3 disciple-making mistakes to avoid

August 17, 2020

In Luke 10, Jesus gave His followers instructions on how to enter the cities, homes and lives of the people they would encounter in the mission He’d given them. Now, as then, most of the unreached will not come to us. We must go to them.

As His followers go about the mission of making disciples today, entering the lives of the lost is one of the first objectives to address. As well as learning what to do, we must also learn what not to do. There are several potential hazards we may encounter. By avoiding these common hazards, we have a better chance of building genuine relationships that open the door for sharing the gospel of Jesus.

Relying too much on events or programs.
One of the most common missteps happens when churches focus so much on events or programs that there is no energy left for building relationships. The goal of entry is always relationships that lead to gospel conversations and disciple-making. Events and programs can play an important role, but the goal is not just to have a big event or a big program. We must make sure our events and programs result in building and developing relationships.

Many times, a focus on the event or program as an end in itself can be counterproductive. The event may be too large, or the program too cumbersome, to facilitate real relationships from forming. Often, the outcome of entry efforts like this is that the church “feels good” about what has been done, but no real missional advance has been made in the field.

As His followers go about the mission of making disciples today, entry into the lives of the lost is one of the first objectives to address.

Moving too quickly.
Another common misstep happens when churches undermine trust and confidence. Many charitable efforts can be perceived by those the church wishes to help as dehumanizing or condescending. An effort to move to gospel presentations too quickly without building authentic relationships can feel like a “bait-and-switch” tactic. These situations can hinder the witness of the church in the community in ways that are difficult to overcome.

Failing to see the big picture.
One additional misstep churches often make is failing to keep entry as a piece of a larger missionary task. An effective entry event will not necessarily conclude with impressive numbers of souls saved or members added to the congregation. Effective entry will, however, result in members of the church building relationships with lost people in the community. It is through those relationships that the gospel is shared, disciples are made and lives are changed.

By avoiding these and other potential hazards in making entry, Christ-followers can build authentic friendships with the lost. In the context of these relationships, the love of Christ can be demonstrated as the gospel is shared on a personal level, leading to great missional impact as disciples are made.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article examines entering new mission fields, the first of six steps in the missionary task, which is adapted from “Foundations,” a publication of the International Mission Board.


by Russ Reaves  
Strategic Focus Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Board approves annual meeting change, budget recommendation

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) 2020 annual meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 1-5 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., following a vote of the convention’s board of directors.The board voted unanimously to change the time and place of...

Capps elected board president

Matt Capps, senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, was elected president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors during a meeting held Monday, Sept. 28, at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro. Capps was nominated by state...

How to use your community’s ‘third places’ for the gospel

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a bit of a shake-up. But one thing that has become evident from this experience is the fact that the church is not a building, and it is not a program. We are the church, and we are called to love and serve both those who are inside and outside...

‘Reimagine’ resource addresses today’s realities, tomorrow’s possibilities

How does your church see this COVID moment? On a recent webcast by the Barna Group titled “Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” panelists posed the question, “Is this an interruption or a disruption?” An interruption means that this is only a temporary interference in our lives,...

Think like a missionary

How can I think like a missionary?Missionaries live with a deep love and compassion for those who are far from God. They are burdened for those who are lost — those who are like sheep without a shepherd. They live by the words of Jesus when He said, “I have other sheep that are...

Why crisis & unrest should point us to prayerful hope in Christ

If ever there was a time when believers and churches needed to focus on God’s great hope in Jesus, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic — along with all the racial, social, political, economic and spiritual unrest that has gripped our nation — has, in many ways, cast a cloud of...

Saved from war, man from Congo planting church in Raleigh

Rufus Muhirwe is tall, thin and soft-spoken. Look at this gentle man and you would never guess the years-long nightmare he endured before coming to Raleigh, N.C. He found that God was with him through those years. And the fact that Muhirwe is planting a new church is a testimony...

How families can mentor families to make disciples at home

There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” What if we took this same approach in discipling our families. No doubt, you have families in your church who are doing a phenomenal job discipling their...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!