8 Reasons (and Remedies) for the Discipleship Problem

The church has a discipleship problem — here are eight tips to remedy the situation.

This list was birthed out of the soil of my own life and pastoral ministry in the trenches with ethnically and socio-economically diverse people.

Here’s one of the ways that I define discipleship:

Discipleship is not knowing more information about Jesus, but knowing Jesus and being transformed into His image through the constant exposure of the Gospel of grace in the context of a local church. His life and mission becomes ours as we live by faith in Him in the everydayness of life by the Spirit’s power.

Here are eight reasons and eight remedies for the discipleship problem I’ve witnessed in the church today:

Reason #1: We have a discipleship problem because we divorce people from the story of God — which is eternity, creation, the fall, redemption and restoration.

Remedy: We must teach people to see themselves in God’s redemptive story or they will develop a customer mentality and futilely attempt to place God in their story (1 Peter 2:9-10).


Reason #2: We have a discipleship problem because we teach, unknowingly or knowingly, the Homogenous Unit Principle. This produces a theology of comfort, disunity and consumerism.

Remedy: We must teach people that Jesus creates one new people, a multi-ethnic, blood-bought community that is on mission with Him (Eph. 2:14-3:1-13).


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Derwin Gray
Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of Hero: Unleashing God’s Power in a Man’s Heart and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.