Last weekend we held our 7th Art of Discipleship Training. Nearly 60 people were equipped with vision and tools to make disciples who make disciples. Each of these people were commissioned with the challenge of starting their own d-groups by January 15th. We are praying that God would move powerfully, creating a spiritual multiplication to the ends of the earth.
The key passage that we focused on was Matthew 28:18-20, understanding it as the blueprint for disciple making.
And Jesus came and said to them,"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold,I am with you always, to the end of the age."
In this blueprint Jesus tells us exactly what he wants us to do, and how he wants us to do it. What we are doing is Making Disciples of all nations. How we are doing it is Going, baptizing, and teaching people to obey Christ's commands. In short, to make disciples we must be going where we go in our daily lives on purpose. The purpose is to build relationships and share the gospel with lost people. The "going" part of making disciples is intentional evangelistic relationships. Making disciples starts with asking ourselves, "Where is my mission field?" Where is the place I am frequently going to engage lost people with conversations about Jesus? The other important piece of making disciples is to invest our lives into converts, teaching them to bring all of their lives under the authority of Christ, including his command to make disciples of all nations. This "teaching them to obey" part of making disciples is called discipleship. A "life on life relationship, teaching people to know and follow Jesus, for the purpose of them replicating the process with others." We will never be able to truly mobilize the church for the mission of Christ until we take this command seriously. Not just winning people to Christ, but then intentionally training them and equipping them with the tools they need to become ministers of the gospel themselves. These two things together, evangelism and life on life discipleship, are the vision Jesus gave to the church. You can't have one without the other, and one always leads to the other. Together they are the blueprint for making disciples.
Two things we want to be sure to notice in all of this.
Keep your eyes on the bookends - This Great Commission passage has bookend statements that are absolutely vital to the entire thing. The first statement Jesus makes is this, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore..." Jesus starts by reminding us who has the authority. Supreme authority belongs to King Jesus. He tells us this so we are encouraged, that our adequacy and effectiveness is found in him. He also tells us this to remind us that it's not a suggestion. This is something we must do, and if we do not, we are disobeying our king. The last statement he makes is, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Jesus promises to be with us while we do this. We will experience His presence, His power, His closeness, His miracles, His super-natural work in the world. We are only promised this as we go and make disciples.
See yourself as a world changer - If we do this the way Jesus told us to do this, he says that the nations will be made into disciples. This blueprint is not just meant to impact Louisville, it's meant to impact the entire globe, every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Revelation 7:9-10) What that means is we need to start seeing ourselves as world changers. We need to start being disciples and making disciples who have the world on our hearts. God has the power to take our small fish and loaves effort of leading a d-group for the next 18 months and multiply it to plant churches among unreached peoples in Nepal if he wanted to. Let's get a bigger vision for what we are doing. Be intentional with a few people. Teach, equip, and train those people to be ministers of the gospel with hearts that beat to take the gospel to the nations. Then watch God change the world.
For those of us who start new d-groups in January, please do us a favor and register them at https://highview.org/discipleship/resources
Blessing the Nations in my Zip Code
Our missions pastor Ben Ward has written an excellent article on disciple making that reaches the nations without even leaving your community. Take a few minutes to read and reflect on this.
5 Ways to Have a Missional Thanksgiving
This article from Verge Network is great for prompting ideas to make Thanksgiving something intentional for disciple making. They have many good thoughts, even the one about football. Read it, and if you have a few minutes, share with us how you plan to make your Thanksgiving more missional.