One person at a time!
Over the past few months, in particular, I have been pondering what true discipleship looks like. Clearly, the model is found within His Word as Jesus had 12 who have become many. However, what I have been reflecting upon is what we are doing today as a church to follow Jesus’ example. There are books upon books related to this topic, and I by know means want to position myself as an expert. I do want to make an observation which likely will be rather obvious.
First, let me start with the art of promotion. In today’s culture, many have focused on utilizing many tools which can be found in business to market and promote. A casual glance at social media will find numerous post promoting the next big event. That big event might be a Christian leadership conference, next Sunday’s service, a student ministry function, or simply a post saying “Got Jesus!” Are we doing a disservice to the Gospel and the model Jesus taught us my branding and marketing the Gospel in this manner? Furthermore, when we do it, is this about valudation of ourselves or is it truly because we want people to know Jesus?
Now, let’s look at small group environments. As one who faciliates groups of Christian business leader who gather monthly, I often ask myself if we’re having the type of impact Jesus desires for The Kingdom. Being a part of many small group environments over the years, an observation I would make is that they are focused primarily on equiping the saints and have very little in the form of evangelism or outreach. This isn’t to say all are this way, it’s simply an observation of ones I’ve been apart. So, we come together on a routine basis to gain knowledge, understand, and encourage one another which isn’t a bad thing; however, is this what Jesus modeled for discipleship?
Some time ago, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with Ying Kai who’s responsible for a movement in China where over 2 million people have come to know Jesus over the a period of 13 years. Their model reminds me a bit of a network marketing organization with a purpose. They simply go find 5 people per week, share their story and the Gospel, and invite them to know Jesus. Then, they challenge these new believers to go find 5 people per week and do the same. They don’t focus on deep theological discussions or discipleship studies, they keep it simple. Interesting approach, however, is this what Jesus modeled for us?
One last point of view relates to my trip to Kenya. During our trip, I sat in the prayer room with hundreds of people coming through for which we prayed individually. Every person who came through, I asked, “do you know Jesus and are you born again.” If not, I presented the Gospel and some were saved. So, in three days, I presented the Gospel to hundreds, yet rarely do I do this in my every day life. So, was what I did in Kenya what Jesus modeled?
I attend Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis, IN. “At Traders Point, our mission is to engage people with the love of God, inspire them to follow Jesus, and equip them to serve our world.” This is a simple restatement of Matthew 28: “19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The question I ponder is how we, the big “C” church, are doing fulfulling this mission!
Referencing much of the above, I don’t really take issue with any of the approaches mentioned as long as Jesus is at the center when we honestly answer the question “why”? My primary point of focus is that I would encourage us to not ever lose track of how disciples are truly made which is “one person at a time”. And, if we’re creating follower of Jesus who aren’t in turn creating follower of Jesus, than we should ask “why”.
Yes, if we’re truly following Jesus, shouldn’t we see fruits of our personally engaging people with the love of God, inspiring them to follow Jesus, and equiping them to serve our world. I don’t know that this has to be at the rate of 5 people per week, however, it should be at some rate. At the end of the day, I always reflect back on what was at the core of Jesus ministry. He engaged 12 “one person at a time”, poured into these 12 over the course of 3 years, and you and I are a result of this investment.
May we continue to sense His leading as He brings us “one person at a time” to invest!
“Remember, more disciples and better disciples is the goal!” @TradersPointCC