Twenty Five Percent of the Men Had Led Someone to Christ in the Previous Three Years

Discipleship

Our first church plant did a survey of the men at about year ten. We found that 25% of the men, (I think it was something like 24.3%), had led someone to Christ in the previous three years. Dan Spader, the founder of Sonlife Ministry and a national leader in the area of discipleship visited our church about three weeks after the survey.

I remember walking through the office when the topic of discipleship and reproduction came up and I told Dan what the survey had revealed. I can still see what happened next. Dan stopped in his tracks, and sat back on a table that was behind him and said, “I don’t think there are 5 churches this size in America that could say that.” At the time, New Song was about 550-600 and was about to plant its 6th church in its first decade.

I don’t know if Dan was accurate in his assessment or not. What I do know is that he was in a much better position (as a national discipleship leader) to make the point.

The interesting thing is this: Our elders at the time, myself included, were not satisfied. We wanted all of our men to be reproductive. We suspected that the women of the church, with their higher relational capacity and greater relational skill, were even more effective as evangelists for the King. We wanted to match them.

New Song was a great church and I was honored to serve as its pastor and as an elder with so many godly men. I have often been asked what “the secret” was to the young church’s effectiveness in raising up so many effective “evangelists.” The most significant part of my answer is–“prayer.” But let me give a list of reasons that I hope will both stimulate discussion as well as suggest some ideas for your own ministry toolbox.

  1. Prayer was radically focused on gospel impact and reaching the lost with specific names of people we wanted to see come to faith.
  2. A Gospel-centered approach to discipleship.
  3. A process of ministry that envisioned movement, challenge, and responsibility.
  4. An assumption that church planting was normal for a church.
  5. The practice of church discipline of professing believers when warranted.
  6. An insistence that other churches were co-laborers not competitors.
  7. A process of ministry that assumed that all believers needed both training and opportunity to proclaim the gospel.
  8. A commitment to expository preaching in worship services.
  9. A commitment to growth through conversion rather than transfer.
  10. A commitment to be “sinner friendly” (we are all sinners) rather than “seeker sensitive”.
  11. An aggressive pursuit of “Living for an Audience of ONE”
  12. An aggressive pursuit of multi-ethnic harmony and reconciliation.
  13. Training everyone to “Live Passionately for and Like Christ”

It’s late and I’m tired, so let me stop there. There’s a baker’s dozen to perhaps stimulate our discussion.

See also: American Christians Don’t Believe What They Say They Believe


5 thoughts on “Twenty Five Percent of the Men Had Led Someone to Christ in the Previous Three Years

  1. My husband, Mark and I we were part of that church plant. We had prayed for four years for God to lead us to the church He would have us belong to. The experience was a gift we are forever grateful for. I long for that super exciting time of watching God move as we learned to trust Him as He established His church.

    We were baby Christians but learned so much in such a short time under Marty, Steph, and the other leaders. Being 19 years older now, with some deterioration in health, it is now my privilege to pray for the Mundelein/Vernon Hills area Sanctuary although I would love to physically be a part of it! We are also praying for a family member to plug in there who recently moved to Mundelein. It’s a pleasure to hear of the committed men and women to the church and to follow Marty’s blogs. They inspire me to live a life submitted to and for the Lord each day.

    Like

  2. I also find the statistics very sad although probably true. Sharing Christ gives one spiritual energy that cannot be stopped. It brings joy that is everlasting and overcomes physical tiredness. Is this why we are so tired and lack true joy?

    Like

    1. Alexis, You are very kind and it is a delight to think through all the lives that have been changed through yours and Mark’s faithfulness, both in your extended family and well beyond, now stretching literally, around the world.

      And yes, you are right, sharing Christ brings great joy and keeps us from being so focused on ourselves. Joy comes from obedience to bring joy to others by announcing good news.

      Glad you could stop in and comment my sister. Tell Mark and all your young treasures I said hello.

      Like

  3. This post brought back fun memories (as well as your comments Alexis). I would also add that the BCDs of doing ministry helped to make people more evangelistic in their thinking. It was a joy to be a part of the team those first 10 years.

    Like

    1. Wow. It’s like old home week on the blog! Good to hear from you. Didn’t know that you were a reader here. The BCD’s were a great rallying point as well. Biblical, Creative and Different. (the D changed periodically).

      There is something to be said for simplicity and repetition isn’t there. Miss you guys. Tell Craig hi.

      Marty

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.