Three statistics worth reviewing on the state of the mission of Jesus include:
Globally, the percentage of the world’s population that have become Christian remains about the same
Most churches stall-out after the first generation
Few churches plant churches
A natural question to ask is “why?” – “Why do disciplemaking + church planting movements stall out?” Here are 10 markers that you might have observed:
Convoluted understanding of what is going on in the world – this goes beyond “vision”, it has more to do with a relevant approach to making disciples that results in disciples making disciples + new churches planting churches.
Stories from the good ‘ol days – recent stories of disciplemaking + church planting are non-existent.
Church decline – the current models of disciplemaking + church planting have attracted the low lying fruit and it is no longer an issue of “working harder & smarter!”
Financial mismanagement – more and more money is going to “church consumer-like” expenditures in exchange for disciplemaking + church planting efforts.
Relational disengagement – apprentices of Jesus have stopped gathering in small groups or the groups they are meeting in have lost a missional focus.
Theological apathy – an underlying theological bias that over-shadows or dismisses the need for a Savior-Redeemer.
Ego-driven leadership – more attention is garnered by the personality of the leader than the pursuit of genuine Kingdom fruit.
Celebrations cease – achievements are celebrated that have little to do with the Gospel of Jesus and the making of disciples.
Faulty missiology – such as:
an “either-or” orientation to mission e.g. local OR global mission
an “either-or” orientation to growth e.g. church growth (quantitative) OR church health (qualitative)
an “either-or” orientation to outreach e.g. attractional OR missional
Apostate teaching – Gospel-centric focus has been lost in the cultural distractions of secular thinking
This is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list. But it does capture some of the essential reason that stall-out disciplemaking + church planting movements, from my experience. You probably have others that you would include in the list…
I’d love to read some of your views.
Does this match-up with your experience?
Please continue the conversation below and feel free to share this with you friends.
Following are three observations “from the trenches” that are worth paying attention to if you have any interest, or concern over disciple-making movements. This is real data extracted from reliable resources. My goal is to clearly state the problem.
I hope you find the information helpful as we continue the mission of Jesus to make disciples…
Globally, the percentage of the world’s population that have become Christian is about the same today as it was 100 years ago
Approximately 32% of the global population was Christian in 1910 vs. 35% in 2010. The research also shows there has been a shift regionally, which is interesting to note; lower percentage of Christians in Europe and the Americas vs. an increase in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific, while the Middle East-North Africa has remained about the same – see Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian by The Pew Research Center.
Most churches stall-out after the first generation
80% of the churches in the US have plateaued or are in decline.
Most disconcerting is that of the new churches planted in 2012; only 22% had started at least one daughter church within 5 years of existence – see Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im (p.14).
Mac Lake suggest that only 4% of churches ever reproduce
Hirsch and Catchim tell us that the church in the US spends over $70 billion every decade on church plants and resources; but even so “we are experiencing decline in adherence and membership at an unprecedented rate” – see Beyond the Local Church by Sam Metcalf (p. 159).
This raises an important question: “With the heightened awareness of church planting as the most fruitful, God-given strategy to reach people far from Him, in combination with the resources (conferences, books and service) available; why aren’t churches able to make the shift missionally?” See Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im.
Here is my attempt to state the problem of the church in the US today:
The current way we make disciples, do church & plant churches has attracted the low-lying fruit therefore,
we must introduce new ways to make disciples, do church & plant churches.
In the upcoming blogs I will reflect a bit more on these three statistics and identify the signs that lead to Movement Drift.. If it were easy, I believe we would have already figured it out with out human ingenuity. I believe the solution lies not in our capacity to think through the solution but in our reliance on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit first and foremost.
Please join me on the journey and participate in the conversation.
Are you interested in learning more about the Church Planting Collective? I would appreciate your feedback on a good time to hold the informational webinar based on the three options available, please click here so that we can schedule the best time to meet as a group or individually. Look forward to connecting with you!
Here is the Fall schedule for the group sessions*:
I enjoy the memory of being 18 years of age in London, England and experiencing the Arsenal Football Club at the historic Highbury Stadium. The atmosphere during the matches was magical. What struck me most was the quality of the apprenticeship system that prepared players to advance to the highest level.
I’ve often asked myself, what if the local church took the challenge of developing leaders as serious as Arsenal took the challenge to develop home-grown talent? The impact for the Kingdom would be overwhelming. Some networks and churches are doing an extremely good job here. But this is an area that I believe we can improve on if we take the mandate to “make disciples of all the nations”, as Jesus intended.
InFocus has taken that challenge. In the Disciplemaking Collective we are seeing the fruit of intentional disciplemaking come to fruition. Now we are taking the next natural step – to help disciplemakers, plant churches. To accomplish this vision we’ve combined the expertise of a practicing church planter + a competent coach = a learning community. The synergy of the group experience with a coaching relationship has created an empowering experience. The relational dynamic and the learning that occur in the Collective has surpassed my expectations.
During the last 10 years I have been teaching church planting & multiplication, church health & leadership development in online environments. It was a bit clunky at first but once I learned the unique dynamics, rhythms and advantages of the online environment, I was convinced that adultly learning styles can be maximized in the online learning community, like a Collective. In fact, these learning communities can be leveraged to support leaders around the globe in ways that have not been possible in the past.
I am expecting the Lord to bring the right leaders to the Church Planting Collective. Here are the two resources we will use to illustrate and facilitate the church planting process:
Attend a free webinar to hear an overview of the Church Planting Collective. Please indicate your availability by clicking here so that we can schedule the best time to meet as a group. Look forward to connecting with you!
What lesson can we learn from the best coaches in the world?
What do world-class; truly world-class coaches do that set them apart?
Let’s take a look at the world of professional sports and assess what coaches at the highest level do that translates into the ministyr world. For instance, take one of the most successful football coaches in European club football – Zinedane Zedane. Not only was he one of football’s greatest players of his generation; but now is approaching his team’s third European Championship in a row. A feat that has only been achieved by Bayern Munich from 1974-1976.
For our purposes, what can we extract from what Zedane does that applies to how we approach disciplemaking and leader development?
First, Zedane understands the game.
Second, he knows his players.
Third, Zedane makes the right decisions at the right time.
I realize that I am making a leap to suggest that coaching in the sport’s context can have some relevance for coaching in a ministry context; but these are worth consideration.
Let’s take that second one today – Zedane knows his players. He knows their personality, strengths and weaknesses, what motivates and demotivates, how and when to challenge. What you also sense from Zedane is, he knows how hard to challenge to get the very best from his team.
When coaching disciplemaker and leaders, it is imperative that we know the people we are empowering. What I am suggesting is that we must know what makes a disciplemaker “tick” and how to help leader’s take that difficult next step in their development. Specifically a coach must know their:
Strengths and Weaknesses
Motivator and De-motivators
These are just some of the complexities of the human beings that we are called to coach to make disciples and leaders.
Here are three questions for your reflection:
What are the personality traits of the people you coach (for disciplemaking & leader development)?
How do you challenge different people, differently?
How do you motivate different people, differently?
Here are two coaching resources I have found helpful to help coach introverts and extroverts: