Let me preface my comments by saying I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a disciple of Jesus. I mean more than usual. I’ve been visiting a friend’s discipleship group (and shout-out to discipleship ministry Primary for their work in this area) for the past three weeks finding out what it’s all about. What’s different about their discipleship group is its missional orientation. Too often we think of our own discipleship as learning more about the God who is revealed in Scripture. Far be it for me to dissuade anyone from reading their Bible more, but there is much more to our own discipleship than building ourselves up as followers of Jesus. Our own discipleship ought to be just as much concerned with making disciples as it is with our own growth in Jesus. After all, if we want to be obedient to Jesus that necessarily entails obeying his command to “make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28.
But, I often hear people say, “I don’t have the right gifts for that.” Maybe, but if you know Jesus you have everything you need. You’re not a salesman who must go on a company retreat to get the requisite training. If you know Jesus you are ready to make disciples. When we seek to make disciples we are partnering with God himself. What better partner can there be? Anytime we encounter someone who doesn’t know Jesus we can be assured that God has already started a conversation with them. We’re just continuing a conversation God has started.
Consider the Samaritan woman Jesus meets at a well (John 4). She has been called the first missionary by some because she left Jesus and immediately returned to town to tell her neighbors about Jesus. She didn’t have the “right words.” She hadn’t been to a single Christian church service. All she knew is that she had met “the Christ.”
Friends, we have been empowered to take this good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. You don’t need a degree in theology or a sophisticated presentation. You have everything you need. I want to be clear: I definitely think there are ways we can grow as disciple-makers, but we don’t need to wait until we are a Level-10 Christian to start the task of making disciples.*
What does this have to do with church planting? I guess you’ll have to read the next post to find out.
*There are no “Level-10” Christians. There are no levels at all.