Leadership in Context Episode 7 Show Notes
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Discipleship, part 1
Discipleship—like many things in the Kingdom, everyone has a different definition of it. May I make an outrageous claim? I believe that if we have an effective discipleship process, our ministries will grow and flourish, no matter what is happening around us. (And by “effective,” I mean consistent, predictable, something we are really committed to.)
The objective is not just filling church buildings with people. The key to effective, growing ministry is discipleship. Today we are going to talk about the broader subject of discipleship, and then in the next coming weeks we will dive deeper.
What is discipleship?
This is something we need to be able to answer—not in a 30-minute message, but in a few sentences. Can you define what discipleship is? Do you define it the same way each time?
A Definition Error
I once heard someone say that when a church is starting their small groups, they have to decide if they will have evangelistic small groups or discipleship small groups. I believe that it is a gross error to exclude evangelism from the heart of discipleship. I made that very error as I was teaching on discipleship many years ago. I went on the premise that quality (of men, life, testimony, etc.) would automatically produce quantity. Not so. Evangelism is something that needs to be integrated as the end result of all discipleship. If we separate discipleship from evangelism, we will raise up quality people of character, but they will be unable to reproduce.
The End Result
One of the key things to define in discipleship is: What is the end result? What does it look like when a person is discipled? (Not that the process is ever completely finished.) The issue of reproduction—bringing new people into the Kingdom, fruit that bears more fruit (John 15)—has to be part of it. A person who has been genuinely born again wants to bring more people to Christ. Effective discipleship helps others take their eyes off themselves and put their eyes on the harvest.
Quality will not necessarily reproduce quantity unless there is clear direction. Just because some people have good jobs and make good money, that doesn’t mean they make wise money decisions. They often need training to help them know how to manage that money. Likewise, we can emphasize character (not that you can overemphasize that), but then exclude the desired end result of that character. The end result of having character is not that we all have a nice life. The end result is that that character will affect others.
The 5 M’s of Discipleship
This is what I used as I trained and taught on discipleship:
Men: I focused on the difference between men and women. I unapologetically declared that God has established male leadership, both in the house of God and in the home.
Money: If you want to disciple someone, you have to disciple their money. Their money has to come under the Kingdom government of God. This goes well beyond tithing. I tried to build a good financial philosophy of believing God, being a good steward of what God had given them, and using their resources wisely.
Motive: What is my motive for wanting to be spiritual? What is my motive for wanting things to be right in my life? Is it just so I can eat my own fruit? This is where you can really bring in evangelism.
Marriage: Marriage is extremely critical. It is where the discipleship process is first repeated. The wife should be the number one disciple of her husband. He should be ministering to her, mentoring her, blessing her, and causing her to bear fruit.
Ministry: What is ministry, really? This is where you share about servanthood. It ties back into motive. You can affirm those who aren’t called into 5-fold ministry, those who are called to be entrepreneurs, educators, craftsmen, etc. Affirm that they are indeed involved in ministry.
Critical Things to Remember about Discipleship
What is your definition of discipleship? If I ask those you are discipling, would they have the same answer? It is time to clarify that.
Discipleship is a life-long process, but you eat the elephant one bite at a time. That means you will spend 4 weeks on one thing, 6 weeks on another, and so on.
Discipleship is not merely a classroom activity. The classroom time, the one-on-one coffee time—those are critical, but it’s more than that. Your disciples need to come alongside you and see you in action beyond the walls of the church. The process should be 3-fold: classroom, one-on-one, and life experience. During the third phase, the person who is being discipled then starts repeating the process with someone they are disciplining. Be strategic about it. Many pastors are intuitive about discipleship, but they don’t strategize; therefore the person they are imparting to can’t repeat the discipleship process.
The end result: You want your disciples to reproduce fruit.
How clear is the discipleship process to you?
How clear is the process to those you are discipling?
What is your strategic approach to discipleship?
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!