Note: This is cross-posted from the Energion Publications Announcements blog. Only the first and fourth part of the series were corss-posted here. Links to all four parts of the series are given in the introduction below.
Pastor Patrick Badstibner is founder of World Prayr (on Twitter). Pat has been providing us with a monthly blog post, but I’m pleased to be able to present this blog post, the second in a series of four weekly posts by Pat, to our Energion Publications family.
Check the World Prayr organization and the World Prayr devotional blog as well. You’ll find a dynamic and growing group of Christians who are practicing the second great command, to love their neighbors as themselves, and thereby practicing the first command as well.
In the first part of this series we mentioned that we would be looking at three different sayings pastors today seem to be making. We also mentioned we would be visiting with my friends Dave and Paula. In the second part we talked about how to go deeper without making clones. The third part was Unmilitary people are not asking what methods you are using in basic training.
This is the final installment to this four part series. Part one we looked at “multiplication or addition which do you prefer?” In part two we looked at “can you really go deeper without making clones” Part three we covered what “unmilitary people are not asking what methods, techniques are you using in basic training?????” With this post we wrap up and prayerfully bring some clarity to this series if you have not caught on yet, as well as provide some challenges for to grab hold of.
First let’s visit with my friends Dave and Paula one last time. This time though let’s skip ahead a few years and see how the advice and leadership encouragement, that Dave gave to his management team, of not worrying so much about losing repeat customers and keeping on concentrating on adding numbers has worked out.
Today Dave and Paula’s head of operations is bringing him a report on the current state of affairs for the business. Let’s listen in as Robert, Dave’s operation manager, brings him the report.
“Hi Robert, I am excited about getting that report today.”
“Well Dave, as you know we had to close one of our stores at the end of last year.”
“Yes, Robert but that was so we can streamline operations as our competition has really been increasing on us with their aggressive training programs”
“You’re right Dave, however our competition’s training programs and their well trained sales force are really hurting us. Our numbers are down Dave, and our sales force is without a lot of answers, and they don’t have the ability to really share why our company is the right way to go. Dave, are you still sure that concentrating on being radical on getting new numbers, while not being as radical training our sales people how to build and concentrate on developing and maintaining relationships with our existing customers is the way to go?”
As Dave ponders this question and wonders if what he has been concentrating on has been effective in producing results. Let us walk away and look at we have learned and discovered along the way in this series by looking at some challenges and asking ourselves some questions.
“Unchurched” and Discipleship
In the last post we looked at what “unchurched” people are not asking. They are not asking what disciple program you are using. So how do you feel now? Is this the right question? Should we be worrying about what unchurched are not asking???
After all one would not expect or even give thought to what someone who has never served in the military had to say about what basic training is like. Why should those who are to be leading, guiding, protecting, and bringing the flock God has placed under them home be giving thought, credence, or consideration to how ones who do not even understand the purpose of that meeting on Sunday and how it should be conducted, much less what questions they should be asking about that church? That is not to say we should not be taking radical steps to reach those who are not part of the church, but to say we should not be lending an ear to what they think it should be doing and how they feel it should be conducted. That is unless on Sunday morning you are actually not going to church but rather instead going to an evangelistic meeting.
Remember the Word of God is not written to those who do not know him but rather it is the love letter to believers from God. Shoot, they cannot even walk in the door, get on their knees and expect God to hear their prayers unless they first come asking for forgiveness and acknowledging a need to do it his way.
In fact if you are a church leader reading this and you are catering your service to the “unchurched,” let me plead with you please begin your service by giving the gospel so that those who accept will receive something from the rest of your message. Otherwise you will have lost the purpose of your service when you consider all things.
If one does know Christ and one is still asking those type of questions, you’re calling oneself “unchurhed” because you’re anti-establishment or you have not found that perfect church. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the Pastor now to be asking “what type of discipleship program are you involved in? If none, why don’t you come try our church?” That would be better than than worrying about what they are not asking.
