Consumption Is Not Discipleship

In their book, Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development, Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck focus on the importance of leadership in and through the church. They believe leadership development requires a strong conviction to develop leaders, a healthy culture for leadership development, and helpful constructs to build leaders systematically and intentionally.

In chapter 7, “Discipleship and Leadership Development,” the authors make it clear that the church cannot separate leadership development from discipleship. They state on page 153,

While it may be helpful to view leadership development as advanced discipleship or a subset of discipleship, it is detrimental to view leadership development as distinct from discipleship.

In addition to the examples of Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, along with Paul and Timothy, the authors point to Jesus’ own example as strong evidence. His time together with the disciples was both discipleship and leadership development. Jesus expected more from them than to consume what He was saying and doing. He expected them (and us) to change the world.

To counter the consumption mindset, the authors state:

Consumption is focused on the masses and for the short-term payoff. Discipleship is focused on the person for the long run, for fruit that will last.

Churches will drift without a consistent and constant conviction for discipleship, to disciple people and develop leaders. We must not settle for consumption. Though much more challenging and difficult, we must insist on discipleship. And we must view leadership development as part of discipleship, not distinct or divorced from it.

They explain why by listing three reasons:

  1. Discipleship is the only means.
  2. Discipleship impacts all of life.
  3. Leadership development apart from discipleship becomes overly skill-based.

I encourage you to evaluate your discipleship strategy to ensure that leadership development is included in your strategy. Get a copy of the book to raise your understanding of what is at stake. Make disciples. Make leaders. Change the world!

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