I was working with a group recently on the topic of discipleship. The question at hand was, “What makes a disciple-making disciple? What qualities or behaviors are we trying to develop?” I shared my new “tree of discipleship” approach as one option. As the group began talking about it, they felt it needed to be adapted to their specific theological/denominational context in order to highlight what they felt was important.
That was fine by me, so I asked, “What needs to be changed or adapted?” The group wrestled with the ideas and discussed options for the rest of the evening. At the end of our discussion, I said, “You don’t have to adopt this particular schema. But to speed up the process, your assignment tonight is to go through the categories and reword, delete, or add whatever you feel needs to be changed to customize it. The assignment is due at 9:00am.
Many groups get stuck at the stage of getting their target perfectly identified. They want a schema that completely reflects everything they believe. The lack of a perfectly-defined, agreed-upon target then keeps them from getting started making disciples. Until they get the right target, they don’t use anything, which results in few disciples being made. Instead, it’s better to take something that’s 90% there, start using it, and then refine it as you go.
So my challenge to this group applies to my blog readers as well: You don’t have to use my approach to disciple-making. But you have to use something and start doing it. If you want help accelerating that process, contact me for a consultation. I can give you access to what I have, then help you create a customized version that will fit your group well. From there, you can make additional changes as you go, but you’ll be starting with something.