Building Disciples That Will Last
The Industrial Revolution normalized the mindset of growth through efficiency and scale. While this has brought many benefits, we have lost something as well. The artisan masterfully crafting his goods is a rarity today. So much so, that we pay a premium for goods that are ‘handcrafted’.
This growth mindset is so pervasive that it emerges in the church as well, particularly in the making of disciples. Many of the disciple making resources created by evangelical churches bear the marks of this way of thinking. Easily replicable and standardized for quick deployment, scalable, pre-fabricated are all accurate descriptions of many popular programs.
But while this approach enables speed, efficiency and scaling it lacks customization, the enemy of mass production.
If you consider Jesus’ ministry, you see he did not take the mass production route. Customization better describes his approach. Rather than launch a program that could affect hundreds or thousands within a three-year span, he chose instead to work one-on-one with twelve men.
Unsurprisingly then, we see the output of his leadership was a group of diverse men, not stamped onto a conveyer belt, but handcrafted. Each one unique, but still bearing the telltale signature of the master craftsman. Each one built for more than utility, but built to reflect the artistry of the master. And built to last.
If we want to produce disciples that will endure to the end, we should consider these things. True discipling takes time. Discipling takes patience and diligence. But most of all, discipling takes the work of a master craftsman, one who is skilled in taking the raw and unrefined and turning it into a work of art. By leading people into patient submission to that refining work, we can produce better disciples. We can produce disciples that proclaim the quality of the master and are built to last.