“…The Christian community must rethink our efforts to make disciples…. Some (though not all) ministries have taken cues from the assembly line, doing everything possible to streamline the manufacture of shiny new Jesus-followers, fresh from the factory floor.”
When Christian author, David Kinnaman speaks to the Christian community’s need to “rethink our efforts to make disciples,” the implication is that the church should reconsider their “mass producing of disciples.” The term implies that many church leaders have structured their discipleship programs to be “one size fits all.” Mr. Kinnaman refers to an assembly line in the above quote. The purpose of an assembly line is to produce large quantities of a product with the least amount of effort. This model is ineffective, because the people that the Lord has sent and is sending to His places of worship are at various levels of spiritual maturity. They range from the new babe in Christ to the spiritually mature as shown through the following:
- The “unchurched”.
- Those who are “churched” but whose calling has yet to be revealed to them.
- Those who have received the revelation of their calling and are awaiting the Lord’s preparation and testing so that they may walk in it.
- Those who have already been prepared, tried, tested, and have given birth to their calling.
Also within the above categories are Christians on diverse levels of spiritual maturity relating to their spiritual gifts and callings. The groups of Christians who fall under the last two bullets, for example, have usually moved on from the “starter” ministries, such as usher boards, singles ministries, women’s or men’s ministries, and greeting ministries, but they have hit a wall in the institutional church. For those Christians who fall under the last two categories, these “starter” ministries no longer fill the void that only walking in God’s purposes and plans can fulfill. Consequently, many churches are not structured in a way to meet the needs of these specific groups of Christians. These churches also fail to present a structure that allows the spiritual gifts to flow freely under the safety of love and mentorship.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”
(1 Corinthians 12:1 KJV)
So what is the implication? There is a lack of intentionality in moving God’s people from one level to another in their spiritual walk, not to mention the absence of developing strategic ways to disciple and mentor Christians on the level God’s saving grace has brought them. Consequently, many leaders have failed to strategically use the people of God with all their spiritual gifts and anointing either within the church body or in the marketplace.
When leaders fail to disciple and mentor those on the spiritual level in which the Lord has graced them, they encourage the sheep to go elsewhere to have their needs met. Here’s a reminder of Mr. Graham’s prophetic word from 1965:
“Unless the church quickly recovers its authoritative Biblical message, we may witness the spectacle of millions of Christians going outside the institutional church to find spiritual food.”
(Excerpt taken from Beyond Babylon, Chapter 8.)
Let’s talk about it. Can you relate to the last two categories listed above?
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