Today’s guest blogger is John Whittaker. John has spent 30 years as a pastor and Bible college professor, and helped thousands of people follow Jesus by learning to hear what the Bible actually says.
Good Church Members vs. Growing Disciples by John Whittaker
Over the last couple of years, I have found myself reflecting on the contrast between good church members and growing disciples. This, in turn, has led me to consider the subtle differences between churches who emphasize making growing disciples and churches that don’t, even if those churches are what we would describe as healthy, growing churches.
I think this is a critically important point, and after thirty years of ministry and training ministers, I have concluded that all too often, we have placed emphasis and focus on creating good church members rather than making growing disciples.
Good church members could be defined as those who:
- attend regularly
- serve in some capacity
- give consistently and sacrificially
- and the really committed ones lead in some way
By this definition, what pastor wouldn’t want a church full of good church members? So, we emphasize and celebrate good church members. We have strategy sessions, trainings, conferences, and books all aimed at how to have more and more of these types of people in our church.
In reality, a person could do all of these things and still not be living as a disciple of Jesus, who is increasingly becoming like Jesus.
Now to be fair, growing disciples usually do some of the same things as good church members… they serve, they attend, they give. However, those things are secondary to their life in Christ, not primary. Serving, attendance, giving, etc., flow out of their discipleship to Jesus, not their commitment to a church.
For King Jesus,
The Discipleship.org Team