Every once in a while someone will make a statement that feels like time just stops. I had one of those moments recently. A friend of mine made this statement while speaking to a room full of pastors,
“The first reformation in the Church was about putting the Bible back in the hands of God’s people. The second reformation will be about putting discipleship back in the pews.”
When my friend finished making this statement, my mind was flooded with questions.
- Wow, is that our current reality?
- Is the Church in need of a powerful reformation greater than the first?
- Should the second reformation be focused on putting discipleship back in the pews?
- Is this really what God is up to today?
- Could this major reformation happen in my lifetime?
It is my conviction that the answer to each of these question is YES.
It could just be the circles I run in but based on the conversation I hear around the Church these days, I believe my friend might just be right. I do not recall a time when I have observed more pastors, church leaders, and churches trying to figure out how to intentionally make disciples who make disciples to multiple generations of reproduction.
This is a good thing. No, this is a great thing!
Jesus could not have been more clear when these words of the Great Commission left His mouth. This is the core mission for all Christ followers:
“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 28:19-20
These two sentences of scripture capture Jesus’s Plan A for reaching the world, and there is no Plan B. Read that sentence again. Disciple-making is Plan A, and there is no Plan B. The separation of evangelism from discipleship is a gap that we must close and do so quickly. We must also infuse the people that attend our churches with a renewed passion to reach their friends and then empower them with the tools to help those friends become a disciple who makes a disciple.
If the perspective contained in the few paragraphs above is true then I have a couple questions for you to wrestle to the ground going forward.
- What are you doing to help people walk to and across the line of faith and then help them become a biblical disciple who repeats that process with others?
- What is your church doing to ensure its people are helping others find Jesus and developing them into biblical disciples to multiple generations of reproduction?
No matter what role you fill in the Church today, I am convinced these are two of the most pressing questions for us as church leaders. If we cannot clearly articulate answers to these two questions, we have work to do. I pray no one who reads this short blog entry will hesitate to get moving.
If you are in the number of people or churches that need to speed your movement on the discipleship front let me suggest a few resources that might help.