Most Christians can easily communicate the importance of making disciples, but few can articulate how they are personally engaging in the process. For all our numerous ministry activities, we must reorient to the task of personal discipleship.
The Need for Simplicity
- The task of making disciples is a unified command but requires diverse approaches.
- While we all start as infants in Christ, we each come from different environments with certain dispositions surrounded by unique relationships and carrying distinct baggage to which no other person can entirely relate.
- What was your exposure to religious environments while growing up?
- What certain dispositions make you who you are?
- What are the unique relationships that have shaped your life?
- What distinct baggage do you carry from your past?
- While God uses our vast corporate attempts, we discover within the biblical narrative and within our particular experiences that God moves uniquely with each specific person.
The Great Decommission
- What would you do if Jesus left His specific directions for you in your mailbox?
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, 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
- The Great Commission given to all disciples has turned into the Great Suggestion reserved for the serious few.
- The Great Commission intended for obedience has been altered to the Great Omission associated with negligence.
- The Great Commission urging us to make disciples has drifted to the Great Decommission enabling us to make excuses.
- The Great Commission calls us to make disciples – not converts.
- Evangelism is necessary, but it is not ultimate.
- If our spiritual strategies focus solely on evangelism to the neglect of discipleship, we are doing these immature believers a seismic disservice.
- Our churches have been overrun by spiritual infants caring for one another because many have never matured in their faith.
The Model of Discipleship
- In its simplest form, “disciple” means “learner.”
- Discipleship was a thing before Jesus was a household name.
- Disciples matured by immersing themselves in modeling, equipping, and implementing types of environments.
- A disciple became a follower of the mentor and learned all that he could by observing the mentor’s life up close.
The Neglect of Discipleship
- Apathy – Too many worldly concerns have stolen our hearts and quieted our passions.
- Insecurity – Many of us have imaginary spiritual qualifications in our minds for which we will never qualify.
- Complexity – We have put so many hurdles in front of our efforts that we honestly believe that discipleship is too difficult even to attempt.
- Unavailability – People take time and effort, and we would rather meet with them occasionally than walk beside them throughout life.
- Unclarity – Many people refuse to undertake discipling another because they simply do not know where to begin.
The Task of Discipleship
- In discipleship, we understand that no one has arrived, and we are all works in progress.
- We need simple processes that are simple, adaptable, and repeatable.
- Discipleship is the intentional investment of a believer for the instruction and imitation of another disciple.
- Simply put, discipleship is:
- Evaluating where someone is spiritually
- Assessing where they need to make progress
- Help them get there