Obstacles to Making Disciples
Greg Ogden, in his book, Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time, outlines eight obstacles that get in our way of making disciples. Following is a condensed version of those obstacles.
1. Leaders are not doing their jobs. Leaders in churches are called to “equip his people for works of service” (Eph. 4:12). Church leaders need to be integrally involved in equipping, teaching and mentoring other followers of Jesus to make disciples.
2. Church programs. While there is nothing wrong with being with other followers of Jesus, it can distract us from our primary mission. If we are too busy doing “church”, we will not have enough time to develop relationships with unbelievers. There needs to be a balance.
3. Immediate gratification. Too often, we promote programs that can artificially inflate attendance. There gives us an ego boost, but it does nothing for developing deep, mature faith.
4. Making disciples is viewed as the “next step”. Making disciples is our primary mission as disciples of Jesus. It is not an option. We need to follow all of the Great Commission, not just part of it.
5. Fear of losing people. Many times, we are afraid to emphasize making disciples because we are afraid that people will get turned off and leave our church. If Jesus was not afraid of charging people to continue the process of making disciples, we shouldn’t be either. It takes guts and determination.
6. Church is viewed as a place. We may need to completely revamp our churches to make disciples of the younger generations. Instead of promoting the idea that church is where evangelism takes place, we need to view it as a training ground for going into the world and making disciples.
7. No spiritual development plan. Sometimes, we get so caught up preparing our next sermon series or worship service that we neglect to communicate our purpose as a church. It is our responsibility to lead others to spiritual maturity, and to fully articulate and implement that plan.
8. Lack of mentoring. Sometimes we put too much emphasize on the masses—how we can affect the church corporately. Again, it is about balance. Personal, one-on-one mentoring is how Jesus equipped his disciples. We need to institute and emphasize the mentoring component of the Great Commission.
Which obstacle hits you between the eyes, and what can you do differently to make disciples?