How can we grow as a church? How do you start a new group in a church? I believe this is one of the fundamental question raised by all churches, as within the question in itself, there is a sense urgency that they recognize something is not working. They know and sense that fulfilling the Great Commission is a task that we all are called. As the British Protestant Christian missionary to China, the founder of the China Inland Mission Hudson Taylor said,“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.”
However, we so often face two major obstacles in the pursuit of disciple making task…..
- Ignorance: Don’t know what to do and not having any material. Result? They won’t do it.
- Uncertainty : As a young lad I was often told, “Jonathan, it is impossible to take a trip that you’ve never been on.”
If you don’t know what you do, you don’t do anything at all. I think that as a result has paralyzed and crippled people in the task of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). We as a church are interested in an easy quick fix, however discipleship is going through the rhythm of life investing one at a time through an intentional disciple-making with a blueprint behind it.
It eliminates the excuse of, “Well, we don’t know how to hear from God! The Bible doesn’t apply to me today” as it’s no longer simply the pastor’s role as a lecturer teaching students, but we being to meet in circle rather than raws. This holds those who we are disciplining in an accountability relationship and everyone participate and engage in a, ‘Gospel conversation vs. Gospel presentation” as Alvin L. Reid (Associate dean of Proclamation Studies, professor of Evangelism, and Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina) will say. We place the expectation up front as well before they are to make disciples then things begin to change within the church culture as people begin to lead the groups as they are characterized by authenticity, mutual accountability, and empowered by the Spirit.
Discipleship as mentioned in earlier post, is not just a transactional information within the mind, as Dave Browning in his book; Deliberate Simplicity – How the Church Does More by Doing Less said it well, “The problem in the Christian church is not the gap between what we know and what we don’t know, but it’s the gap between what we know and what we do” We have become educated beyond our obedience. In our church’s for our Sunday morning service we have roomed filled consumer rather than room filled disciple maker.
This is not to diminish Sunday school or Bible study, as I tell our congregation, “You don’t need to have another bible study, you have to start living and teaching the bible and reproducing the bible and what you know” For we as a a church, as a pastor we want to give our people principles that are not duplicatable, but incarnational.
Lifeway (Nashville, TN) Research group came up with research earlier mentioning those in a smaller group context will often
- Pray more frequently
- Give more generously
- Study the Bible more consistently
- Serve more faithfully
rather than those who are in larger groups.
People undoubtedly come to me and say, “We do discipleship! We have great Sunday morning bible study” Well, then my follow up question then will be to them is, “Great, well tell me generationally how many groups reproduced out of that? Tell me the 2nd or 3rd generation?” I believe that is where the rubber hits the road. We as a church have invested a lot of time executing the ministry, not Eph. 4:11-13 which calls all believe’s task for equipping the saints for the work ministry. This then will become an explosive group.