Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Questions About Simple, Organic, Missional Church/Life

  • How do you make disciples who make other disciples?
In the motorcycle riding and safety classes we teach, one of the questions during the classroom portion is: "Who is responsible for safety on the road?"  The answer is all of us, those of us riding a motorcycle AND those who are driving cars are all responsible for safety.  The same is true of disciple making.  All of us who are followers of Christ are responsible to disciple others.  We make ourselves available and willing, and God does all the work.

Here is a direct quote from a letter I recently received from Jim in Wisconsin who is passionate about making disciples.  Jim says, "You see friends we are all disciple makers.  In this past week, Linda and I are seeing that those who we disciple, are making disciples, and those people are making disciples.  It is all completed by our loving God.  I stand by my 3 L’s of making disciples; LISTEN, LOVE, LEAD BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. "

Jim said it great! If everyone understands that making disciples is all of our responsibility as those who follow Christ, it then becomes an issue of obedience, and not of "calling", "profession", or someone Else's job. 

So, once that is established...............

Be around those who are not Christians and be available to introduce Jesus in many contexts.
Then you have relationships with those who are not presently, but may become, disciples.  This means you START with those who don't know Jesus yet. The process of making an disciple happens before someone is even a Christian.   Jesus was making disciples out of the rag tag group of men and women who were following him WAY before they even understood who He really was!  All they knew in the beginning, was that this was a guy who made them think differently than anyone else ever had.  He also did some very unusual things, and he was touching their heart in ways that nothing else ever had before.
 My husband and I started making disciples out of our three children before they ever made a commitment on their own to follow Christ.  We talked about Jesus like He was alive and always interacting with us.  We spoke to Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit like they were right there in our midst, and eager for our attention.  We asked Jesus about issues and guidance in decisions, and relied upon Him for healing, safety, provision, etc.  Our children got to know Jesus, The Father and the Holy Spirit in character, love, forgiveness, faithfulness, provision, etc. through the natural challenges, joys and issues of our daily lives.

Making a disciple means having an authentic relationship where you continually bring the truth of Christ and His Presence into the relationship, and that happens from the moment you meet someone.  I have many friends in my life who don't follow Jesus "yet", but still are interested in me praying for them, encouraging them, and sharing truth into their lives and circumstances.  Others don't even want that, but they just like to "hang out" together for the time being.  Either way -  I rest, knowing God is one One who brings men/women to Himself in faith, so I just keep sowing and enjoying the relationship for what it is.  I let God do the big work of revelation, conviction, salvation, and conformation to Christ.  I just make myself available and "ready to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." 1 Pet 3:15.

 I knew a young woman years ago who started coming to the church I was attending, who was somewhat interested in knowing more about being a Christian.  She was living with her boyfriend at the time, and she was watching pretty violent "snuff" type movies as her entertainment. We began a friendship together, and I brought Jesus into it with our conversations.  It didn't take long before she was asking me if she should quit both living with her boyfriend, and watching these movies if she was seriously going to be a Christian.  You might be surprised that my response to her was not what I wanted to say which was; "yes, quit both of those activities right now!" Instead, I said to her, "if you want to be a Christian, that means you have a relationship with Christ that allows you to ask Him what He thinks about these things.  Ask Him, and see what He says to you about it, and then do what He says."  I continued to hang out with her, treating her as a friend and someone I truly enjoyed being with, and waited to see what Jesus would tell her.  It didn't take too long before she said to me one day, "I moved out of living with my boyfriend because I felt Jesus wanted me to".  And then a few weeks after that she said, "I don't want to watch those movies anymore.  I'm not sure why, but they don't interest me anymore like they used to." 
 I was watching Jesus make His own disciple, and was blessed to be a part of the process!  This woman has been very missional over the years in her faith, having many different simple churches in her home, and she has been a light to many in very dark places.

Making a disciple means to point others to Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of their faith.  To encourage them to listen to Jesus (as opposed to you, or some great book or teacher) and then obey what He says.  Not everyone wants to be a disciple.  Many never made that commitment when Jesus Himself was right in front of them!  However, if we are listening and obeying and sharing our love of Jesus with others all around us, fruit will result from it, and some will chose to follow The Way and The Way Maker. Life produces life.
In the flesh, we have tried to make disciples who follow a denomination, a charismatic leader, a fellowship large or small, a social/political agenda, or something else OTHER than Jesus.  We have the fruit of those efforts - nothing!  Jesus is the only thing that will produce new life - period.

Making disciples is about KNOWING JESUS and teaching people how to do that through prayer and the Word of God, and then obeying what He says to us. There are no special gifts, skills, education, training, certificates, or seminary that is needed to point people to the "author and perfecter" of our faith.  Just a desire to seek Jesus, listen to what He says, and then do it.  Anyone can do that! 

By removing the hindrance of the "necessity of special training" that is needed to make disciples, it sets people free to do what is natural to them if they have a relationship with Jesus and with others. 
When our kids were very young, they were the incredibly good at making disciples of those around them, and we expected and encouraged them to do so!  We didn't say, "bring them to mommy and daddy, and we'll teach your friends how to know Jesus", but we encouraged them do it, and we saw God back them up with His presence and power!

For those of you who love tools, a great one in helping people become disciples who learn to seek God, listen and obey, are the LTG cards through CMA Resources ( Check out their website and order a few.

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