Okay, we’re half way there. The first five propositions about church life and ministry (taken from the forthcoming Matthias Media title, The Trellis and the Vine) have been:
- Our goal is to make disciples not church members.
- Churches tend towards institutionalism as sparks fly upward.
- The heart of disciple-making is prayerful speaking of God’s word.
- All ministry has the goal of nurturing disciples, not just one-to-one discipling or mentoring.
- To be a disciple is to be a disciple-maker.
Number six is about how disciples become disciple-makers …
6. Disciple-makers need to be trained and equipped in conviction, character and competence
If this disciple-making vision is correct, then an integral part of making disciples is teaching and training every disciple to make other disciples. This training is not simply the imparting of certain skills or techniques. It involves nurturing and teaching people in their understanding and knowledge (their convictions), in their godliness and way of life (their character), and in their abilities and practical experience of ministering to others (their competence).
This sort of training is more like parenthood than the classroom. It’s relational and personal, and involves modelling and imitation. For most congregations and ministries, thinking about training in this way will require a number of significant ‘mind-shifts’ about ministry—from running programs and events to focusing on and training people; from using people to growing people; from maintaining structures to training new disciple-makers.