Sunday, December 18, 2011


“Leadership is not merely personal sanctification but the multiplication of disciples.” – Mike Breen 

The majority of churches in America are not growing. It is a well-documented fact. The number one reason for this is that churches have become institutions instead of missionary movements. Institutions tend to be inward focused, intent on preservation rather vision. Movements figure out what God is doing and where He is going and join Him.

In many ways we have succeeded as a church–but succeeded in matters that are contrary to the metrics of the Kingdom. We make the pastor the chief discipler but insist on most of time being spent on the wrong priorities. We want him present in programs whether there is a discipleship purpose or not. We want him to attend to our every need instead of focusing on the work that God is clearly calling us to do. We allow ourselves to be recipients of services instead of providers. In many cases we resist his allowing or equipping others to do what he does for fear that he will stop making our needs his highest personal concern.

And yet at the same time we want to see the church grow. But again, we focus on the wrong metrics. How many people are in the pews and how many dollars in the plate? (Some pastors refer to this as counting nickels and noses.) Because we are not really concerned with doing the work of Jesus ourselves, or that even the church as a whole does the work of Jesus, we never ask whether these additional people represent persons who will be a part of the ministry or simply more consumers of the ministry’s services.

In that scenario, the church is only growing at the expense of the pastor’s exhaustion or lowering the expectations of people who are part of the church. And in that scenario, we have a whole lot of people who are sure they are going to heaven but aren’t insuring that they are taking anyone with them.

Have you read the Great Commission lately? “Then Jesus came to them and said, `All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Permit me to highlight two phrases: go and make disciples and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Jesus defined his mission as making disciples who would share the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He did not say, “Once you’ve got it made as a disciple” you’re finished. Nor did he say, “Once you have learned my commandments” just hang in there until I return. And he did not say the pastor takes care of the disciples and the rest of us watch.

People on mission for Jesus know that what Jesus counts is how many disciples we have made and disciples are measured by their obedience to the will and purpose of God.

The church is not growing because it is not making disciples, just highly savvy religious consumers.

It’s time to change that. Jesus IS returning.

(c) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn Originally posted in IMMEASURABLY MORE

Monday, December 5, 2011


Maurilio Amorin is a secret church shopper. He shares his insights on his blog, which we have added to our blogroll.  This post I found very interesting- Steve.

I have attended hundreds of church services as a church secret shopper. I’ve had thousands of conversations with volunteers, staff and visitors. Here’s my list of the top 10 worst things people said to me:

10. “Excuse me, but you’re sitting in my seat” It seems cliche but it happens more often than you think.

9. “ya’ not from around here, are ya?” Older man said to me after I asked directions to the restroom. I didn’t respond, but I was thinking: “What gave it away? having all my teeth?”

8. “Follow the blue line. It’s kinda of complicated. Good luck.” Said the two men sitting inside the information kiosk before turning to each other and finishing their conversation. They pointed to a board on the wall with multiple color lines leading to different locations on campus.

7. “Nazarenes are a lot like the Baptists, but holier,” middle aged man at a Nazarene church when I asked him the difference between a Nazarene and a Baptist church.

6. “You’re the prettiest thang I ever seen!” I’m not telling you who said it.

5. “We Lutherans are a homely bunch.” A greeter at a Lutheran church as I asked more information about her church. She was right.

4. “I don’t know anything. I can’t really help you. This is my first day at the information table and the person who was going to train me didn’t show up.”

3. “I’ve got dresses that are older than you!” I don’t really remember how I got into this one, but does it really matter?

2. “It must be a special day, I see a lot of strangers here today.” Misguided Music minister during a Sunday morning greeting time.  No warm and fuzzies for this stranger.

1. “Hey, Mister, come back here! You’re not Catholic, are you? Give me the wafer back!” A Catholic Priest on the rightful suspicion I was impersonating a catholic worshiper during communion. I had to give