Each generation that has ever lived believed that they were living in the most interesting and challenging time in history. The questions they had to answer were more significant than the previous generations, and the barriers to greater humanity were more overwhelming than any other age had ever experienced before them. The pace of cultural change appeared to unfold at a faster rate than any other time in days gone by.
Right now, in this generation, it is difficult to argue against the challenging culture in which we find ourselves embedded. In almost every category you can imagine, life is a constant challenge. The pace of change in our world right now is happening at a speed that makes keeping up a consistent challenge. Technology is changing the way we do everything. The economic landscape is shifting with every week that drops off the calendar. The changes in the culture of the U.S. alone can feel overwhelming. We could add to this list, but you get the point.
There is no question these changes are impacting the local church. It’s left church leaders across our country wrestling with how they navigate their way to higher levels of effectiveness in our unique cultural times. The pace of change demands that we re-imagine the relevance and role of the local church. How do we continue to morph to ensure the church continues to advance God’s redemptive cause?
There are many answers to this pressing question as we seek to lead the local church forward in Her missional quest, but there is one answer that must ascend to the top of our lists. The local church must reclaim and live into the call to inspire, enlist, equip, and deploy everyday missionaries to be the hands and feet of Jesus where they live, work, and play.
This isn’t a new answer. Jesus was clear when He passionately spoke the words that we find in Matthew 28:19. This was Jesus’ plan A for reaching the world, and there is no plan B. Our calling as individuals is simple. Each follower of Christ should be walking another individual toward and across the line of faith into a personal relationship with God. It is then our responsibility to help them become an obedient follower of Jesus to see that process repeat to multiple generations of reproduction. It is the call of every local church to ensure there is a pathway and framework to ensure that reproducing disciples are being made and disciple-makers are being raised up and sent.
The Most Significant Volunteer Organization on the Planet
The Church is the most significant volunteer organization on the planet. There are tens of thousands of volunteer hours available from people each week who claim Christ as their Savior. What if a significant portion of those volunteer hours were being leveraged by everyday missionaries living into their missionary call in the places where they live, work, and play? What if some of those hours were more effectively being used to raise up disciples who make disciples?
Our best path forward in our unique culture times is to lean into Jesus’ Plan A for reaching the world. Anything less than an all-in approach to disciple-making as church leaders will leave us with less of an impact going forward. Worst-case scenario, it will likely mean the continued decline and impact of the Church in America.
The encouraging dynamic at play in the American Church today is the growing number of church leaders and churches that are working hard to figure out how to make disciples who make disciples to multiple generations of reproduction. It certainly feels like the number of churches that are also wrestling with what it should look like for their church to multiply is at an all-time high.
Are you in the number? If not, then here are a few questions you must answer:
- Do we have an intentional framework and pathway to ensure that these everyday missionaries (reproducing disciples of Jesus) are raised up and deployed?
- How are you identifying the disciple-makers in your local setting and then empowering them to reach out and disciple others?
- Are you prepared to send the called and qualified leaders to establish missional outposts, networks of missional communities, and new churches?
There are resources and tools to help. God has raised up an army of trainers to help each of us figure out how to navigate our way into and through the call of Matthew 28:19. Lean into these resources so you can reach maximum effectiveness in joining God in His redemptive cause in our unique cultural times.