The Importance of Disciple Making in the Church

When we think about the purpose of the church, one might argue that it is not just about having a large number of churchgoers, but rather about making disciples. However, in many churches today, there seems to be a concerning trend – while there may be plenty of churchgoers, there are few disciple makers. This raises the question: why is this the case?

The Problem with Relying on Social Works

One of the main reasons behind this lack of disciple makers in churches is the tendency to rely solely on social works as a means of Christian conversion. While engaging in social works and helping those in need is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of the Christian faith, it should not be the sole focus of the church’s mission. Social works alone do not necessarily lead to the transformation of individuals into committed disciples of Christ.

It is important to recognize that while social works can create opportunities for evangelism, they should not be seen as a substitute for intentional discipleship. Simply providing material assistance or meeting physical needs does not guarantee a genuine spiritual transformation. Disciple making involves more than just acts of service; it requires intentional investment in the lives of individuals, guiding them towards a deeper understanding of the gospel and helping them grow in their relationship with Christ.

The Need for Intentional Discipleship

Intentional discipleship is crucial for the growth and maturity of believers. It involves equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools they need to become disciple makers themselves. This means going beyond surface-level interactions and fostering deeper relationships within the church community. It means providing opportunities for learning, mentoring, and accountability.

Unfortunately, many churches today have neglected this aspect of their mission. They may focus on attracting large numbers of churchgoers through entertaining services or social events, but fail to prioritize the intentional discipleship of these individuals. As a result, many churchgoers remain stagnant in their faith, lacking the necessary guidance and support to become active disciple makers.

Changing the Approach

If we truly desire to see a shift from churchgoers to disciple makers, it is essential to change our approach to missions. This means shifting the focus from simply attracting people to the church to actively engaging in intentional discipleship. Here are a few practical steps that churches can take:

1. Emphasize the importance of discipleship:

Leadership within the church should consistently communicate the significance of intentional discipleship and its role in fulfilling the Great Commission.

2. Provide resources for discipleship:

Churches can offer resources such as small group studies, discipleship materials, and mentorship programs to facilitate the growth and development of believers.

3. Train and equip leaders:

Identify and train individuals within the church who have a passion for discipleship. Empower them to lead small groups, mentor others, and actively invest in the spiritual growth of fellow believers.

4. Foster a culture of accountability:

Create an environment where believers feel comfortable sharing their struggles and seeking guidance. Encourage accountability partnerships and regular check-ins to ensure ongoing growth and discipleship.

5. Prioritize relationship-building:

Encourage church members to form meaningful relationships with one another, fostering a sense of community and support. This can be achieved through regular fellowship events, small groups, and mentorship programs.

Conclusion

While social works undoubtedly have their place in the mission of the church, they should not be the sole focus. It is crucial for churches to prioritize intentional discipleship, equipping believers to become disciple makers themselves. By shifting our approach and actively investing in the growth and development of individuals, we can create a culture of discipleship that transforms churchgoers into committed followers of Christ.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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