… disciple-making as an event, an accidental result due to unknown causes, a mysterious act of God …

This entry is part 72 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

It is also possible that we do not know how to make disciples. The general response of clergy to the question of how one makes disciples is that “if people come to worship they eventually become disciples.”[1] This view indicates disciple-making as an event, an accidental result due to unknown causes, a mysterious act of God, rather than an intentional process. Churches are busy with many activities that may be very spiritually satisfying but do not make disciples that can be counted; these religious activities rarely interest and involve non-Christians. Based on what churches actually do, the common belief in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is that proclamation makes disciples, that church buildings make disciples, that worship makes disciples, that advertising and church bulletins make disciples, that a busy church program makes disciples, that church committees make disciples and that acts of mercy, justice and community service make disciples. The numbers indicate that these practices do not make disciples in this ministry context.






[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]This conclusion comes from conversations with clergy and focus groups I have facilitated over twenty-six years of professional experience within the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.

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