How to Cultivate a Ministry Environment that Makes Disciples

You probably came across discipleFIRST because you were looking for resources to help you shift your ministry’s focus to towards disciple-making. You want to see your church healthy, thriving, and growing, and one of the reasons it’s probably not is because of the culture within your church.

The good news is that church culture can be changed. Will it change overnight? No. Will it be easy? No. But it is do-able and making this change is the heart behind our entire ministry.

But there is some hard news for some leaders to accept. Your church’s culture is shaped at the top, meaning, in order for your church’s culture to change, there are likely some changes that you need to make to see your church’s culture shift. Changes that impact your own leadership styles and decisions you make.

We talk about this in-depth in our Creating a Disciple-Making Culture course within our Hub membership, but today we’re giving you three ideas to start breaking the ground for a new foundation.

Let Your Team Know You’re There

Is your door open to your team? Do they feel comfortable coming to you when issues arise?

We’re not talking about having a door open 24/7 that prevents you from being able to do their job. We’re talking about having trust among your team to know that you’re there for them.

Yes, you’re running a ministry, but you’re also running a workplace. And you still have to navigate the struggles that workplaces deal with, including hurdles like building trust among your employees or team members.

Do you spend time in other areas of your ministry? Not to check up on your team to see if they are doing their job how you would want them to. Instead, ask your team if you can participate in their respective ministry areas so that you can learn from them. Be a servant leader who is willing to help out when needed even when it’s hard.

Do the Inconvenient Thing

Making disciples isn’t easy, nor can it be done quickly. It involves time and being vulnerable with others, which doesn’t always come naturally to people. We frequently want things to be done our way or on our own time and don’t make the extra effort to invest in other people’s lives.

In order to set up an environment that is fruitful for making disciples, we have to be willing to build our schedules around that goal.

Do you have a dedicated time in your weekly schedule to invest in a few people at your church? This could be time to have an intentional lunch with another pastor on your staff or in your community or another leader within your church.

Remember that open door time that we discussed earlier? Sometimes, just letting your staff know that your door is open on Thursdays from 2-4 pm if they want to talk.

Change starts with letting your team know you’re there, but for your team to know how to make disciples, they must first be discipled.

Clearly Communicate Your Vision to Your Team

Does your team know where you’re leading them? Have you even defined your vision for the next 3 or 5 years?

If your team doesn’t know your vision, do you expect them to follow you blindly? If you don’t know what your vision is, how do you expect others to buy in?

Sometimes, fear holds us back from sharing big ideas. We’re afraid of being shot down or even completely shut down. But sharing your vision with your team not only gives them the opportunity to buy in, but it also gives you the opportunity to gather additional ideas as you continue on in your mission.

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. And your team can’t do the work unless they know what’s going on.


What steps will you take today to cultivate a culture of disciple-making in your church?

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