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Blake and Katy's journey to reach the students of Dublin. 

"Buckshot Discipleship"

"Disciple making is not about a program or an event, but about a relationship. As we share the Gospel, we impart life. And this is the essence of making disciples, sharing the life of Christ." - Radical by David Platt

Discipleship

A shotgun uses a shell containing many small pellets called "buckshot." When you shoot each round, these pellets randomly fly in the direction you're aiming. Too many times The Church answers the call to discipleship with what I call "buckshot discipleship." We read "go and make disciples of all nations" in Matthew, but we act out "go and hold events with a talking head" because that's what our celebrity driven culture superimposes in our minds as leadership. (I'm not talking about size of group here. I'm referring to one person talking, everyone else listening, then we all go home.)

When you are shooting for accuracy, your rifle has a scope. You take more time to aim. You aim at a specific target. You shoot one slug on a very specific trajectory. You make small, calculated adjustments to ensure you hit your target.

Discipleship doesn't happen by accident. What if our systems of discipleship were intentional and on purpose instead of buckshot discipleship, hoping another sermon will sink in or a new relationship will somehow be formed. Like anything else, if we will evaluate our system of discipleship appropriately (small calculated adjustments), we will be more successful and better stewards of our calling.

The key is intentionality.

Jesus modeled this by ministering to many but discipling a few. He was intentional with his time. The disciples didn't receive the life transforming lessons from Jesus in the sermons He preached. They received their greatest life lessons on the road, in a boat, in a house, at dinner, on the street, through a passing comment, and even through a harsh rebuke.

The key to being intentional is creating a value system for you to measure how well you are discipling in your group/church/organization. We can't just value size and giving, expecting discipleship to happen. To quote Mel Gibson in The Patriot, "Aim small, miss small."

Here are some questions asked in an intentional value system. Is Jesus at the center? Is there community? Is it a safe place? Is every member moving towards maturity? Is every member being used in ministry? Is our group multiplying? (these examples are from Fusion: Fueling a Student Movement - Dave Short) As you can see, these questions would be tough to ask about a large group of people so I suggest smaller discipleship groups. When you get to around 15 people, you should already have leaders emerging (every member to ministry) and be able to multiply the group.

I challenge The Church to stop attempting "buckshot discipleship," hoping that our current value systems will somehow produce discipleship. We must be good stewards of the Great Commission and place measurable values on our "discipleship" programs. We must ask intentional questions to see true, intentional discipleship in our ministries.

(suggested resources for discipleship: Master Plan of Evangelism: Robert E. ColemanFusion materials (a great framework to build your system of discipleship).

Jesus with the Disciples_discipleship.jpg

I Could Never Be An Evangelist

kidevangelist

The other day I was reading a book about programming church services (The Art Of Curating Worship, link), and I had a realization. I realized that I could never be an evangelist.

I know a few things about myself. I love building teams. I love pouring my life into people and watching them grow and succeed. I love building systems and structures.

Many of these are things that an evangelist misses out on when preaching from church to church. I thank God for evangelists. Having tasted a bit of what their life is like, I appreciate them now more than ever. I am learning that I am simply not wired, created for, or called to that life.

I am learning that in life, we go through phases that feel "against the grain" to our God-given desires, gifts, and abilities. This season of support raising from church to church is one of these phases for Katy and me. That's OK.

We learn the most when we're out of our element. We learn gifts we never knew we had, how we act/react when we're uncomfortable, or how to be content in the Lord. As we walk through these times, we must always remember where our sweet spot is...mine is discipleship, building teams, and leading worship. If we lose focus of the big picture, we can stray and get stuck in these transitional "against-the-grain" phases of life.

Focus. Focus on your sweet spot. God will take care of the rest. If we will just remember God's purpose for our life...our sweet spot...we will be able to face anything "against the grain."

  • Are you in a time that feels "against the grain?"
  • How have you made it through times like this in your life?

Katy and I are working extremely hard to raise money so we can get to Ireland. We are content in the Lord, but I can't describe how ready we are to get to Ireland. We are so appreciative of your prayers.

Thank you.