Church - Don't just do it - BE IT!
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by Frederick Serjeant
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IF YOU MAKE DISCIPLES, you always get the Church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples. Effective discipleship builds the church, not the other way around.
We need to understand the church as the effect of discipleship and not the cause. If you set out to build the church, there is no guarantee you will make disciples.
It is far more likely that you will create consumers who depend on the spiritual services that religious professionals provide.
Our mission is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ who in turn will lead others to do the same, who will lead others to do the same!
This was Jesus' purpose in the training of the twelve disciples.
Choosing others - under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - to be with us; sharing all that we have received from our Lord and Teacher.
This is the priestly ministry of all believers.
2 Timothy 2:2
CREATED FOR WORSHIP
We believe that we are all created for worship, and that most of life's frustrations and disappointments stem from worshipping the wrong things. The abundant life, the fulfilled life is one oriented towards God. With that posture all of life becomes a heartfelt response of joyful and purposeful worship, not only when all is going well, but in times of disappointment, hardship, grief and pain.
Not everyone frequents a church building on the corner, but each may have a place of worship. For some, it's at the office. For others, before the mirror. Still others, on the football filed or the gym. All of us were created for worship. So we naturally find a place to do it. But to worship anything less than God robs both Him and ourselves.
It's at the foot of the cross where we come to kneel and begin to comprehend how a holy God could chase us down our days with kindness and redeem us from a lost eternity of futile gods.
At the cross, by God's grace, we find a new sense of wonder and worship increasing beyond the walls of church buildings and complex organisations or Sunday routines, so that all of life becomes our delighted response to God!
How to Make Disciples
Biblically, to be a disciple is to make disciples. But if you were to ask Christians today what it means to make disciples, you’d probably get jumbled thoughts, ambiguous answers, some will give you blank stares.. This is clearly a problem.
If we’re going to know how to do anything at all as Christians, we need to know how to make disciples. So what does it mean to make disciples? Here we suggest an answer to how we can respond to the command of our Lord in Matthew 28:19. There are four things we do.
1. We Share the Word
We speak about the gospel as we live according to the gospel. We tell people how they can be saved from their sins and the penalty due to their sins, through Jesus’ death on the cross. There’s no question that this is the thrust behind Christ’s command to go and make disciples. Note - he did NOT command us to go and just make"converts"!
Jesus was not telling these eleven men on a mountain to pair up and disciple each other. He was telling them to reach people who have not been reached with the gospel. And Christian, remember: this is why you have the Spirit of God inside of you! To speak the gospel.
So who are you speaking the gospel to? Who has God put in your life that you can share the gospel with? If not, what are you waiting for? To make disciples is to go to people who don’t know the love of Christ and lead them to experience the life of Christ.
2. We Show the Word
Once we share the Word and people put their faith in Christ, we baptise them. Have you ever wondered why Jesus includes instructions on baptising people in His command to make disciples? Because baptism symbolizes identification with the person of Christ - in his death, burial and resurrection and inclusion in the body of Christ.
Disciple-making is not about sharing the gospel with people and then leaving them to figure out the Christian life on their own. Instead, we show them how to follow Christ on a day-by-day basis. This is why we can never limit disciple-making to a weekly meeting in a classroom. Disciple-making is what happens when we walk through life together, showing one another how to pray, study the Bible, share in church life, grow in Christ, and lead others to Christ.
And remember, God has designed disciple-making not only for the good others, but also for our own growth in Christ. If you lead a new believer to Christ, then how is that person going to learn to pray or study the Bible or share the gospel? By watching you! God has a purpose behind it.
3. We Teach the Word
The Great Commission also involves “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added). As followers of Jesus, we don’t just receive the Word; we reproduce the Word. Now there’s obviously a sense in which some in the church are particularly gifted to teach (Ephesians 4:11–12). However, every disciple of Jesus is intended to saturate his or her words with God’s Word. We are teaching people all that Christ has taught us. We can begin with small beginnings.
4. We have a World View
Finally, obeying the Great Commission will mean not only serving our neighbours, but also the wider world. We are to make disciples of “all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Nations here is not a reference to the approximately two hundred geopolitical nations, or countries, recognized in the world today. Nations refers to tribes and families and clans and peoples, what we call people groups today. We see this concept all over Scripture.
Today there over 11,000 people groups in the world. These are groups of people that share a similar language, heritage, and cultural characteristics. So this is not just a general command to make disciples among as many people as possible. This is a specific command to make disciples among every people group in the world. And there are 6,000 people groups who still have not been reached with the gospel. Making disciples of all nations necessarily involves intentionally going after these 6,000 people groups. We are assured in the Scriptures that there are those chosen to salvation by God from before the foundation of the earth, from every kindred, tribe and tongue. Jesus commands us to take the gospel to them. Many may reject the gospel, but God will work his sovereign grace through us, to save that eventual "multitude that no man can number". Go - make - baptise - teach!
A church that not only has a message,
but is a message
Being brought up in ‘Christian’ Germany with churches everywhere, I always felt that there must be something exciting about the community which Jesus started and about which I read in the New Testament – but somehow I could never discover what it was. Together with many friends and colleagues, I dreamed of a community that is as simple as One-Two-Three, yet is dynamic; and explosive thing, able to turn the world and a neighbourhood upside-down. The church as a supernatural invention, endowed with God’s gift of immortality; a means to disciple each other, and to make the life of Jesus rub off on each other. An experience of grace and grapes, love and laughter, joy and jellybeans, forgiveness and fun, power and – yes, why not? – paper.
A church, which does not need huge amounts of money, or rhetoric, control and manipulation, which can do without powerful and charismatic heroes, which is non-religious at heart, which can thrill people to the core, make them lose their tongues out of sheer joy and astonishment, and simply teach us The Way to live. A church which not only has a message, but is the message.
[ From the Preface of “Houses That Change The World” by Wolfgang Simpson. Pub. Authentic Media. Reprint 2005 1-85078-356-X ]