Relationships within the church can be challenging. We are called to be unified, but often that call to unity can be difficult to navigate. Do we truly live out the culture that we believe in? Do we fight for our relationships and actively take part in the mission of Christ?
Brandon Guindon, author of Disciple-Making Culture, tells of how we, as Jesus’ church, can respond in a unified way to the call of disciple-making. He points us all back to biblical disciple-making culture, and he encourages us to be in real relationship with one another as we live out our calling as disciple-makers.
In this episode, which is part three of a five-part series, you’ll find:
- The challenges of cultivating disciple-making culture among church staff
- Advice for church leaders about being unified
- Metrics for measuring a disciple-making culture
- How to promote culture from within the church body
- Encouragement to participate in the culture-building process
- The power of living like disciples of Jesus
- What an identity of disciple-making looks like
- Why it’s important to protect, live out, and defend culture
An interview with Brandon Guindon
Chad Harrington: Today is part three in our mini-series on disciple-making culture. Discipleship.org, partnered with Him Publications to release Brandon Guindon’s new book on the topic. It’s called, you guessed it, Disciple-Making Culture.
This series of interviews with Brandon offers some behind the scenes supplemental insights to this important topic. So if you’d like to get your hands on this resource, go to himpublications.com/product/disciple-making-culture, and you’ll find a link to purchase the book. That’s himpublications.com/product/disciple-making-culture.
In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Brandon, as he guides you through developing among your church staff members a culture of disciple-making. He shares three specific barriers for cultivating this kind of culture, specifically among church staff. Plus he gives advice to church leaders about overcoming these challenges. Take a listen.
Brandon Guindon: My name is Brandon Guindon. I’m the senior pastor at Real Life Ministries, Texas in Tomball, Texas, which is just several miles Northwest of Houston.
Chad: And this is our third episode in this special series on disciple-making culture. Brandon has written a book called Disciple-Making Culture, and it’s intended for church leaders, but it’s also for anyone who cares about disciple-making because as you write about in the book, and as you teach and preach about this brand and you talk about, it’s not just what we do make disciples, it’s who we are. It’s not just a program, a strategy, a tactic. It’s not just a trend in church culture. We’re talking about Jesus-style, disciple-making culture.
And so this episode today, we’re focusing on developing that culture among church staff members. And, you know, we’ve been talking kind of broadly, but I want to dig into this because a lot of our listeners are church leaders. Many of them are not on staff at a church, but many are.
And so whether you are, or you are not, I think it’s important to talk about this, Brandon, because from the stories you tell and even the way you lead, it’s like, of course we know who’s on, on payroll for a church. And you, you have staff and your staff is growing, but you don’t really see it that way. You just see it as, How much time are they able to give to this, but we’re all disciple-makers together. So I wanted to start today’s episode with talking about the challenges among staff members, or really, it’s the challenge of creating this culture of disciple-making among church staff. So Brandon, tell us what’s so hard about this.
Brandon: Well, I think you’re right, and that this even applies to those that are not a church staff, because you know, some of the problems are just are very similar. And I think what’s hard about creating it within a church staff is just the busyness of kind of the, the American culture, if you will. And even in the church, we tend to be very busy filling our times with, whether it be different programs, whether it be putting on services, not that we don’t do services or we don’t have programs, but we tend to make things very complicated. We tend to make things where we are just incredibly busy.
Busyness can make it difficult for creating, promoting, and living out a culture of disciple-making because one of the most critical elements of that is spending time together, actually being in relationship.
As I’ve said on several podcasts before is disciple-making is who you are. And so, you know, it’s a value for me that I just can’t talk about disciple-making from the pulpit and do that with a couple of guys, disciple them on the side and then live completely differently with my staff. You know, it starts with those that I’m in close proximity with and relationship, and that has to be my staff. And so I don’t just view them as my staff. I view them as my friends, my co-laborers, as you had indicated, that’s the first qualification that I kind of look for with those that I hire and am bringing onto our team.
