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6 Reasons Our Discipleship Strategies Miss the Mark

If your church is like mine, your mission or vision or purpose probably includes some aspect of the Great Commission. Many of us have even gone a step further and proclaimed that we are in the business of making disciples and we’ll know we are succeeding when we make some amount of more and better disciples. So . . . if we’re all trying to hit the same target, why are so many of our discipleship strategies missing the mark?

Any theories about why our discipleship strategies are off target? I have a few and before you think I believe I have it all together, I’m actually guilty of a few of these myself!

6 Reasons our Discipleship Strategies Miss the Mark

1. We don’t actually have a strategy.

We really have more of a theology of wishful thinking. We spend time planning everything from our weekend services and special events to staff retreats and the updated vacation policy, but we don’t get around to developing a discipleship strategy. In the place of a strategy, we are hopeful. I love this line from Winston Churchill. “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” If you don’t like your results, change the strategy. See also, 5 Signs You May Have a Bad Disciple-Making Strategy.

2. We don’t have a viable strategy.

We don’t acknowledge the connection between results and design. We are the definition of insane and often do the same things over and over again, expecting a different result. We’ve never stopped to ask, “What would have to be true for that approach to work?” See also, 5 Signs Your Ministry Design Is Inadequate and Great Question: What Would Have to Be True?

3. We have an outdated strategy.

We do have a strategy, but it’s designed for an entirely different era. Although virtually everything is different (pace of life, attention spans, biblical literacy, etc.), we are using a strategy that was tailor made for inhabitants of the 20th century (or earlier). Ed Stetzer has pointed this out saying, “If the 1950s came back, many churches are ready.” See also, 3 Steps to Take When the Flux Capacitor Fails.