Jim Putnam is pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. His books, Church is a Team Sport and Real-Life Discipleship are excellent resources for those who lead discipleship in their churches. His church is serious about making disciples who make disciples who make disciples. It is in their DNA.
Putnam writes, “We concentrated on building leaders. Instead of merely feeding those who had been Christians for years but had never really grown up, we were going to force those who stuck around to grow up and serve.”
The three key areas this church has focused on are: shepherding, discipleship, and relationship. He led his congregation to step up and move from spectators to ministers who serve. He believes that discipleship is intentional, relational, and occurs best in small groups designed to minister, evangelize, and branch another group in 18 months or so. They have over 600 groups meeting all over their city.
As pastors and leaders we can decide that we do all the teaching, preaching, ministering, evangelizing; or we train others to be on our team to do those things with us. What are you doing as a church leader? Are you building a kingdom around yourself or are you unleashing an army of disciples who are impacting your community?
Are you coaching others on the team or are you running all the plays yourself?
Yes there are some who may not want to be on the team but there are many waiting to be trained and sent out. What is your strategy for training and releasing leaders to serve? Are you meeting with a few people to disciple? Are you issuing the challenge to serve the King?
In Putnam’s “Real Life Discipleship Training Manual” there is a powerful stat.
If a disciple makes a disciple who can make disciples, mathematically the process might look something like this:
- One disciple makes three disciple-makers every five years.
- If those disciples do the same every five years, in ten years there will be almost 180,000 disciple-makers.
- If they continue, in seventy years (less than the average life span) there are potentially fourteen billion disciple-makers. That is twice the number of people currently occupying our planet!
Of course some will not choose to follow Christ but the fact remains that disciple making is based upon multiplication not addition.
So what holds you back from making disciples?
Keep the Son in Your Eyes,