Sunday, May 5

What if...

God-Directed Deviations asks an excellent question,
...what if the singular act of making disciples comprises all of what the church is to be? I don't want to be reductionistic here, but think about it. Jesus told his disciples to "go," "make disciples of all ethnic groups," "teach them to obey all that he commanded," and "baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Within "all that He commanded" is everything the church is supposed to be...
Indeed, what would the nations of the Earth look like today if making disciples was the primary focus of our churches?  I can't help but believe we'd be seeing an unprecedented global harvest on a scale far beyond anything the world has ever seen.

Are we doing what Jesus said to do?

Are we going out to the where the lost live? Or are we planning yet another "come to" activity for ourselves?

Are we making disciples of all ethnic groups? Or are we ministering to the same group of believers who come to our churches?

Are we teaching one another to obey all those things Jesus commanded? Or are we distracted with media events, entertainment, our personal happiness/ambitions, or living the "good life?"

And what did Jesus command? Scanning through the New Testament Gospels one can find a number of things Jesus expects his disciples to do. But since He knew we would have a hard time remembering all these commandments, He did us the favor of summarizing them all in what we know as the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

These can be further reduced for easy recall into three objectives:

1) Love God
2) Love Others
3) Make Disciples

What would our cities, towns, and nations look like if those who claim to follow Christ would simply carry out these three commands of Christ? What would happen if the church began to restructure itself in such a way that her singular focus was upon making disciples who love God and love others? And would repeat the cycle of intentionally going out into the world to make other disciples teaching them to love God and others?

Welcome to the missionary call and task!

This 1:59 video expresses well what we attempt to share above...


hhadams said...

May I be technical for a minute in order to communicate a slight difference in interpretation of Matt. 28:19. The Greek word most often translated “Go’ is not the verb in the sentence. It is a past participle most accurately translated “Going” or “Having gone”. In this context, I believe it has to do with living your life daily and may be translated “As you are going” rather than a command to go.
The verb in the sentence is “disciple”. The verb in most translations is “make” with disciple being the direct object (that which you make). The word “make” is not in the Greek in this sentence. We are commanded to enter into a discipling relationship with others of all ethnicities.
I do not want to be nit-picking, but for me there is a huge conceptual difference between “making disciples” and “discipling”. Making disciples seems to me to be able to be reduced to formulas and programs. Making disciples can be reduced to adding ingredients and following instruction like making a cake. Add this ingredient and that ingredient and mix and bake and you have a cake. We have put many people through discipleship programs without producing many disciples.
When Jesus discipled the Twelve, he entered into a deep and personal relationship with them. He shared his daily life with them. He gave them an opportunity to watch him live and ask questions about how and why he did things the way he did. He instructed them about the things he was doing. He sent them out on mission and then debriefed them about how things had gone.
That is what discipling in all about. It is not taking others through a prescribed course of instructions. It is sharing life with them in deep, personal, life transforming relationships.
Discipling is letting others get close enough to your life that they begin to catch the spirit by which you live.
Thanks for allowing me to express my feelings about how I feel we often miss so much of what Jesus was trying to tell us because we have not been careful about how we translate his words. His words bring life, peace and joy. Let us be careful with them.
Hershel Adams

J. Guy Muse said...


Thank you for your good observations. I don't have a problem with anything you have shared. Let's do it!