The first question is, are they a good disciple-maker? Are they learning how to do that? That’s a requirement for my eldership: Have they shown and demonstrated that they can make a disciple that can make a disciple? And so what’s hard about it is there’s so many other distractions. There’s so many other things that we can want to spend our time on or get busy doing that, pull us away from really what the core of the church is supposed to be, and that being disciple-making. And so that discipline of staying focused, having my schedule reflect that as a value and just staying disciplined is critical to upholding and living out that culture.
Chad: Right. And so we’re talking about disciple-making culture in general, but you’re sort of instantiating that to church staff. In other words, what does it look like when you do work full time? And one of the things that you talk about is the shiny object, sort of, allure of the next new thing. And so we’re supposed to stay away from that. And what you’re saying is that when you have this identity as a disciple-making church, it’s easier.
In other words, when you or your staff members or your elders have a calendar that’s filled with certain things, you can measure that against, “Okay, does this help disciple-making?” And maybe running a program, maybe it does help. Maybe it doesn’t, but sort of the metric or the ruler against which to measure these things is effective disciple-making. But I want to pause before we get too far, Brandon, to tell listeners who haven’t listened to previous episodes, and also to remind those who have, what is disciple-making culture. You know, we’ve talked about it’s who you are, but what does that mean? In other words, what are you talking about when you say disciple-making culture?
Brandon: Yeah. The disciple-making culture, culture is who you are.
It’s what you do in the everyday normal life that you live out from a value standpoint.
You’re living out your values and practical ways. So it’s not just something, again, that’s written on the wall of a lobby or in a bulletin, or even in our doctrinal statement. It’s what you actually live out and do; it’s who you are. And that culture that you create is what we’re talking about.
When we look in the Scriptures that the life of Christ, and if we were to describe what is the culture that Jesus created around him, we could create a list of things, you know, that it was, it was loving and it was intentional. And it was, we create this. This is what the culture was. And that culture should be what we create. It’s what we should live out because we’re supposed to imitate him.
We are disciples of his. So when we have a staff, our church staff, those same things need to be lived out within the culture of our staff, because at the end of the day, our staff is the one that should be fighting for that culture, protecting that culture. I had a conversation yesterday with one of my staff members, Judy, who heads up all of our restoration and benevolence and that part of our church.
And she was telling me a story about a conversation that she had with a person that was very kind of anti what we were doing in the church. It was much more, very programmatic than they wanted to do, and it kind of took us away from our mission. And she was telling me about the conversation that she had. She did a great job. It was very healthy and how she did it. And she looked at me and she said, “I was fighting for our culture.” And I said, “You were,” I said, “Great job.” And that’s the type of thing that I’m talking about. We do that together, and we’re all protecting, living out, and defending that culture.
Chad: Right. And it’s a culture that is centered around making disciples.
And essentially making disciples is helping people trust and follow Jesus.
How do you say in your book, real life discipleship.
The Mission of Christ
Brandon: How we define disciple-making and how we define a disciple is from Matthew Chapter 4, verse 19: a disciple is one who is following Christ, being changed by Christ, and on the mission of Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 4:19, “Come follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” So a disciple is one who is following a disciple, is one who is being changed. They’re being made into something.
A fisher of men, that’s the mission of Christ. And so the disciple-making process, helping people grow up in, yes, as you said, to learn to trust and to follow Jesus, we’re doing that, but they’re being transformed and changed and they’re caring more and more about the kingdom priorities than the priorities of this world.
And so when we’re creating that culture and fighting for it on our staff, that’s what we’re wanting to see produced. Not because it’s our goal. That’s Jesus has commanded us. Being obedient to him is creating a culture to what he calls us to, to go make disciples is actually being produced.
So on a staff level, this is what we talk about and live. This is what we celebrate. This is what we measure every single week. I asked the question of our staff, how are you doing at investing in and making disciples of those God’s putting in your path? How are the people you’re discipling learning to follow better? Are they being changed? Are they caring more about the mission? That’s the metrics. If you will, that we talk about to look at and know whether or not we are upholding our culture, right?
