One thing we can all agree on is that the undisputed and universal mission of the church is to love God, love people, and make disciples. The Great Commandment and the Great Commission give us our marching orders. Our mission will never change, and we are charged to carry it out until the end of the age. Yet, I am intrigued that even after two thousand years of history how that many average church members struggle to define what it means to be a disciple or even how to make one. This lack of awareness is reflected in the research discovery that 1 out of 3 evangelicals believe that involvement in a local congregation is necessary for spiritual growth. This may answer why only 1 out of 3 people on our membership rolls ever show up on Sunday morning in our churches. If discipleship matters and disciples are what we are commissioned to make, then we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of our calling as followers of Jesus. It is critical that we have a clear target in mind when defining what a disciple is as well as a well-defined and intentional strategy of how we can help our congregants work together to make disciples. As we look to Jesus as our model, he invited people to “come and see” (John 1:39-41), “follow me” (John 1:43), “abide with me” (John 15:4-5), and “go and tell” (Luke 8:38-39). As disciples we can use that same strategy. Paul commended people to “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Jesus made clear in the Great Commission that obedience to all his commands is the mark of a disciple. This is passed on from one disciple to another by instruction and mutual accountability. Paul instructed Timothy to take the things he has… 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). This is our mission; this is our calling – make disciples who make disciples. Next week I will share how developing a pathway is key to doing this successfully.
– Dr. Gary Mathes