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Making Disciples

by Jim Altizer, D.W.S.

Do the services I plan help to make disciples?  It’s a hard question to answer, but since Jesus’ parting shot was to “go make disciples,” I thought I should at least ask. Robert Webber said that, ultimately, we must judge our services by their content, rather than by their style.  So . . . what’s the content of the services I plan?

I’ll assume that whoever is preaching is staying close to the Book, and telling it straight, but what about the rest . . . is THAT stuff contributing to the making of disciples?  Are my people acknowledging Christ in others, or just shaking hands?  Are their corporate prayers full of truth, confession, belief and thanksgiving, or just petition?  Do I design opportunities for worshipers to actually offer themselves, or just throw some money into the bag?  Have I figured out orderly ways for my people to minister to one another, or just be nice to each other?  Is Communion really communal; Eucharist really thanksgiving?  I mean, we Protestants are so proud that we don’t represent Christ as still hanging on the cross, so why do my Communion services feel so much like a funeral?

And what about the music?  Are the song-texts that I plant in my people’s hearts and minds worthy of such a “high rent district?”  Do they contain a balance of prayer, lament, thanksgiving, worship and longing, or am I just melodically running my fingers through Jesus’ hair?  (I often catch myself singing about my love for God, and how much I love loving Him.)  Do my people leave the service loving and knowing more about God: being more amazed; more mystified; more convinced; more stupefied at His tri-une person?  Have I led my people to “like” one person of the Trinity more than the others, or have we actually celebrated God in His fullness, and crawled into the middle of His three-ness; His community?

Even Worship Leaders are called to “make disciples.”  So, am I planning content, or just style?

Jim Altizer has a doctorate in worship studies, teaches worship leadership at Azusa Pacific University, and has served as a minister of worship for 22 years. Additionally, his mastery on both the trumpet and flute translates to an unforgettable performance. He now speaks and consults with churches on corporate worship, where his unique sense of humor creates a warmth that audiences love (