Become a process-oriented problem solver
When it comes to teaching, sharing isolated truth can be confusing—even injurious—to the body of Christ. Here are a few examples:
- Teaching the importance of good works without first establishing its relationship to the hearing of faith and the appropriation of grace for good works (by that faith), creates an environment where the probability for religious and soulish work is extremely high. The same is true when we fail to first develop the congregant’s relationship with the One “working in us to will and do to His good pleasure.”
- Teaching that God desires to show himself strong on our behalf, without first establishing what it means to be loyal to Him, results in an attitude of passivity and entitlement.
- Inviting someone to enter the kingdom of God, without first instructing them about the costs of that commitment, the necessary striving to enter and the diligence required to make their election sure, will leave many falsely secure (and later wondering why He never knew them).
Then here's the twist: Many will read this and think the problem here is about truth, and how we share it. Yes, it is important that we share the whole truth (and nothing but the truth, so help us God). However, this article is going somewhere else—to a deeper issue.
My fear is that the leader reading this will be moved to try harder; to be more excellent; to hire more and/or new staff, and keep doing what they are doing. Please hear this: Better, smarter and more inspired people will not solve this problem. It is not a people problem. It is a process problem.
When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, He had a process in mind that is much more involved than evangelism. New believers are seldom fed the milk of truth, much less meat and mystery. We are trying to build houses without foundations.
This has been going on for so long, that even those who have been “in church” for a long time have little foundation of understanding, belief and obedience. God will not allow them to go on until that are faithful with a little (Hebrews 6:1-3). We are making a grave mistake to assume otherwise.
Sadly, most congregants do not know their pitiable state—because we are not discipling them the way God prescribes; and Jesus demonstrated. Knowledge is not the problem. We are stuck in the rut of man-made processes.
Understanding how to make disciples God’s way is not as hard as adjusting our ministry methods and measurements. We are stuck in our carnal ministry paradigms. The church has been institutionalized; and that is no longer a good thing. Ironically, it could be—even again.
The problem is not that there are paradigms, methods and measurements. The problem is they no longer line up with the ways of God. Consequently, the church is failing. If you are still struggling to accept that fact, read John 14:12 and look around. If you are still struggling, I cannot help you.
So, what’s the point? Leaders in most local fellowships need “a change of mind that leads to a repurposing of their heart; subsequently leading to a change in behavior.” That, by the way, is the meaning of repentance.
If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds in this regard, we will continue to lose the battle against the principalities of this dark age. The ways of man are insufficient weapons against the wiles of our enemies. They may, in fact, be the instruments of our demise.
Rob Streetman is the president of inLight Consulting and is author of The Map Maker. He is called to encourage, edify and equip Workplace Leaders as disciple makers and transformation agents. He began inLight in 2005, after 25+ years in the IT industry.
Learn More »