“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20, ESV)
Chapter 5 of the book, “Hurdling Barriers to church health and growth,” deals with the struggles many churches have in making disciples. Here is a brief introduction.
There was a time, while I was in middle-school, that I watched my mother and grandmother doing some knitting. The creative process intrigued me, so I asked to see how it was done. I know many of you are going to look cross-eyed at this, because you will think what kind of guy knits. Anyway, I thought, why not knit a scarf. We lived in eastern Pennsylvania and the winters were cold, well colder than in Savannah. My mother worked part time and would drop me off at a friend’s house to keep an eye on me. It was here that, with nothing to do, I would begin knitting my scarf. I began the process, but when my mother’s work situation changed, I gave up on the project. My scarf basically resembled a square trivet for setting things on, not the scarf I had intended. I had only begun the project, but not finished it.
Similar to my flawed attempt at making a scarf, I believe many churches begin the process of making disciples, but never finish the work. They are left with something that will not fulfill the intended purpose. Rather than one obstacle, we will find that in churches there are many obstacles that singly or combined result in a failure to make disciples. A failure to make true disciples is a significant barrier to church health. Churches need to identify the various obstacles or barriers and endeavor to overcome them.
There are many obstacles that the church must hurdle to truly make disciples. Some of these are very obvious while others are obscure and often overlooked. This chapter deals with these obstacles and how to overcome them.