Disciples Are Made, Not Grown

“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.”
Matthew 28:19–20

The business of disciple-making is an interesting one. It’s quite literally the last command that Jesus gave before He left this earth, and it was the mission of all the apostles to do this right up until the day they died. When we read the Great Commission, many of us will think to ourselves, “I’m so glad there are people doing that. I’m just not (fill in the blank) enough to do that myself.” This is one of the biggest lies that Satan tries to use against us. “You aren’t good enough.”

 A disciple is easily broken down as someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus. Notice, that there are no Bible College degrees in there. There’s nothing about putting in years of service. It doesn’t say that you have to have half the Bible memorized. Instead, we are to go, share, and do life. I know that sounds pretty basic, but that’s the point. The highest form of service we have is making disciples, and it’s the call of EVERY Christ-follower to do.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 4:19

One of the funniest videos I’ve ever watched was about a group of men who were having a fishing meeting. They showed up with their fishing poles and were ready to discuss their fishing business. The meeting started by taking a role call and welcoming a new member to the group. They went through the minutes of their last meeting, before starting in on the new items. They talked about the upcoming bake sale to raise money for the group. They discussed how they would get new members of the group. The new guy then chimed in and said, “I just got a new reel and rod that I can’t wait to try it out. Does anyone want to go fishing this weekend?” Crickets and odd looks followed. The leader of the group, in a fluttering voice, asked, “You want to go fishing for real?” New Guy, with a look of utter confusion, said, “This is a fishing group, right? Shouldn’t we go fishing?” At this point, everyone in the group started to look confused and they all started murmuring. One person said, “I don’t fish. I just support the people who do.” Finally, the new guy, in disgust, got up and left the meeting. As soon as he left, one of the men brought the bake sale back up, and they went on with their meeting as if nothing happened.

Is that what Sundays are for us? Do we show up, sing some of our favorite K-Love songs, listen to a nice message, say “Good morning brother.” a dozen times, drink some free coffee, then head home feeling good about ourselves, while never actually being fishers of men? To the outside world, that might look just as crazy as a meeting of fishermen who have never been fishing. This can’t be OK with us. We should desire more, and it all starts with the word, “GO”. More specifically, it would be “As you go…” make disciples. This means that no matter where you are, or what you are doing, the opportunity to tell others about Christ should be present and hoped for. 

This past Sunday, my family was in deep need of some time together. Sundays can be a little hectic when you have three worship services, an hour's drive to church (which will change in a few short months, Hallelujah!), and a lot of meetings/events that occur after church. So we decided to go out to lunch as a family with just the four of us. When we got to the restaurant, we sat down, looked at the menu, ordered our food and drinks, and, like clockwork, I took my son to the bathroom. 6-year-olds always have to go when you’re at a restaurant. 

When I came back with my son Jack from the bathroom, my daughter, Ellie, was turned around and talking to our waitress while she was cleaning the table behind us. What they talked about made me the proudest father alive. Ellie loves people, and she loves to share with people, so she decided to stir up a conversation with the waitress. During the conversation, the waitress told Ellie that she had a very pretty dress. Ellie told her that she wore it to church that morning. The waitress then asked, “Oh really? What did you learn there?” At that point, my daughter shared the Gospel message that Jesus came to earth and died for our sins on the cross. My little girl didn’t know this woman at all but wasn’t afraid to do the very thing that Christ called us to in the Great Commission. I am one proud papa, but I also know that, if a 7-year-old can do this, we should all be able to share the Gospel with those around us.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:16–17

Going and sharing are two huge parts of making disciples, but the third part takes a lot more work. Doing life with others means, quite literally, that we are to spend intentional time with the people we are discipling. The way that Jesus taught His disciples is the blueprint for what discipleship looks like. It’s seeing daily life, interactions with others, and watching how we deal with life’s situations that will be some of the greatest teachers for a young disciple. Working through the Word of God together and wrestling with some of the hard truths together builds, not only the person you are discipling, but yourself as well. A disciple takes on, in some ways, the persona of their teacher. They emulate them. They learn how to be a Christian by imitating what they are doing.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Luke 6:40

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Co 10:31–11:1

Disciples don’t just happen. They are made. We have to be intentional, first that we are living lives that should be imitated, and second, to be available to the leading of the Holy Spirit each day. Our mindset should always be, “Who can I share Christ with today?” When we allow ourselves to let go of our anxiety and fear and step out in faith, we can begin the process of becoming the disciple makers that Christ has called us to be. 

Doing odd jobs around the church building, singing on the worship team, and teaching in the children’s ministry are all great forms of service, but we ALL have a higher calling. We are all meant to be disciple-makers. So let’s stop talking about going fishing and let’s hit the lake. 

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