And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
“This is the Great Commission—the making of disciples. The touchstone of a thriving church is that it is making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 152)
“The essence of ‘vine work’ (people ministry as opposed to “trellis” ministry which includes the upkeep of the building and running programs) is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or more than one). . . . The goal of all Christian ministry, in all its forms, is disciple-making.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 153)
The past two days I have asked us to pray for the children and the senior saints. Today, I am asking us to pray again for our children and senior saints and all in between . . . to be involved in the continuation of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.
When we make the mission of the church simply reaching the lost or growing church attendance or teaching biblical information—or anything other than making full-fledged disciples of Jesus—we form shallow churches, leave people stuck in immature, un-Christlike patterns of living, and fail to be a city set on a hill.
Our mission is disciple making. And making disciples includes two components: evangelism (implied by the reference to baptism in Matthew 28:19) and teaching people to do everything Jesus commanded.
It’s all aimed at helping people become disciples and live as disciples, which means they have to rearrange their life to become like Jesus.
So, here’s a subtle shift in thinking that makes a massive impact on our ministries: Disciple making isn’t something we do; it’s everything we do.
The purpose of every meeting, every program, and every activity of the church is to either help people become disciples or to help them live as disciples.
If we’re making lots of converts who aren’t learning how to do everything Jesus commanded (i.e., live as disciples of Jesus), we’re failing to carry out the mission Jesus gave us.
If we have lots of active, involved church members who are attending, serving, and giving but not becoming like Jesus in character and life mission, then we’re making church members not disciples. And that means we’re failing in the mission Jesus gave us.
We have one mission: make disciples.
Every pastor is a disciple making pastor.
Every volunteer leader needs to see their role as a disciple maker and understand how they can help the people in their charge live as disciples of Jesus.
For every activity we should ask: How does this help people either become disciples or live as disciples?
As Curtis Erskine demonstrated in his substantive blog entitled “Conversion, Theology, and Discipleship,” discipleship is the key criterion by which everything is evaluated.
And this isn’t just true for the church corporately. This is true for each individual disciple as well—we are to live as disciples and seek to make disciples.
Raising kids? One of the greatest discipleship opportunities for our own discipleship and for helping our kids become—and live as—disciples. Martin Luther called family life the “school for character.”
Career? An incredible training ground for becoming like Jesus, and one of the best places to display and impart the way of Jesus to others.
Friends? They are key relationships for spurring one another on to love and good deeds.
Discipleship to Jesus should shape every facet of our life as individuals and every activity in our churches.
It’s everything we do, and it’s the greatest opportunity any human being could ever have because Jesus is the true source of life. (Disciple Making Is Everything the Church Does; John Whitaker)
Would you join with Pastor Andrew and myself in submitting to the Christ within every one of us as believers in Christ by following His mission to make disciples?
- Pray that BCBC would become more and more a disciple making ministry. (Titus 2)
- Pray for a greater understanding of what it looks like to be a disciple for Christ. (The four gospels; the life of Christ)
- Pray for courage, conviction, and concern for people. (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Pray that we will be growing daily in Christ through prayer, scripture, and fellowship with other believers. (2 Peter 3:18)
- Pray that we will encourage one another, carry each other’s burdens, and work together in order to make known the Gospel of Jesus to the children and families who cross ours paths. (I Thessalonians 5:14)
- Pray for our discipleship small groups to grow in such a way that it produces more disciple-makers whose desire would be to spend intentional time in conversation with others in the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Let’s pray expectantly with surrendered hearts! Who’s all in with me?