This is the 4th and final video podcast we did with the San Antonio Baptist Association. Here we discuss the implications of a disciple-making process for ministries today.
“Dr. Etheredge, from your perspective is there a direct connection between churches that are developing and sustaining a disciple-making culture and churches that are dying? The reason I asked this question is, I was on a zoom call last week with a ministerial group of pastors, and they were sharing about the two stages of Covid-19 we have been experiencing. In the first stage of the Covid-19 crisis, they said most of the churches made it through, but in this second stage it seems like they are more desperate, more frustrated, and their fear is that a great number of churches are going to close because they have not made any kind of transition to this new paradigm of personal investment that we find ourselves discussing. So the question again, just to rephrase it again, from your perspective can you see a direct connection between churches that have a sustained disciple-making culture and churches that are dying.
Yes, absolutely I think this Covid-19 crisis has really put a spotlight on the desperate need of the churches that do not have a disciple-making culture. In contrast to the churches that have one, and seem to be thriving during the midst of this pandemic. As I mentioned earlier, I was on a previous podcast, much like this one, and I said this is almost like a pop quiz. No one saw this coming. No one could prepare for it, and in a moment you were put to the test. Is what you’re doing going to survive? If you cannot meet on campus, is what you’re doing going to survive? If you can’t gather on the weekends, is what you’re doing going to survive? If you can’t perform your programs, are you going to survive? So, the churches that were heavily facility-dependent have struggled. We’ve seen that. Whereas churches that are more disciple-making focused, not dependent on facilities, not dependent on programs nor on the weekend, are thriving.
I think for those of us who’ve been preaching the disciple-making gospel for a while, you know, we hate to see the crisis, but we’re glad to see that it’s become apparent now; the important need for a disciple-making culture in a church. There is a large church in our area. I won’t name it, but it’s kind of been known to be all about the weekend, all about the facility and so on. They have really struggled during this time, especially as the crisis continues to linger on. But, churches that seem to have a disciple-making culture are continuing to move forward. I mean, we saw financially our church being strong, more engagement in our community, more connectivity relationally, more people continuing to make disciples. In fact, we have not even had as much of a bump in the road, and so I’m really thankful for that. But, I think a lot of that comes down to, before the crisis, were you building the infrastructure of disciple-making in your church? …”
Watch the full interview to discover all the implications of a disciple-making process for you and your people!