How to Reboot the Discipleship Culture in Your Church : Dennis Allen
Every pastor in every local church would love to become more effective at disciple-making. Yet we do not always recognize those things that are hindering us from doing so. In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Dennis Allen. Dennis is a devoted Christ-follower, having served in local church leadership his entire adult life. He’s an alumnus of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, at Oxford in the UK. He’s been the CEO of both national and international businesses. He’s even been an F-15 fighter pilot. But above all, Dennis loves Jesus and His Church. Together, Jason and Dennis look at some of the causes of this disciple dilemma. They also share some practical steps that you can take right now to help shift your church and foster a culture of effective disciple-making.
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Additional Resource Links
The Disciple Dilemma – Dennis Allen’s book on Rethinking and Reforming How the Church Does Discipleship
TheDiscipleDilemma.com – Ministry website with additional resources for addressing the disciple dilemma in local churches
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Key Insights and Concepts
- Being a disciple is more than being a convert… a disciple is following Jesus and in active pursuit of Christ
- Your journey as a disciple begins before you surrender to Christ
- Over time, the Church has attempted to evolve disciple-making rather than simply embrace the example Jesus modeled and the Early Church embraced
- Jesus’ model still works today
- Many churches today are approaching disciple-making from a business model perspective rather than a biblical model
- Many churches today are chasing the symptoms of poor discipleship rather than identify the underlying causes of poor discipleship, which is largely ineffective
- Many pastors have been taught to be a manager of a flock rather than the shepherd of a flock
- Disciple-making does not happen from more sermons, more membership classes, more small groups, or more ministry activities. Disciple-making happens in one-on-one to one-on-three life-on-life relationships where we journey together with one another
- As ministry leaders we can easily get caught up in metrics more than mission
- Jesus gave the Church her mission, and it is the same regardless of where or when your local church exists… go and make disciples of all nationalities, all ethnos
- Discipleship cannot happen in isolation. Lone Wolf Christianity is a myth. Being a follower of Jesus happens in relationship with others.
- Disciple-making cannot be “subcontracted” out to preaching good sermons or engaging people in good small groups. There is more to disciple-making than imparting good information. It must be life-on-life.
- Disciple-making is not a microwave solution… it does not happen quickly. It takes time and intentionality.
- You can continue preaching good sermons, encouraging people to participate in good small groups, inviting people to good ministry activities… but do not confuse these for disciple-making. You must also begin the life-on-life discipling that Jesus and the Early Church modeled.
- To create a culture of authentic disciple-making in your church the pastors and ministry leaders must engage in life-on-life disciple-making
Questions for Reflection
- How do I define “disciple”?
- Where does a disciple’s journey begin? Why is this important for how we approach disciple-making?
- How did Jesus make disciples?
- How did disciple-making occur in the Early Church?
- How is our church approaching disciple-making? Would I consider our church a disciple-making church? Why or why not?
- Are we relying on preaching, small groups, and other ministry activities to somehow “make” disciples? Is that working?
- Who am I truly discipling? Not just influencing, but life-on-life discipling?
- What changes do I need to make to how I am personally embracing the mission Jesus gave his followers? What does this look like for me?
- What changes do we need to make as a church to reboot our disciple-making culture? What are the first steps we will take?
Every pastor in every local church would love to become more effective at disciple-making. Yet we do not always recognize those things that are hindering us from doing so.
