It’s easier to make disciples to a cause or a culture than it is to Christ. Helping people adapt to your religion is not the same thing as helping them follow Jesus. If we want to make disciples who love and follow Jesus then we must become people who love and follow Jesus.
Is this what your church is doing? Is this what you’re doing?
I want to be clear. I’m not talking about making followers of your church, your religion, your religious culture, your religious cause, your religious practices or your pastor (or pastors). I’m talking about being and helping one another be fully in love with and devoted to the person of Jesus Christ. I’m not asking if you’re helping create or build people who please their pastor, their church or their denomination. I’m asking if the people you are helping come to faith are people who learn to please Jesus.
These are the kind of disciples we should be making.
In an earlier blog I ask the question, why aren’t we making this kind of disciples?
Let me be clear again and please forgive my insistence on this. Many people, if not most, reading this blog will assume they’re making or attempting to make these kinds of disciples. You assume people visually practicing their faith like you practice your faith are fully devoted to Jesus. If they belong to your church, assent to your beliefs and practices, adapt to your church culture, then they are following Jesus. Good church members, whatever this means to you, makes them good disciples of Jesus Christ. I must insist this is wrong thinking and keeps us from making the disciples Jesus commanded us to make.
Followers of Jesus Christ recognize his presence and authority in their lives. They depend on him. They do what he says. They love. They serve. They are in him and walk with him. They live by his indwelling life. They want to please him even if it means displeasing the religious authorities. They die to the applause of men and wait for his “well done”. They die daily that he might live and have his rightful place.
Are these the kind of disciples you and your church are making?
Again, why don’t we make this kind of disciple? Let me expand on something I wrote earlier. I’ll share several reasons I believe we’re not making these kinds of disciples. I’ll do so over the next few blogs.
The first reason, we have the wrong definition or description.
We think we’ve made a disciple to Jesus when:
- They can “repeat after me”. They begin to say what we say. Our “thus saith the Lord” becomes their “thus saith the Lord”.
- They adapt to our church culture. Change their dress and habits to match ours.
- They adopt our worldview. They see things the way we see things.
- They build up our little (or big) local expression of church. They’re working hard to get others “through the doors”.
- They parrot, praise and please the pastor.
- They look for our approval and when they do what we say, we give it to them.
Look over the bullet points once more. Are any of these our unspoken understanding of what it means to make a disciple of Jesus Christ? If so, I believe we have the wrong idea. If we start with the wrong idea we will NOT arrive at the right place. If we have the wrong goal in mind, we will NOT make the right disciples.
We cannot be “at ease in Zion” when people around us need people who love and therefore follow Jesus. We must not have the religious attitude “we are rich and have need of nothing”. We cannot afford to continue to think we are getting it right when we are getting it so wrong.
Until next time.