Look for Disciple-Makers Within
Chad: So, Brandon, I want to dig in a little bit about how you found this to be successful. Like, what are the things that you’ve done, you know, in a more concrete way so that you can do this? I bet a lot of people are like, Okay, that’s cool. It’s like, and by the way, that question is great. So you’ve already given us something really concrete that we can do. We can ask our staff, Okay, you know, it’s fine that you had this many attendees and you met with this many people, but what about helping them trust and follow Jesus and then become committed to the mission of Jesus as they’re changed by him?
So, one of the things that you’ve mentioned to me, that’s really interesting in terms of living out your values so that you can successfully create this culture is that you promote from within. Tell me about that.
Brandon: Yeah. So we need to be able to look within the church body. I think the model is from Acts Chapter 6, when they, when they see a need arise and they look to see who the Holy Spirit was raising up within their group. I think the model we imitate that we look with it and go, Who is God raising up within our church? Where do we see the evidence of people that are learning to be disciple-makers who can make disciples? And to start to identify that, to pay attention to it again, if you value that and you aspire to do it. I mean, this is something that we celebrate. This is what we, we look as the fruit in our, in our church body. And so finding those people and then being able to go to them and say, “Man, this is what I see God doing in your life.”
I mean, one of the best, the most solid disciple-makers in our church is Aaron Williams. He’s our youth pastor. He’s incredible at it. And I saw Aaron when he was, when he was younger. In fact, I knew Aaron before he was ever in ministry and got the opportunity to really disciple and invest in him and watch him grow up and see God put a call in his life to ministry and bring him into ministry and continue to invest in him and to promote that if you will, within those that are really living out and a product of your culture. And so I think that’s a part that’s been successful. Not that hiring somebody from the outside is necessarily bad, but I just I’ve come across it so often. It’s the church’s first instinct is to kind of go look and kind of the hired gun mentality.
Let’s go find the best, most talented person somewhere else and bring them in and make us better. You know, I would really challenge the church to go, No, you’ve got great people, right where God has put you. There are great people in our church that just need to be developed.
Participate in the Process
Jim Putman talks about, he says to build a farm system, you know, in your church, do you have a farm system where you’ve got people that are just coming into the process, people that are part way, people that are really raised up and can do a lot of great work in your church? I think being able to evaluate that.
Promote, raise up, and give opportunity for people to participate in the disciple-making process within your church.
Chad: I think that’s so hopeful, Brandon, because I think a lot of people say, Well, that’s great. Because look at your staff. And what you’ve told me is most of our staff are not actually trained for ministry in the traditional sense. Like they didn’t necessarily go to seminary, right? And I think that’s really hope-filled for people who are saying, “Look, we can’t hire from outside or no one wants to come to our church” or “We have tried and we can’t find them.” What you’re saying is, No, look, the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, based on the ministry of Jesus, to the glory of the Father can transform your people. So that, you know, as you mentioned, the last episode, when you, as the pastor in a hard place, the church can even grow.
Like if you’re taken out, my dad calls it the Mack truck principle. Right, you know, his, my grandfather, my dad’s dad was a truck driver for his whole career. And you know, the question is, if a semi-truck, you know, I guess Mack trucks are big up, up where we grew up in Canada. But if a semi-truck takes you out, what’s going to happen to your people? What’s going to happen to your church?
And you know, I’m afraid that a lot of churches will fall apart or the church will organizationally stay together, but the people will scatter. I’ve seen it many times, right. And I’m not even that old, you know, I’m in my mid-thirties and I’ve seen it time and time again, as I’ve watched what happens with a celebrity pastor kind of mentality, right?
And so I think this is just huge Brandon and I’m encouraged by it. And I hope that listeners are encouraged, not just church staff or elders or lead pastors, but people who want to be a part of this, but they’re not on staff. I hear you saying that doesn’t matter. You don’t necessarily have to leave and go to seminary. Although I think that God calls some people to do that, especially scholars, that’s just my personal opinion, among others.
Well, Who Are You Raising Up?
But for most of us, let’s say someone like Greg comes to Christ and you tell his story in the book. Let’s say he comes to Christ, but it’s like, No, dude, I gotta feed my family. I can’t just up and move to seminary. And I think God can call people to even do that. But let’s say it’s not feasible or there’s an economic downturn, like there is now. And well, what do you do then? And what Jim has talked about and you’ve talked about is, Hey, disciple-making culture is not rocket science. This is something everyone can do. Brandon, if you would tell us a little bit more of these stories of people like that from your church.
