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Two months ago I wrote about penguins exploring a photographer’s backpack and related this to my exploring and unpacking Biblical truth and divine wisdom in ways that will effectively expand God’s kingdom with those I serve. I would like to apply this specifically to making disciples.
When I think about making disciples, I do it in terms of how I was discipled. I try to replicate this with those I wish to disciple by following a similar process and even by using similar materials and structures. I inadvertently equate discipleship with a particular process, influenced by the culture that shaped me.
The problem comes when I realize that the environment in which I was discipled is no longer the environment prevalent today. Culture has changed and changed dramatically.
I remember facing this when my wife and I embarked on our 31-year journey of mission work in South America. We set out to equip others with the tools we were equipped with here, and to apply a similar culture there to what we had here. We quickly found out that we were the ones who would need to change. That is when we began to ask ourselves the following questions:
I am currently reading the book Disciple Making Culture, where author Brandon Guindon states: “We often try to make disciples of Jesus, but we don’t go beyond current strategies, programs, and methods. We neglect to create culture. How do we expect results when we leave out this key part of the process?”
When I think of discipling others, I tend to think in terms of tools and methods only. I rarely think about creating the “right” kind of culture. In doing this, I find myself consciously or unconsciously projecting my culture onto those I wish to disciple. So, I must go back to God’s Word and rediscover Kingdom truths that Jesus applied to His twelve disciples and identify how He shaped in them a Kingdom-first culture that transformed their Jewish cultural worldview.
Brandon Guindon, Disciple Making Culture: Cultivate Thriving Disciple-Makers Throughout Your Church (HIM Publications © 2020), pg. 33.
Peter Drucker, the Austrian-born American management consultant and author who has greatly influenced modern business practices, is credited with the popular maxim, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In other words, positive and effective change will never happen if the culture does not change.
So now I am asking the three questions I mentioned earlier of each of the Hispanic settings to which I relate to Denton Baptist Association. I realize that I am not tasked with changing anyone’s culture. But I am inviting willing Hispanic pastors and leaders on a journey to study God’s Word together and humbly seek to instill a Kingdom-first culture in our collective work and ministries.