I enjoy spending time with Tony Morgan. Whether it’s in person or on his blog, he is one of those people who always leaves me with something to chew on. In a recent post, he discussed the building blocks of effective discipleship. One particular sentence jumped off the page for me:
"Teaching has the potential to shift someone’s thinking, but systems have the potential to shift behaviors."
What a brilliant thought! We cannot stand in the pulpit, preach to people, and simply expect authentic community and heart transformation to take place. Churches full of spectators are not “going and making disciples of all men.” Profound teaching has the potential to challenge the way people think, but it requires much more if you want to empower sustainable life change.
Consider this list of common strategies in the church that support teaching and impact discipleship:
- Small Groups
- Volunteer Development
- Missions and Outreach
- Stewardship and Giving
- Leadership Development
These strategies can be very powerful drivers of life change. The key is that they must be backed by solid processes and systems to truly be effective. Those same processes and systems will also help you measure the impact and discipleship that happens as a result. For me, this is the ballgame. Why? Because it is impact and spiritual growth that help people stick to your church and grow in their walk with God. And, isn't that why we teach in the first place?
What are some of the strategies your church has in place to encourage spiritual discipline, growth, and disciple making? Are the processes and systems which support them adequate? Are they producing MEASURABLE results?