Brandon: Yeah. I think I talk a lot about for everybody that’s listening. There’s just an element to, I want to encourage people to, it’s kind of a, it’s the coach in me that says, you know, we all have to kind of stand in front of the mirror and have a bit of a gut check and to challenge ourselves and to ask ourselves, am I really living this out? To have a moment of honesty, a kind of a come to Jesus-type of conversation with ourselves and with the Lord and to really look at it and go, Well, who are you raising up? If you were taken out, what would happen? You know.
Are you raising up a disciple that can then make disciples?
And even a lot of times, pastors staff Christians will do, Well, I’m supposed to disciple someone so I’m going to transfer information to them and I’m going to educate them, but there’s never any vision beyond, Okay, once I’m done transferring information to them, then what, to my view. And I think aligning to the biblical view is, for example, you brought up Greg.
Greg is somebody that through hurricane Harvey, I got the opportunity to lead him to Christ. He led his family to Christ. I discipled him. He then was leading his own small group. And now he’s discipling a group of guys who, one of his guys he was discipling is now leading his own group. My intention with Greg was not to create where Greg is dependent on me. Greg is now out discipling his own people that are then discipling their own people. It’s went beyond. Greg was a professional chef. He wasn’t some seminary guy. Now Greg came to me today and said, “Hey, I want to get some further Bible education.” And he and I, we, we pore through the Scriptures every week together because I have a lot of development to do and him and he wants to learn.
But if Greg came to me and said, “I want to take some biblical classes.” “Great, man, how can I support you in doing that?” I’m not opposed to people going to seminary or learning. I’m just saying that that shouldn’t be kind of our excuse or where we’re looking and not looking internally within. We can give people education. We can raise them up and teach them the Word of God. But being able to raise people up to understand your culture. That’s the thing about it. Within our staff, everybody has been raised up from within here. They are passionate about the ministry here because this is where their lives were changed. This is what they’re committed to. This is where they learn to make disciples. And that’s just something you can’t go out and hire.
If I go on and hire the best youth pastor or kid’s pastor or whatever you want, and, that’s in the country, no matter how good they are, skill-wise, when they came in, they’re not as attached and as passionate about the mission here as somebody that was raised up here. That doesn’t mean don’t hire them, but at least consider that into it. So we’ve had people like Greg, who was a professional chef. Alex was an engineer, graduated from Texas A&M. Aaron, he was a fitness trainer that was raised up from within.
Be a Great Disciple-Maker Wherever You Go
Some of the guys that I’m looking at right now that are raising up into positions, one’s a school teacher, one’s a police officer. God’s raising them up. None of them are seminary grads, again, not anything against seminary, but what I am hiring and what I am looking at is God is calling these people to be involved in ministry, to be pastors and leaders within his church. That’s, it’s obvious. You can see it all over them and they know how to make a disciple. So then that way, if they go out and plant a church, if church in this country kind of went away, in a sense of organized church, went away. They’re great disciple makers, wherever they go. And I think that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s Jesus’ methodology
Chad: And Brandon, one of the cool things about what you’re saying is, this kind of philosophy shift in terms of ministry in North America that’s so different than normal is raising people up from within and for some denominations or segments of church, culture, maybe that’s normal. But I think a lot of times it’s, “Find someone from without and bring them in.”
And the risk factor goes down, I think is an important thing to say. Now there’s always risk in hiring anybody. Anytime it may not work out, but when you hire someone from within, and this is something I’m passionate about, because we’re going to see a cap on disciple-making movements. If everyone’s got to get a three- to four-year degree, learn Greek and Hebrew and all, and you know, we’ve been there, we’ve done that. We’ve gone through the classes you and I have. And there’s value in that.
Like you’re saying, I don’t diminish that at all, but here’s the thing. If everyone has to do that, if everyone has to have the gift of teaching or whatever you want to call it and to be the cookie cutter, you’re the lead pastor of a church. And that’s the only ministry position. And I’m not even just talking about on staff, I’m talking about deacons and all, you know, some people have the highest standards in the world just to lead people.
