Disciples – One Goal for us all…
Matthew 28:18-20 “…go into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES”.
In whatever we do, if we are not producing Disciples, we are not following the call of God.
The above statement is easy to say, but not really that easy to do, or at least in many ways it’s not a simple thing to do. Firstly the product “a Disciple”, is actually quite tricky to identify, what actually is a “Disciple”, how do you “make” one, who can “make” one and how do you know when your disciple is done. Questions that actually take a bit of thinking to get answers, and even when you have answers, there could be so many varied definitions on all of the terms that might be used in those answers.
I have been pondering this, being greatly challenged with the question, are we making Disciples. A definition that I have settled with in my own heart, is this –
A disciple is a believer, a follower of Jesus, who is becoming increasingly like Jesus in all ways, which includes preaching the gospel and working miracles, with the aim of producing more disciples. A disciple is a person who is always “being made a disciple”, there is no real point where the work of discipleship is finished while we are on this earth.
For us, we have a lot of people either in church or in bible studies, and I suppose that you really have to say that they are all, at the very least, right at the beginning of the Discipleship process. Some are further along in the process than others.
But then I would break the crowd down into 3 separate groups –
1 – the unsaved…
2 – the saved, but not yet really fruitful, believers, but immature in Christ and their faith (there can be many reasons for this)…
3 – those who are maturing in Chris, change is very obvious and various fruit is starting to be seen in their lives. These are the disciples who are making disciples.
Here is an interesting thought, even the unsaved that we are connected to must be considered to be right at the start of the discipleship process, because they are hearing about Jesus and they are getting exposure to the Word of God. Evangelism must be considered part of the discipleship process, discipleship does not start at salvation, it starts before salvation.
So then what needs to happen is all those people who are at the start of the process, the unsaved, must get truly saved and then start maturing in Christ as His disciple, and start bearing fruit, which is inward character change that leads to an outward expression of their faith. Those who are saved, but not bearing fruit, need to grow in their faith, be encouraged forward in the things of Christ.
All ministers like to talk numbers, get to the bottom line, how many people do you have in church. For us, with actually church and then bible study groups, that would be between 700-800 people, which includes youth, but not children. That’s a reasonable, conservative number, that does not include all of the various people that we work with in other programs.
But if I was to ask myself how many of those people would I consider to be in the 3rd group, disciples who are making disciples, honesty would compel me to say, less than 50, maybe less than 40..!
The figure does not discourage me, but it does challenge me, am I making Disciples. The answer is yes, but then another question arises, how can I/we do it better.
I don’t have a full or complete answer yet, but it’s worth a post, and it’s worth our readers asking themselves the same question, as if this is what Jesus has asked us to do, then this is what we should be aiming at doing.
Maybe you have some suggestions for us here in Baseco.
Bless you – Mark