Many ministry leaders I work with at Trinity hear me say variations of this phrase. I have been praying and meditating on these ideas and what my disciplemaking friend Bill Allison calls the “Disciplemaking way of life in Christ Jesus.” Programs are wonderful tools God has provided for us, but they are not the ministry to which He has called us!
One of my greatest traps is measuring the success of my ministry by the size and frequency of the program. Did I do all the stuff that I planned? Did a lot of people come? Am I hosting enough activities, meetings, events, and contacts to justify my ministry?
Anyone can fall into the trap. We begin to define success in ministry as an energetic, high-attendance program that makes people feel like good things are happening. I recently asked one leader, “Is leading this ministry a joy . . . or a burden?” Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). Are we taking on “burdens” Jesus never intended us to take?
Here are just a few differences I noticed between the “Program Mentality” and the “Disciplemaker Lifestyle”:
|Program Mentality||Disciplemaker Lifestyle|
|Focus on lesson and activities||Focus is loving God and one another well|
|Adding attendees to the program||Multiplying disciples of Jesus|
|Follow the curriculum/agenda||Follow the leading of Holy Spirit|
|Teach bible knowledge||Know God more|
|Build a ministry||Empowered to minister to each other|
|Do more||Go deeper|
Want to learn more about this? I recommend Bill Allison's The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus Christ.“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”~ Hebrews 10:22-25