That’s the kick-in-the-butt takeaway I got from a comment that was written on this website last week in response to my post “What If We Made Disciples and Left Church Growth to God?”
The comment was written by Brian Kern, and it’s the meat of today’s post. Brian was a long-time member of my congregation, until a few months ago, when he and a few others left to start a new church, with our church’s full blessing and support. He’s also a very bright, kind and insightful guy, as you’ll see from what he wrote.
By the way, his comment was initiated entirely by him – it was not suggested by me at all. I’ve re-posted it here with his permission.
Brian’s experience in my church and others, is that Small Church pastors, while we often complain about lack of involvement from church members, may be encouraging passivity by the way we do – or don’t do – ministry. At the very least, we often fail to take some very simple steps to implement strategies that would inspire, encourage and activate more disciples.
The missing ingredient? Mentoring.
Brian’s comment deserves a wide hearing among Small Church pastors, so I’m pulling it from the comment section so we can all take a good look at it – and ourselves.
My experience (I’m not a pastor) has been that a great many of us in the congregation spend far too much time getting fed (nourishment) and quite frankly, I think we allow ourselves to get way too fat before we begin giving back through discipleship.
I’m sure there’s a multitude of reasons why, my own being a quite misunderstood notion that I had to know every passage inside and out to be qualified to disciple/ minister to others. That “fear” stopped me in my tracks for a long time. Zeno’s Paradox of Motion is alive and working in so many of us in the pews.
To be brutally honest, I think we could use a little “biblical kick in the backside” (encouragement, if that makes you more comfortable) in the form of some one-on-one conversation from our pastors when we stay in a continual state of being fed.
It’s a curiosity to me that in most churches we don’t hear conversations on spiritual growth unless we ask for it. In the secular world, most of us sit down with our bosses once a year to plan, create goals, milestones, and discuss training that we need to achieve. At the end of the year, we go back and review our results.
Personally, I think there’s a problem when our secular bosses will engage us concerning our temporal growth and our non-secular clergy seemingly are only comfortable talking to us as a group about spiritual growth from the pulpit, or when we knock on their doors.
We (the congregation) want to do those things that help to grow the church. But, all too often we think we’re not ready (when we are), or are not ready (and no one’s working a plan to equip us to be ready).
Egads, 98% of us have never led another to a confession of faith in Christ. We’re pretty good at sharing our faith, leading non-believers right up to the front door of the church (a confession of faith), and then saying “see ya inside.”
My question is this, what would our churches look like next year if our pastors made it a point to reach out to one member a week in our congregations to ask us about their spiritual growth?
Disciples producing disciples and of course, bringing in the harvest.
– Brian Kern
Thanks, Brian. I needed to hear that.
So what do you think? What can you take from Brian’s comments to implement in your own ministry?
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