First, people don’t know what that means. What does it mean to make a disciple?
Is that getting someone to run around in a bathrobe (like in a Chrismas pageant) and spout Bible verses? Is it some kind of Christian SEAL Team Six — the best of the best Christians? No.
I started a new position at a church and I was able to include a number of different areas in the job description. So, the title was not predetermined. Did I want my title to be Associate Pastor? No. No offence to Associate Pastors but that sounded like “Senior Pastor Lite”. Like the jobs the Senior didn’t want to do I’d get to do, with half the calories. No thanks.
Assistant Pastor? Again no offence if your church stuck you with that title. I think that’s worse, like I’d get the Senior Pastor some chalk if he needed it. Might sound silly to you but I had a Pastor once say that was part of the job of his Youth Pastor!
I chose Discipleship Pastor. The call to make disciples had been my clear call since my Bible College days and I believe it is the clear call of the church. And this new job included covering varied areas that in my mind were vital parts of making disciples — small groups, outreach, prayer, preaching. So I became that church’s first Discipleship Pastor.
And the other thing about that title is that honestly no one knew what it meant! Youth Pastors minister to youth. Children’s Pastors minister to children. Discipleship Pastors, “uh, hmm, well, what actually do you do?” I got that question a lot.
Then I could explain that making disciples or discipleship is about helping people to love and learn from Jesus. Thus, I had my multifaceted ministry and a lot of freedom.
That’s the most basic definition of disciples for me,
“lovers and learners of Jesus”
Disciples of Jesus are growing in their love for Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit and growing in learning to be like Jesus.
I’m writing about making disciples because I think it is lost, forgotten or misunderstood in many churches. We focus on holding services, running programs, maintaining organizations and buildings but have lost the art of making disciples.
Second, and the REAL reason it matters is that
Jesus told us to make disciples.
Recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, the last thing Jesus said before ascending to Heaven was to “go make disciples”. And He said to teach them to make more disciples and that He would be with us forever. We remember that Jesus is with us but miss the part about making disciples too often.
As Christians (or Christ’s followers) we should really do what He said to do. Make disciples.
And in your life or church community, I want to encourage you in this God-given pursuit. Yes, you can literally say, “we’re on a mission from God”. (HT The Blues Brothers)
There are so many creative ways to do it and God made you, me and all people creative so let’s creatively make disciples.