Performers draw crowds, but leaders make disciples

performersToday we wanted to share with you the first part of a reflection from Dave Rhodes (3DM US Team Leader) on the value of leading in a way that makes disciples – not performing in a way that simply draws the crowds… Hope you find this helpful as food for thought and something to chew on!

I have a confession to make.

I’m a performer.

It’s not that I just love the drama of the moment, where everyone is waiting with eager expectation of what might happen next. It’s not the roar of the crowd when I’m at my best or even the affirmation that comes just on the heels of a great performance.

It’s that for many years of my life, performing well is what I thought changed people.

It was an easy move, really. Before I became a speaker for a living, I played soccer, and the quality of my play (and that of my team) determined how many people showed up and whether anyone in our community cared about soccer at all. When we were playing well, people came out and watched and soccer became a part of our community. When we were playing badly, no one came out and relatively few people even knew a soccer game was going on.

You can see how easy it was to transfer this mentality into ministry. Get a great team, put on a great performance, get the word out, and you will have influence in your community or world. Put on a sub-par performance and everyone might find some other “game” to go watch.

So I spent a lot of time and energy getting good at the kinds of things that could draw a crowd. My team got really good at creating WOW moments. And we spent a whole lot of time trying to make each WOW moment better than the last. And for the most part, even though we felt the pressure, we did. We performed well.

But here is the thing. Even though we produced the WOW each week, we neglected something else that today I would say is much more important. We WOWED people and they came and watched. But WOWING them alone never really moved them from come and see to go and do. Sure, it created people who felt changed but it didn’t truly empower them to change anything. For that to happen we had to learn something different. We had to learn the power of AHA!……”




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2 replies »

  1. Now, I’m looking at this from a different perspective. What does this teach me regarding my ministry to the community?

    I am thinking now that my teaching on Sunday mornings should be directed more to the “crowd” as an evangelistic approach. The teaching can be for the crowd and the disciples at the same time.

    The teaching I give for the crowd can be useful for the disciples, but the teaching intended for the disciples may not be applicable to the crowd.

    So, I need to teach for the crowd and the disciples on Sunday morning and have different teaching options for the disciples. I can give them deeper teaching at another time.

    What do you think?

    • Hi Alexi,

      nice to hear from you. First of all – apologies for the rest of the blog being cut off: we have reblogged this from another site which has changed.
      I suppose this depends partly on your definition/distinction between crowd and disciples. Our perspective would be that you are look to treat everyone as a disciple, and therefore creating opportunities for them to identify in every setting: “What is God saying to me through this as a disciple?” and “How can I respond?”.
      We believe this can inform everything, from Sunday mornings, to small group Bible studies, conversations between accountability partners and so on. The depth and specific content/message may be different in different settings, but the emphasis on – and invitation to – discipleship can remain. I think what Dave is getting at here is the difference between entertaining the crowd with a show or looking to create an opportunity for people to encounter God, hear what He is saying to them and go out and live differently.

      I agree with you that its really important to have different spaces for people to engage with that may represent more of a “training” than teaching environment, especially if they are people that are working with you to lead and disciple others too.

      Where are you based?

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