Tipping Point

Richard Weavers writes:

It seems to me that the world is now more than ever dominated by the gods of mass and speed and that the worship of these can lead only to the lowering of standards, the adulteration (deterioration) of quality, and, in general, the loss of those things which are essential to the life of civility and culture. [1] 

I am afraid that even within Christianity we have sacrifice some sacred things on the altars of mass and speed. Ministers feel the pressure to produce sizable results quickly. The assumption is that the larger the ministry or the faster a ministry grows the more God is blessing. But disciples of Jesus cannot be made quickly or in mass and since making disciples is the means of expanding the kingdom of God we must carefully examine each ministry approach to insure that what we are doing is not in actuality impeding disciple making.

Although we want to impact Chicago (our home town) as passionately as the evangelist who fills a stadium, or the church planter who envisions a mega-church, or the television preacher who buys airtime to tell of Jesus, we believe there is an additional approach. We pace our ministry growth at a rate at which we can love each individual well and we keep it to a size where we can effectively make disciples. This means that we work small and slow in order to insure multiplication for generations to come.

There is a precarious tipping point in kingdom ministry between graciously bringing in new disciples and overwhelming the ministry with too many people. When a ministry has more people to disciple than it has disciplers or it has more people to love than it can effectively love that ministry is swamped. At the point a ministry recognizes that it is swamped it is already too late and I have not found an effective way to remedy the situation.

Ministries will swamp naturally.  Just as a family must set boundaries to insure its integrity for the sake of love, so a ministry from the start must safeguard itself from being overwhelmed with people. Setting boundaries is not unloving rather it is love in action.

[1] Richard M. Weaver, “Ideas have Consequences” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. vi.

One thought on “Tipping Point

  1. So few people know what it means to really make a disciple. I’m so glad that I got to know you and your approach. By the way, I’ve started a little weekly devotional with some guys at work. They are already believers, but were never discipled. No, it’s not the same. However, it’s my strength, so I’ll do what I can. Keep up the good work!

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