In this episode, I’m joined by Dennis Allen. Dennis is an amazing man, a devoted Christ-follower. He has served in local church leadership his entire adult life. He’s an alumnus of the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics, at Oxford, in the UK. He’s been the CEO of both national and international businesses. He’s even been an F-15 fighter pilot. But above all, Dennis loves Jesus and His Church. And together, we’re going to look at some of the causes of this disciple dilemma. And we’re going to share some practical steps that you can take right now to help shift your church and foster a culture of effective disciple-making. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another exciting episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye, and every single week, we sit down with a trusted ministry leader and dive into a topic that we believe will encourage and inspire you. And we’re really encouraging pastors just like you to embrace healthy, well-balanced, sustainable leadership in both life and ministry. We are proud to be a part of the PastorServe Network, and you can learn more about this episode, and in fact, you can dive in more deeply to the topic at hand, because we create a weekly toolkit that goes along with every single episode. You can find that at PastorServe.org/network. There you will find questions for you to reflect upon yourself and with your ministry leaders at your local church, and find tons of additional resources there. So be sure to check out the toolkit that we provide a PastorServe.org/network. Now if you’re joining us on YouTube, hello and it’s good to see you. Please give us a like and take a moment to comment below. Let us know your name and the name of your church, where you’re joining us from. We love to pray for members of our audience, we will lift up you and your ministry. So be sure to do that below. And then whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on any of these amazing episodes. Now, I’m very excited to be introducing to you and joining us today for this particular episode is Dennis Allen. So Dennis, welcome to the show.
Jason, amped to be with you.
Excellent, brother, it’s good to have you. Super excited for this conversation because one of the things that you have written about recently, in fact, the title of your most recent book is The Disciple Dilemma. You are talking about this idea that there is in fact a dilemma when it comes to discipleship in the Church. And that’s really, the manner in which we’re attempting to make disciples is somewhat broken. And Dennis, we’ll get into the dilemma in a moment. But first, it seems, perhaps part of the issue is that within the Church, there exists a variety of understandings of what a disciple truly is. And so that makes it difficult to measure how effective the church is with disciple-making. So I thought to begin this conversation, Dennis, it makes sense for us to really look at how to best define what a disciple truly is. So let’s start there.
Okay, well, I’ll I’ll say a few things here. And I’m just going to ask your listeners to take the car for a test drive, you don’t have to buy it. And if you’re really really upset, you can blame Jason for letting me on the podcast. So there you go. The, the conversation usually when we think about a disciple causes people’s eyes to glaze over, they go, oh, yeah, that’s somebody who they read their Bible and they pray, and maybe they got a small group, they belong to a church, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so there’s sort of a classic man on the street definition. I think, a little broader, deeper theological view of it, people begin to fold in the idea, okay, this is somebody who is following Christ, who is thinking about the idea of surrender, setting aside their own personal agenda, and really changing the muscle memory spiritually of their lives to fully pursue Christ. The Hindi word is bhakti, which is a follower of God and means to be actively in pursuit. And I think that concept in a Christian context really plays well here. But there’s one more piece I’ll put on the table as we talk about this today. I want to put the provocative statement out, also that some disciples are non-believers. And we need to think about discipleship beginning in the unbeliever stage and carrying through all of your life even after surrender to Christ, even as you pursue Christ. There’s no retirement plan. This is a full on life.
Okay, good. Now, since you brought it up, Dennis, we’re going to jump in there. Talk to us a little bit about how we look at the life of a disciple, kind of pre-surrender, pre-commitment to Christ. What exactly do you mean by that?
A lot of people have the idea that you got to be a pastor like Jason, or you got to be an elder in the church, because it’s a higher level of being. When in reality, the Bible portrays a lot of people who are actually called disciples who didn’t even believe Jesus was the Christ. And you can think about this provocatively, again, going back to even his original disciples, who until they were really inside the tomb, looking at the grave clothes didn’t even understand, the Bible says over and over again they didn’t understand who he was. But they’re his disciples. So we have this idea of people coming to check out Christ. This is going to be important for us as we talk about people being really worried about well, you’re gonna make me an evangelist, and I’m gonna be an evangelist like Jason, I got to get a bullhorn and get on a crate in the middle of the park and start shouting out all these slogans. When in reality as a disciple, not everyone’s an evangelist, but everyone’s a disciple, and everyone’s required to have a reason for the hope that’s within them, that’s 1 Peter 3. So we’re kind of nudging this forward. And that idea that you as a, as a disciple of Christ, you’re starting out as a non-believer, it always starts out as an unbeliever, but it progresses. And we need to understand that as we talk about the disciple dilemma.
