Friday, March 10, 2017

5 Questions for Better Discipleship

My first experience at IKEA was magical. The giant, waving flags outside the massive, blue structure with yellow, giraffe-sized lettering made me feel like I was walking into a theme park.

We entered through the front door and I instantly felt drawn in. It wasn’t just because of my Scandinavian heritage either—it was actually the numbers on the wall above the escalator that got me. “1, 2, 3, 4.” All the steps were laid out larger than life. It was shopping for dummies, and when it comes to shopping, that’s exactly what I need.

At IKEA, I don’t need to know about color schemes or how to pair furniture. That’s already been thought through for me. I don’t even need to know where stuff is. I just need to be able to follow the arrows, recognize what I like and write down numbers. Waiting at the other end of my hard work is … a delicious dish of Swedish meatballs. I’m telling you, these people have it figured out.

Here’s the point: IKEA works because they’ve done the work ahead of time. They’ve predesigned the shopping experience from start to finish, and even thrown in some pleasant surprises. Understandably, it doesn’t suit everyone, but you’ve got to admit it’s a lot better than walking into a warehouse with a giant pile of “assemble-it-yourself” furniture in the middle. I for one would be lost.

The church’s No. 1 priority is to make disciples. If we’re going to build a framework that helps move people toward maturity and Christlikeness, we’ve got to think clearly about identifying steps where progress can be measured. Many churches these days are referring to this idea as a “discipleship pathway,” a simple map of sorts that helps people know what their next step or season looks like.

Can you imagine what would happen if church were as intentional as IKEA about moving people through a purposeful pathway? First off, we would need to have one. And secondly, it would need to work. But if those things were true, we could turn the world upside down in a single generation.

With that in mind, here are five questions for better discipleship—specifically, for a more effective discipleship pathway. Read More

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