There are so many methods, practices, programs, or ministries out there today that are about discipleship. The questions most often asked about them are, “Which one is best?” or “Where do we start?”.
But the real question should be, “Are we making disciples the way Jesus intended?“.
The church in America is in serious decline. Very few churches are actually making disciples. An when they do, we need to ask how well they are doing. Are they really, intentionally making disciples that are like those Jesus made?
In Mt 28:19-20, Jesus gives the disciples there final marching orders, most commonly know as “The Great Commission”. That commission, our commission, is to make disciples that who in turn make more disciples.
MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS
Over the years, I have made it a point to ask people if they were ever personally discipled and how it was done. The sad truth is that most had never been discipled. This was even true with those in leadership positions. Most were pretty much left on their own to grow or become a disciple. Almost as if it would naturally happen through osmosis.
The more that I asked people about discipleship, the more discouraged and disappointed I become.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some getting it right and growing in leaps and bounds. That is what keeps me going. Knowing that God is in control and that He keeps His church going, despite our not so perfect efforts.
I have noticed we often get off mission by focusing on separate areas of ministry such as worship services, teaching or training, or evangelism, or a form of ministry outreach. We like to break things up into organized pieces. So we begin to focus specifically on these particular areas.
We have to remember that the mission should be at the heart of all ministry areas. We can focus on an area as long as the mission is still our primary goal and purpose. We can focus on worship and still make disciples. The bottom line is to be making disciples that will carry on the work of Jesus.
OUR MISSION = MAKE DISCIPLES
See the context in Mt 28:16-20.
LACK OF CONSISTENCY
One other issue that keep surfacing is a lack of consistency in the definitions and methods being used. Not just from church to church, but even within a church. Leadership and membership often describe different definitions and methods. When everyone has differing definitions and methods, how can unity be accomplished. It only leads to confusion and eventually division. Ask your leadership, what a disciple is and how to make them. Look at how different the answers are. I have found it to be very rare that the vision, definitions and methods are consistent.
SUMMARY IN REVIEW
Let’s review what was just said.
In answer to the question “Are we making disciples like Jesus intended?”, in all honesty, as a whole, I must say, No!
Is there a lot of confusion and misdirection when it comes to discipleship or making disciples. I must say, Yes!
Is there a way to get it right? We must look to God’s way. The way Jesus demonstrated it to His disciples. And finally how Jesus’ disciples continues the process by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We are naturally left with another question,. “How did Jesus make disciples?”. Well, that the subject of the next series of articles.
How Did Jesus Make Disciples?
What Does “Making Disciples” Mean to You?