Another way to ask the question is, what’s the bottleneck, or the primary constraint?
What is the one thing that if we figured out how to do it our effectiveness in disciple-making would skyrocket?
Every major endeavour has a hard part, a bottleneck.
The hard part of writing a book is getting the first draft done.
In online marketing the hard part is getting someone to spend their first penny.
What about disciple-making?
The hard part of making disciples is NOT getting people into small groups, though I used to think so and it was often promoted as the silver bullet.
My current conviction is that the hard part of disciple making is being a disciple myself.
That is, answering the question “What is a disciple of Jesus Christ, what does it mean to follow Jesus?” and then being that person.
If we as leaders don’t do that, if we don’t address this primary constraint, we are at risk of trying to “sell tickets to a place we have never been” or to a destination we have never clearly defined.
If in fact being a biblical follower of Jesus is the hard part, I need to ask myself the question “How comfortable am I calling people to follow me as I follow Jesus?”
Not, “Follow me to the extent that I follow Jesus” but “Follow me, imitate me and in doing so you will by virtue of that trajectory be following Jesus”?
It has only been in recent years that I have begun to consider that I could possibly say that with integrity and confidence
1 Peter 5 calls elders to “be examples to the flock.” Leaders must be what they are calling people to become.
That’s the hard part of making disciples.