Reframing Disciplemaking: Moving from a Program to the Mission

I want to respond to a frequent question, “What is a good disciple-making mission”? While I appreciate and even understand the question, a better question is “What is our disciple-making mission”?  The best disciple-making mission is always going to be your unique disciple-making mission.

​Every church is unique!  At the same time, it is true that our bias is that the big “C” Church has one and only one mission, and it is always a disciple-making mission.  A good mission is our always our great permission with the Great Commission.  Here at Auxano, we believe that “God is up to something cosmically significant and locally specific” in our church.  I will say when taken out of your unique context most mission statements come up lacking.

In developing a mission statement, we begin by taking a deep dive into process work around a specific church’s identity.  We want to look at the unique people, unique place, and the unique passion of the church and specifically where all three of these intersect.  It’s after we do this in-depth process dive into your identity that you are prepared to begin discovering that unique mission and its articulation.

The challenge so often is we fail to have the capacity for this kind of deep processing work.  There are many reasons for this, but three common “thinkholes” that keep us from it includes what we call the ministry treadmill (too busy), competency trap (to smart), and the denominational rut (too stuck).

Also, any articulation of mission or vision language should always pass the “5 C’s Test”.  You can use this test to go ahead and evaluate your current mission.  The Five C’s are: is it clear, compelling, concise, contextual, and catalytic.

Take a moment and evaluate your mission statement on a scale of 1-5 using the C’s.  How did you do?  It’s vital that you did well. Your mission is what we call the answer to question zero.  Question zero is “What are we doing?”  If you get this question, wrong everything is going to be wrong.

I’ve got so much I want you to know, but limited time and space to communicate it.  However, there is one final thing I will add; a mission is always going to be spread by people, not paper.  Therefore it is critical that you build a team and go on a profound collaborative journey that at the end of the day taps into the collaborative genius of your leaders.

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David Putman

David Putman

David is a Lead Navigator serving on the Auxano Team, the category leader in vision clarity and vision focus campaigns. He is also founder leader of Planting the Gospel a non-profit ministry committed to helping churches move discipleship from a program to a culture. He has been involved in church planting for over twenty years as a planter, strategist, and coach. He is author of I Woke Up In Heaven, The Gospel Disciple, Detox for the Overly Religious, Breaking the Discipleship Code, and co-author of Breaking the Missional Code with Ed Stetzer. He latest book The Gospel Disciple Journey will be released in February 2014. David’s life mission is to help others discover the simplicity, centrality, and beauty of Jesus and his ways. David is married to Tami and they have two awesome kids, and two even more awesome grandkids.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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