The church is failing in a big way! Yes I am aware God has, and continues to use, the church to reach the lost and minister to the world in mighty ways. However, one of the greatest and most foundational tasks given to the church by Christ is one of the things the church is neglecting the most — “discipleship.” I have often said, “We are outraged at the idea of someone abandoning a newborn and we should be, but yet the church does this everyday to those who are newly born again.”
It is a direct commission from Christ to all believers (not just pastors, ministers and teachers) to make disciples.
But the deeper truth is the church is not making disciples as we should because we don’t have many disciples. And it takes disciples to make disciples.
In other words, before we can make disciples, we must first be one! What are the qualifications of becoming a disciple (these qualifications apply to ourselves and others whom we may disciple) (Lk. 14:25-33) Jesus said if we don’t meet these qualifications we are not and cannot be His disciple.
Jesus is looking at and speaking to a crowd of followers when He makes this statement. And from this crowd, after a full night of prayer, He calls to Himself and chooses His disciples. Now don’t get me wrong — there were always crowds around Jesus (like folks in our church buildings) for various reasons — but only 12 were there to truly become disciples. Immediately following His call to the 12, Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. There was a crowd there, but the sermon was for the 12. Jesus called the 12 for one reason; “He appointed twelve — designating them apostles — that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mk 3:14) So we have to ask ourselves, am I just one of the crowd following Jesus or am I truly His disciple? If I am truly His disciple, I am one for the purpose of being sent out to make one. Am I a disciple maker?
Dr. William Burnham is pastor of Point of Grace Church in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.