Several years ago I was able to take part in an event that would rock my world. I participated with the church where I served as pastor in a mission trip to Mexico in which we were to go and “help” and “encourage” a small local church in a community of roughly 5000 people. What happened was not on my agenda. Don’t you love it when God does that? What I discovered was a small church with little resources and whose people lived in relative poverty and what we as Americans would consider little means, who simply ran circles around my church in the area of personal and corporate discipleship. These wonderful brothers and sisters were not caught up in trying to grow a large church or attempting to be “relevant” or “cutting edge,” they simply invested their lives into the life of their community and made it their purpose of making disciples! Even their vernacular reflected this. They did not go “visiting,” they went “disciple-making”, they did not have small groups, they gathered in “disciple” groups. Their pastor, who was not theologically trained and lacked the so-called ministerial skills of American pastors (my tongue is firmly in my cheek) was
What I discovered was a small church with little resources and whose people lived in relative poverty and what we as Americans would consider little means, who simply ran circles around my church in the area of personal and corporate discipleship
consumed with the task of making disciples. He shared with me that it was not unusual for those who had received Christ within the same week they did so, to have been approached by a disciple-making team and that when they came to church to be baptized they would actually bring two or three new believers with them that they had already begun to disciple their selves! WOW! What did they possess that we do not and what were they doing that we seem oblivious to? It is simple. They understand the clear biblical call to make disciples. They also had no conceptional idea that they could not or should not do so. What was remarkable to me is that I had at that time been a pastor for 20 years and had missed this. My calling was not to grow great churches or lead great programs but to invest my life into people and encourage them and help them invest their lives into others. This is what Jesus did plain and simple. He poured Himself into the lives of the 12 and commanded them to do the same. I am still in the process of figuring it out, and as I find myself in a new ministerial assignment with the opportunity to help my new church develop a philosophy and culture of disciple-making, I am excited about what God will do! In the next few posts, we will be looking at and investigating what discipleship means and what it looks like. The question is simple, and the choice is ours. Do we wish to be paid “religionist” and habitual practitioners of a western form of Christianity that if not unbiblical is at the very least extra-biblical in many areas of its expression? Or do we want to merely obey the Lord and make disciples of the nations? To me, it is a no-brainer!
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