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What is your goal in developing and growing the church?

Hopefully your answer is framed around glorifying God by making disciples who love Jesus, and can go and make other disciples while living in authentic Christian community.

In Discipleship That Fits – the brand new book I’ve written with Bobby Harrington – there is a viral process set out that will enable you to hugely sharpen your, and your church’s, disciple-making. I think you will find it a helpful way to evaluate your own disciple-making plans.

To accompany Discipleship That Fits I’ve written a Leader’s Guide, which gives you practical coaching on how to apply these principles. One of the sections in that guide calls us to focus on a vital principle: start with the end in mind. Here’s an excerpt:

Start With The End In Mind

Disciple-making is your goal, your measure and your task. So how do you succinctly define ‘disciple’? We wrote about this in chapters 1 and 2 of the book, since our experience is that the most fruitful churches have a viral definition of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, which informs every decision that they make. While there are universal themes at play, each local church will have a slightly different spin on things, in accord with their unique God-given identity and calling. This is why you need to take the time to think and pray through this important exercise.

Again and again, we find it so beneficial to start with the why when making changes to particular areas. Why do we exist? What is our church’s unique call from God? How will any changes enable us to better obey Jesus by going and making more disciples?

And here’s the real benefit: by putting everything through the filter of ‘Will this help grow mature disciples of Jesus?’, you avoid so many future pitfalls.

For instance, if your church’s welcome process is functionally selling a religious product to consumers, don’t act all surprised when those people grow into Christian consumers who are demanding, immature and won’t serve. Instead, consider how you can call them into a discipleship lifestyle from the outset, where they begin to learn from Jesus and put that into action in their lives. (In case you’re worried, this can still be presented warmly and lovingly — you don’t have to rename it your ‘Come and Die’ class — but the point is that if you don’t start with the end in mind, you create far more work in the long run, and produce far less fruit.)

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Do you have an easily transferable definition of disciple at your church? If not, re-read the stimulus material in the book, and go through the process of crafting one.

Once you have done that, where in your church life are you not operating with the end in mind?

Consider auditing each area through this discipleship filter, such as by asking:

  • “Is our children’s ministry making disciples, or is it more of a glorified babysitting service?”
  • “Do our small groups create close Jesus-centered relationships as people study, pray and share together, or are they primarily educational venues where the focus is on the download of information by frustrated teachers?”
  • “Does our finance team empower mission and disciple-making through faith-filled stewardship, or do they see their role as defenders of the cash against the staff’s crazy plans?”)

Free Leader’s Guide

We are giving away a whole package of bonus items, including a practical Leader’s Guide, to anyone who pre-orders Discipleship That Fits before it’s publication date of February 9.

To find out more, check out our book’s website – – which is also where you access the bonus items once you’ve pre-ordered!

The secret of effective disciple-making leaders: Start with the end in mind Click To Tweet



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