We have been in a series of blogs about how the process of growing a discipleship small group ministry is much like growing a garden. We started with leading from a posture of prayer. Today’s role is “picture”. Picture what you will grow. Or, what is a disciple?
If you were going to plant a garden, what would you do? I have asked this question many times at small group discipleship training. The first answers usually are: dig, plant, water. What else: weed, fertilize, pick. What else? Buy seeds. What kind of seeds will you buy? Oh, we have to decide what we are going to grow!
The next part of this conversation is fun. Some type of discussion begins over what type of plant the group prefers in the garden. One time, I witnessed an argument! A gentleman felt strongly about growing vegetables – we could share the vegetables with the neighbors. The other person was convinced flowers were the better choice. People love flowers. As the facilitator, I was a little unsure of what to do. Should I stop this? But then, I realized this was a great learning experience. After the discussion settled down, we discussed with just as much passion, what are the characteristics of a disciple? What do we want to grow?
Jim Putman, author of Real-Life Discipleship, has discovered that church leaders do not agree on the definition of discipleship. Real Life church leads monthly training for churches from all around the world. They rarely meet church leaders who come to the event with a common definition of discipleship. He compares the lack of clarity to a football team with no common plays or a crew building a house with no blue prints. Deciding what you will grow, build or do is crucial to moving in the same direction.
We do not start from scratch. Jesus says, “Come, follow me…and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19). Jesus also said,… “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
What would it take for your church leadership to be on the same page in answering this most-important question: What is a disciple?