6 ways to create reproducing churches and disciple making disciples
By Kyle Patterson
I was sitting in a recent church service on a Sunday morning and the church had called attention to a member of the church who had been there for a really long time. The church leader was wanting to call attention to their faithfulness to the church and their commitment to its cause. I think that is all well and good, but I was kind of embarrassed at the same time.
Part of the feeling of embarrassment could be the way I'm wired, how I'm gifted, and what God has called me to do. I get that. But I still think it revealed a flaw in the way the church thinks towards fulfilling God's invitation to touch nations for his glory. And to be fair, the church I mentioned has released, in its past, a number of people into the mission field and into new church plants.
But as I was listening to the celebratory praise, I couldn't help but think, “Lord, forgive me if after 40 years I am still here, doing the same thing.”
Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus could very well have called that member to stay at the church that long. She may be a vital church intercessor. She could be playing a role that God had destined her for. That is between her and Jesus. But if Jesus calls us to go, why are we celebrating those who stay without reminding our people of the need to go? It's not that I don't like that particular church, it's just that I think we should be highlighting those laying down their lives for the gospel not padding our pews, with all due respect.
If we are called to raise up disciple making disciples, why aren’t we releasing more people to plant more churches and reach more people for Christ and celebrating them?
Yes we must stay connected to a local body in our going, but if we are going to reach a lost and dying world, let's celebrate the going and the coming back, not the staying as if we are called to just hold on until Jesus comes again.
So to make disciple making disciples, as leaders I can think of 6 things we can immediately do to celebrate the releasing of disciples into ministry that touches nations:
1) Give up control
When we try to control what God is doing in the life of his people, we can quench the Spirit of God calling people to go and be a part of church planting or missions efforts.
2) Raise up new leaders
As disciple making disciples, our call is to equip people to lead others. So we need to constantly be reproducing what Jesus showed us in making new leaders.
3) Support new works
It’s difficult in the church world to realize that God is working outside of our own congregations and ministries. Just because it looks different than what you are expecting, doesn’t mean God is not at work.
4) Focus on training
According to Ephesians 4:11, the church offices exist for the equipping of God’s people for works of ministry. Those ministries are typically focused on reaching new people with the Gospel, which typically takes place outside of the church walls.
5) Release people
When God is moving in someone’s life and preparing them for a ministry, we need to be sensitive to the voice of God and release them into the ministry God has called them to. Acts 13:2 says, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Could you imagine what would have happened if Paul and Barnabas were celebrated for staying faithful to be in the church for years, but had missed the call to go?
6) Resource people
Lastly we need to resource people to do the work God has called them to. Sow into the ministry God has put into the hearts of your people and see them succeed. When they succeed, the kingdom of God succeeds and therefore you succeed.
What do you think? Leave your comments below?