Discipleship - from Program to Culture

Every church has a culture.  It can be good or bad, healthy or anemic, intentional or circumstantial.  One of the beauties of church planting is the opportunity to create an intentional culture from the beginning.  In the church planting world of the Central District and the Central Region of the C&MA, we talk a lot about a disciple making culture.  It is a quintessential focus because at the heart of it all is the command of our King to make disciples.  There is a common thought expressed in the church planting world: “If you begin with the objective of starting a church (as typically understood), rarely do you end up with solid disciple making. However, if you start with the objective of making solid disciple making disciples you regularly end up with a church”.  From the beginning of a church planting effort, we ask our planters to build a culture of disciple making rather than simply a church with a disciple making program.  There is huge difference.  The following chart gives some broad generalizations that might help bring clarity between a program of disciple making and a culture of disciple making in a church.

Ok, so it’s not quite that simple or cut and dry to bring distinctions between the two, but hopefully this…

  • provides a starting point for a much needed conversation in many churches.
  • provides a starting point for assessing the disciple making efforts of your church (if you dare go there).
  • provides some skeletal concepts for building a local disciple making culture. 

I would encourage you to join the many church planters of the Central District who are seeking to establish new expressions of the body of Christ that are fully committed to building a disciple making culture within their community.  It changes things up, brings new life to the adventure, and produces unprecedented transformational impact in lives, communities, and cultures.      

By Todd Sovine, Director of Church Planting