Have you been asked: “What is the fruit of an apple?” It is kind of a trick question. The expected answer is, “the seeds of another apple”. The fruit of an apple is NOT just another apple; the fruit of an apple is an orchard.
Relating to Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:18-20. The true fruit of a disciple is a disciple who makes disciples – who makes disciples. Another way of saying this is, the seed of a disciple-making movement are contained in every disciple.
If the fruit of a disciple is a disciple-making movement then a fair but more strategic follow-up question to ask leaders of leaders is: What does it cost your ministry to make a new disciple? This may seem like an odd question to ask a pastor, church planter or missionary. But is it really?
I was speaking with a colleague last week. He mentioned a network of disciple-makers that had done the hard work to track and calculate the return of their investment so they could study the metrics that mattered most to them. Note, these are conservative estimates. To-date they have facilitated the transformation of approximately 830,000+ people who now follow Jesus at a cost about $35 per new disciple. In addition, they tracked the following data points:
- 2,400,000+ people reached with the gospel
- 36,000+ churches started
- 720,000+ people in small groups.
This question triggers a number of reactions:
- Defensive (We don’t track that sort of thing!) OR Curious (Why do you ask?)
- Closed (Are you kidding?) OR Open (I’ve never thought about it that way before.)
- Criticism (Aren’t you bringing business principles into the church?) OR Willing (That is an interesting question!)
One of the first things we will do in the Leadership Collective – Missional Discipleship is ask leaders to consider this question. It is a clarifying exercise and one that helps leaders grasp a number of insights. See if you can relate to these.
5 benefits to asking the question:
What does it cost your ministry to make a new disciple?
- Clarifies the type of fruit a leader is harvesting
- Channels resources in the direction of making disciples
- Helps a leader know what opportunities to say “no” to
- Has the potential to align ministries to support the work of making disciples
- Empowers teams to celebrate “wins” along the way
Here are some of the reasons why we created the Leadership Collective – Missional Discipleship. We believe this is a strategic opportunity for leaders to re-think their disciple-making process due to the restrictions that are being opposed in our society. See if you resonate with any of these:
- Simplify your disciple-making process
- Adapt innovative ideas that have worked elsewhere
- Create new discipleship processes you have been envisioning
If you relate to any of the above and would like more information on the Leadership Collective – Missional Discipleship – watch the video below. Micah Dodson and I share the vision for this 10-month learning community so that you have a clear picture of what you will achieve. We pray you can join us in La Jolla, CA for the launch event November 15-17.