Let’s face it discipleship language isn’t sexy. If we are completely honest it’s somewhat generic. Now before you pounce on me I’m a discipleship guy.
Yet when I work with churches I’m discovering that there is often a gap between their rhetoric and reality. I was recently with a group of senior leaders who are in the process of building a discipleship culture. In spite of their commitment something is missing. They are quick to recognize it. They say, “We are committed to making disciples that makes disciples, but our leaders don’t think we have a vision.”
It’s understood that language creates culture. In this case their lack of language is creating tension. It appears to be even slowing down and stalling out their intent to develop a robust discipleship culture.
Could the answers be as simple as creating or crafting a new, clear, or/and compelling language. Probably not! The issues seemed to be much more complex. Yet crafting a discipleship language may be the first steps.
When Jesus invited his first disciples to follow him he used a metaphor that screamed from their context. “Come follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men”.
In Innovating Discipleship by friend and Ministry Partner Will Mancini talks about three types of results. They are:
· Input Results – the number of people and dollars that come “into” the church.
· Output Results – the actual life-change outcomes that God intends for followers of Christ individually
· Impact Results – captures the broader effect of the church in the surrounding city or community.
Notice the language Jesus used in his calling of his first disciples. It is filled with output and impact results. “I will make you to become (output) fishers of men (impact).”
Connect your discipleship language with output and impact results and see what happens. For Jesus it might look something like this if he had couched it in mission language, “Transforming everyday fishermen into extraordinary fishers of men”. Regardless they left all to follow him.
Need help with your vision language. Hit me up me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will Mancini, Innovating Discipleship (Church Unique International Leaders Series; 2013), Location 213-225.
David Putman is founder of PTG and a Lead Navigator for Auxano.