March 14, 2024

by Justin Gravitt

Why don’t more Christians make disciples?  

It’s a problem that church leaders have been trying to solve for decades, if not centuries. The problem is straightforward, but the solution is anything but. Despite the efforts of disciple makers a break-through in this challenge has been elusive.

The challenge is complicated by the disciple maker’s limp. What’s the limp? It’s the curse of knowledge; a cognitive bias that causes someone who knows a lot about something to forget what it’s like to not know about it. This problem makes it hard to explain things to people who are new or don’t know anything about it.

In other words, leaders are often in the dark when it comes to the beginner’s mindset; the perspective of those they are trying to impact.

Given this relative darkness, it’s not a bad idea to simply ask. Recently, Barna and The Navigators did exactly that. They asked everyday Christians who weren’t making disciples, why they weren’t. The top three reasons were:

22% “I just haven’t thought about it.”

24% “No one has suggested it / asked me.”

37% “Don’t think I’m am qualified / equipped.”

These responses certainly tell us something, but what?

On the surface, the message seems obvious. Everyday disciples need to be developed so they will feel equipped and qualified to make disciples. At least one large disciple making organization decided that the best way to do this was to “resource everyday disciples.” What exactly does that mean? It’s far from obvious, but essentially, it’s producing resources and content to help the everyday disciple learn the what, the why, and the how of disciple making.

Interpreting data well is just as important as collecting the data. Resourcing everyday disciple makers isn’t the answer to our disciple making challenges. It can’t be. We don’t need more resources. Just consider the quality and quantity of resources available to English speakers on just these few websites: RightNow MediaBible This doesn’t even account for the free seminary courses that are available or the hundreds of helpful podcasts. There’s nothing wrong with resources—I produce some of my own—but despite what some suggest, more resources will never solve our disciple making problem.

Look at it this way, I don’t play the guitar, but if someone asked me why I don’t I could honestly answer, 1. I just haven’t thought much about it. 2. No one has ever suggested it. Or 3. I don’t think I’m qualified or equipped. These are all true, but would receiving a book, a link, or a training course on how to play the guitar transform me into a guitar player?

No. The deeper truth is, I don’t play the guitar because my motivation is weaker than the obstacles in front of me. I’ll only become a guitar player when “my want to” is greater than the barriers. Only then will I pick up a guitar, and stick with it until I can play it.

The problem church leaders face can’t be solved by research alone, resources alone, or relationships alone. Instead, the solution is on the other side of the curse of knowledge.

I’ve spent the better part of a year working on this problem and am excited to share with you a new ebook I’ve created. Let me acknowledge the irony! But also say, this resource won’t solve the problem, but it will frame it in such a way that you will be able to solve it in your own context.

The ebook is called The Bicycle Illustration. I want to give your digital version (.pdf) for FREE because I think it will help you activate others into the disciple making journey. (enter your name and email address in the form – it will then open up a page to download the ebook)

You can get your FREE copy HERE. Inside you’ll learn about two-faced fear, God’s “Dad Guarantee”, and lots more!

If you like it and have a need, you can order physical copies HERE or the e-reader version HERE (epub, kindle, mobi, etc.).

1 Comment

  1. Michael Ouellette

    I think people don’t share the gospel for these reasons, 1. fear of rejection or revealing ourselves as Christians or losing our status in the community, 2. we in the west are moving away from the gospel so the majority are not interested, 3. majority of people understand faith to be personal, something to keep within ourselves, 4. depends on how we came to see the gospel, if it was through a disciple maker we will be more likely to try to make disciples, if it was through divine intervention, ie. a walk-in, then not so much since we might believe that God will do it, and finally, 5. some may believe that disciple making is not included in their gifts, prefer to care for others, which leads into my final point, 6. some may believe that the nonbeliever should make up their own mind about Jesus that interjecting personal thoughts would violate freedom.


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