Peter Drucker is credited with the statement, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This statement is especially true when it relates to the church and how we approach disciple-making. Many churches have what I call a weekend only culture. This weekend only culture is when most of our energy and resources go into creating and sustaining a weekend service that attracts a large number of worshipers who mostly come merely to consume.
I know this approach well. I spent most of my early church planting efforts planting this kind of church. As one of my buddies put it, “I think we planted a lot of weekend services, but I’m not sure we planted many churches”. Mike Bream sums it up well when it says, “If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples”.
This may explain why no matter what program or strategy we import into your church we fail to get the disciple-making results we desire. Is there any hope?
One of our challenges is we often start with the wrong question, “How do we make more and better disciples?” The better question is, “How do we transition a weekend only culture to a discipleship culture?”
The reality is we need to install a new disciple-making operational system. This new operational system begins with an intentional process of reshaping our culture. The process below represents a set of master tools developed by Will Mancini of Auxano. These tools are the best in class for shaping your culture. As a Lead Navigator with Auxano, I have spent the last five years mastering these tools and seeing some amazing discipleship results. Let’s take a few moments to look at them through our disciple- making lens.
We must begin by confronting the brutal facts. Do we have a disciple-making culture? Chances are you don’t, or you would know it. Matter-of-fact welcome to the club. Very few churches actually have a disciple-making culture. You may have some disciples, but are you really making more and better disciples? Why not take our simple Disciple-Making Culture Assessment. This tool will help you identify whether or not you have a disciple-making culture and where to begin your disciple-making journey.
One of the keys to a disciple-making culture is to discover your unique disciple-making DNA as a church. This disciple-making DNA is informed by your unique passion, place, and people. Once you discover your DNA, it is time to replicate it in every living cell of your church by reshaping a culture that replicates your DNA.
To have a disciple-making culture, you must do a deep dive into your identity as a church and develop your disciple-making identity. Here are some key questions you need to ask:
If you, your leadership, and the entire church can’t answer these questions, you probably have an identity issue.
Once you have developed your identity it time to discover your disciple-making dream. Ultimately, where is God taking you collectively on this disciple-making journey? What is our disciple-making dream? Once you understand God’s dream for you as a church, you can then and only then begin developing a tactical plan to accomplish that dream.
Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an organization. Key to developing a disciple-making culture is the intentional integration of disciple-making from the top-down and the inside-out. For a disciple-making culture to replicate throughout an organization, there must be deep ownership and buy-in at the senior staff level, leader level, and ultimately member and attender level. This kind of integration must be intentional and takes time.
David Putman is the founder of Planting the Gospel and a Senior Lead Navigator with Auxano the category leader in vision clarity. When David isn't writing or consulting he enjoys staying fit and competing at Crossfit.