Mass Discipleship?

by Karl Bastian Discipleship, Discipling Resources, Jesus the Discipler Add comments


While there are many stories of Jesus speaking to the “multitudes” the vast majority of the Gospels are stories of his interactions with his disciples. A few men he chose to pour His life in to. In today’s ministry world, we are all about reaching the multitudes – and technology has enabled us to reach people we’ll never even meet via radio, television and this here Internet thingie. (How many who read this point will I ever meet in person?)

Mass teaching may have its place, as does mass evangelism. But Mass Discipleship is an oxymoron. You can’t disciple a crowd, you can only disciple individuals. Even Jesus, God Incarnate, didn’t even attempt to disciple a crowd, and yet in many (dare I say most?) churches today, Mass Discipleship is the plan in place. It’s no wonder we are failing.

May I ask a potentially painful question? Who are you discipling? Individually? Can you name the names of children you are discipling as a follower of Jesus Christ?

My wife and I wrote the Awesome Adventure, My New Life with Jesus, as a tool for discipling children one on one. It was used to disciple many children, as individuals, before DiscipeLand took it and made it what it is today. I still have yet to see a tool on the market designed for discipling kids one on one. I’ve seen salvation follow up booklets and Bible activity books and Bible quizzing books, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge market for tools to disciple children. It’s too bad. I’m not really trying to promote “my book,” I wish there were many others to link as well.

But I DO mean to promote the concept of discipleing kids one on one – no matter whether you find a helpful tool, or just open up God’s Word with them and intentionally guide them through the things they need to know to love and life for God.

I bet your ministry to the masses of kids is great…. but how is your ministry to a few individual kids? It was Jesus’ disciples who turned the world upside down, not the masses he taught on the hillside. It is the individual kids you pour your life into who will yield the best fruit in your ministry!

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4 Responses to “Mass Discipleship?”

  1. TheJourney Says:

    Hmmm, discipling kids.

    Here’s the short, short version: I’m certainly a fan, but I suppose I take a different approach. For me, I try to encourage and challenge parents to take on this role. It would be impossible for me to disciple all of the kids I come into contact with and unfortunately, in today’s society, it can be a dangerous situation, regardless of intent.

    Instead, what can I do to help Mom & Dad take on their Deuteronomy type role? Am I supporting parents or am I replacing them when I take on their child in a discipleship role? I suppose that depends on whether Mom & Dad know their role. And THAT, depends on if I’m really being a partner and supporter.

    P.S. – I use Awesome Adventures when kids cross the line of faith but it’s something I give to the parents so they may go through it as a family.

  2. Karl B. has some nice thoughts on discipleship « Children’s Ministry and Culture Says:

    […]   Karl B. has some nice thoughts on discipleship April 24, 2008, 12:21 am Filed under: Uncategorized […]

  3. brenna Says:

    I agree that it is more of the church’s responsibility to partner with the parents and resource the parents on discipling their children. However, there are going to be children who don’t have that option, depending on different ministry settings, environments, and regions.
    It is my philosophy that the church/children’s ministry must provide helps and resources to parents and help them to disciple their children and help them grow in Christ. The church can disciple 1-2 days a week, but parents are with their children every day.

  4. Steve Says:

    I’m using Karl’s book. Think it’s great. I also try to work with parents, but give the option of either a volunteer going through the course or helping the parent lead it. It’s true I can’t do all the individual kids, but I’m hoping to train up additional volunteers to do it.

    Empowering Kids has something called BreakOut (if anyone’s looking for another resource). It’s a small group book, but I suppose it could be used one-on-one too.

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