Are We Making Consumers or Making Disciples?

by | Jun 27, 2022 | Church Health, Church Leadership

Matthew 28:18-20 (The Message)

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.

 

Many church planters and pastors who have been in ministry for more than a minute will often ponder the question of effectiveness. Are we making disciples as Jesus commanded, or are we simply making church consumers?

How can we know when we are in the church consumer business rather than the Father’s business of making disciples, baptizing believers, and teaching them?

 

Here are a couple of signs to look out for:

 

1. You devote most of your time, money, and energy to the weekend service. 

 

However, discipleship is so much more than a weekend production. Although discipleship can happen in our services, the majority occurs outside the four walls of the church. 

What is effective in your context? In some areas, Sunday School is still effective. Other towns and cities may have a bent toward small group discipleship. 

Find out what works, and remember to keep the main thing, the main thing. (The Great Commission + The Great Commandment)

 

2. You get backlash if you make a change in the weekend service

 

Why are some church leaders hesitant to make a change? Many churches are afraid to make any changes thinking it may upset “the formula” of the service. 

Can I tell you what the “not so secret sauce” is for an anointed service? It’s the Holy Spirit showing up in power! It is NOT the lighting, the position of the piano or pulpit, or the three fast songs and two slow songs at the beginning of the service.

 

3. The majority of first-time guests tell you they are there because of the children’s programs or________ (insert a popular area of ministry)

 

While this is not a tell-tale sign of a consumer-driven model, it is, at the very least, alarming. My heart is not to rearrange the Body of Christ but reach those far from Christ and make disciples of those who come. 

There is nothing wrong with having excellent ministry areas; that’s how it should be. We just shouldn’t, however, be promoting them to other believers. 

Instead, we should be viewing other churches in our area as partners and team members. Let’s work together and stop competing with each other!

Why? Because we are on the same team! Team Jesus! 

 

The question to ask ourselves:

 

Are we reaching people from other churches or are we doing our best to have a culture of outreach? 

If we are attracting people from other churches, we are feeding into church consumerism. STOP!

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Jeff Hoglen

A church planter since 2001, Jeff Hoglen is the CEO of churchplanting.com. Jeff is a practitioner & lifelong learner within the church planting and church revitalization fields. Jeff is currently pastoring in NC and oversees a network of 40 churches in the Philippines with DOVE International. Jeff has earned an M.Div, a D.Min. and is a certified coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team.