Yeah, that’s good. And, and I think it’s important for us to keep in mind this idea of, you know, the spiritual journey that everyone is on. Because everyone finds himself at some place on that spectrum of a spiritual journey. And, like you said, that journey never really culminates until we’re rejoicing for eternity with Christ, right, in the New Kingdom. So I think that’s an important distinction. Now, as we look at this idea of the disciple dilemma, Dennis, I know that this answer to the question I’m about to ask, we could we could sit here for several hours and talk about in fact, you wrote an entire book on this, but where is the Church falling short? If you can kind of give us in a nutshell, as you’re kind of looking and evaluating this idea of disciple-making? Really, where where are we falling short?
Let me make a statement that I hope is an important one to hear. In this conversation, Jason and I are really kind of playing the role of consultants or board of directors. So please, pastors, please, elders, deacons, committee, people, small group leaders, as you listen to this, please do not take any of the things we’re going to say as condemnation, shame, blame, guilt. You guys live in a really, really tough environment. Jason and I were talking about that before the show. And so what we want you to hear are some interesting questions. So you can step back and go, Huh, is that going on in the world I orbit in? So there’s, there’s my preamble. Jason.
That’s good. I love it. I love it.
So with that in mind, what what I’d like to say is that 1800 years ago, a virus began infecting the culture of what is today modern Western Christianity. And it began to evolve Jesus’s model of discipleship, let’s call it version 1.0. That was your original model of discipleship. And we began to go, things have really changed a lot since Jesus here, we need to upgrade this, let’s get version 2.0 on the table, because Jesus probably didn’t think about this stuff. Jesus probably wasn’t aware of this stuff. It’s a whole new world. Let’s take off as Aldous Huxley would say, into this brave new world with a whole new model of discipleship. And we began a journey of wrecking the most beautiful leadership model in the history of mankind.
That’s the dilemma, then…
Here we are thinking the stuff that we do as pastors, small group leaders, elders and deacons in the church, in our Christian communities, is exactly the right thing. And the reality is, it’s not good, and it’s not biblical. So I’d like to have a conversation about the symptoms we chase, the causes we ought to be focusing on, and what exactly is Jason and Dennis trying to suggest is a path forward out of this thing.
Yeah, yeah. I love that. Because one of the things I think is true as pastors, as ministry leaders, likely there’s no one watching, no one listening, who’s sitting there saying, Wait, we’ve got this all figured out. There’s no problem. Everything’s just fine. Perfect, right? I mean, as a pastor for many, many, many years, this was just a constant burden, right, and a passion is disciple-making, and trying to be as authentic and helping people embrace Christ and surrender and you know, have a passion for the kingdom and all those things. I mean, every every pastor, every ministry leader, that’s what you’re praying for. That’s what you’re giving your life toward, right, as you’re ministering to the people God’s entrusted with you. And so I don’t think there is anyone going, I don’t know about this, I think everything’s pretty good. Disciple-making has been a struggle, right. And oftentimes, we blame external forces, right? Dennis, oftentimes we think the culture is the problem, you know, media is the problem, whatever it might be. Yet, it seems that much of the problem is, just as you kind of shared right there, a lot of the problem is somewhat internal… somewhat how we’re approaching this idea of disciple-making. And so share with us a bit about what are some of those kind of specific issues, you know, that you have highlighted within how we’re currently approaching this idea of disciple-making as a Church that is hindering actually, discipleship.
