Church leaders involved in the Disciplemaking Alliance (Singapore) are "bound by one common heartbeat and passion: We want to see churches in S’pore rising so that they can rally behind the Great Commission and make disciples", says Chairman of the Alliance Rev Tan Kay Kiong. All photos courtesy of the Disciplemaking Alliance (Singapore).

True or false: All churches are disciple makers. Aren’t they?

Not necessarily, say a group of pastors from different denominations who have come together to form the new Disciplemaking Alliance (Singapore).

“We have often mistaken discipleship as being the same as disciplemaking,” Rev Dr Keith Lai, former President of the National Council of Churches of Singapore and one of the founding leaders of the new Alliance, told Salt&Light.

“We assume that as long Christians are kept busy with lots of Bible studies, small group participation, listening to good sermons, worship, fellowship and a bit of evangelism, these will somehow automatically produce disciplemakers.

“But just doing ‘discipleship stuff’ does not necessarily reproduce disciples who will go on to make disciples. There has to be an intentional step-by-step coaching process to help disciples become disciplemakers.”

Paul’s call for Christian leaders to “teach others also” is the foundational verse that guides the Alliance.

Adds fellow founding leader, Pastor Jason Lim, from Gospel Light Christian Church: “A shoe factory can be famous for its many workers, or its big building, or its convenient location, or its caring HR policies, but if it is not making shoes, it has failed.

“A local church can be famous for its large congregation, or its impressive building, or its strategic location, or its mutual care for one another, but if we are not making disciples, we will also fail in the Great Commission from our Lord. It is absolutely imperative that we make disciples who will make disciples. This is why the church exists.”

Are we true to The Great Commission?

Enter Disciplemaking Alliance (Singapore), “a community of disciplemakers who enables one another to follow Jesus, multiply disciplemakers and plant disciplemaking churches”.

“One of the convictions as we begin the DA is to begin on our knees, to begin in prayer,” said Rev Tan Kay Kiong at the launch service where the leadership team was consecrated. “That sense of dependence on God and believing that 120 in the Upper Room made all the difference matters to our heart.”

Launched on March 7 at Singapore Life Church, and consecrated with prayer by some 120 church leaders and pastors present, the Alliance calls for all local pastors and churches to step forward to be supported and mentored in the urgent task of disciple making.

“Disciplemaking is not a new idea. Yet we can forget to hinge all we do in making disciples who make disciples.”

“There are some 700 churches in Singapore right now,” said Rev Tan Kay Kiong from Covenant Evangelical Free Church and the Chairman of the Alliance. “Praise God in such a small city we have 700 churches!

“But the percentage of Christians in Singapore has plateaued since 2010. Singapore churches have reached a phase that require us to collaborate more intentionally both for church health and for becoming a sending force to disciple the nations.

“One key aspect of church health is whether we are true to Jesus’ commission to make and multiply disciple makers. Disciplemaking is a command given by Jesus. It is not a new idea. Yet we can be lulled into running church programmes and events, and forget to hinge all we do in making disciples who make disciples.”

“We come back to a fundamental verse by Paul that is often the missing strategy of churches: “… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

The mandate and the mission

In his message at the launch of the Alliance, Rev Edmund Chan, who is Advisor to the group, said: “What is the difference between discipleship and disciple making?

Rev Edmund Chan praying over the leadership team of the Disciplemaking Alliance at the consecration service on March 7.

“Discipleship is the mandate. Disciple making is the mission.

“Discipleship is the alignment. Disciple making is the assignment.

“In other words, we have to understand that discipleship is about following Jesus and disciple making is reproducing followers of Jesus. When we commit ourselves to the Great Commission to disciple Singapore, we have to start by being disciples.

Church leaders praying over the team and mandate of the DA.

“We have to ask the question: What are we making and multiplying disciples for? The answer is that we might mobilise disciples for world evangelisation.

“The world is upon the heart of God. This is the why we do what we do. It is a vision for the lost, a vision for the world.

“Anything less than a global vision is not worthy of a global God.”

(Read Rev Edmund Chan’s full message here.)

Interested in joining the Disciplemaking Alliance (Singapore)?

The Discipleship Alliance’s (DA) foundational values are captured in the acrostic F.I.R.M.:

  • Formational – transforming into Christlikeness
  • Intentional – prioritising disciplemaking in every season of life
  • Relational – investing life-on-life
  • Missional – multiplying disciple makers and disciplemaking churches

“Our conviction is that biblical disciplemaking is formational, intentional, relational and missional. We welcome all Christian disciple makers who share these values to join this community,” said Rev Tan.

“In the immediate future, the DA will focus its plans on two key categories: Enable pastors and leaders to become disciplemaking pastors and leaders; and enable churches to become healthy disciplemaking churches,” said Rev Tan. “Further on, the DA will also work with churches on church planting.

“The primary mode of the DA in serving the churches and leaders will be relational rather than programmatic. Churches and leaders are in varied states of development. So the approach will be bespoke. It takes a journeying process of communal spiritual discernment, intentional planning and phased development.

“Secondly, there will be equipping seminars, workshops or sharing sessions in smaller settings with lots of opportunities for deeper awareness and application.

“Thirdly, disciplemaking conferences will provide another space for leaders to catch a vision on disciplemaking or be further equipped.”

Pastors and church leaders are welcome to join this community by filling in this form. Those who join this community will be kept updated on growth opportunities to participate in and will receive new resources on disciplemaking.

For more information, you can contact the Alliance at [email protected], call +65 6360-1649, or visit their website here.

“If we have an urgent task to reach the lost and to disciple the nations and fulfil the Great Commission, then we have to understand the need and the commitment to a unity movement – the Great Collaboration,” said Rev Chan. “We cannot do it alone.”

“Anything less than a global vision is not worthy of a global God”: Rev Dr Edmund Chan challenges churches to go deep into disciplemaking

About the author


Salt&Light is an independent, non-profit Christian news and devotional website with a passion for kingdom unity, and a vision of inspiring faith to arise in the marketplace.