Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making Disciples

Jesus made the final command for which we are responsible very simple: make disciples. At a conference I went to recently, there was a break out session on "Creating a Disciple-Making Culture in Rural Churches." I took a lot of notes because it was really good info. I hope that I can help my churches put it into practice.

Why? Well, as I mentioned, Jesus told us to and this is the mission of the church, the vehicle by which to make much of Jesus Christ among the nations. If we don't make disciples, we are disobedient, or best case, we are failing at getting it right. So the question that I have been entertaining in my mind is how you measure or determine with you are producing disciples? How do you qualify or quantify people following Jesus better and more?

We have always been good at counting Sunday School or worship attendance, but attendance to public worship is not necessarily a good indicator of spiritual growth. We've counting baptisms, and we hope that more people begin a walk of faith by obedience to baptism (which is also associated with the Great Commission), but we know that baptisms don't necessarily turn out good followers of Jesus. We can talk about who read their lesson or had their "quiet time" (which by the way, is never mentioned in scripture), and that is our opinion of a really spiritual Christian is, but is it? But subconsciously, and unintentionally, could it be a mechanical, legalistic, checklist of "things on my list of impress God and others" list? AND if we don't know if we are doing a good job at it, how do we plan better, assess it, and make changes (shhhhhh) to get it done?

We don't think about it much in these terms, but not necessarily program-wise, but just as a matter of life, we must if we are doing what Jesus said to do? Even pastors, as I guide the conversation to discipling, if they agree with our mission to make disciples ("yes" is always the reply), and then what's their plan to accomplish it, and how do they know if they are doing it? How do they know if Bill is walking more like Jesus today than one year ago? Studies show that 90% of believers think they are growing, and pastors think 20% of their congregations are growing. "Pastor, how do you plan to do it? How do you know when it's been done?"

I also learned at this conference that I shouldn't give all the answers you. So not that I have them all for this difficult matter, but I've been chewing on it for a while, and have some thoughts. But you need to figure out the answers. Are you making disciples? Are they being made at your local assembly?

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