So the first thing that I would want to say, and again, pastors, please take this as a conversation, not a condemnation, I don’t think, in the research that we’ve done as we went through the book, and as we’ve talked to a lot of pastors, I don’t think that you were given much real, biblical discipling developmental training in seminary. We find that a lot of the courses are kind of lightweight. It’s like how do you relate individual-to-individual, which is perfectly fine, and it’s wonderful, and it’s biblical. But now you’re saddled up leading a flock of people, and what do we do with that? So first of all, I think there’s a real dearth in pastors having been given some of the ways leaders influence deeply the discipling, the discipleship and the making of disciples in the communities in the world that we live in. That’s one piece of the puzzle. Another piece of the puzzle is we’ve been taught to chase the symptoms, because the symptoms are where the big sexy headlines all happen. So for example, we hear about the nones, the people who have walked away from their churches, the dones, the people who have walked away from their faith, the people who have gone on mute, I no longer feel it’s my job. It’s Jason’s job to talk about the gospel, not my my job to talk about the gospel. And we chase those people and we go, you’re a bunch of losers, you aren’t learning enough, you aren’t doing enough, you guys need to shape up, we’re gonna throw a program out here in front of you guys, we’re gonna put a seminar on, we’re gonna have 10 sermons on this, and we’re gonna fix you guys. And honestly, I mean this in sincerest way because my, I’m taking this from my experience, Jason as a corporate turnaround CEO. I’ve been involved in church leadership all my life as a believer since I was in high school. But as a business guy, I go in and I do what’s called corporate repentance, which if you think about the word repentance is to turn something around, right? So when you gotta busted business, you want the corporation to repent and turn around. The reality for us is we need to change up, in the leadership model of our churches, the way we’re trying to do discipling. We’re doing it the way businesses do it, not the way the Bible wants us to do it. That takes us from the symptoms, people walking off, people going on new people, not caring people not being really involved, other than the activities and membership to the causes. So that set it up enough so we can start talking about the causes.
Yeah, let’s dive in Dennis to some of those causes.
We list six in the book, let me sample two, and then Jason, you can jump in and steer us a little bit on this. 1800 years back, so we take it from the second century all the way forward. The first one that we bring up in the book is a concept called Optional Lordship. And we go back to Eusebius, a Bishop, who was dealing with a real problem and the Roman emperors were on his case saying, you got a bunch of whiners out there, people who were believers, and then we came up to him and said, We’re gonna kill you and all of your family if you guys don’t recant your faith, and the people said, Yeah, okay, we’ll check out we’ll, we’ll worship your guides and throw allegiances to your gods, they were actually called the lapsi, for lapsed. And then when the persecution stopped, they said, hey, we’d like to be checked back into the church. Don’t get lost in the emotional trauma of the oh my gosh, this person’s life was threatened. What would I do in the same case, what I want you to hear is, we began a process in the Church of saying optional lordship is fine. It’s perfectly okay to get saved, but the lordship part? You don’t have to do that part of it. Right. And you hear Sam Alberry today making the statement. I’m really a fan of Jesus, but this lordship thing. Not so much. So that’s optional lordship. That’s one of six. Take the second of six that we talked about, Catch and Release Christianity. We picked on Simon, the Stylite Elder, a guy who sat up on top of a post for dozens of years, being the Billy Graham of his age, to a bunch of Bedouins. And he was considered to be the greatest evangelist of his time except, Theoderet, the bishop who was basically writing the biography said, it’s funny, they got saved, we told them about Jesus, and about four weeks later, they went back to doing everything they used to do. We thought about that, and realized that what we were doing was we were getting them to say, Yes, I love Jesus, mainly because their bosses, the sheiks, and the clan leaders said, love Jesus. And then there was no discipling, so off, they went back into the desert, doing what they always did. So catch and release and optional lordship. There’s two.
Yeah. So as we as we look at those two, which I think everyone can kind of say, oh, yeah, I see how that might play into where we are as a Church today. And we think through this idea of optional Lordship, for example, you know, people are culturally a part of this idea of Christianity, but are they really surrendered? Are they really allowing Christ to, you know, kind of direct their lives on a day-to-day basis, right, and then this idea of the catch and release. So talk to us a little bit about how this kind of a casual, more of a casual approach to life in Christ is being, I don’t know if I’m want to say the word encouraged, but maybe encouraged, is, you know, is being set up as an okay alternative, by the way, in the structure and the process of how we are kind of doing church today.
