the Word drive you to the pulpit.
Keller’s book is also VERY insightful, as always, on preaching in our modern cultural context. Highly recommend adding this book to your library if you haven’t already.
That’s the message of the book Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life. Shared a few of my favorite quotes from the book in this earlier post. The thing I’ve come to appreciate most about Jeff Vanderstelt & the Soma story, is that you come away from this book believing that EVERYBODY can do this. How? Not by adding anything, but by redeeming the rhythms of your life. The challenge:
Seeing church mainly as an event creates a significant problem for mission, because most people are very busy. And the more we fill our lives with church events and programs, the more we get pulled out of everyday life with people who don’t yet know Jesus.
We need to see that life is the program, because people need to see what i means to follow Jesus in the everyday stuff of life.
When we engage in these everyday rhythms with Jesus-centered, Spirit-led direction, mission can happen anytime and everywhere, and anybody can be a part of it.
Vanderstelt and Soma identified six regular rhythms that most people are already engaged in, that can be changed through submission to Jesus.
1. Eating – “Eating is not an extra event added on to your life. What if you ate with others more often?” We eat 21 meals each week. How many could we commit to disciple making conversations with other people?
2. Listen – “One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is a set of open ears and a closed mouth.” Are you listening to God & others? Who is the dominant voice in your life? If we listen, people will often tell us how to reach them.
3. Story – “Everybody lives in light of a larger story… and the stories provide the lenses through which people view their worlds.” “The larger narrative of God’s story can bring redemption to each of our individual stories.” Do you know God’s story & how to apply it to your life & the lives of others?
4. Bless – “Whatever God gives to his people, he plans to give through them to others.”
5. Celebrate – “Disciples celebrate the grace of God given to us through Jesus in order to express how good & gracious God is.” Are you able to celebrate like God? Can you look back at what He’s done through you and say “This is very good!”
6. ReCreate – “Too many of us can’t rest and create. But we should be the most playfully rested people on the earth, because our Dad has it all taken care of for us!” Can you rest? Can you create freely? Can you play?
Eat. Listen. Story. Bless. Celebrate. ReCreate. Not really catchy. Doesn’t spell out anything. But these represent things happening all the time around us. As disciples of Christ we should embody his desires for people as we live them out.
No program needed! You can make disciples in the everyday rhythms of your life! Live it!
What everyday rhythm of your could you turn into a disciplemaking opportunity?
Check out Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt. Great primer for Disciplemaking & doing church in the rhythms of your life.