I have been personally and professionally challenged with Christ’s call to make disciples. For too long I have reduced “disciple making” to being only about information and not about imitation and transformation. I’ve been through countless Bible studies on discipleship—filling in all the blanks, reading through all the printed scripture, and thinking great thoughts about all the application points—only to put the book back in my bookshelf while I’m on to the “next thing.”
Have I made disciples? Only a handful. I’ve preached many more sermons, taught far more bible studies, and led many more church meetings than I’ve made disciples. And I have invested (wasted?) so much more time on the former than on the later—until lately. During these past three years, my ministry as a “pastor” has been redirected (I might say “reclaimed”) from solely leading the organized church toward that of making disciples. It’s not that the church doesn’t need structure or organization; it’s just that church structure or organization shouldn’t be that which receives the most attention, from me or from anyone else within the congregation.
We need to heed our Savior’s call, and live and serve his first and final instruction to us to make disciples. And our world is ready for this. Have you noticed how many people do not like the organized church? But I bet they’d be glad to know a friend who they know loves them and is actively investing in their own good.
And I’ll bet that you’re ready for this, too. Don’t you long for relationally-based Christian living? Investing in your friends, and being invested in by them, rather than scurrying from one church event to the next? Jesus didn’t give us a charge to make disciples that he didn’t intend for us to achieve. But I’m guessing there might be little room left in your crowded schedule or your circle of friends for you to make a serious effort toward disciple making.
Perhaps this little article is meant for only a few; for the few who are ready to walk in the pathway of Jesus. Might that be you. Hear this gracious invitation from your Lord Jesus: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30 Message).