dmakers-logo SHRUNKDisciple-Makers: The Keys to Growth is a project created by Liz Linssen that was born out of a desire to reverse the tide of declining Christian faith in Wales, and to see churches growing again. This course and its resources are completely free to church leaders in Wales and is designed to train lay leaders in the skill of making disciples. Disciple-Makers comprises of:

  • Five video sessions addressing important topics
  • A course manual for trainees
  • Powerpoint presentation for the course leader.

All of the above can be downloaded at no cost from the Disciple-Makers website:

Understanding Church Growth

Many churches in Wales are struggling for survival. Most months a newly-closed church building comes on the market for sale, which are often converted into houses or restaurants. How did the church in Wales arrive at such a poor state of decline? What are the core issues of the religious crisis in Wales? That is what this project, Disciple-Makers, seeks to address.

Even in churches that are experiencing numerical growth, in interviews with church pastors within Wales and England, a reoccurring concern that is emerging is knowing how to move beyond numerical growth and encourage spiritual growth within the lives of its members. Even when evangelism programmes, such as Alpha, have been successful in bringing in new members and converts into churches, the need to foster spiritual growth and maturity in their lives poses a huge challenge for many leaders. Knowing how to take new believers from new birth in Christ to maturity and life transformation is often neglected. 

When it comes to growing churches then, it is clear that we must also take into consideration other important aspects of growth in addition to numeric.

The Commission to Make Disciples

In our quest to grow churches in Wales, it is useful to remind ourselves of the mission and task Jesus Christ entrusted to His Church. After all, how can churches embark on a plan of growth if we are not sure of Christ’s Mission?

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus Christ, just prior to His ascension, entrusted His church with what became known as the Great Commission:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything l have commanded you. And surely l am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus Christ did not commission these followers to make converts to the Christian faith only, but to make disciples; to baptise and instruct new believers in the knowledge of and obedience to Christ’s teachings. But what exactly is a disciple? Is every person who walks through the doors of a twenty-first century church (whatever form it takes) considered a disciple? When a person signs a decision card to become a Christian or who prays the ‘salvation prayer’, is he or she then a disciple? These are some of the questions we’ll be tackling through the training course run at Bethel Community Church.