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Go Make Disciples

08.26.20
by Amy Schaffner
in Blog, Church, Disciple-making
Have we failed to make Jesus’ first priority our first priority?

This article was originally published here.

“There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Have you ever wondered what Jesus did for the first 30 years of his life? If he always had the ability to heal, how many people did he not heal in 30 years? Were there ever times his family was hungry and he didn’t make the loaves multiply? 

Did he ever use his divine power to turn his lunchtime fish into a Snicker bar, just because he could? I mean, I would.

When males were considered adults at such a young age in Biblical times, why did he wait until he was 30 to begin his ministry? 

Because preparation and the right timing (God’s timing) are important.

Jesus waited for His Father’s timing. 

From a human standpoint, it’s easy to wonder why he didn’t immediately start a crusade-type ministry, bring thousands at a time to salvation in himself, overthrow the Roman rule, set up Israel just the way it should be and spread the gospel from there to the ends of earth.

Instead he… found 12 ordinary men and hung out with them for a few years. 

Ground-breaking. Earth-shattering.

This doesn’t compute in our human mindset of opportunity, momentum, progress, and vision casting. 

Jesus began his ministry with discipleship.

He spent three years pouring into this small group of men, along with the women and others who followed him. He taught them how to look at the world around them through His eyes. He taught them how to pray. He taught them how to serve others. 

Jesus spent three years showing them how to make disciples, and then he told them to go and do it themselves. 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18-20

Go make disciples. It is written in the imperative. It’s a command.

If the first thing that Jesus commanded his disciples to do was to make more disciples, then you have to assume that this was the first priority of the church he was building.

Are we, as a church, making disciples?

Carey Nieuwhof, in a very compelling article about discipleship in the church made this statement: “What if the popular understanding of discipleship is what is producing some of the ill health and even stagnation and decline we see all around us in the church?” 

What is the popular understanding of discipleship today? It’s an optional program. Heavy emphasis on the “program.” 

We major in preaching, minor in worship, and have made discipleship an elective. 

This is one reason our children are going through amazingly well written and branded discipleship programs, but not being discipled. Our teenagers and young adults are walking away from the church after having been through discipleship programs for years but not understanding what it means to truly be one. 

Because we have not made Jesus’ first priority our first priority, we are weakened and losing our children to the world. 

So I challenge you. I challenge myself. Are you a disciple? Am I a disciple? Am I making disciples? Are our churches making disciples? 

If Jesus is setting up the blueprint for the church, then the very first drawing on top of the foundation is discipleship. 

Go and do likewise.

This article was originally published here and is reprinted with permission from ChristianWeek.

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What do you think? Your comments and questions on the topic of this blog are welcome. (See our brief policy.)

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