- Forword: Since 2007 …
- Should I represent the BeADisciple online Disciple Making 101 course?
- Overview: The Introduction
- Overview: Chapter 1, The Problem
- Overview: Chapter 2, The Discipleship System
- Overview: Chapter 3, Learning Modalities
- Overview: Seminar 1, Diagnosis
- Overview: Seminar 2, Dialogue
- Overview: Seminar 3, Decision
- Overview: Backmatter
- The Listening Room
- A Caveat: The greatest challenge …
- USA Cell Church Examples
- ABSTRACT 1: In 2004, I was one of six certified consultants…
- ABSTRACT 2: The entire project will function as a gentle antithesis to homeostasis
- ABSTRACT 3: The seminars will incorporate the vision, mission and goals of our conference
- In the beginning, west of Eden …
- a failure of the majority of churches to thrive
- Nineteen out of the twenty largest churches in the world are cell churches.
- There is a problem in the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States of America.
- … used the Yoido system, known as the “5×5″ model …
- “It is God’s will that his Church grow …”
- In four years they had gained a net growth of two thousand families.
- … is transforming itself to a modified metachurch model …
- Churches fail to thrive when the Great Commission is not the central priority.
- … as much to do with overcoming resistance to change as with innovative methods of evangelism.
- Three causes for systemic resistance derived from Peter Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype
- The focus of this project is to raise the adaptive competence of the majority of churches
- Understanding by Design … is uniquely suited as a learning process to interest and involve “Innovators” and “Early Adopters.”
- Demographics of the Ministry Context
- While largely rural, there are three urban areas.
- … an ambitious “Comprehensive Plan for Church Growth and Development” …
- … in the midst of a pruning process in our conference.
- Half of all United Methodist Churches in the United States …
- The churches can be separated into three tiers based on average weekly worship attendance.
- … the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.
- The second goal of the project is to bring about adoption of evangelistic innovations by a critical mass of the clergy, then from clergy to a critical mass of laity in a critical mass of the churches of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
- First, I propose to meet this need for consulting by developing a seminar based Self-Study process to present basic information on church growth
- inviting persons to worship where they arrive as strangers, worship with strangers, leave as strangers, and remain strangers.
- Wesley resolved not to preach where he could not include everyone in class meetings for spiritual community
- Ministry to strangers, like all addictions …
- There were no strangers in Wesley’s Methodism.
- The kingdom of God spreads from person to person within human networks of influence.
- the smaller the target group in a diverse society, the fewer the barriers to kinship
- Conversion is more directly related to relational influences on an individual than any other factor.
- Fourth Systemic Problem: Stranger Evangelism
- The old ways fail today because the world has changed.
- They continue to do what worked over a century ago to attract people; it continues to fail.
- The camp meeting event forever shaped the prairie Methodist experience.
- On the prairie the process of salvation became one which sought to get people into a service of worship …
- Prairie DNA continues to focus on events as the method to bring people into the church building to hear the gospel.
- The camp meetings countered rural isolation by combining religious activity in the center of the camp with socializing, courting, barter and recreation on the outer edges.
- Asbury called camp meetings “fishing with a large net.”
- It is an gross oversimplification, however, to say that Methodism on the American frontier went “where the people were.”
- As Methodists formed churches, the old timers in the class meeting experienced power struggles with the shift to resident clergy.
- The Wesleyan discipleship system was always more focused on holiness than evangelism …
- Francis Asbury preached the gospel on the empty prairies during a vast migration of people from urban to rural areas.
- Wesley’s discipleship system trained people in holiness and spiritual maturity where they lived.
- a different adaptation to the prairie environment which is now highly resistant to change.
- An institutional view of the Church is unbiblical.
- Smaller churches are considered doomed, without hope, and in need of hospice care
- the third strongest negative factor to making disciples is church size
- These large “receptor” churches grow primarily by assimilating converts produced in other churches.
- Institutional leaders identify a shift in population from rural to urban settings as the cause of rural church decline.
- A church is a living thing and reborn with each new convert; it does not have a single life cycle.
- An institution is a non-living thing; things have a product life cycle.
- Institutions do not make disciples. They have other goals …
- An institutional worldview inhibits disciple-making
- an environmental system which supports multiple generations of disciples
- Each step of the maturational cycle is necessary to develop disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
- The attraction paradigm creates a “come structure” that is not effective …
- … disciple-making as an event, an accidental result due to unknown causes, a mysterious act of God …
- One way for systems to ease tension and maintain homeostasis …
- First Systemic Problem: Not Making Disciples
- … without a clear, diagnostic understanding of the four systemic problems, no strategy can hope to overcome …
- Towards a true ecclesiology, based on reality, that understands change.
- Peter Senge’s “Limits To Growth” Systems Archetype
- Craig Miller defines a faith community as made up of two cooperative, interacting components: worship and a discipleship system.
- Discipleship systems cooperate with Jesus to support God’s work of helping people progress through phases of prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace.
- A discipleship system is a natural, biblical process of grace and the primary task of a church.
- If one is to observe all the commands of Christ, as demanded by the Great Commission, that obedience must include the Great Commission.
- Institutional churches are attempting to update the traditional proclamation model.
