Eight Common Hindrances to Making Disciples

Have you ever considered why something that seems so clear and simple and also produces multi-generational spiritual fruit appears to be beyond our grasp? Might it be that the enemy of our soul recognizes disciple-making as a seismic threat and does whatever he can to bring disruption to this Jesus-initiated and Jesus-commissioned chain of multiplication?

My desire in relaying the following observation is to enable each of us to find a "starting place" so we know which direction to head for the purpose of reengaging Jesus' disciple-making mandate.  Nothing would thrill me more than to see a disciple-making revival in the church that would spill over into the other domains of society.  With that end in mind, here are Eight Common Hindrances to making disciples:

  1. Disciple-Making Illiteracy.  In conversations with leaders from various tribes throughout the Body of Christ, we have agreed that actual disciple-making churches are few and far between.  Most have not been discipled nor taught how to make disciples.
  2. Building Our Empires instead of His Kingdom. There is something deep within us that wants to be recognized for what we have done.  What we sometimes fail to realize, however, is that there is a fine line between what is honorable and what is within us that is downright idolatrous.
  3. Creating Cultures of Religion vs. Cultures of Obeying Jesus. Jesus discipled His followers to walk in obedience.  Jesus conveyed that obedience is a primary expression through which they would experience God and live their lives. They walked in obedience with one another, where they could hear His voice and discern the will and way of Jesus for that moment together.  It can get a little messy.  Learning to hear from Jesus and follow Him is a process, and no one does it perfectly.  
  4. The Pastor/Flock Distininction. The exalting of clergy can be traced back to Emperor Constantine's issuing the Edict of Milan in 313 AD.  The division between clergy and laity has continued to this day. Yes, we need church leaders, especially discipled ones, that reflect the character, ways, and mission of Jesus, to actively engage in making disciples!  But we seem to have lost the fact that disciple-making belongs to ALL who call themselves followers of Jesus.
  5. The Poisoning of the Well. There are really two issues here: Those who have been abused by controlling leaders; and those who were taught that discipleship was a six-week class that you could take.  Manipulation and control have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God - ever - especially within the context of discipleship.  Please forgive leaders for not modeling the heart and life of Jesus to you. Also, please forgive the lack of personal involvement from past leaders and pick up where you left off.
  6. The Hebrew vs. Greek Model of Learning. Greek Culture valued individualism, rationale, and reason. Hebrew Culture valued a body of people following God together, reliance on Scripture and revelation.  Western civilization has defaulted closer to the Greek model, valuing philosophy and the intellect, rather than the investment in others and practical wisdom of the heart.  Learning to love God with our heart, should, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27) means to glean from both perspectives.
  7. Maintenance vs. Missional Mentality. The consumer mentality of our times cuts against the grain of our disciple-making mission.  People often jump from chuch to church depending on what they like and don't like.  They often to not stick around long enough to let others speak to the real issues in their lives that would actually cause them to grow, mature, and engage with Jesus in His mission.
  8. The Pride of the Human Heart. Our inclination towards deception and pride makes us believe that we have a better way to change the world than what Jesus demonstrated for us and asked us to do.

Ask God today to shine the light of His scripture, His Spirit, and an honest friend on any area of your heart that would hinder you from fully following after Jesus.