It used to be that churches saturated all their ministries with a discipleship emphasis rather than treating discipleship as something separate. It was the very core of all they did. Worship, music, fellowship, evangelism, and serving, were recognized as being part of the discipleship development process. Every activity in the church had a single goal – make disciples.
However, a shift occurred when churches adopted a “program” approach to ministry, and for a while it seemed to work. But programs are dependent upon strong nuclear families and denominational loyalty to be most effective. Neither condition exists today as it once did. Yet many church leaders continue to work harder at using the same programmatic approach.
The “program” approach to ministry has major problem – discipleship is treated as a separate program. For instance, small groups, worship, Sunday School, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, children’s ministry, and sports ministry are all treated as one thing, and discipleship as another.
Instead, disciple-making should permeate ALL the ministries of the church, and no ministry should be allowed to exist that does not have disciple making as its main focus. After all, this is the primary work of the church (Matthew 28:19).
Discipleship is not a Sunday night program. It is the focus of everything we do.