Our recent emphases, both in laity and men’s ministries, have been on a) discipleship (such as LifeBuilders Essentials) and b) relationships (such as our team concepts.) We’ve also tried to reduce dependence on just programs to carry the work of the church.
Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek, underscores the importance of all of these in the recent article Willow Creek Repents?:
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
The article continues as follows:
In other words, spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.