Thoughts for Church Leaders
21st Century Discipleship–A Difficult Reality
The 21st century challenge for churches and church leaders is to recognize the difference between local church mobilization systems and true discipleship while discovering a way to do both effectively.
The difficult reality is to admit that there is a difference between mobilizing people for the success of a church strategy and making disciples. Church mobilization is not the same as discipleship and well mobilized Christians may not be great disciples. It is hard for a church leader to say “My people are well mobilized but I don’t see the true marks of Jesus in their daily lives.” Even so, that is the reality that most pastors see if they are honest.
21st Century ministers are being primarily trained to mobilize church people because success at mobilization will most likely be the measure of their pastoral success. Ministers are becoming experts at mobilization as if great mobilization is great discipleship. Is it any wonder discipleship is the most disappointing area of modern church life for most pastors?
What can be done in light of this difficult reality? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Admit once and for all that mobilization is not discipleship. Stop trying to make a mobilization system the key to discipleship. Cooperating with Jesus in us is the key to discipleship.
2. Insist that the standard for discipleship in every church is Jesus in us and constant cooperation with His commands. Insist that discipleship is not simply meeting the demands of the mobilization system chosen by the church.
3. Affirm that every church needs a mobilization plan that fits their culture but discipleship (cooperation with Jesus) is never adjusted for culture. Being like Jesus and obeying His commands is not negotiable or flexible in any culture.
4. Train leaders who know how to affirm discipleship while leading effective mobilization. for delivering love.
5. Make discipleship the primary qualification for true mobilization. Make sure all leaders are disciples before they lead.
This is and always will be a challenge!