That’s a terrific question that you’re asking. And so what I’d like to suggest, first of all, is it’s not our fault, but it is our responsibility. So here we go with the conversation. If you think about how the Church went from being groups of five, six, or seven, huddled in anything from a pigsty to a small house, under the persecution of Romans to, under Constantine, becoming the fad, the rave, the thing you had to do, and 1000s of people started showing up at your door. Jason, you’re pastoring, a little church of six, and suddenly, there’s 156, outside your door going I want in. And what do you do about that? How do you handle that? What in the world are you supposed to do with this crowd that’s out there. We have been educated over the years that what you do about this is you pack them in the pews, you start preaching to them, and you say we’ll get around to discipleship later. There is no life-on-life connection, saying you’re with him, you’re with her. Let’s get going in this and we started building brand and size and organization. This is not your fault, Pastor, the institution that you lead is a wonderful institution, many great pastors, preaching, great small groups, ministries, missions, we need all of this. But what we can’t do is disciple people in a sermon series. We talked about this idea of herd community, we stole it from the pandemic, right? You think our herd immunity, herd community means if I throw enough people in a room and sloshing around together, disciples will emerge? That’s not going to happen, right? So you’ve been taught, you’ve been coached how you run an institution, we need to rethink discipleship, because while you do need to run an institution, you aren’t going to make disciples in that institution.
Okay, excellent. Love it. Love it, Dennis. And I think this is very helpful. So the next question is, okay, that’s the reality. If this is kind of the structure we’ve inherited, this is kind of the ministry and the life that we’re living, what we’ve been kind of prepped for, trained for, and when things go right, in that world, we are celebrated. When things don’t go right in that world, then we start to feel like we’re letting God down, we’re letting others down… I mean, there’s a lot of personal pain that can happen with that. But that’s kind of what the system is set up like right now. If we were to… because one of the things that you really address and understand because this comes from your background, this is what what you do for a living, this is how God has gifted you to step into institutions organizations, and really not just patch some things up, but get to the, you know, what’s the foundational issues so we can get the foundational issues in alignment, and then many of the other things will begin to take care of themselves. So, I understand that, but what you are talking about with this whole idea of the disciple dilemma, for some pastors and ministry leaders, that might feel like oh my goodness, like, we’re going to scrap everything we’ve got and start everything all over? You know, so it’s kind of like, especially in the midst of, you know, right now, times are pretty challenging, you know, for pastors. You know, this is one of those seasons. You know, throughout the history of the church, there have been some seasons where times are very challenging and some seasons where they’re not quite as challenging. We’re, we’ve been moving steadily, especially, you know, here in the US, I know, pastors in other countries have been living this much longer and to a greater degree than we are. But it’s been a challenging few years, for sure. So we’re looking at the challenges we have just week-in-week out pastoring a local church, and then, Dennis, you’re saying, well, on top of that, there’s this underlying issue that should be addressed. And that could just be probably overwhelming, right? So talk to us a little bit, Dennis, about how do we begin to address this underlying issue, in a way that doesn’t make us completely burnout, I guess, would be the best way to say,
This is a beautiful setup, right? So the second half of the book, The Disciple Dilemma is really intended to talk about this path forward. Let me give you a few thoughts about this. First of all, and above all things we are not supposed to despair, nobody’s asking you on this podcast, to get out the dynamite and start blowing buildings up. We’re not asking you to run people off, we’re not asking you to get up in the pulpit and say everything you ever heard from me before, it’s false. We’re turning all this around, and we’re going another direction. That’s not how it works. What we are saying is, pastors, you have been taught to be a manager, rather than a leader. You have been taught to really be a manager of a flock rather than the shepherd of a flock. And we’re trying to suggest to you the path forward is different biblically than the model that we’ve seen whether you’re in a small, mid, large or mega church, it doesn’t matter. The complications of the dilemma have surrounded you. So here’s the path forward that I’m going to just kind of tee up and I’m going to ask folks, please you can go on our website, discipledilemma.com, and read some of our conversations about this. You have to start by saying, If I really want to grow the church, I’ve got to stop trying to grow the church. There’s a first statement, and what I mean by that is, if what you really want to do is win the Super Bowl, stop staring at the trophy and get on the field and start playing. You can’t keep staring at the trophy and saying, Well, my objective is to have a small church. My objective is to have a mega church. My objective is to be like John MacArthur, well, my objective is to be like, blah, blah, blah, and on we go. Stop it, you personally have been equipped with an identity in Christ, you have been given beautiful, unique giftings for the time and the place that you are in, and God has a purpose and a destiny for you as a pastor. Stepping forward, the biblical journey forward is in I’m gonna put two baskets in front of us to close my long winded statement. The first thing we have to get away from is Lone Wolf Christianity, the lone wolf needs nothing from nobody, which is, I’m going to make you really smart, Jason. Sermons are gonna be really terrific. We even have some seminars and some men’s groups of 10, and 12, and 20. But we don’t have one-on-one wing men flying beside each other who are keeping each other tuned, motivated and pressing forward to change my muscle memory and be more that disciple Christ has called us to be. That’s one bucket, we have totally isolated that concept in almost all churches. It’s like, No, you just need to be a member. You just need to hang out, come to the sermons. That’s all fine. That’s one bucket. The other bucket is as leaders, we have to stop thinking that our sermons and our small groups are subcontracting the problem out to the people around us. You can’t subcontract this, you do need to de-busy your life. And part of the book talks about get management in its proper role in your life and leadership in its proper role in your life, you can begin the process of setting the example and moving forward. And my last statement on this is this ain’t going to be a microwave pizza. This is growing an oak tree, it’s going to take time and effort.
