New Disciple-Making Wineskins

Old and New Wineskins

No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. Luke 5: 37-38

Jesus came to do a new thing.

Jesus’ primary opposition came from the people who did not have the capacity in their minds and hearts to accept his new work. They were bound to the old and lifeless way of doing things.

I want to experience the power, the beauty, and the abundance of many disciple-making movements! If you are reading this, you want to see disciple-making unleashed as well. I am convinced that the only way we will realize new disciple-making outcomes is to courageously step away from the old and familiar wineskins and venture toward the new. I will share two essential characteristics of the new disciple-making wineskins in this post.

It should be said, however, that these new wineskins are not really new at all. The wineskins I will describe are battle tested and have proven reliable throughout the centuries in Jesus’ revolution of shalom. These new wineskins will possibly seem unfit for the current task in your eyes, but that is the nature of new things. We, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, do not easily discard what we know for things we do not yet know. This is an invitation for you to hold on loosely to what you know about disciple-making and consider how Jesus may shape that understanding in the near future.

The two primary characteristics of these new wineskins are:

  1. Spiritual Outcomes receive a higher focus than spiritual content.
  2. Leadership Development is valued over community.

I was not prepared to hear these two things 15 years ago.

If I would have read this article back then I would have “unfollowed” and blocked whoever wrote them. These two statements seem to devalue truth and community, which are understood as the most staple components of disciple-making.

I promise you… however, that these new wineskins do not devalue truth and community at all. In Jesus’ new wineskins, His truth is more important than ever. In Jesus’ new wineskins, community is richer than ever.

How does this work?

Spiritual content is required to accomplish spiritual outcomes. Community is required to develop new leaders. Jesus provided both spiritual content and community, but they served a purpose instead of becoming the purpose.

Old wineskins: spiritual content and community are the purpose.

New wineskins: spiritual content and community serve the greater purposes in Jesus’ mission such as spiritual transformation and leadership development.

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