Devils Advocate – Defusing Discipleship Making Movements.


If you had the other teams play-book, and knew in advance when they would execute those plays, you certainly would have a great advantage.  When it comes to discipleship, discipling, being a discipler, or the overarching subject of making disciples, many presume to have “The Playbook.”   To the writing of these play books, there is no end.  Ecclesiastes 12:12


There are valid and biblical processes in the Making of Disciples.  There are also some questionable and often unbiblical methods.  Sometimes plays are executed under certain conditions that forget the game players and focus on the game itself.  The church sometimes forgets to account for the human or cultural aspects of the players and the various stages of maturity and gifts that each may have. 

We all have OUR play-books.  We need to get a look at the opposing team’s game plan.  I think, though, that we (the church) the body of Christ collectively has the opposing teams unabridged play-book already.  I am not simply saying the “enemy’s” play-book in some wormwoodesque fashion, but also, all of our collective experiences where someone else has tried to dissuade you or diffuse your disciple-making from within the body.  In these past three years since I have started the Making Disciples Page on facebook, and have with others sought to bring a resurgence of  focused discipleship, many have come from within the body to try and debunk Christ’s command for us to Make Disciples and to diffuse & confuse the body of even the most basic concepts of disciple making.

Finally, there are those who are not yet disciples of Christ who are very good at keeping our heads out of the game or putting us in the penalty box, calling off-sides, or even crying “technical foul” at our every forward motion.  All of these actions are included in the other team’s playbook  I know beyond any doubt that all of  you have a page of that playbook that the rest of us might not have.  You can hold on to it for personal gain or release it to the whole team for our mutual benefit.

So, here is the challenge.  Let’s assemble our collective experiences, our play-book pages, and write, so to speak, an online resource, a syncroblog of experiences in the comment section where we all can share what ways friends, enemies, or the indifferent, have sought to dissuade or diffuse your disciple making endeavors.  We have the opposing team’s playbook pages or fragments in our collective hands.  Let’s open them up and share them.


In order to stimulate thinking, here are a few questions:

What have others said or claimed with respect to disciple making that have caused you pause?

What have those outside the church done or said to make you doubt yourself or your efforts?

What tactics would you use, knowing what you know about the church’s weakness to diffuse discipleship.

Please use the comment section below as a running list of “Screwtape” anti-discipleship advice snippets where you play the part of one trying to dissuade, diffuse, or destroy a disciple making movement.  I will keep this blog post updated and assemble it into a single document when done with all reference to the original authors.

Here is my first contribution as an example:

Get people to doubt the validity of the “Great Commission.”   Matthew 28:19,20  First, and always, question the relevance and veracity of the passage itself.  Bring up a lot of greek, you know “well, in the greek, it really says,” and then say that there was an addition to the great commission itself.  Then try to convince others that the passage was only for the disciples themselves and not for us today.  Lastly introduce disciple making counter measures that distract from the means by which Jesus said to make disciples.  Namely, actively and intentionally going, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

0 thoughts on “Devils Advocate – Defusing Discipleship Making Movements.

  1. Bruce Dickey says:

    1. Making disciples: Isn’t that why we hired the pastor? That’s his job.

    2. Everyone I know already goes to one of a dozen churches here in town.

    3. The Evangelism Commitee has this disciple thing covered.

    4. I don’t know enough to disciple anyone.

    5. We are not given authority to evangelize or disciple in our denomination.

  2. 1.) People just don’t have enough time to connect with people. So discipleship is impossible.

    2.) We just don’t have enough people in our church to operate a discipleship program.

    3.) Adults prefer to learn on their own so there’s no need for discipleship

    4.) Knowledge is so prevalent that it’s really not necessary to have a formal discipleship program.

  3. Liam says:

    You may be interested in checking our a resource entitled Training for Trainers (t4t) that was developed by missionaries working overseas. It discusses some of these issues in depth. You can get the book on Amazon or get some of their resources at

  4. Laci Betts says:

    distract and confuse the laity by convincing them that…

    – they must first go to seminary before being qualified to disciple others.
    – they need to read “one more book” on discipleship, and then they will be ready.
    – making disciples as Jesus did is outdated, and the best approach is to have national “disciple-making” conferences where thousands of believers come together to “talk” about making disciples, watch glitzy motivational videos and listen to hipster christian bands.
    – making disciples is a “spiritual gifting” not a commandment, and therefore some folks “just don’t have the gift”.

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