Yeah, that’s good. And I think that patience piece is important because we have been conditioned to expect things to happen very, very quickly. And it’s kind of the world in which we live in now. Right? We expect everything, whether it’s the economy, we expect a few decisions to be made about the economy and suddenly the economy should be better and if it isn’t better next month, then everything’s wrong, or, you know, our governance in our country or whatever it is. We always think that everything should happen so rapidly.
And the job description really drives a lot of shame/blame from elder boards and the committee’s that run the church is going like, Hey, you’re not getting the growth here, hey, the memberships not up, hey, that’s the budget the tie that takes not really it’s good enough. And all of these management, intimidation systems and metrics, and believe me as a CEO, I’m all about metrics, but they have a place. The mission of the church, just like the mission of a business, has to be preeminent and the pressure on you is going to be to take your people away from metric based ministry and toward discipleship.
I love that. I love that. And so let me ask you this, Dennis. Speaking to ministry leaders in local churches, not necessarily the lead pastors, senior pastors, but the ministry leaders, that the board members, the elders. What would you say to them, to encourage them to not get so swept up in the, you know, microwave fixes, or the band aids even, you know, the short term, you know, yays, but to really help come alongside of their pastor, and their pastoral staff to help move things in a direction that will have actual long term effectiveness for the Kingdom.
The most important statement that I would want to lodge into the hearts of people and haunt them with today is, I think, if you do not understand your mission, which I’m going to claim as Matthew 28:19, go therefore into all of the nationalities, the ethnos around you, and make disciples, progression of yourself and the people around you non believers and believers. If you don’t get your mission right, the metrics will own you. If you get the mission in front of you, if you really understand what your mission is, the metrics are nice conversation pieces for a minority of your consideration in the journey. But if you don’t know your mission, you’re going to be a slave to the metrics and that is going to result in exactly what we see in so many institutions today.
Yeah, that’s golden right there. That’s awesome. Okay, let’s go the next step. Pastor watching along right now, listening to what you’re sharing, saying, ‘Yes, this is what I’ve been wrestling with myself, I feel this, I see this. I sense this.’ Dennis, practically speaking, if you were sitting down having coffee with that pastor, and they said, Dennis, yes. What would you say are the next steps? Like literally, how do you step into this, practically speaking?
Same conversation I have with CEOs when I go into struggling corporations, and we’ve got to do a complete turnaround of the company. And that’s what I’m suggesting here. I’m suggesting there are many wonderful things about Church, but there’s a few key things we got to turn around. And here’s the conversation I have with CEOs and pastors, the first thing you got to realize is, do you really truly believe you have a problem and you’re willing to act on it? Or do you really think you have a problem, but oh, my gosh, the cost of this thing is just, it’s over my paygrade, it’s beyond my lifetime, I’m just gonna wait for my tenure to burn out and I’m gonna get out of here. And you know, the next guy can handle this, kick the can down the road. If you really believe something’s wrong, if you really believe something’s got to change in discipleship in your church, you need a wing man, you need somebody coming alongside you who’s going to say, I’m going to speak truth to you, I’m also totally on board with the fact that we do have this problem. And I’m committed for the incoming fire that’s going to result as we begin to start change in a direction. Christians, we as Christians don’t like change. We like it the way it was last week, and we want it to be that way next week. And you’re going to have to get ready for the turbulence and you’re going to have to have your own understanding of your people and the mission so that you can weld those two together the mission and the people in the pews that are right there with you.
