We must fight for disciple-making culture in order to see it happen.
I love pirate movies. As a young boy, I was fascinated with sailing the open ocean. I loved the thought of finding buried treasure and imagined battles with cannons and swords.
In most pirate movies, somewhere along the way, a ship’s crew would inevitably have a conflict with the captain of the ship, leading to some form of mutiny. Typically, the captain would squelch the uprising by tying up some poor deckhand and tossing him overboard. And that’s that.
So then, how do pirates and pirate ships relate to church life? Unfortunately, they relate more closely than we would like to think. I run across tensions between church staff all the time.
Even while writing the book Disciple-Making Culture, I had staff and church members reach out to me and say things like,
“Brandon, I want to make disciples and build this culture, but my senior pastor does not, what do I do? How do we make disciples in our church when the staff or leadership are not on board?”
I have also known senior pastors fighting for a disciple-making culture, and sadly, find themselves out on the end of the gangplank due to an eldership that refuses to change the course.
So, what do we do when things like that happen? Make those who disagree walk the plank?
With every step we take, we need to honor the Lord—and we need to stop fighting like the devil for the things of God.
Here are a few suggestions I would give:
1. Start living out a disciple-making culture in your home.
Allow the principles of a disciple-making culture to permeate the place you have the most important ministry, within your family.
2. Start discipling someone that God has already placed into your life.
A senior pastor, staff members, or eldership cannot stop you from meeting to disciple someone in a local coffee shop. Live out disciple-making more organically than simply within your local church—all while being respectful of those who lead you and what they have asked of you in ministry.
3. Practice disciple-making within your area of ministry.
Maybe you are in a situation where the whole church will not adopt disciple-making culture, but you can establish it in your own area of ministry. Over time, the culture could grow and begin affecting other ministries.
4. Be willing to step away.
After walking through discussion, sharing your heart, and doing all that you can do, you might need to step away from the ministry. Several individuals I know have had to resign their positions and trust God with their next steps.
Pray and ask God to work in the hearts of those who are above you in leadership. Pray for revival and recognition of God’s truth.
Finally, do not quit. The Holy Spirit can—and will—empower you to make disciples. Regardless of how difficult the culture you’re in might seem, I encourage you to take the most basic and simple steps you can to slowly shift the culture. God is a big God and he truly is at the helm of the ship. Trust him.
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