This past Sunday I talked about our approach to Ministry. I shared the four-fold plan for disciple-making that our Lord left us found in the book of John. We concluded with looking at our Evangelism Infrastructure and Discipleship Infrastructure. I have had several very positive responses to the message for which I am grateful. My challenge was for us to stay the course on disciple-making realizing that disciple-making is not about programs or numbers but about people (“flesh on flesh”…people touching people) My challenge is to stay the course and to focus on relating to those unbelieving friends.
There was a quote that I wanted to share from Bill Hull that time did not permit. It is out of his book, The Disciple-Making Pastor, which our Elder board is going through together this fall. Bill Hull’s thrust in this particular chapter is that disciple-making, which he calls “the kingdom mentality,” must be front and center of every pastor and every church. Then he begins his concluding remarks.
“This leads to my closing thoughts: Pastors too often get stuck in their spirits with the idea that if the vision is fulfilled in the lives of people, the church will grow large. When that doesn’t happen, they might conclude that the plan is not working. Therefore, a new plan, very much like all the other plans for church growth, must be engineered and executed. This is the devilish temptation and deception. The kingdom may grow while a local church that faithfully participating may not…
“It can be that many will find Christ and begin to follow Him but never come to our church. The disjointed society in which we live doesn’t lend itself to neighborhood churches. If a large percentage of a congregation is planting the seeds of the kingdom daily and broadly, then yes, there should be new souls entering into the congregational life of that church. But there will not be enough by that method to create a very large church. If the church becomes large, it will be due to a combination of factors broader than simply disciples who are obedient. This is very hard for some to accept, but a spiritually mature congregation may not be a large one or even exciting by contemporary standards. The healthiest frame of mind for a pastor is to forget numerical church growth and to concentrate instead on advancing the kingdom through the members, letting the growth issues take care of themselves. We must break free of the strong grip of consumerism.”
I found this quote extremely timely for a couple reasons. First, we must never allow the pressure for numbers to move us away from the passion for producing disciples who have “Great Commandment Hearts” and “Great Commission Lifestyles.” Secondly, with Judgement House on the horizon, his statement was very appropriate….”to concentrate instead on advancing the kingdom through the members, letting the growth issues take care of themselves.” This is not to say that we don’t want to grow but the goal of Judgement House (or anything else we do) should not be our own church growth, but the advancing of the kingdom.
I am tremendously excited to see how God will advance his kingdom through Mountain View’s Judgement House.