Discipleship

Why Do We Struggle With the Great Commission? - Part 1

Jesus came near and said to them, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching the to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:18-20

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Many of us have probably heard those verses read or maybe we have heard someone preach or teach on that Scripture. Its' called the Great Commission, but as Dallas Willard once put it, The Great Omission. As the people of God we will do all sorts of things for the glory of Jesus except the one thing that Jesus told us to do before ascending to the Father...MAKE DISCIPLES

So why don't we do it? Why do so many struggle with actually following the teachings of Jesus with this assignment? 

We Don't Know What It Is

I read a sobering article sharing some of the research recently released by the Barna Group that stated 51% of churchgoers don't know of the Great Commission. OVER HALF!!!

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Of the rest, the majority recognized the phrase but couldn't identify it. There was an interesting graph revealing some of the data broken down by age groups that I found fascinating as well. I would encourage you to read the article if you get a chance. 

This is a sad and convicting indictment on the church in America. I would encourage you to not immediately point fingers at someone else or blame an obscure "generation." Instead let this truth first drive you to your knees in prayer. 

My concern is not in the people who don't even know what the Great Commission is, but in the ones who know it and yet do nothing about it. 

It Will Just Happen

For some reason, we think that obedience to the Great Commission will just happen. We think that if we just live our lives then disciples will be made accidentally. We may even be willing or interested in sharing the Gospel with someone but the perfect scenario and opening must fall into our laps. 

Anything that we love passionately we will pursue intentionally. 

Intentionality is so important. The Greek literally reads in Matthew 28 "As you are going." As you are going about your everyday life make disciples. This won't happen by accident. You must intentionally build your life around this pursuit. 

My hope is this can be a primer for discussion with your small group, family, or reflection time between you and Jesus.

Please don't see this as a guilt trip. I have no interest in making you feel guilty. Guilt as a motivation might last a couple of days or a week at the most. 

Instead let it drive you to Jesus all the more. Let your love for him grow deep and it will push you out.

Reflection on Philippians 4:9

There is a lot of discussion around the subject of discipleship today. Unfortunately the predominant model revolves around a classroom type setting where I provide information and once you learn all the "right" stuff you have been discipled. The biggest problem with that is the Bible. 

No one in Scripture viewed discipleship through that lens. Yet we have grown happy and content to be distant "guides" rather than intimate "fathers and mothers" (1 Corinthians 4:15). 

 Photo by  Kevin Curtis  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

Discipleship is a hot topic right now in the western church world. Despite our vast blog posts and conferences centered around the subject it still seems to come down to most people saying that they don't know what to do. This lack of knowledge of how to live it can lead to a paralyzing fear of stepping out and taking a risk. 

We know discipleship is important, but we still do nothing. I was reading in Philippians 4 last week and Paul said something that really stuck out to me. I hope it will encourage you to step out into this calling. 

Paul is wrapping up his letter and is giving some practical counsel to the church. 

Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:9

DO

There is an expectation of action in regards to discipleship. That is why it can just simply be about information. Yes the information is important, but we also must be a present with people so that they can take the information that we teach and imitate our lives.

LEARNED AND RECEIVED AND HEARD FROM ME

I love the word receive in this verse. It conveys this idea that they didn't just learn from Paul and then go about their business. Instead they received the information and integrated his teaching and life into their owns lives. That is the invitation and challenge of a discipleship. An invitation to an intimate relationship but the challenge to receive what is offered and then do the same for someone else. 

SEEN IN ME

This requires presence. I admit that I'm a nerd and enjoy listening to lectures. I can come away with a ton of new information, but in many cases I'm left figuring out how that information relates to my life on my own. Paul obviously wasn't like that. He was present with the ones he discipled so that they could see his very life and how what he taught was fleshed out. This requires developing a rhythm of being with the people that we are discipling.

The simple question is are you making a disciple? Are you leading someone to DO and BE like Jesu? 

If not, take some time to ask Father to bring someone or 2-3 people in your life that you can begin to take what has been given to you and share it with them (my bet is that those people are already around you and you don't see it yet). 

Remember, people don't need a perfect example, just a living one. It's worth the risk. Go for it!