Good questions can act like goads that motivate us to action if we are willing to wrestle with them. A question that has personally motivated me (and often gotten under my skin) is contained in a quote from Dallas Willard: “Since making disciples is the main task of the church, every church ought to be able to answer two questions: What is our plan for making disciples of Jesus? Is our plan working?”
Are questions like these are forcing us to think bigger than can we plan and execute in a good Sunday morning service, or are our programs running smoothly in the church? As easy as Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations” is to understand, I find it is often frustratingly difficult to implement, and not the least of the challenge has to do with my own life of discipleship to Jesus!
Over the years, I have been blessed with godly people who have invested time, energy and prayer into my life – discipling me and teaching me how to do the same with others. It was much more than a 12 week discipleship course. It was them sharing their life and in essence saying “Where you see Jesus in me, imitate that.”
In recent years one of the things that has helped me has been the coaching available through the ministry of 3DM (https://3dmovements.com). I chose to get connected with 3DM because it felt less like implementing a program and more like a shift in culture. As part of two Leadership Huddles with other leaders from across North America, we explored what it means to create a disciple making culture in our churches. Since that time, we began an initial Huddle made up of myself and three other leaders from Lakeside, and now after a few false starts we have two second generation Huddles meeting. Our hope is that these leaders will multiply this process to a third generation 8-12 months from now.
I certainly don’t feel like an expert on the subject. Progress has been slow, but there is progress! We are seeing the beginnings of the culture and language of discipleship taking root. Our people are pursuing intentional relationships inside and outside the church with the desire to see lives transformed by Jesus. We have gone through a season of healing and forgiveness with a ministry called Freedom Session that has touched the lives of many in our church. We are learning how to listen to God together, discern where He is working and sensing His call into some new and challenging moves in terms of missional living in our neighborhoods. These are some of the fruit of discipleship and it is bringing hopeful anticipation for the future.
So allow me to challenge you to ask this question of your church: “What’s your plan to make disciples? Is it working?” See what God stirs up in your hearts as you do.
Rev. Ken Dryden
Pastor, Lakeside Community Church