As a brand new Christian, I sat in the front pew drooling as the chaplain preached. I was so hungry I hung on every word he spoke. And yet in the six months I attended, not one person spoke to me. I don’t think it was because the congregation wasn’t friendly or didn’t care. I think they were simply satisfied that I was attending.
What a tragic set of expectations. Is this our highest aspiration for ourselves and our fellow disciples that we just “show up?” No need to be involved, to teach, to comfort, to challenge, or to encourage. Nothing is expected but to fill the pews every Sunday and if they are full then there is success. Was that Jesus’ expected end-state for His ministry, to simply “pack ‘em in?”
We know from Jesus’ example and commands that He had far greater plans for His disciples than attendance. He recruited men and women to join in the work (Mt 4.19). He intentionally trained them to reproduce His ministry (Mk 3.14). And then He deployed them as the mighty army of Theophilus, God Lovers (Lk 10.1-3, Mt 28.18-20, Ac 1.8). And His goal was nothing short of spreading the love and glory of God to the entire planet. He is so intent on this goal that He commands His disciple to pray for more laborers on two separate occasions (Mt 9.37-38, Lk 10.2).
If you want to have a disciplemaking ministry, you must align your prayers and actions with Jesus. When you help people in the faith, you must see each person as a key player on the team who will make significant contributions to winning the game. They may sit the bench for a little while to learn and see the example you set. But your aim is to get them in the game! No football team has ever tried to win the Super Bowl by seeing how many people they could pack on the bench. They train the players hard and send them on the field. Are you praying for and training those who are eager to get into the game? The team is only as strong as those who are on the field, not those who are observing from the bench.
How to Start a Disciplemaking Ministry
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