We hear the term discipleship a lot in Christian circles, but do we really understand what it means and why it’s important? And is it possible that discipleship can  play a role in keeping people in the church rather than walking away?

Why People are Leaving the Church and How Discipleship Plays a Role in Keeping Them with Madge Obaseki

Subscribe to the podcast here

Become a Podcast Partner & Access Bonus Content

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase via one of the links, we will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to support the costs of running the podcast and blog.


In this episode of the Discipleship Series, Holly and I are talking with Madge Obaseki, a healthy growth advocate for churches in the UK and around the world. We’re diving into how Madge went from being burnt out in church to becoming passionate about discipleship. We also discuss ways that churches can practically implement discipleship and how this will impact them.


In addition, Madge shares about her research around why people are leaving the church and some things that churches can do to reduce this trend. We dive into the issue of small groups and their importance in the discipleship process–but also why they should not be the only discipleship method. Madge also gives her perspective on whether new Christians should be plugged into serving right away or not.


Key Points Discussed:

  • Madge’s Leadership Journey [4:50]
  • Why Discipleship [12:00]
    • Madge’s passion for discipleship
    • How Madge defines discipleship
  • Practical steps church’s can implement [20:00]
    • Have a foundational level
    • Go beyond Bible study
    • Show in how you live your life
    • Mentoring program
    • Small groups
  • Why People are Leaving the Church [31:09]
    • Very complex issue
    • Leadership style
    • Lack of discipleship
    • Leaders need to be trained in leadership, not just have a strong gifting
    • We need to learn to communicate with the culture more effectively
  • How Small Groups Play a Role in Discipleship [42:30]
    • Churches shouldn’t resist having small groups
    • Have small groups mirror the sermon series
      • Have people go deeper and learn how to study the Bible
    • Small groups keep people connected during the week
    • Leaders need to stay on top of their growth and knowledge so they are teaching the right things
      • We need sound knowledge of the Word
      • Make sure our preaching is not just our favorite Bible verses
  • Discipleship Before Serving? [50:00]
    • Example of having a child in the kitchen with you learning to cook
    • Ideal to have them take the foundational level class first
    • Exception for those who have been long-term believers
  • Leaders are Learners [53:26]
    • She reads a variety of books from different types of authors
    • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins — because she wants to understand what others are saying about the Christian faith
    • Theological Reflection – importance of journaling
    • Ravi Zacharias
    • Keeping up with current cultural issues


Key Quotes from the Episode:

  • “As a church, we should be in the position of impacting society as a whole.”
  • “Discipleship is about life-long learning.”
  • “Small groups are absolutely essential.”
  • “We have such a massive responsibility as leaders.”
  • “I need to understand apologetics–how to defend our faith. I can’t do that if I don’t understand who is saying what about my faith.” 

Connect with Madge Obaseki:

Leadership Self-Assessment

With a leadership career spanning nearly 27 years in business, public sector and non-profit & faith organisations, Madge Obaseki is always excited to use her transferrable skills and knowledge in different situations. Amongst her many achievements, Madge has been a professional jazz singer, co-writer and producer of the musical play Legends of the Blues, she’s hosted her own radio talk show and project managed high-quality events for business and faith organisations. Madge is also a serial entrepreneur having run a design business, contract catering and agency supplying artists! This woman is not afraid of new bucking trends and fresh experiences!

Having successfully completed a degree in Ministerial Theology, as a mature student, she is now an ordained Minister. While at university she was awarded the prestigious Guild Prize for Leadership for demonstrating strong leadership. Madge is referred to as the ‘healthy growth advocate’ because of her work with churches and ministries to address the challenges of engagement and retention in the 21st century. She works with faith organisations in the UK, USA, Ireland and West Africa.


Become a Podcast Partner & Receive Bonus Content

Want to hear what Madge says about the habits & routines that keep her healthy as a leader, burnout, and her advice for new leaders? Just sign up as a podcast partner and you’ll receive bonus content every month that isn’t heard on the regular episodes. 

Go here to sign up: http://estherlittlefield.com/support

Stay Connected:

Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. Click here to find all the options where you can find the podcast.

Join our Purposeful Leadership Facebook group! In the Facebook group, we can chat about what you need as a leader, what your challenges are, as well as celebrate the wins. This is a great community to learn and grow together. We want to get to know YOU.

[convertkit form=5179709]

Other Ways to Connect with Esther and the Christian Woman Leadership Podcast:


Pin it for later:

Why People are Leaving the Church and How Discipleship Plays a Role in Keeping Them with Madge Obaseki