70% of Discipleship Programs Will Fail
Scholarly literature reports that 70% of all organizational change initiatives fail. Why is this important for Christian leaders to know? Why do men’s discipleship programs fail? And why is it significant for leaders who want to disciple men?
It’s important for us to understand that 70% of change initiatives fail so we don’t waltz into a new discipleship program wearing rose-colored glasses. Discipling men is hard work. It takes a long time to make a disciple. Men’s discipleship is like trying to break up concrete. The world has such a grip on most men. The cards are stacked against success for any initiative, and possibly more so for men’s discipleship.
Why do so many men’s discipleship programs fail? Many men’s ministries are doomed before they begin, because they do not address the core affections of a man’s heart. Many programs design around the concept, “If we can just get men to ‘do the right things’ then they will be okay.” Let’s call this behavior modification. But that’s not the gospel. And it doesn’t work. A men’s ministry of that type is guaranteed to fall into the 70% of change initiatives that fail. So first, for a new men’s discipleship program to succeed, you have to select a program that focuses on the gospel of Jesus—heart transformation rather than behavior modification.
Why is this significant for leaders who want to disciple men? Let me answer a question with a question: What is the cost if you pick the wrong program? Let’s evaluate. First, whatever program you pick, it will take you 2 or 3 years to build some momentum, then another 2 or 3 years to realize it’s not going to work, another 2 or 3 years when your best leaders have been soured on men’s discipleship (and want nothing to do with it), and another 2 or 3 years to rebuild momentum with a program, plan, and strategy that will work.
What is required for an organizational change initiative to succeed? I’ll unpack this more in the weeks ahead, but the scholarly literature indicates transformational top-down leadership is key, and an implementation plan that can sustain the program by working the changes into the routines of an organization.
So, what’s the cost of picking the wrong leaders or the wrong men’s discipleship program? About ten years of your life and ministry. Ten years down the drain—just for picking the wrong program. And remember, 70% is the average fail rate. In the church, it appears that far more than 70% of change initiatives to start men’s discipleship programs have failed.
This is why I am so passionate about you getting the leadership training you need to disciple men, and helping you pick the right program. I don’t want to see you wasting your time—not to mention the men that will slip through the cracks.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,