As a pastor, one of the most helpful breakout sessions for me at this year’s New Room Conference was Bryan Sim’s session on Lay Mobilization. I continually pray and reflect upon the Church’s mission of making disciples. I have personally grown frustrated with ineffective programming and gimmicks that require great amounts of time and energy without producing fruit. I have experienced the disappointment of investing time and resources into program and event driven ministry with false hopes of building enough excitement and enthusiasm to convince people that the Church is worthwhile. There must be a better way! I am beginning to catch a glimpse of a better way through the tools offered through Lay Mobilization Institute.
This session introduced a model of Christian formation based on a four stage process intentionally designed to create a shift away from the stale membership model to a model that focuses on missional discipleship. The problem with a membership model is that it tends to create a culture of consumerism supported by solo leaders who shamelessly beg for volunteers to pull off endless programs and events. Experience has taught me that this model leads to burnout and frustration when enthusiasm runs out of steam. At best this model produces temporary results. Let me pause here to say I am not totally against programs and events. There are legitimate occasions for churches of all sizes and contexts to use these as ministry tools. I am, however, against haphazard programming and events that create a culture of busyness without investing in spiritual depth. Rather, programs and events should flow naturally out of a missional model of discipleship that is birthed out of deeply transformative conversion experiences. Then once these programs and events have served their purpose . . . STOP THEM! Too many times churches get stuck in nostalgic programs and events that once were vital ministries but now continue to unnecessarily drain resources and energy that could be better invested elsewhere. A missional discipleship model offers a natural transition to begin the process of realigning the church’s resources and energy with its mission. This model shifts away from solo leadership to team leadership and away from “volunteers” to “disciples” equipping everyone to take ownership in carrying out the mission of the Church.
What I most appreciate about this model is the intentional centeredness upon our covenant relationship with God in proclaiming that God is the one who initiates, equips, and sustains the Church’s work of making disciples. This work of making disciples is first God’s work not our own. We are invited to be co-laborers with God in this process. We get into trouble whenever we place more reliance upon our own efforts than upon God’s presence and purpose. Notice this emphasis upon God’s presence and purpose in each of the four phases of the process:
- God causes a spark
- God ignites a passion
- God fans the flame
- God causes the fire to spread
I invite you now to visit the website for yourself to see how each of these phases help to equip church leaders in a process of building a missional discipleship model with the power to create a cultural shift away from making members to making disciples of Jesus Christ! After visiting the website pray about how this model might better equip you as a church leader. May the peace of Christ abide in you and lead you in every good work of making disciples of Jesus Christ to the glory of God.
For more on Lay Mobilization Institute please visit http://www.seedbed.com/laymobilization.