Movements are not perfect

We want to see disciples made—people who follow/love/obey Jesus, people who love one another, people who spread the kingdom.

A variety of structures have been tried to reach this objective. Structures and processes sometimes get confused with the church. The church is (in my view at least) properly the collection of believers. How they work – the structures, processes, and the precise balance of decentralization and top down control – varies from tradition to tradition, denomination to denomination, and congregation to congregation.

In every collection of believers, there will be the ‘nominal’ and the ‘passionate,’ the professing and the secretive, the obedient and the less so, the good and the bad. Bad Christ followers are still followers. Peter denied Jesus. Peter and Pail quarreled. Paul and mark had a falling out. It need not get to the point or Ananias and Sapphira. Just look at some of Paul’s  letters and the book of Revelation. 

No system or process will yield 100% ‘good disciples.’ To put it another way, no system or process will ever be a perfect disciple-making system. Some will be better, and some worse; some will be slower, some faster. There are trade offs in everything, every system can be improved, and no story is finished on this side of eternity.

In my view, it’s not that movements are somehow “100% good at disciple-making” and traditional churches are “0%”. There are many traditional churches that are good at making disciples. Rather, movements are no worse than churches at making disciples (and seem to be somewhat better than this than many traditional churches), plus they are typically cheaper, more resilient under persecution, more mobile, and—most importantly—better able to scale to large numbers than typical denominations.