Exponential Conference 09 – Matt Chandler on Making Disciples

Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of The Village Church, Highland Village, TX, led a great session on The Leader’s Capacity to Make Disciples.

Matt 28:16 Teaching them to OBEY, OBSERVE all that I commanded. Chandler contends that these were followers, not converts. They were actively following Christ. Today’s churches lack a system to hold the people of faith accountable to following the Lord.  We need to adopt a “disciple and send” mentality, rather than the “convert and retain” that we ue.

While many churches keep people busy going to things, empirical data doesn’t show disciples being made. Below are what Chandler feels are the two models of discipleship that exist.

Mechanical/Linear Model

Usually in a classroom with a given timeframe.
Programs quickly become sacred
Stop measuring whether people are discipled, tend to just count the # going through the program


  • No better/easier way to disseminate info
  • Has historical success
  • Tons of resources/curriculum (Google Christian lit)
  • Easy to measure success
  • Easy to motivate people to join and participate
  • Lends itself to strong, historic, orthodox theology


  • Hard to sustain
  • Starts Big; Dies out quickly
  • Can lead to coldness
  • Lends itself to a type of person
  • Mechanical, linear type A people
  • Can lead to the ‘theology police’
  • Can lead to arrogance and stupidity

Organic Relationship Model

Discipleship happens through relationships; less structured


  • Produces belonging; built relationally
  • Tends to appeal to a broader personality types
  • Most people not linear


  • Organically we’re sinful – maturity doesn’t just ‘happen’; arrogance to youth
  • Huge schism between generations on models

Try to strike a balance between Mechanical and Organic

1.   The air that your church breathes must be the air that celebrates transformation and change
  • Regular testimonies – but include every stage, even unbelievers People will be able to better relate and not feel unworthy
  • Teaches maturity, growth, movement of ALL stages
  • Hope comes from showing struggle w/faith
2.    Need on/off ramps
  • Seasons of whole church study in groups followed by less structured opportunities
3.    Keep flexible
  • Keep only the mission end goal sacred!
4.    Needs to be a relational aspect to everything, even the mechanical
  • Home groups
  • Teach application by asking the How? and When? questions.

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