Would it be better for you to get in a lifetime of ministry and die or to get in a lifetime of ministry that taught hundreds of others how to do what you do so that the outflow of your life went exponential?
If your answer is the second then you need an approach to ministry that others can easily follow. I have already made the point that the pattern for the approach is Jesus and his disciples took what they learned from him (uneducated as they were) and passed it on to others who taught still others…all the way down to us today!
It is far easier to complicate things than to simplify things.
Laziness can lead to complexity. It takes intentionality, hard work, and focus to keep things simple. You have to constantly filter out distractions and the only way to do that is to know what has to remain in the center.
The moment you adopt a complex approach to ministry or disciple making is the moment your approach dies with you. But if you want to pass on ministry to others, it must be simple. If your approach requires a doctorate, then don’t expect anyone else to do it.
If you are going to disciple someone it helps to have a path laid out. Now, you are going to make adjustments along the way and that’s understandable. Some weeks you won’t get to the topic you want to train them in. That’s okay too. But by and large you need a simple plan that you are training them in…so simple that they can naturally apply what they have learned to others almost immediately.
Some of the fastest growing discipling and church planting movements in the world move fast because they are simple. They don’t have a lot of moving parts. They don’t require a degree or lots of education. They are so simple that even brand new believers are converting their friends!
As nice as it feels for people to depend on you and make you the expert, it isn’t good ministry stewardship.
Now, I have been talking about simple practices but this is true about theology as well.
Take the theology of atonement…it has gotten pretty complicated! Is it penal substitutionary atonement, ransom theory, Christus Victor, or something else? Theology can be complicated but the core of the gospel isn’t.
How do you share a message that you cannot encapsulate in anything under 500 words? I challenge you to write down what God has done for you in Christ. Then write it again in simpler and simpler terms until you have the core down to a paragraph or so…something you could share in a few minutes with someone or even just thirty seconds.
We will never reproduce disciples if our ministry and message are at astrophysics levels of complexity.