Monday, March 4

What would you do differently if you knew you only had three more years of ministry?

Jesus accomplished the Father's will and did so in three years of ministry. Can we claim the same?

Unconsciously, most of us think we have a life time in which to carry out the Lord's work. But what if we were guaranteed to having only three more years of ministry? What would become our priority? What would we do differently?

I don't know about you, but for me, making disciples that make disciples would be my priority.

Another related thought that continues to haunt me is that if just ONE CHURCH of 200 members were to commit to making ONE disciple per year, and were to faithfully carry out that task--with those discipled each year doing the same--by the time of our retirement in 15 years, theoretically THE ENTIRE WORLD would be followers of Christ.

Yet we can't seem to even win/disciple ONE per year!

The problem is we THINK we are doing what Christ commanded, but aren't. To illustrate, just ask for a simple show of hands next Sunday of those who in the past five years have won a single person to Christ and made discipling them a priority. If there are 5 out of 200 (including the full-time paid professional church leaders) who have done so, I would be shocked!

The fact is, we are NOT making disciples. We are doing a lot of good 'churchy-type' activities, but winning the lost, and making disciples is not amongst the top priorities of most churches out there.

What does a church look like that indeed has evangelism/discipleship, church planting, and missions as a priority?

I visited one a few weeks ago. There were about 20 adults present (10% of the typical church mentioned above), along with children running in and out of the room. The church 'service' was anything but orderly, with everyone talking at once about the previous week's experiences of:

* lost family and friends they are praying for
* people being discipled and related questions they came up during the time together
* how and where to purchase follow-up materials for people won that week
* logistics for an evangelism blitz the coming weekend
* funny stories that took place in the new house church being planted across town
* prayer for a couple that were going out that week to visit a family
* needing more money from the collected offerings to buy Bibles for new believers
* several testimonies of God's opening doors for them to 'preach the Gospel'
* a missions report about what God is doing in another Latin American country

I am not exaggerating. The entire church 'service' was what I have described. There were a few songs sandwiched in, along with a short teaching from the Gospel of Matthew, but the rest was everyone pumped-up about their excitement of being on-mission with God.

This is a church that is truly missional in every sense of the word. They aren't looking to attract people to their tiny garage church, they are a vibrant church on mission with God, taking the church out to where the world is dying in its sin. I don't know about you, but that is the kind of church I want to belong to!

It would seem most of us (including me) are greatly distracted by all the programs, buildings, financial needs, meetings, and paraphernalia of Christendom that we have lost sight of the simple mandate of Christ to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.

What do you think? What would you do if you knew you only had three more years of ministry?


Bob Cleveland said...

Same things I'm doing now.

J. Guy Muse said...


Thanks for your example. With all that goes on around us, it is hard to stay focused on those things that really matter. Making disciples is definitely one of those top priority matters that Jesus expects his followers to obey.

Tim A said...

This is a tough question. Very convicting. However it could be asked What would you do differently if you knew when Jesus would return and it was within 3 years? God has not told us when for specific reasons. Not sure exactly what they are but I can guess. I think God wants us to increase our obedience not because of a deadline but because of an increase in love.

J. Guy Muse said...


I agree with you that we should already be doing what it is we would do if we KNEW FOR SURE that Christ was coming back in three years, and do so out of love, rather than a deadline. But, most of us live life like time doesn't really matter. I believe we are in the last days and if ever there was a time to get serious about the Great Commission, it is now.

David said...

Guy, great post. I'd like to translate it and post it on my site, of course with reference that it's your post. Are you okay with that?
We just had a great training time with Ying Kai.
Greetings from Germany!

J. Guy Muse said...


No problem with translating and using. Glad you find it helpful. I envy you getting to be with Ying Kai. That must have been quite an experience!

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