And what we’re talking about here is look:
Look at who Jesus discipled and the culture we create is like that, you know, it’s relational, it’s based on Scripture.
It’s leaders who are trained. Yeah. Leaders are born, but leaders are made, you know, and then it’s a process. And we’re going to talk a little bit about the process in the next few episodes, Brandon. But before we close this out, I wanted to ask a couple more questions and you can answer this in any way you want, but what’s been your greatest challenge in creating disciple-making culture among your staff.
Brandon: Well, what comes to mind is two specific things. One is, I mentioned this before in a previous podcast is just the everyday busyness of the pull, the pull to tackle the war, the business side, the administrative side, the busyness of life. You fight against that all the time. I, at least I do, our staff does. And so we have to always fight to keep the main thing the main thing.
So that’s a hurdle, a challenge that you’ll face it’s there. It doesn’t go away, but it requires a discipline to go, Yes, we need to take care of some of this busy, busy work, if you will, the administrative side, the day-to-day stuff that has to be done, but also a discipline to keep that a kind of a minimum and not over-administrate everything, not over-busy yourselves, and being able to go, Are we spending relational time together?
Are we creating that culture that we believe in? We live it out, you know, in our staff meetings, do we live out the culture that we believe that we challenge each other and our walk with the Lord. Do we pray for each other, our families? Do we know what our kids are doing? Do we know each other well? Are we friends?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across churches and their staff. They’re not even friends. They don’t even know each other. That to me is a tragedy of how in the world could we ever create a culture in the church of relationship and love and care for within the church, if as staff, we don’t even know each other. That’s going to be counter to the culture you’re trying to create, as Christians, as people, that we fight for relationship and know each other. So I think that’s a big challenge.
Fight for Relationship
The second part of it is, is we are, we’re just people and you know, we irritate each other, you know, two people, are, there’s two mouths and there’s a problem waiting to happen. That’s part of life. And so one of the big challenges is, are you willing to fight for it? We say this all the time. I talk about it in the book. You’ve got to fight for relationship. You’re going to be offended. People are going to irritate you and choosing not to gossip and not to just dismiss people and to value them and to say, “No, we’re going to sit in the office and we’re going sit down and we’re going to work this out together. We’re going to be honest. We’re going to love each other. We’re going to be transparent. We’re going to say hard things.”
And that is so difficult in the church. People don’t like conflict, Christians avoid it. They over spiritualize it. They justify not going to a brother or sister and working it out. And so many cases I’ve seen over twenty years of ministry, that’s just a cancer in the church that we have to be willing to work through our differences.
And that is one of the greatest challenges because we’re just people. And so if I could give something to the listeners, I would say, folks really commit, for, if you want to be Jesus’ people, be the disciple-making church, create that culture, that we have to commit to actually living out loving God and loving each other. We have to commit to working through our differences. We have to commit to loving each other. And sometimes that’s really hard, to not be easily offended and to, to just love well, and you know.
That is truly the fruit, the byproduct of a growing disciple, is that we grow in our love for each other.
And so I think those are the difficult things that you have to work through to creating a healthy disciple-making culture.
Those Who Can’t Help but Follow Jesus Together
Chad: Brandon, I think that it’s great to talk about how you have to fight for it because really that’s what it feels like. I mean, if you, if you look at any kind of close relationship, a lot of people will say, you’re, you’re not really, you know, deep into the relationship until you’ve had your first fight. You know, people talk about that in marriage. I think it’s true in friendship. If you don’t know how to duke it out, you’re probably not gonna have the greatest of times either, because there’s an intimacy of, “Hey, we worked through something and now we’re okay. That love and acceptance, you know, creates a culture of people who can’t help, but follow Jesus together. You know, I think of John 13 where Jesus rebukes Peter. It’s like, that was at the beginning of the dinner when he was washing their feet and then they stuck around.
Right. They kind of duked it out right there. They, you know, Peter was basically confused about what Jesus was saying. And Jesus said, “No, no, Peter, like, you’re not getting it. You know, you’re being a little extreme. Like, here’s the thing, man. You just need to let me wash your feet because this is how we live. And I want you, as I’m washing your feet, to wash others.”
