6 Reasons Churches Don’t Disciple Well

By Chuck Lawless on Jun 09, 2020 01:00 am

I believe more and more churches are working harder at what most churches call “discipleship” (which I define here as leading believers to obey everything Jesus commanded), but many churches still struggle with this task. Perhaps one of these reasons will help you to understand where/how your own church might work to improve your discipleship process:

  1. Many church leaders—pastors included—have never really been discipled. To be honest, I started pastoring before anyone really invested in me with intentionality. The result was that I raised up a church family that I was unprepared to disciple—and their lack of discipleship became obvious. I fear I’m not the only pastor with this kind of story.
  2. In many cases, we find more reward in reporting new believers. Some denominations, for example, ask for reports about new converts. Some give recognition to congregations that apparently evangelize well. We pastors sometimes like to report our own numbers, too. What we seldom report, though, is the number of believers being intentionally discipled in our congregation. The number is often low, and the “reward” for strategically reviewing this number is equally low.
  3. Discipleship is tough, tiring, messy work. To disciple well means that you have to walk with someone in his or her faith. You have to be willing to encourage and lead through defeats and victories. You have to be patient but persistent. Sometimes, it’s just easier not to do it all.

Continue: http://chucklawless.com/2020/06/6-reasons-churches-dont-disciple-well/

Disciplines of discipleship

by Keith Haney

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Whenever we talk about discipleship, it is helpful to start with defining what we are talking about.

Ann Swindoll defines it this way: “What is discipleship? Put simply, discipleship means intentionally partnering with another Christian in order to help that person obey Jesus and grow in relationship with Him—so that he or she can then help others do the same. Jesus taught His disciples to follow Him and obey His commands so that they could lead others to do the same after His death, resurrection, and ascension.

The Apostle Paul continues the pattern with Timothy and encourages him to keep the cycle going: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).”

I love the reminder that one of my primary duties as a pastor is to equip the saints for service to God and his kingdom.  But this service, to be precise, is not some new way for us to earn favor with God because good deeds do not save us.

Discipleship is not some new code word or term for Salvation through adding new requirements on the backs of believers.  Discipleship is a response to God’s love shown to us through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Foundational facts about discipleship

  • Christian discipleship addresses every dimension of life. It is concerned not only with doing the right thing in every circumstance but also doing the right thing for the right reason.

“Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together, to remain faithful to the gospel.” Phil. 1:27

Continue: Five Foundations of Discipleship

10 Needed Commitments From Bible Study Leaders

Chuck Lawless

I am surprised how little attention churches give to securing Bible study leaders and holding them accountable. Below are ten covenant commitments I would want them to affirm as they serve in the local church:

  1. “I will grow in my faith and devotion to God through consistent personal Bible study.” Bible study leaders have a tendency to teach from our reserves; that is, we teach out of what we learned in the past. It’s wrong to assume we can take on today’s teaching task on the basis of yesterday’s power.
  2. “I will be holy, knowing that what others do not see is as important as what they do see.” When there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we lack the power of God that should mark all teaching of the Bible. The unholy Bible study leader imparts only information, but the holy Bible study leader imparts life.
  3. “I will faithfully support the work of the church by regular worship attendance and financial giving.” We teach not only with our words, but also with our actions. Bible study leaders who teach their group but who don’t also support the church are likely growing their own kingdom more than God’s kingdom.
  4. “I will faithfully participate in any small group leader training my church offers.” Leaders who aren’t willing to be trained—likely because they don’t see the need—may well think too highly of themselves to be a church leader.

Continue at: http://chucklawless.com/2020/02/10-needed-commitments-of-bible-study-leaders/

10 Things I Wish Older Christians Told Me

https://frankviola.org/2020/02/06/10things/

9 Reasons Our Family And Friends Don’t Believe The Gospel

Chuck Lawless writes:

Based on my years of sharing Christ with family members and friends, here are my thoughts about why folks struggle with believing the gospel.

  1. They’ve never really heard the gospel. The more I speak to people in North America, the more I realize this truth. Within the shadows of our church buildings are people who have never heard the truth.
  2. They struggle understanding the Bible. Even for those who are willing to read the Bible, the content is often new – and challenging. If genuine believers wrestle with interpreting the Bible, it shouldn’t surprise us that non-believers face the same battle.
  3. They fail to recognize their lostness. “I treat people well, and I try to help my neighbors,” they say. “Let me tell you some of the good things I’ve been doing.” “I don’t do anything that’s just evil.” Folks who see no need for forgiveness seldom seek it.
  4. They see the gospel as too good to be true. The story of the gospel really is quite astounding. That the one and only creator God would forgive our sins, make us whole, place us in His family, and indwell us is hard to fathom, especially if the story is new.

You Don’t Feed Sheep Like Your Llama

By Mike Leake

I’m confident that I’ll lose whatever cool points I’ve accumulated when I admit that I still love Napoleon Dynamite and will on occasion quote the classic flick. (Also, I think anyone who refers to something like “cool points” is definitely not cool). I do love the movie, and in particular I love the scene where Napoleon goes out with a dish of ham and yells at his pet llama, Tina, to come eat. “Tina, ham, eat!”

Who doesn’t love a great llama scene?

I thought about that llama the other day when I was discussing expository preaching with some folks. It seems to me that there is a way in which we can equate expository preaching with plopping a spoon fool of ham out onto the grass and telling our llama to come eat. What I mean is that expository preaching is far more than just standing before people and saying, “this is what the text says, come eat.”