Okay, so how do you communicate, effectively communicate, because, again, as a pastor, you know, most pastors every year annually, they’ll you know, cast vision, you know, maybe do a state of the church address, maybe they’ll do some conversations about the changing demographics in our local community. And you know, talking a little bit about the mission, all those types of things. And yet what your contending for is something deeper that needs to be shifted, right? So if that’s the case, then I don’t want those who are watching and listening to think, oh, wait, though, but I do this. I talk about the mission in our, you know, local community I, I know are people. So what must they do? What must they take on, like, proactively to begin to make this shift? How do they address things differently now than they have in the past, I guess, to make this shift?
Would you say that large majority of the folks that are watching this broadcast would be golfers or other kinds of sports fans? How would you describe them if you were taking a shot at it?
I think golfers could work, golfers, football fans.
Let’s play with golf for a second.
Jason’s a pro. He’s in the pro shop, we’re gonna bring 100 people into the pro shop. And Jason is going to tell us what it takes to be a really good golfer. And we’re gonna say, that’s great. And Jason is going to give you videotapes, he’s gonna give you books, and we’re gonna go home and go, I got the videotapes, got the books, I’m a great golfer. Doesn’t work like that. Doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to get out on the golf course with Jason. Let Jason watch your swing. Let Jason talk to you about a swing, let Jason show you his swing, and you’re gonna spend hours and hours and hours and hours walking alongside Jason going, Oh, that’s how you do that. And then you start doing it. Jason going, yeah, that’s kind of how you do that. Let’s fix this. Let’s tweak that. And eventually Jason says to you, you got it. You go over there to Harry, you grab Harry, and you start working the golf course with Harry. That’s how you make great golfers. Can you see the parallel that we’re talking about here, pastors? We’re trying to have this conversation that you have to keep preaching, that doesn’t stop. We don’t we don’t quit equipping you with the intellectual. But we also want the experiential in life. Who are going to be the wingmen walking alongside you who will become the flight leads, the wing leaders, walking alongside someone else so that they start making disciples of someone else who make disciples of someone else. And you’re going to have to change your culture, by repeatedly over and over and over again, showing people that you live for this and you expect people to live this way. In any corporation that we’re turning a culture around in, it’s a two to three year journey at minimum. And we tell the folks, you don’t sit in your ivory tower Monday through Friday and do charts and prognostications. You go out on the factory floor, you get in front of the customers, you walk alongside the people who are doing the work for you, and you keep pouring your DNA into those people, so those people’s muscle memory begins to change. This is not a sermon, it’s not a program. This is a life… it is a lifelong pursuit.
Yeah, I love that, Dennis. And what I love so much about that is basically it’s, it goes right back to exactly what Jesus did, oddly enough, right? So it is the lead pastor, the pastors and ministry leaders, those who are setting the pace for the church, all of them need to be engaged in life-on-life discipling. That’s kind of the, you can’t expect there to be a change in how discipleship is happening in your church, ow disciple-making is happening in your church, if you as the lead pastor, if the other pastoral staff, if you have, you know, a smaller church, and you have key ministry volunteers, right, that they are the leaders in your church, they need to be engaged in life-on-life. discipling. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of the talk about, hey, this would be a cool thing. Because it’s got to become a part of the fabric of who you are as a local, you know, church community, right?
