Discipleship has been a buzz word for a long time. Thousands of books and articles have been written and hundreds of conferences have been attended, all as part of a growing movement of people trying to put the pieces of discipleship together. Even with all this information available, the most common question asked to our Glocal Mission team is, “How do I start?”
We are often asked this by experienced, seasoned leaders and pastors who either realize their ministries do not resemble Jesus’ ministry, or after all the years of hard work, they do not see strong followers of Jesus in their congregations. Robert Coleman says, “You can’t separate the teachings of Jesus from the methods of Jesus and expect the results of Jesus.”
It’s not very difficult to see the differences between Jesus’ ministry and the typical church today. Consider the following three examples:
Jesus focused on people and discipleship.
Many churches focus on programs.
Jesus was constantly on the road and in people’s homes.
They spend their time at church hoping people will come.
Because Jesus’ discipleship was highly relational, his teaching transformed their lives.
Void of relationship, their teaching is often general information which doesn’t lead to transformation.
The ministry of Jesus was stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. He chose 12 men, poured His heart and soul into them for three and a half years and then commissioned them to do the same. For instance, in John 17:9, 20 Jesus said, “9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me (referring to the twelve disciples) … 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me (for the sake of all lost people) through their word” (ESV, emphasis and interpretation added).
We have heard this so many times that we miss one vitally essential component – the starting point. Ask yourself, “How did Jesus start discipleship?” He began with unbelievers.
What comes to mind when you read that? The facts are pretty clear and compelling. With the exception of Andrew and one other who were John the Baptist’s followers (John 1:35-37), the rest were unsaved men that Jesus called to follow Him. The disciples began the same way after Jesus’ ascension. Do you think when they received the Great Commission, they looked around the circle and said, “Ok, Peter, you disciple Andrew. John, you’ve got Matthew.”? No, they actually went into the world, preached the Gospel to the lost and discipled the found!
The Great Commission is a task of unparalleled importance and daunting magnitude. We are called to make disciples of ALL NATIONS including 5 billion people in the world literally going into hell without a relationship with Jesus Christ. Among those 5 billion include 3.06 billion who have never heard the gospel. These incomprehensible numbers demand the church to align itself with the true nature of the Great Commission to carry on Jesus’ mission of seeking the lost and discipling the found. We cannot simply turn inward and invite church members to attend a workshop or class. We must turn intentionally outward with great urgency just as Jesus did when He began. We must begin with the unbelievers in our midst.
Developing the perspective and urgency can seem intimidating, Glocal Mission has sought to simplify this process by developing the 5-3-1 Action Card to help us focus on the great task of reaching the lost. This is an amazing tool that leads you to Five Actions, Three People and One Disciple.
- INTERCEDE regularly for lost people in your life.
- IDENTIFY three people that do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
- INVEST in building a relationship with each of them.
- INVITE them to know Jesus personally.
- INVOLVE them in the life of the church and in the discipleship process.
Write the names of three people who you are willing to take the five actions with. This is very simple and yet essential.
Of the three people you are praying for, identify one of them as a person you can begin to disciple.
God, we have become distracted and have busied ourselves with so many things that we have forgotten what breaks your heart. We have made the Great Commission a Great Omission comprised of programs and classes. We have not diligently and intentionally taken your Word to those who are lost. Please forgive us Father. Please break our heart for that which breaks yours. Give us the courage to realign ourselves with your mission. Let us begin today with the end in mind without compromising the Gospel. In Jesus name, amen.
Are you willing to rethink discipleship? Are you willing to begin seeking the lost and discipling the found? We invite you to click here, download the resource, and get started. We would love to pray for you and walk with you as you begin this journey. Send us a note and keep us updated. We want to hear all the great things God does through you!