Over the past thirty plus years the primary strategy (time, effort and money) of churches has shifted more and more toward the large church gathering on Sunday morning and less and less on the relational side of making disciples. An example of this is with most denominations and church-planting networks a new church isn’t considered “launched” until regular Sunday morning services are being held.
Recent studies of churches as well as our culture as a whole indicate that the church hasn’t been doing a very good job at making disciples. The really good news is the number one question churches are exploring today is how do we engage people in a way that does truly make disciples. A great place to begin is by studying the Gospels to explore the way Jesus made disciples.
First, he invited the twelve into a relationship. He invited them to be with him in the most intimate and vulnerable times of his life on earth. They saw him at his happiest and at his saddest moments. They were with him when he healed the multitudes and when he confronted the Pharisees. They participated as he fed thousands sitting on a hillside and knew rejection with him as his own hometown turned on him. They were with him when he raised Lazarus from the dead and when Judas betrayed him. With sadness and confusion they saw him crucified and with renewed hope and passion they witnessed his resurrection. They saw him model redemption following his betrayal as he confronted Peter by the lake. He gathered them through relationships and it was through those relationships that he kept them.
He gathered them through relationships and it was through those relationships that he kept them.
Second, from the very beginning he invited them not to just sit and learn until they knew enough, but rather to journey with Him as he taught, modeled and released them to do what they saw him do. He trusted them to go and share the good news before they even fully understood all that meant. It was a “go and send” model – exactly what he meant when he commissioned the Church in Matthew 28:19-20. If you will look at a more literal translation of this passage it says something like this…
All authority is given to me in heaven and earth. I am transferring this authority to you so that as you go you too will make disciples of people everywhere. As you find and begin making disciples here is what I want you to do: First, help them to identify with me. The indicator of this identity shift is to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Second, teach them in the same way I taught you to live the life the Father invited you into. Use words but more than that model for them the way to live in the same way I have modeled for you. Thirdly, release them in the same way I am releasing you right now to go out and make other disciples. Always remember – I will continue to be with you, and go with you, as you go and send others and then with them as they go and send others and then with them as they go and send…
How is your church making and multiplying disciples?
For the past thirty-nine years Wayne has served the Church in local churches ranging in size from 50 to 4,500, in two denominational roles as well with an international missions organization. Through these varied experiences God has developed in him a deep passion for His Church and the leaders that lead her.
Wayne’s calling is see the re-missionalization of the Church in North America! MORE>>