How little exposure we have in the Christian community about truly understanding that everything we do focuses on a mission and how the culture becomes the fabric, the chemistry, the glue that holds us to that mission. We don’t get any exposure to that, particularly you as pastors, you have very little experience with that. And by the way, in the business world, most of the CEOs I get together with when we’re trying to help them solve big problems, they don’t get mission and they don’t get culture. I would. Here’s the provocative statement, right. I think, for all of you in leadership, stop worrying about the vision. God already gave us the vision. Look at the mission, God has already given us the mission. Now how do you take your unique culture and your unique location with your unique people made in the image of the Lord God Almighty, into the real process of discipling alongside others? Get rid of the celebrity status if that’s the world you’re living in. You got to come out of that pulpit with enough honesty so people can see you’re living a regular Joe life alongside some others and they stop saying, Well, only the pastor can be my discipling partner. Get rid of that that’s not your burden. It’s not your problem. What we need to look at is the Bible telling us one on one, one on two, maybe worst case, one on three, if Jesus could deal with three, okay, maybe there’s an argument for three. But when you start telling me your discipling, 12, or 15, I’m going I don’t think so. I don’t buy that. De escalate your lives. pastors. Discipleship is a way to get rid of the managerial, to get rid of the burden, shame, blame game metric load, and start following Christ and people will follow that discipleship and you will flourish as a pastor.
I love it. I love it. That’s excellent brother, excellent, Dennis. Man, this conversation has been so good, so enlightening. I love your passion and your heart. And I love that… this is one of the things I love, Dennis, just in hanging out with you a little bit, I love how God creates each of us uniquely, right. And he has gifted you, Dennis, with some, some incredible skills that you’ve used in the marketplace. But God says, Wait a second, everything that I do, and in everything, you know, has opportunity to impact the kingdom. So, Dennis, you’re taking your heart, your passion, the wisdom God has given you, the experience over the years that God’s given you, and you’re looking at something you are incredibly passionate about, right? Something that you love, that you’ve given your life to, Christ and His Church. And you’re saying, Hey, here’s the opportunity, we see these opportunities ahead of us. We can encourage pastors, and like you said, you don’t have to shut everything down and blow everything up. This is something that you can step in and begin to, you know, living out this example of discipling one-on-one, one-on-two discipling. Help others in your church capture that vision, and just continue to see it grow and flow, just as we saw it evidenced in when we read Scripture in the New Testament, the Early Church. I mean, it’s it’s right there before us. Sometimes we overcomplicate it, right.
Yeah, we’ve always thought, hey, I don’t think Jesus thought about this. Let’s upgrade.
Yeah. Very well, Dennis, man. It’s been awesome. If people want to connect with you, and obviously, if they want to get your book, oops, let’s go this way, so you can read. The Disciple Dilemma, they can grab your book will have at PastorServe.org/network. We’ll have links to the book there as well. But if people want to connect with you, what are some different ways that they could connect with
You can cut this out later if you want to. But let me make an offer to you to throw into the pot. I’m going to send you 30 codes for a free download on a Kindle, Nook or Kobo, for for folks who really… You can figure out how you want to distribute them, but if they want them, just go to the website put in the code, you get a free Kindle, or free Nook or free Kobo version of the book total, the total book. If you want to get in touch with us, Jason, I would suggest the website is thediscipledilemma.com. If you want to find us on Facebook, you have to look for The Disciple Dilemma. If you want to find us on Instagram, or YouTube, or rumbly, or Spotify, and all the others, you go for The Disciple Dilemma. So we’re out there and you can see the conversations we’re having.
That’s awesome. And I love that offer, we’ll make sure. And for those of you who are watching or listening in, be sure to go to YouTube, the video for this. And you can then leave your name and the name of your church in there. And we will make sure that the first 30 of you that get in there, we will make sure that you guys get a copy of that code so you can download the book. That’s super generous, Dennis, I certainly appreciate that. And we’ll have links to your social your YouTube, the website, everything at PastorServe.org/network and the toolkit for this particular episode. So, man, Dennis, it has been so good to be with you. Thank you for your wisdom, thank you for your heart for the Church, and just for what you’re doing for the Kingdom. And it’s been a joy to have you.
Thanks for your ministry to a lot of folks who really need the encouragement you’re giving them. God bless you and the pastors out there.
Awesome. Thank you, brother. God bless. Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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