It’s hard to arrive at your destination when you’re not sure where you’re going. As the church, we’ve been given a charge and we need to stay focused and not get pulled to the left or right by lesser things. That means setting a distinct course with a clear route. Certainly, minor adjustments will need to be made as we go, but the destination never changes.
At my church, we are reframing how we present how we do what we do. Of course, our mission is the same as that of every other church, bar none: Disciple people. I think it’s important to note that the mission of the church is not to “make” anything. I know, I know, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” At least, that’s how it’s rendered in our English translations. The Greek word we translate “make disciples” is actually one word, and it means “disciple ye.” A more accurate translation might be, “As you go, disciple people of all nations (or, all kinds of people).” The church appears to have given itself a new charge as it tries to “make” things for God, on His behalf. We try to make converts, make believers, and make disciples out of non-believers by leading them to “make a decision for Jesus,” as if there’s only one to be made. Jesus was clear that he would build his church, and that we are to feed his sheep. Our charge is to simply disciple people — whether they’re believers or not — because God is doing the making.
Conviction, repentance, and salvation are the work of God. We cannot manufacture those things. They are gifts given to men by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The command given to us is to disciple the people God brings into our lives; to make the most of the opportunities He provides … regardless of the results we may or may not see. Outcomes are God’s realm. Obedience is ours. We follow Christ, and admonish, urge, encourage, and compel others to follow along with us in life’s peaks and valleys. We all need mentors, a Barnabas who pours into us and who pushes and stretches us. And we all need a Timothy and Titus, those we pour into and mentor. Without these inlets and outlets we stagnate and dry up. The life of the Church is Christ, and the will of the church is Christ’s purpose. Our part in that great purpose is to disciple others. So here’s the big question: What is a disciple, and how do you disciple people?
Like I said, you can’t arrive at your destination if you’re not sure where you’re going. So, where are you going? The charge to you is clear. Disciple people. The question is, as a leader in Christ’s church, how will you do it, and how can you know you’re being faithful? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.