Pastor's Desk

Mission: Why We Don't Disciple


Unfortunately, many churches have come up short in fulfilling the Great Commission by only understanding this mission to be fulfilled through evangelism. Jesus did not say, "Go and make converts;" rather, He commanded the disciples to "make disciples." In other words, conversion summarizes merely the first step in the process of fulfilling the Great Commission. Back in 1984, Bill Hull lamented in his book New Century Disciplemaking, "There is probably no other more primary matter of negligence in the Church today than our failure to follow the Lord's command to develop disciples" (10). Although I could find a similar quote for just about any other aspect of church ministry, his lament contains a nugget of truth. 

Why is it that so little discipleship takes place among believers today? Briefly pondering this question led me to the following four reasons. Maybe you can resonate with some of these; some of which might sound very similar to last week's post.

Busyness. Let's face it: we all are busy - maybe too busy. How in the world could we tack on another time consuming activity to our already overbooked schedule? It seems that the average family has little or not time for anything other than the busy schedule of sports, school, tutoring, music lessons, and the gym. Let me just offer two thoughts. First, we always make time for that which we deem important. It is not a matter of time; it is a matter of making time. Second, if your busy schedule causes you to neglect areas that God has called you to, mabye you should take the time to reevaluate your priorities.

Lack of KnowledgeSome of us might have the desire to disciple but have no clue what the first step in the process might be. This little video provides a simple, basic, biblically accurate description of New Testament discipleship. It might sound too simplistic, but the reality is that discipleship is quite simple, composed of both instructing and modeling. If you are needing resources to help aid in disicpleship, ask your pastor or church leaders.

Sense of Inadequacy. Many Christians feel they are inadequate to disciple others. They feel that they have too many flaws for another person to follow their way of living. This might be the case, but in reality, when they think this they forget that their pastor also has plenty of room for growth in his own Christian walk. Although none of us are perfect, this cannot be an excuse to fail to fulfill such an important mission. The call to discipleship is not a call to perfect every nuance of systematic theology and then impart this to another believer. Find a less mature believer, and simply start showing them what it means to follow Christ at work, or as a wife or husband, or in school . . .

Worldliness. No, I'm not talking about the clothes you wear, the music on your iPod, or the location of your piercings. The biblical idea of worldliness digs much deeper. It addresses your mindset which determines how you act. To be wordly is to think like the world. For American Christians, worldliness rears its ugly head in our rugged individualism. Rather than committing to being discipled and discipling other believers, we are tempted to refrain from biblical fellowship and meaningful relationships in the church, developing the mindset that one's Christianity is simply a matter between oneself and God. Simply put, that is worldliness. God, in His sovereign plan, saved the elect to become a living, breathing, growing body. To be called into Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. 

What is keeping you from discipleship?

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