I am going to make some more bold and radical statements specifically directed at pastors, ministry leaders and anyone else God has led to a place of leadership in his kingdom.
Ninety percent of Christians today fall into two categories for going or choosing the church they choose. First category, they are going for entertainment, to feel good. These are usually those who are choosing the mega church, the church that has set itself up for entertainment with loud contemporary music and the mega superstar leader. The second category is those who are still going to the same style church their parents went to or those where they feel they have a grown up daddy.
Here is a tip, the music; video usage, lack of media or too much media has no bearing on the discipleship program of the church. In fact one of the common issues of churches today, whether they use traditional hymns and no video media, or they use contemporary style worship and lots of media, is a lack of a discipleship program that is taking believers in Christ, as the writer of Hebrews said, past the point of needing to be taught, to the point of being able to teach.
In fact here are the bold statements: If you are going to a church because you’re comfortable, but you are still at the same point years later where you still need to be taught, it may just be time to move onward and stretch you.
Church leaders, pastors, ministry leaders: If any of the above can be said of your leadership perhaps it is time to stop and ask ourselves if we are really doing what God called or led us to do.
You have great programs, entertaining uplifting music, radical media and you have no programs that are helping those underneath your leadership become craftsmen of the Word of God or have answers in order to defend their faith.
You are still using the same ole, same ole methods you used, or have been using for the last fifty years.
One can walk into what you are leading and as a friend of mine said today, they can immediately tell who is leading it.
Important Note Here:
Our job is to lead in such a way that what you are leading comes to the point it no longer needs you. If those you are leading are still coming to you looking for answers or still directing others to you for answers (Example: I am not sure let me ask my pastor?), you may be missing something here.
You want to really lead, develop an intensive discipling, training program that enables those who are sitting under it to have answers as to why they believe what they believe. Be as radical in your discipleship as you are in your outreach programs.
Some Direct Challenges
Pastor, let me challenge you to remember the purpose of gathering together.
Church member, let me encourage you by asking you to pray that you will grow in understanding and spiritual insight.
Pastors, don’t try to make your church the happening place. Teach less on leadership and more on the basic doctrinal tenets of the faith and along the way you may just discover you have built and developed some leaders.
Church attendees, stop looking for the happening place, the place that charges your emotional batteries, the place you leave feeling good, and start looking for a body of believers who are supporting, loving, pushing, encouraging, changing, and motivating each other to greater works and love.
Perhaps ask of that church “what type of discipleship programs are you using?”
Here’s another question right now. If a Jehovah’s Witness asked you “why do you believe in the trinity?” could you provide an answer? Is your church teaching you how to answer? If not, what are they teaching you if they are not teaching you how to defend your faith?
Church ministry leader, if the majority of those God has given you cannot answer the above question, stop patting yourself on the back as though you’re doing a good job because you’re counting your conversions. Stop justifying your lack of doing your job with the same excuses that have been given in this series. If you are in leadership in God’s kingdom and you are not mentoring, discipling and encouraging those you are leading to the point they are able to teach, you are failing.
Pastors please consider using not only radical steps in reaching the “unchurched”; trust me, the same ole, same ole is not getting it done, but also using the same radical efforts in building and developing systems to push, pull, challenge, motivate, and encourage those God has put in your charge.
World Prayr family member, World Prayr leadership believes so strongly in that part of World Prayr’s mission it is aggressively doing and taking steps to be in the business of making true disciples; not counting conversions . That not only have we created a page for discipleship resources here:
We are also building a pastoral team for that purpose and we will be working with other ministries toward that purpose. Let me also challenge you to take this series of posts to your pastor or whoever you turn to for leadership and to remember these lessons yourself.
I pray this series has challenged you to understand the need for responsible grace, discipleship, personal responsibility and the role of a church in the growth of the believers life.
Thanks for taking the time to read, and reflect on a message that is and has always been very deep to my heart.