Long before churches and corporations were creating vision or mission statements, Jesus gave the church His mission statement in Matthew 28:16-20. We are on mission to make disciples. God called a people out to Himself that he would use to bring lost people to Himself. 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
We are to go into the entire world and make disciples of all nations. The word “nations” in Greek translates “people groupings.” We are told that there are 22,000 people groups to reach with the Gospel! The word disciple occurs over 200 times in the Gospel and Acts. It is what we are and who we are.
The goal of churches is not to build buildings, or raise budgets, or have pot lucks but to disciple the nations. Jesus didn’t say “make converts” but “make disciples.” “Make disciples” is the primary verb, then the three supporting verbs are go, baptize, and teach.
The only way we can make disciples is to go. It will never happen inside our buildings. That’s one reason I am excited about “Find It Here” as we get out in our communities with the Gospel. Churches should be on the go for Jesus.
The process of evangelism is not completed until the evangelized become evangelists. You are either an evangelist or you need to be evangelized.
Discipleship growth means two things: increasing the number of disciples and the depth of disciples. God never intended for his church to be a mile wide and an inch deep. Since Christ has clearly defined our goal as discipleship growth let me give you four marks of a disciple. Check and see how you are doing in these four areas.
1. Disciples are maturing in their faith. They are growing. They are in the Word. They are not on cruise control. Each day they live in expectancy of what God is going to do through their witness and life.
The original disciples grew in their knowledge and experience with the Lord. Spiritual maturity was part of Christ’s goal for the original disciples and for us today. Jesus was very intentional about helping His disciples grow into fully developed and devoted mature followers. Are you maturing? Are you growing in Christ? The question churches need to ask is, “are we developing disciples?”
2. The second mark is ministry. Disciples care and serve other people. Jesus was very intentional in training His disciples in the lifestyle of being a servant. As we help people grow spiritually, we can only do so by helping them understand the role of serving. A non serving Christian is a contradiction in terms. Are you serving the Lord?
3. The third mark is mission. Jesus’ disciples knew their mission. They were to make disciples. Jesus not only taught this He modeled it for the disciples. As a disciple we are on mission. The mission becomes our passion.
4. The final mark is multiplication. It is quite obvious that the original disciples understood that multiplying and reproducing disciples was the method Christ taught them. This method turned lose will evangelize the world. Not addition but multiplication.
Jesus developed a handful of disciples who would reproduce or multiply more disciples who would reproduce more disciples…The ultimate mark of discipleship growth is when a disciple reproduces another disciple.
How are you doing in these four areas? We are on mission. Let’s live like it!