In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)
Discipleship is something that we are all called to do as followers of Jesus. It is also a culture that should be present within our churches. Here are three keys on creating a discipleship culture within your local church:
1. Have a firm conviction of discipleship.
What is your heart towards discipleship? What does discipleship look like within the context of your local church? What do you want to achieve through the discipleship process? It’s important that you have a strong picture and vision of discipleship for your church so that you can create the right culture to facilitate it.
What framework or structures will you use to disciple people? Will you run connect groups? Connect groups are small midweek groups held in homes or cafes where people can build relationships, study the bible together, pray and support each other. Are there connect groups specifically designed for teenagers, university students, or married couples? Will there be a course for New Christians?
Different programs and facets of church life that facilitate discipleship allow for people to take next steps at different stages of their life and spiritual maturity.
2. Model the discipleship culture.
Be the culture that you want to see.
If you want a discipleship culture in your local church, model this culture. Disciple your own connect group. Make discipleship your emphasis when communicating to your team or congregation. Keep the message of discipleship consistent and unchanging – it may take different shapes and forms, but the idea of discipleship must remain constant.
Raise leaders who will also replicate the discipleship culture. At Hillsong Church, one way this is achieved is through the input-output system of connect groups. One week, an individual will attend a connect group where they are a member, and on the other week, they will run a connect group where they are the leader. This is beneficial because it allows connect group leaders to be discipled so that they can disciple others more effectively.
3. Encourage people to join the journey of discipleship.
It’s important to remember that people need to make a decision to be discipled; we can’t force them into it. Our responsibility is to make it possible for a person to be devoted to the discipleship process and to equip them to do so.
At Hillsong Church, we believe that everyone has a next step. For some, it’s attending a New Christians course. For others, it’s to get baptised, to join a connect group or to start volunteering on a team. As a church, it’s our responsibility to help people identify what their next step is and to help them get there.
At the end of the day, discipleship is helping people mature in their faith and to become more like Jesus. This discipleship process is messy because people and relationships are messy, but helping people to take their next steps and to grow more like Jesus is worth the entire process.
This thought was originally shared during a Discipleship training session hosted by Chrishan Jeyaratnam and our Hillsong team during our ‘Online Open Week’ in August 2015. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.