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Creating A Disciple Making Culture
By : Jason Potter (ACOM)
Rating : Average Rating : 6.60 From 5 Voter(s)
Views : 1125
As a movement, Churches of Christ in Australia have a strong heritage of creative and inventive thinking and action when it comes to sharing the essence of our faith and growing disciples. From the tent missions of the 1920s through to the new wave of mission focused communities with innovative forms of worship and evangelism, there have been times in our history when we have been willing to take bold steps of faith and embrace new ways forward, even through, at times, vigorous resistance to change.

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Comments / Feedback
Barry Austin
This is a very timely word from Jason - I suspect that we have lost significant ground in this area of making disciples...rather than grooming a community of people who go out and impact the world we have allowed the world to impact us...hence the consumer church and its associated self centredness. True discipleship is a life challenging and life changing deal...where is our vision for an alternative community!?
Jason Potter
Hi Barry, this is an area we have been working on at ACOM. We want to facilitate the development of disciple making cultures in the local church, by providing useful tools for church leaders to use.

As new/alternative models develop my hope is that we as a movement of churches are able to embrace and support new communities whose shape and methodology may be unfamilier to us.
Andrew Ball
Well done Jason. The problem for many of us, is that we were never clearly or appropriately discipled in some kind of intentional process. Whilst I concur totally in the priesthood of all believers, this central tenent becomes an excuse for nobody to lead and model discipleship for others, out of fear of being labelled heirachical or exlusive. I live with a paradox - we need leaders to model discipleship, and yet the primary responsibility for discipleship rests with ourselves. Perhaps in the culture, we can simply reject an either/or approach, but encourage 'high trust' where everyone learns, leaders lead, and lives are set free. I suspect this will create unity and commonness of purpose.
Simon Clemow
I agree with the comments above - a really good article Jason.

I guess my question to the readership of the AC would be - how much value are we placing on the development of disciples versus the creation of Christians? Is there a distinction? Should there be? How do we move our thinking from the need to get people to answer a question about Jesus, welcoming them into the church, and then wishing them all the best for their journey - and moving our thinking to discipling each other along the journey of life? Its a tough one.

For the last 10 years, OMB/GMP have been gifting to the Australian Churches of Christ a Discipleship Development Program, whose sole aim has always been to 'form and equip disciples who can form and equip others.' The DDP has emerged over the years to embrace and model all the characteristics of a disciple making culture that are mentioned in the article, and to quote Barry, the DDP has always been a 'life challenging and life changing' experience.

But in a consumeristic/individualistic/comfortable society, do emerging disciples want their lives to be challenged and changed (my hope and prayer) through following Jesus, or would they perfer to have their lives affirmed?
Jason Potter
Hi Simon, thanks for your comments, this is a crucial issue for Chruches of Christ.

One of the challanges is that we often see discipleship as a program not a process. It is great to have training programs like OMB and others, I have participated six month learning programs with Fusion as well as overseas mission trips to Mexico and other countries. This kind of intensive experience is a great way to move people forward. However if the culture of the church they come from is not a disciple making culture then these great opportunities can lose their impact over time as we slip back into old habits when we return home.

The change needs to happen in our local church cultures first to enable generational change.
Jason Potter
Hi Andrew, thanks for oyur comments, I agree that this is a very long term problem which has impacted on several generations of people within our movement. As a result many of us did not experience this kind of culture in our own formation as followers of Jesus.

That makes it a greater challange!

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