Making disciples is not about a church program. It’s not one of the things the church does. It is the thing. Jesus’ last words to his followers were, “Go and make disciples.” So if this is the mission of the church, its reason for being, its all-encompassing purpose, then why isn’t this the focal point of all that we do?
I’m not suggesting that the church should never sponsor a Christian concert, or pot-luck supper or an exercise class. All of these things could contribute to its mission. But who can convincingly argue that discipleship is really the focus of most churches?
Of course, it is important that Christian disciples engage in worship. But count how many church members attend a “worship service” and how many attend Sunday School or other Bible study group each week? Now, take a look at these “worship services” and “classes” that are supposed to be discipling our church members. How effective are they at “making disciples?” I would argue, as I have repeatedly in my previous blogs, that they are, in fact, not very effective.
Now that you have counted church members in worship, Sunday School classes and “Bible studies,” count the number who actually engage in some sort of accountable relationship with another Christian. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that these are the ones who will likely experience serious spiritual growth as a follower of Christ. In most churches this number will be extremely small; perhaps this group doesn’t even exist in most churches.
I’ve tried for years to get people involved in these more meaningful discipleship experiences without a great deal of success. Why is this? Why aren’t church members in America more interested in serious discipleship? To answer this fully would take a book but I will offer some brief suggestions in my next blog post.
QUESTION: Does your church offer the kinds of experiences that have a proven track record in developing mature, truly transformed disciples of Jesus Christ? Is becoming a mature transformed disciple of Jesus a priority in your life? Are you personally engaged in an accountable relationship with one or more other Christians? Please respond in the Comments section below.