And I think even in that Jesus was in the fight, like what he was fighting for was teaching Peter culture. Right. You know? And so it’s not just, I think a lot of staff and church leaders are going to have to fight through, Okay, wait, we have to actually get in the weeds of people’s lives. We actually have to wash dirty feet literally and metaphorically, you know? So I really appreciate you saying that.
One of the things you mentioned in the book, it’s in the section about the relational environment, that culture necessitates, the chapter is called fight for it. And I wanted you to just give us a sneak peek into that part of the chapter because you outline how people can walk through conflict. If you could share a little bit about that. I know you describe it in detail in the book, but I wanted to just give people a taste because I think that’s just so good. What does it actually look like to fight for relationship?
Honor the Lord in How We Fight
Brandon: Yeah, there has to be, you know, part of the culture, part of who we are is that I think that we have an attitude, a mindset of surrendering the need to be right. And here, here’s what I mean by that, it doesn’t mean to be a doormat. It doesn’t mean we abandon the truth of Scripture. What I mean is if somebody’s hurt or offended us or we’re upset with somebody or they did something we don’t agree with or whatever the issue is. And there’s, there’s no relational tension between the two of you. We often want to sit down and, let me prove to you why you’re wrong. And let me kind of set you in your place versus coming in and go, no, I value you. I value our relationship and I want us to be unified. And so, to sit down and stay in a place of being curious, trying to understand where they’re at and where they’re coming from. Just recently, you know, I had said some things that offended or kind of hurt my close friend on staff, my executive pastor.
And I didn’t realize it at the time. I wasn’t trying to, I, you know, that wasn’t the intent. And so he came to me and he said, you know, “When you said these things that really bothered me.” Now I have a choice in that moment. I can go, “Well, you’re just being over sensitive” or You’re being this or being mad, and I can be defensive and defend myself and hold onto a demand to, I’m right and his position’s wrong. That’s not going to get us anywhere.
Versus I asked him a question. “Okay,” I said, “What happened, help me understand it.” And he began to share with me and I said, “Okay, here’s what I’m hearing you say,” “here’s what I’m hearing you say,” and listening to him and validating what it was and then owning my part. And he stayed in a place where he wanted to understand why I said what I said, and we were able to share it.
And we ended up with our relationship being closer, us being unified. And we worked through it. And it was a beautiful example of that. And I think what I mean by fighting for it is that we honor the Lord and how we work through conflict one, you got to choose to where you’re going to have it. I’m sure every single listener that’s listening, if you’ve been on a church staff or been in a volunteer position, or you’re a senior pastor or an elder, you have faced some type of conflict in the church. And our first response should be, Well, I want to honor the Lord in this. And I have to set my own private side and I want unity, want Jesus to be glorified in what we’re doing. And I’m going to sit down and fight for relationship, fight for unity.
Jesus Prayed for Unity
That doesn’t mean that we’re just doormats. It doesn’t mean that we, as I said, get rid of truth. It means that we seek to understand, and that we love the person through it. We forgive or we ask for forgiveness and all of those things that the Scriptures talk about, we actually value them and live them out in practical ways of the conversation. And so, you know, then that begins to create a culture of safety within your staff that, Oh, I can disagree with the senior pastor and we can actually have a conversation. We can actually work through it together. And it doesn’t mean I’m going to be fired. It doesn’t mean that, Oh, now I’m now nobody talks to me and ignores me. Or we minimize the person or whatever that I have seen done in more times than I care to even count in the church to where it’s handled in a dysfunctional way. And people leave and they’re hurt. And, and it just creates a gigantic mess.
Living out the biblical picture of the biblical examples of how we navigate through conflict and fighting for relationships, I think that was one of the most critical parts of the whole culture. And I’ll close with this. I just want to encourage everybody. When we look in the Scriptures and we see John Chapter 17, when Jesus prays for unity. You know, that’s really the one thing that he prayed for, for us. It’s, it’s the main thing because Jesus understands who we are and how we’re made and are our sin nature. And that’s really the big issue within the church, that when we become disunified, that mess, that that creates. And I see a lot of churches with great outreach ministries, great outreach programs. And, and that’s great, but I tell our church, this, I tell our staff this all the time, “Our greatest outreach is our ability to love each other.”
