We often view “discipleship” as something it was never intended to be and in seeking to raise the bar, people only become more inward-focused.
Alan Hirsch states “The quality of the church’s leadership is directly proportional to the quality of its discipleship. If we fail in the area of making disciples, we should not be surprised if we fail in leadership development.” (Forgotten Ways Handbook, p.66).The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches
Hirsch points out the difference in the Greek and Hebrew concepts of knowledge. The Greek concept of knowledge believes right thinking leads to right action and is based on the academy, information/idea, conferences, books. The Hebrew concept of knowledge is right acting leads to right thinking and is based on action-reflection, embodiment, mentoring, modeling.
We need to ask, “What is the everyday requirement for those who consider themselves Christian?”
In many influential Christian movements you will find a common commitment to radical Christian living. Astute mission groups will establish high minimum discipleship standards and ensure it becomes part of the ethos and fabric of the community.
Environments are shaped not only by what we talk about, but by what we do together. Through enacting spiritual practices with others in the church, you will implant a healthy discipleship ethos deep within the community. This will also help us get beyond the individualistic notion of discipleship that pervades Western understandings of church.
Lead by example-
If you want to set a culture for spiritual growth, make sure the key leaders and stakeholders model it in their own lives. You simply cannot expect others to engage a way of life that the leaders themselves do not practice. As the saying goes, habits are more easily caught than taught.
*Life Transformation Groups by CMA are a good resource and example for creating a disciple-making culture. Also, Exilio- a resource based on the book Exiles by Michael Frost includes group reflection and action and is a good resource to explore.
To be effective, we must truly embrace the fact that every believer is a minister of Jesus Christ and that they ought to be released as such. Empowerment is one of the most significant leadership functions!