Why not disciples?

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."
Matthew 28:18-20

I have always been a Southern Baptist. It seems that there are two passages from the Bible that most Southern Baptists either know or know they should know. One is John 3:16. The other is Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission. These passages have driven an evangelism and missions for years.

Discipleship has been heavy on my heart as of late. By discipleship, I don't mean classes or programs, but the act of sharing life with others that they may follow Jesus with you. The scary thing is that from my vantage point, there are not many who are committed to this idea. So many will give the religious portion of there life to Jesus, but don't willingly surrender it all.

Please understand that this is not a desire to bring condemnation down upon a church or denomination. I simply began to ask myself, "Why are there not more disciples?" I have a few ideas:

  1. Making disciples is hard work. To truly invest in someone's life to see them forsake all to follow Jesus and stick with them through the process takes time, effort, and energy. It takes grace to forgive and correct. Jesus spent three years with His disciples and they still had much more to learn. What does that say about us?
  2. Many of us have not been discipled. By this I do not mean that we haven't grown in our faith but rather that no one took the effort to pour into our lives so that we would be better disciples. As a result, we may not really think that we are supposed to do it.
  3. We often confuse "disciple" with "convert". When someone accepts Christ, they have taken the first step in discipleship. They still have to be taught all that Christ commanded. If we simply say that our job is done when someone accepts Christ we show that we have a deficient understanding of the meaning of what it means to be a disciple.
  4. We are absorbed in our own sanctification. Following Christ is a difficult life. In fact, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible. Because of this we can become so focused on growing in Christlikeness that we feel we have no time or resources to allocated towards discipling someone else. In this we miss the amazing fact that God uses our obedience in making disciples as part of the sanctification process in our lives!
  5. We feel inadequate. The thought of directing someone's spiritual life is too much for many of us. What if we teach them wrong? What if we don't do it right? What if they ask a question to which we don't have an answer? These are honest concerns. However they are not legitimate reasons to disobey Christ's command. God did not command a specific few to be discipliers while the rest sit around and think about heaven. We are all to be about the business of making disciples.
I hope to respond to these in a few days with some Scriptural direction for anyone who might struggle in these areas. Until then...

Posted by Jack | at 1:17 PM


Bella said...

It's cool that you blogged about this because discipleship (of ourselves and others) has been on our hearts as of late.

Looking forward to the next post, brother.

Your baby sister.