Jesus, the Great Shepherd, certainly didn’t teach this way. He sovereignly and unfailingly knew the hearts of men and his preaching corresponded to this knowledge. Consider how he oriented his teaching around what the disciples were “ready for”. We under-shepherds are not infallible in our discernment of our sheep but nevertheless we need to truly know them in order to properly feed them.

I’m happy about the resurgence of biblical theology and sharing how each passage of Scripture fits into the grand narrative. I’m even more ecstatic that a growing segment of pastors are moving away from beginning with felt needs and moving towards beginning and ending with the text. I thank God for the resurgence of expository preaching. And yet I’m convinced that such a movement will be dashed on the rocks of irrelevancy if we aren’t shepherd enough to place our people in that grand narrative of Scripture.

Don’t hear me wrong. The Bible is always relevant. We don’t have to doctor the Scriptures up or add a bunch of gloss and flash in order to make it appealing or palatable. But this truth does not resolve us of our responsibility to labor in understanding not only what the text says but also what the text says to our sheep. Anybody can grab a spoon full of ham, find a field, yell at a llama, and throw ham on the ground. But that’s not shepherding.

[ Being a llama breeder and packer I know Mike knows little about feeding a real llama, but his point is good to onder. Llamas are strickt vegetarians. ]

 

Comment at: https://mikeleake.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8a93edf264295760b435c327a&id=f2d6a99427&e=59550a3199

3 Things Required for Discipleship

Whoever said discipleship was easy was misinformed. Paul refers to the work of discipleship as a “struggle” in Colossians 2:1-3. The process of making disciples and discipling disciples is a difficult work, but it’s what Jesus has commissioned us to do. If we give ourselves to teaching athletics, building friendships or doing service ministry (social work), but we don’t engage in the work of discipleship—we’ve missed our calling as a disciple of Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). Mark Dever writes:

At the heart of Christianity is God’s desire for a people to display his character. They do this through their obedience to his Word in their relationships with him and with each other. Therefore he sent his Son to call out a people to follow him. And part of following the Son is calling still more people to follow the Son. [1]

As we examine the work of discipleship, there are many different component parts and aspects—but there are three elements that are central and necessary for true discipleship to happen.

Theology

Read the article at: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/306062-3-things-required-discipleship-josh-buice.html

8 Faulty Assumptions Of Non-Growing Churches

Most churches are not growing. Not every non-growing church gives evidence of the following faulty assumptions; nevertheless, many do, and these assumptions help us to understand why the church isn’t growing. See if your church lives by (even unintentionally) any of these assumptions:

  1. “If people attend our church regularly, they’ll automatically develop and learn orthodox theology.” These churches must believe this statement, for they have no other strategy or pathway in place to teach basic theology.
  2. “If we tell people to do spiritual disciplines, they will.” I’ve written about the difference between telling people what to do and teaching them how to do it. Many, if not most churches only tell people what to do—and then get frustrated with them when they don’t do it because they don’t know how.

Read more: http://chucklawless.com/2019/07/8-faulty-assumptions-of-non-growing-churches/

Addressing the Myth That Young Christians Aren’t Leaving the Church

https://christiandefenders.org/addressing-the-myth-that-young-christians-arent-leaving-the-church/

How can I grow to love Jesus more?

 

I have been a born again Christian for many of years. But how do I get so in love with him?? Please can you help me.

This could possibly be my favorite Mailbag question ever. How can I love Jesus more? What a sweet and precious thought. I should be asking that question every day. We all should.

The first thing you will have to determine in your own heart, through prayer and study of the Word, is exactly what you mean by your question. Do you mean:

“I’m a Christian, but I consistently have no affection for Christ whatsoever. I just don’t really care about Him one way or the other, but I see other Christians who seem to genuinely love Him. How can I get those feelings for Jesus?”

or:

“I’m a Christian. I love Christ, but I want to develop an even greater love for Him. How do I do that?”.

If your meaning is closer to the first question, I would counsel you to examine yourself to see if you are truly saved as 2 Corinthians 13:5 instructs us. Except in extreme cases of emotional or mental disorders, someone who has genuinely been born again should have some sort of affinity, love, gratitude, and affection for Christ because of who He is and all He has done for her. If you honestly don’t give a flip about Jesus, that’s a big red flag signaling that you might not be saved, even if you think you are. I would strongly recommend working through my Bible study Am I Really Saved? A First John Check Up as well as setting up an appointment with your pastor, a trusted, spiritually mature Christian friend, or a biblical counselor for counseling.

If you’ve compared your heart and life to Scripture and you’re certain you’re a genuinely regenerated Christian who wants to grow in the love she already has for Jesus, it’s simple. Just do what His Word says:

Study Your Bible

I would urge you to put away all of the “canned” studies (books, DVDs, etc. written by others) and simply pick up your Bible, choose a book, start at the beginning, and work your way through to the end. I cannot stress enough how much more rewarding studying the Bible for yourself is than relying on someone else’s materials, and how much closer it will draw you to Christ. If you’ve never studied the Bible on your own before, try taking notes on the text, or use one of my studies (see the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of this page) as “training wheels” to get started. Here are a few other resources that may help:

Bible Study Articles and Resources

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study

Bible Reading Plans

You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

Find the others at: https://michellelesley.com/2019/04/01/the-mailbag-how-can-i-grow-to-love-jesus-more-2/