Building a Discipling Culture

building disciplingI’m just beginning Building a Discipling Culture (affiliate link) by Mike Breen and Steve Cockram of 3DM, and already I’m intrigued by a number of the quotes. Several relate to things I’ve been writing about recently. I’m posting here a few quotes, followed by links to my posts on similar topics. I’d love to hear what you think about these.

If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.

Most of us have become quite good at the church thing. And yet, disciples are the only thing that Jesus cares about.

The first half here is profound, and I suspect, true. The second half makes me a little uneasy. A bit the same way I felt in “When ‘Missional Church’ gets too outwardly focused.” Does it go too far to say Jesus only cares about disciples?

Now try this:

Effective discipleship builds the church, not the other way around. We need to understand the church as the effect of discipleship and not the cause. If you set out to build the church, there is no guarantee you will make disciples. It is far more likely that you will create consumers who depend on the spiritual services that religious professionals provide.

Again, profound and quite true, I think. Is this how we look at the relationship between church and discipleship? Yes, they’re a bit reciprocal. But is it best to see the church more as the effect of discipleship? That’s what I’m pushing for in “The disciples became apostles.”

Also, I’m glad they’re calling out our tendency to create consumers rather than disciples. Offer the Gospel!

And finally, there’s this interesting piece:

Now one of the buzzwords around today is the word ‘missional.’ People want to create missional churches or missional programs or missional small groups.

The problem is that we don’t have a ‘missional’ problem or a leadership problem in the Western church. We have a discipleship problem. If you know how to disciple people well, you will always get mission. Always. You see, somewhere along the way we started separating being ‘missional’ from being a disciple, as if somehow the two could be separated. Pastors started saying they didn’t want to be inwardly-focused so they stopped investing in the people in their churches so they could focus on people outside their churches.

Our problem isn’t about leadership or being “missional”; it’s about discipleship. I can’t disagree.

Some early, thought-provoking thoughts from a book I think I can already commend to you. What do you think about these?

One thought on “Building a Discipling Culture

  1. Thanks for keeping the focus on this topic. “If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.” i believe the first part is definitely true.

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