If there’s one word that I find more irritating than covid right now, it’s the word pivot. Everybody’s pivoting. They’re pivoting from offline to online and physical to virtual, and all other kinds of pivots. It’s all the same thing, really.
Before this whole crisis where pivot became the most popular word next to covid, I always just thought of pivot as a basketball move, but now it’s something that businesses and churches and people or are all doing.
But there’s one pivot that only a few people seem to be talking about. One guy, named Grant Skeldon talked about this very effectively on the Next Normal Conference. Very few people are raising the issue. A lot of people are talking about moving from offline to online discipleship and ministry.
But here’s the problem with talking about online discipleship: Pretty much nobody was doing offline discipleship, and the assumption is that if we take what we were doing, offline and move it online, that we will just continue making disciples. The problem is we weren’t do it in the first place. Very few people were actually making disciples.
So we talk about online services and doing small groups virtually and having our meetings on Zoom, but those are a means to an end. Those are ways of accomplishing something, and the something that are called to be accomplishing is making disciples. Making disciples. That’s the end goal. That’s the desired outcome and if we weren’t doing it before, how can we be effective in doing it online?
In order to make a disciple, you’ve got to define what a disciple is. One phrase is a “fully devoted follower of Jesus”. That’s a great phrase. But what does that look like concretely? What’s the knowledge and skills and habits and attitudes that a fully devoted follower has?
I’ve sought to answer that question through my writing and teaching on “DNA of a Christ Follower”. I don’t care if you agree with my definition of a disciple, but do you have one? Because until you have one, you can’t model what it means, and you certainly can’t make one.
So here’s the pivot I want to suggest ministries consider, and that’s a pivot from not making disciples to making disciples. That’s a pivot from doing programs to making disciples. It’s a pivot from just doing church stuff because this is what churches do, services and small groups and all those kinds of things. Pivoting from that, to steal a phrase from Rick Warren, purpose-driven kind of ministry focused on the purpose, in this case of making disciples.
This is an outstanding opportunity to eliminate and to simplify and to focus our ministries, and the frame of reference should be making disciples.
What things were we doing that were not effectively making disciples? What do we need to do to make disciples online and offline? Let’s start majoring and maximizing those things. That’s the pivot we need to make, because if we don’t keep making disciples or don’t start making disciples, it’s really a death spiral. We are called to be disciples who make disciples.
Figure out what a disciple is. Live it out. Model it and then transmit it. Pass it on. Be a disciple who makes disciples.
Hope you gain the wisdom you need to take next steps in these unusual days.