When I pastored, one of the frequent comments I would hear from people was something like this: “I’m not sure what my gifting is or what I am to do for Jesus.” Now on one hand, I can somewhat grasp this; but on the other hand it is difficult for me. The reason for my dichotomy of understanding? One part of the answer is obvious, the other takes more time of discovery.
The simple truth is we have all the same commissioning from the Lord: He has instructed us to “Go and make disciples.(1)” So, no matter where we find ourselves in living for God or our status in life, we all have the same purpose – we are to make disciples.
The wonderful challenge comes in discovering how we are to use our individual uniqueness to fulfill this purpose. Paul addressed this issue when he wrote to the church at Corinth, elaborating to them that they were each created as different members of the body of Christ, but each was equally important to the functioning of the body.(2) It is still the same today: we are each uniquely gifted and equally important to the purpose of the body.
It is our individual giftings that will qualify us to circulate in different environments effectively demonstrating our King and establishing disciple making relationships.
So if we all have the same purpose and are uniquely equipped to accomplish this purpose, what seems to be the challenge to successfully accomplish this?
I believe part of the challenge is the traditional model of discipleship development of gathering and containment. The typical church creates attractional events to gather the lost to a service to hear the Gospel. Once someone is born again, there is typically a series of classes that will teach a biblical morality and particular lifestyle. Discipleship is judged by the successful completion and adherence to this material.
In contrast to this process we see Jesus words “Go and make disciples.” The two key words of this statement: “Go & Make.”
This is probably the toughest word to be obedient to. To quote part of the Law of Inertia “A body at rest remains at rest …unless acted upon by an external force.” The challenge to “go” is we must must overcome the lack of inertia: this requires energy. We must grasp that we are sent,(3) motivating us to leave our present place of rest, both physically (church building) and spiritually. We must be missional minded, we cannot expect the people to come to us. Jesus went to those who needed Him: “for god so loved the world, he gave.” Jesus stated “As thou has sent me into the world.” The true nature of being apostolic demonstrated by our going. The proof we have been sent is that we go.
This is the second challenging word and it implies a process, it requires my involvement. It means I must invest my time, energy, vulnerability: it cannot be a one time event.
In their teaching series, The Story Formed Way, the leaders of SOMA missional community state: “The word make implies a process—a process that has steps to it and is intentional.” To make disciples requires us to plan to get involved in the lives of those around us, initiating intentional relationships. Again from the SOMA leaders: “discipleship process begins at the point of relationship, not at the point of conversion!” In todays culture, many people want to see the proof of our God, lived out in daily relationships before they choose to believe in Him.
So back to our purpose. Each of us has been uniquely gifted and sent to enter the process of relationships with those who do not know Jesus. It is within these relationships, in the daily rub of life, others will come to see the transformational power of Jesus in our lives, then choosing to enter a saving discipling relationship Him.
Today, choose to GO AND MAKE a disciple!
(1) Matthew 28:19-20
(2) 1 Corinthians 12
(3) John 17:18