As churches experiences growth, we get excited to see new people join us each week in worship. It is affirming and encouraging. And rightfully so as we are commanded to go and make disciples (Matthew 28: 19, 20). But as I was reminded in our small group class this week, this command is far more than just inviting others to church, and even more than helping them find Jesus as their Savior. It says to go and make disciples. Our part, our action, our work, extends to each new believer to help him or her, to mature in their faith until they are able to go and make disciples on their own. We are to stay on this walk together, support each other, building each other up and working side by side to share the Gospel, the whole Gospel... to be a witness not only to the wonderful, amazing salvation of the Lord, but to point each person to a closer and growing relationship with Christ. So in essence, we are to make disciple-making disciples.
Jesus demonstrated this process as He walked along doing ministry with and through the disciples. He called them to a relationship with Him, which included teaching and involvement in His ministry- OJT and then He sent them out to heal, teach and preach repentance. (Mark 6: 7-12). They were making disciple-making disciples. This is how the church grew. The disciples and the early church were very missional in their approach to building the church. Today when we hear that term- missional we most generally think of missions of the church, as that which takes place primarily in a foreign country, or a distant place. This is true, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive to this.
To be missional is explained well by Leonard Sweet in his book. “So Beautiful.” These are some of his insights on being missional.
- Mission is not the activity of the church but the attribute of God
- Everyone is a minister and a missionary.
- Missional is who we are because it is who God is.
- The ultimate story of the Bible, the metanarrative that unlocks the whole story, is that God is on a mission, and we are summoned to participate with God in that mission.
- As soon as you say to Jesus “I’m in. “He says back to you, “You’re out. (Go and make disciples: Matthew 28: 19., Go and be my witnesses: Acts 1:8)
- We don’t need more mission trip but more mission people for whom all of life is a mission trip.
- We are not sent individually or in isolation, but together-a relational dynamic that combines me with the church with Christ.
- Fundamentally, our mission means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s initiation and command, in God’s mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.
Making disciples is not optional, it a command from Christ, and the hope of the church. Why God chooses to use us to do it, is mystery to me, but we have the great privilege to be a part of God’s mission of redemption. Spend some time thinking about how your walk with God, your ministry is missional. Are you activity sharing your faith, and walking along side others to help them grow closer to God and share their faith?
Think this week about a simple re-write of the great commission to read for us: Go and make disciple, making-disciples. What does that look like for you and those who are invested in your spiritual walk and mission?
Let’s be all in by getting out --- to tell others about Jesus and help them learn to tell others and so on.
Lori Ferguson serves as Children's Director at NUMC, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not planning or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids. Read more about Lori here.