Myth: A disciple-making church (Fact: A disciple-making church culture)

Why does your church exist?

Pastor Brandon Hilgemann, in Church Leaders magazine writes “I will argue that the mission of the church is not just good news, and it is not just good works. The mission of the church is to make disciples.”[i]

Kudos to Hilgemann. Without getting lost in vision and values and purpose distractions he goes right to the heart of the matter. A church exists to make (the Greek “mathēteusate” implies progression, not simply manufacturing) disciples.

Symptoms of disciples – not the causes

The church absolutely is necessary to gather, to worship, to develop people, to minister, to go out into missions. Those things are the symptoms, and the tools of disciples, they are not intended as the causes making disciples.

Sure, a few people will get it by coming to church. A few will become ardent Christ followers through small groups and programs. Yet that’s not the primary discipling model Jesus gave us.

What’s a culture? What is our mission?

Where did the word culture come in? I thought we were talking about disciples, not culture, right?

Culture IS mission, come alive. A mission without an intentionally integrated culture is just words. And a culture without a mission – is a straying organization.

If you’re in leadership with a church – such as a women’s director, a small group leader, elder, trustee, pastor and so on – your responsibility is a very clear mission for your people to focus on. The mission? Make disciples.

The DNA of an organization

And with that mission, leaders owe people an organic culture. Culture is the DNA, the glue, the atmosphere that people are imbued with, bound into, breathing in – to absorb and to live the Christ-based disciple’s life Jesus taught us.

The myth is that buildings, gatherings, memberships and staff make discipleship come to life. The facts? Discipling is where all of us expect each other to disciple, with joy. Those other assets are merely tools that disciples employ.

We all need to stop relying on myths – and embrace the facts Christ gave us in discipleship.

[i] ”What Is the Mission of the Church?”, Brandon Hilgemann, Church, May 17, 2018

© 2024 Dennis Allen | Morgan James Publishing

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