Disciple-Making: JOB ONE
Making disciples who will make disciples is job one for TransformativeLife.org.
In 1992, having experienced ministry burnout, I found myself in prison. Yes, I left the ministry and became a teacher in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but teaching, although important, was not my primary responsibility. My first job was to maintain the security of the institution. Institutional security meant, "Don't let any out who shouldn't be out, don't let any in who shouldn't be in, and keep everyone safe inside the fence." As a teacher, I guarded the perimeter fence on foggy mornings (fog watch). I participated in contraband searches and pat-downs of inmates returning from the outside. Once, as a teacher, I was called upon to back up officers as they subdued a belligerent inmate, which ended with one officer going to the hospital. From the first day of training, it was drilled into us that we were security officers first, and it did not take me long to realize that a mediocre teacher who was a good security officer had greater job security than an excellent teacher with poor security habits. Security was job one.
In Christianity, we also have a baseline, a job one. It is disciple making. Although it may meet with some disagreement, I believe that every other job for a Christian on earth is secondary to this one. Making disciples who grow and reproduce is job one for every believer. Therefore, every Christian should be in a disciple-making relationship as a leader/influencer, as an encourager becoming a leader/influencer, or as a follower becoming an encourager and leader/influencer. We get no kudos from God for being good at anything else if we are not using what we are good at to make disciples. Being a member of a church board, committee, or team is not a hall pass from disciple-making. In addition, being a critical component (pastor) in or the founder (church planter) of an organization dedicated to reaching the world for Jesus does not replace the individual's responsibility to make disciples. I am not talking about going to church or
inviting someone to go to church. I am talking about being the church. I am talking about you and me engaging in the soul struggles of others, helping them to find the source of all help to the point they can help others. I am talking about working with the Spirit of God, getting our hands dirty in the heart of an individual cultivating, digging rocks, and pulling weeds so that the Word of God may produce and transform (Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:1-23).
Making disciples who become disciple-makers is Basic Christianity 101, yet many Christians after experiencing new birth are dumped on the steps of the church with the expectation that discipleship will happen if they just get involved. Thus, the church becomes more of a caring orphanage than a nurturing home, replacing individual disciple-making with institutional processes. Just as the best environment to raise children in is the personal care of parents, the best way to make a disciple who will grow up and make disciples is the personal care and accountability of another Christian.
TransformativeLife.org is a website dedicated to making disciples who make disciples. It is my firm belief that in a culture where disciples are becoming disciple makers, churches will naturally emerge. While many existing churches may not be making disciples, making disciples who make disciples will eventually lead to new churches. If this pattern continues, it will create more disciples, more churches, and a movement of God that rivals New Testament times. We can organize Christians to be successful at many good causes while neglecting the BEST cause, which is making obedient followers of Jesus who will reproduce. We could feed the world, heal disease, end war, and stop pain and suffering on earth, but if the people who benefited from our success die and enter eternity without ever knowing their Creator and the extent to which He has gone to know them, it would be a waste. Let's get busy doing what the Risen Lord commanded us to do. Let's go and make disciples, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded, which must include their going and making disciples. Let's make this JOB ONE - joining with God as He starts a disciple making movement.
Over the next few blogs, we will look at JOB ONE in more detail as we lay a foundation for a movement that cannot be explained by anything but GOD.
What is job one for you?
Have good things in your church been crowding out the best?
Where is disciple making on your list of priorities?
Are you in a disciple-making relationship? If so, are you a leader? ...a follower? ...an encourager becoming a leader?
COMING SOON.... We will look at the Motivation, Mission, Magnitude, Means, and Method of a movement.