Because if we’ll remain unified, Jesus says, “The whole world will come to know me.”
If you and your church will fight for relationship and remain unified, I believe that is our greatest testimony to reach the lost world. They see division, especially in today’s time and the political climates of, of 2020. Everywhere we look, we see division. If the church could remain unified and be a place of safety and love where we care for people and love them right, where they are and work through our issues, I think then we’re a light. And I believe God, the Holy spirit will draw people to that light.
Chad: Yeah, I think that’s awesome. I agree with you that it’s beautiful when we love each other and the world longs for the safety that Jesus-styled, disciple-making culture creates. In other words, when we follow Jesus together in relationship and we stick it out, it is beautiful because the world doesn’t know how to do that. They literally don’t have the skills for it, but in Christ we do. And so I love that you’re talking about that.
And I served on the mission field for a year. And I remember during our training, they said that the biggest reason that missionaries fail is because of their own team conflict. And I think that that’s, you know, whatever’s true on the mission field is true at home too. It’s just magnified from my experience. And I think that that’s true, true for church staff as well. It’s like, it’s the same as regular life. It’s just magnified. It’s, you’re spending more time doing it, but in some ways it’s even more important because of your intense investment into these relationships and into the church. But on the other hand, it becomes even more beautiful when a church staff knows each other, they laugh together, they play together, they hang out, they actually are friends.
We Don’t Have to Live Like Everybody Else
You know what, a shame that that’s not true. And I think the way we can close this out, Brandon is, is just to tell people, look, this is part of the good news. The good news is that, that Jesus is enthroned, and we don’t have to live like everybody else. The result of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement is that now we have the victory in Christ.
And what that means is we have peace together. And so that peace, when people see it in tangible ways through a, a church that just exudes these values, and like you write about in the book, in the section on the biblical foundation, you have a whole chapter on love, right? And that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about how to create a culture of love that comes from Jesus. So I’ll let you have the final word here, Brandon.
Brandon: Well, what comes to mind, you know, and that is, any time we, we mine down into this topic is, you know, you’re right. Jesus is on the throne and the good news of the gospel and a part of that, of that good news is we now, we have the Holy spirit that dwells within us that gives us the ability to love in a biblical way, that gives us the ability to set aside our own pride and the Holy Spirit working within us. And that’s why it’s so important to create the culture.
Again, I talk about this in the book, is that we abide in Christ that we are walking in the Spirit. And so when we go into these conflicts or our relationships that God gives us the ability to love the way he loves, but we can’t do that if we’re not abiding in Christ, if we’re not walking closely to him. I just would encourage everyone listening that you can do this, that this isn’t some, you know, there’s not some secret program out there that you got to follow is I’m just wanting to point us all, myself included, back to what the Scriptures say, and to create this culture, this biblical disciple-making culture.
A major piece of this is being able to be in relationship with each other, to fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God and to love each other.
And God will empower you to do that. Walk and abide in him, walk closely to him and love people the way Jesus said to love. And I believe when we’re doing that, it’s unifying, that God is honored and our churches are a light.
You Can Join What God Is Doing
Chad: Thanks, Brandon. And for the listeners, this is a special series on disciple-making culture, about how you, no matter where you’re at in your church, whether you’re a senior pastor or you’re a volunteer or anywhere in the middle, how you can join what God is doing in churches all around the world, where disciple-making is not just what we do, it’s who we are. And make sure to check out Brandon’s book. He goes into detail about all of these things and really gives you the tools you need to appropriate these things to your context. So it’s called Disciple-Making Culture, and you can grab this for yourself if, for any leaders in your church so that you together can do this in your church, starting now.
Thanks for listening. That was Brandon Guindon talking about disciple-making culture among church staff. His new book about disciple-making culture is available for purchase. Get copies for you, your elders, your staff, and other leaders in your church to help your church cultivate a culture built around love. Go to himpublications.com/product/disciple-making-culture.
Until next time.