The Hole in Our Discipleship

“Your system is perfectly designed to get the results you’re getting.”

There are a few primary ways that discipleship happens in the context of church:

  • Sunday Morning Worship
  • Small Groups
  • Ministry Programs
  • One On One

In these different discipleship venues we use the Bible, pray and genuinely desire to help grow our people spiritually. I don’t doubt that for a moment. But we have to face up to the truth that the church is increasingly becoming irrelevant to those on the outside. What’s up? Where is the hole in our discipleship?

Is is possible that in our desire to love and disciple people that we are actually causing them to look more like a consumer than a follower of Jesus Christ?

Here is how it might happen. Let’s say I am the leader of a Small Group. Each week we get together and apply God’s Word in such a way to heal the broken areas of our lives. Sounds pretty good, right? It is good! It’s just incomplete. If we don’t lead our people into mission then our discipleship method is actually reinforcing the half-truth that the gospel is to make their own life better.

The same thing is true in any discipleship context. Sunday morning or in one on one relationships. If I am in a one on one discipling relationship and the gospel is only used to overcome a sinful habit or to help me through a trial then why would we ever expect them to view the gospel as a call to come and die for the good of others?

Let me restate my previous question like this; is it possible that we are discipling and reproducing people who look more like ourselves than they do Jesus?


I have been blogging for a number of years over at Missional in Suburbia (recently shut down that site). I love talking about the mission of God in a suburban context, but it’s definitely time to branch out a bit. On this new site topics will include the gospel in everyday life, messy community, the mission of God, my love affair with books, and last but not leastĀ upside down leadership–I am saying goodbye to a non-biblical leadership that pretends to have it all together. Make no mistake about it, this blog functions as therapy for me and through it I hope you are blessed and encouraged.