We are all familiar with the great commission. Especially during mission trips, we let the words of Jesus be a beckoning for students and adults to participate…”GO! And make disciples of all nations…” yet we also understand this should not be merely a seasonal advertisement at the local department store. Let the words sink in…GO….MAKE DISCIPLES….OF ALL NATIONS.
There is nothing in the phrases of Jesus that reduce the vision to a short-term trip, it’s communicated as a directive in lifestyle and mission. The aim. Jesus asked his disciples and followers to make this their aim and let everything else fall into place…the cost of following Christ is great. In the days of the early church roots it meant leaving your home, not continuing in the family business, traveling great distances to spread the word. The aim was clear.
This mantra of “Disciple: Be One. Make One.” was introduced to me by my youth pastor (Bobby Pruitt/love that guy), it was the slogan of our youth group in which we clarified all activities, retreats and new opportunities through. We were challenged constantly about our “aim” and if it truly was our aim to be a disciple of Christ and if we were living on mission to make other disciples.
Confession. The more I have become involved with vocational ministry the harder it seems to make this my aim. I find myself doing “good” things for the kingdom: recruiting and training leaders, preaching to MS and HS students, creating momentum for parents to feel the support of the church, bettering our environments for kids and students, and dreaming big dreams for the next generation….
but this is not discipleship.
All of these things can be a means to discipleship, but will not suffice as discipleship in the way Jesus intended. He defined discipleship by setting the example. He shared meals with them, spent hours of time discussing life, traveling together, camping trips, excursions, answering weird questions that people had…
Here’s my personal conviction. Over the years in vocational ministry I have had seasons of intentional discipleship. Sometimes I am being intentional to disciple a leader and a student, other times just a student but still other times nobody…zilch, nada, none – but man oh man, that camp we did was awesome!
I think this is something everyone who works for a church or ministry should be aware of, you can be incredibly busy, booked and burned out…for really, really good things. Even though that’s the case, I still think we may miss the mark because of what we’ve been told to aim at by Jesus himself, “GO MAKE DISCIPLES.”
Today I meet with Zach. He’s a middle school small group leader in my ministry. We have been discussing the holy spirit and prayer and will continue down that road for a few weeks. Let me set the record straight by saying Zach reached out to me, not the other way around. It was a conviction moment when he asked, “Would you disciple me?” I quickly answered yes because I knew I needed too…but deep down I quickly went to the craziness of my to-do list to see where this might “fit-in”. Sad.
Make it your aim to disciple someone…always. Never be too busy that a discipleship relationship would take precedent over other important things your church deems as important. If you want your church, your ministry, your flock to be disciples that are making disciples then you need to set the pace for them.
So, I leave you with these questions to wrestle with and pray over today.
- “To whom is Jesus asking you to GO?”
- “Do you let weekly “church stuff” take precedence over a discipleship relationship?”
- Who will you ask to hold you accountable to discipling others?