Dear Church Leader,
If discipleship is boring to you it will be boring to those following your leadership. While nobody would openly confess this to be the case in their own context, it is an all too common occurrence in our modern church era. This is an unfortunate outcome given Jesus’ charge in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples.”
The church needs to re-imagine discipleship. We have done this in other dimensions and reaped a bumper crop of fruit as a result. Decades back, we re-imagined worship and created new music, new styles and new expressions that have ignited a global passion for seeking God across the body of Christ. As our culture has changed, we have always adapted our strategies when it comes to outreach and evangelism in order to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who need it the most. We have even re-imagined weekend services in recent times with unconventional meeting times, multi-site paradigms, video-venues and online services as well.
We need to take the same type of bold thinking when it comes to building kingdom circles of spiritual formation. Not only do we need to be more flexible to experiment with new methods ourselves, we need to be inspiring and empowering God’s people to do the same.
Wikipedia shares the following description of an entrepreneur: a person who starts, organizes and manages any enterprise…usually with considerable initiative and risk. Too many times discipleship programs fall into management modes of maintenance with high levels of predictability that impact that same group of people over and over again. From a secular perspective, entrepreneurs are filled with enthusiasm about creating something new that unleashes fresh opportunities for profitability. I believe the church should be hungrier for the harvest than the world is for money.
Here Are Four Attributes of a Discipleship Entrepreneur…
1. Hunger to launch new locations. A discipleship entrepreneur is always looking to the horizon for new opportunities to expand the kingdom into new territory. When Jesus sent out the 12 in Luke 9 and the 70 in Luke 10, one of the first things He commanded them to do was to find a home that would receive His kingdom message. He wasn’t just sending the apostles on a preaching circuit, He was launching new home-based discipleship communities that would sustain the spiritual renewal that was about to be released in the region.
Discipleship becomes stale in churches when there’s no hunger to launch new discipleship settings. As I mentioned already, we have tapped into this mindset with our weekend worship services and it’s time to do the same for disciple-making as well.
2. Resourcefulness and creativity. Discipleship settings need to be fellowship-friendly to foster healthy relationships. While I believe they work best in a home, we need to keep thinking outside of the box. I have seen discipleship entrepreneurs start groups in grocery stores, break rooms, military bases, government offices, libraries and more.
I recently started an early morning men’s group at a Starbucks and have been able to access new relationships that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
I had a close friend ask his Jewish boss if he could lead a Bible study in the staff conference room during lunch. Not only did he get approval, that group grew and multiplied and he got approval to have a second one in the same room on a different day of the week. People were getting saved, healed and transformed at their place of work.
3. Innovating through technology. Advances in web-based platforms and digital video have given more options than we’ve ever had before and yet the majority of the churches today are still approaching discipleship with old, traditional methods.
I can send video content to group members’ phones before we meet for Bible study and prayer. I can meet with them via video in front of my laptop from anywhere in the world if I want to as well. I can resource my group hosts and directors on multiple channels of communication in very affordable ways.
Remember, Jesus was the most unconventional spiritual leader the Jews had ever seen. Modern advancements present us with untapped alternatives as well. The opportunity before us is epic…
4. Infectious kingdom vision. Jesus was constantly speaking vision and pushing His disciples out of their comfort zone. He majored on the words “go,” “sent,” “arise,” “call,” “new” and “increase.” Successful entrepreneurs are similar. People are inspired to enlist themselves and join the movement. We need discipleship entrepreneurs who are intentional about attracting new leaders with a kingdom-mindset for growth and advancement.
Tommy Barnett said, “The message is sacred, not the method.” The message hasn’t changed. Jesus continues to call us to be hungry to become more like Him and embark on an adventure of transformation and mission together. The methods on how we do that, though, can be re-imagined into new wineskins for a new day.
Are you a discipleship entrepreneur?
This article originally appeared here.