- The smallest churches in the world are worship driven; often worship is their only significant program.
- This phenomenon on the frontier could be called Prairie DNA
- The Great Commission of Matthew defines evangelism through a discipleship system; in Mark, the emphasis is upon proclamation.
- The discipleship system is the highest priority in third world cell churches.
- The Yoido Full Gospel Church Discipleship System
- Karen Hurston explains the challenge of understanding this church
- The old ways and the old religion were not working, and the people were ready for a new religion and a new way of life.
- Mrs. Choi set up a tent on ten thousand square feet of land given to her in the poor section of Bulkwangdong and asked Yonggi Cho to be the pastor while she would serve as his assistant.
- There is a competency limit to the numeric growth of a church.
- while the world’s largest churches are found in Seoul, Korea, they are far outnumbered by churches of fifty or less
- … we focused on teaching and motivating believers to minister and reach out to others.
- Cho experienced a physical collapse from overwork in 1964. After much prayer he began the cell ministry …
- The focus of Yoido Church is not on continual innovation but faithful implementation of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through the most effective discipleship system in the world.
- Yoido’s discipleship system is so effective that the church has grown to the point of violating many commonly accepted church growth principles.
- “the average member has to wait at least one hour in a long line just to get a place to sit down in one of our seven services.”
- Seven worship services occur each Sunday, two on Saturday and three on Wednesday.
- The American concern for ample, convenient parking is irrelevant.
- … surrounded by the cell group members with whom they attend worship.
- … non-cell microprogramming ministries … do not become the focus of the entire church …
- Prayer services occur each day, and prayer is the most common activity of the church that could be considered a program.
- The most successful pattern of evangelism in the world involves no initial participation in worship …
- Standard church growth theory focuses on evangelizing among the existing social networks of church members regardless of geography.
- Evangelism at Yoido has an explicit territorial, geographical emphasis.
- Cells … begin through ministry visitation among strangers in a micro-mission field.
- Persons are assimilated into the discipleship system by home ministry visitation prior to becoming Christians or even attending the cell.
- … a church member in the world’s largest church of 700,000 members receives more pastoral visitation than parish
- Ministry visits are not social calls nor do they focus on friendships.
- … all Christians are spiritually gifted and expected to use their gifts in the cells.
- Conversion growth at Yoido Church is not uniform.
- Yoido prefers that cell leaders have the gift of evangelism.
- The world’s largest church is a natural outcome of the world’s most effective discipleship system.
- Yoido staff pastors begin their work day with an hour or more of prayer and spend the remainder of their time in ministry visitation
- During the annual Grand Home Visitation, staff pastors systematically visit all 700,000 members in their homes or businesses in a three-month period.
- Overfunctioning leaders inhibit differentiation and further dependency and enmeshment.
- The focus of the Yoido cell group is on winning souls, not upon growing to a size for multiplication.
- The most successful pattern of evangelism in the world involves no initial participation in worship …
Peter Senge’s work on systems identifies components of natural systemic patterns of human interaction. One of these system archetypes is Limits To Growth. It consists of two components, a reinforcing process and a balancing process, which interact to preserve homeostasis in systems. A reinforcing process is a cycle of events which create an intensifying trend that can be positive or negative. Senge’s example of a reinforcing process is a snowball rolling downhill. The reinforcing process is an antithesis that brings challenging pressure upon an established order functioning as thesis; the result of that interaction is synthesis, which becomes the new thesis for another cycle.
A balancing process functions like a home heating and air conditioning system. It remains dormant until a heating or cooling trend triggers a thermostat correction. The balancing process then acts in strength sufficient to reverse the trend and keep the temperature at a familiar equilibrium, known as homeostasis or the “comfort zone.” The thermostat correction helps the system to manage trends while a trend is still amenable to control, thus ensuring that the balancing process is always operating well within its capacity to control the system and maintain the balance of homeostasis. Discomfort and anxiety trigger a thermostat correction in the system which prevents change.
interaction that can reverse a negative change that leads to decline can also
prevent positive change which would benefit the system. If discomfort and
anxiety create a perception of danger or loss of control, then the balancing
process will take control and restore the previous homeostasis.
All methods of leadership, evangelism and church growth occur in the
reinforcing process; all resistance to change occurs in the balancing process. The key to overcoming
Limits to Growth, according to Senge, is to improve the competence of the
balancing process to cope with challenge so that it can adapt to a trend
without disrupting homeostasis.
Balancing process competency is about management rather than leadership.
 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.
   
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.
Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art And Practice of the Learning Organization (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 79-88, 95-104, 124-126, 227-232, 379-380, 389-390.
Church historian Ernst Troeltsch used the Hegelian dialectic to describe a two-hundred-year cycle of innovative sects (antithesis) becoming change resistant, decaying, traditional churches (thesis/synthesis) pressured to change by a new antithesis of innovation. Elmer Towns, Is The Day of the Denomination Dead? (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1973), under http://www.elmertowns.com/index
.cfm?action=bksonline (accessed June 13, 2007), 60-78. Cf. Guder, Missional Church, 54-60, 125-126.
In this ministry context, homeostasis includes and maintains the four systemic problems described in Chapter 1.
Senge, The Fifth Discipline, 101-102.