My post last week about Christianity being in trouble in Ohio generated a lot of response. To be clear, my purpose in discussing this reality was to be proactive and not cynical. If we do not name the reality we cannot frame a solution. That is true in any area of our lives. This is why denial is such a deadly dysfunction. Never be afraid to face hard realities because this is the first step in finding a healthy way forward for any area of your life.
Churches in Europe in the last century went through the same cycle we are experiencing in Ohio. They first became a mile wide and only one half inch deep. Then, like a bubble bursting, they collapsed in on themselves leaving nearly empty buildings where small knots of the faithful struggled to regain past glories. In Ohio, we are at the bubble phase—but the collapse is on the horizon.
This week I attended discipleship training in South Carolina for four days. It is fair to say that I learned more about discipleship in four days than I had in the previous four decades. At one point one of the instructors said, “You can do more with ten disciples than you can with a hundred people.” In other words, if we keep going wide without first increasing the depth and quality of our foundation, the entire enterprise will be at risk of collapse.
For years the North American church has labored to “get them in” with the promise that discipleship will come later. But American church leaders are just beginning to wake up to the fact that meaningful discipleship never really happened. At Agora Church we have entered into a learning community with Crossroads Church in Cincinnati. This is an Ohio mega church that has gone from eleven people to over 10,000 in 15 years.
To the credit of the leadership at Crossroads, they found themselves in this same trap, recognized it and then did something about it. All of their leaders and hundreds of their people have been trained to create discipleship huddles where, life on life, real discipleship and spiritual multiplication happen. It doesn’t appear on their web site but, quietly, behind the scenes, they are building the discipleship structures that Jesus used to change the world.
If you are a Christian, who pours into your life in an effective way?
Whose life do you pour into with regularity and significant Kingdom impact?
It can happen. If we want to see vibrant Christianity flourish in our culture it must happen. At Agora, we have embarked with others on a journey of learning how.
You can do more with ten disciples than you can with a thousand people. Believe it. Jesus did.