“Make disciples of all the
– Matthew 28:19
made it so complicated and convoluted that we can’t define it or do it.
While churches abound across the American landscape, they suffer from
an acute deficiency—lack of clarity on what it basically means to
problem lies not in our hearts, as though we secretly resist Him. Not
at all. Nor does the difficulty arise from lack of effort, I’m sure.
But it’s hard, if not impossible, to build a house without a clear plan
or by wielding baseball bats and hockey sticks. In short, we’ve lacked
a simple blueprint and the appropriate tools to build disciples.
Putman notes in an upcoming book (Real-Life Discipleship, Navpress,
2010) that of the hundreds of churches that have visited his ministry
in Post Falls, Idaho over the past six years, only two churches had
teams of leaders who could articulate a clear and commonly held
definition of a disciple.
usually stumble around it. We’ll mention what disciples do—read their
Bibles, pray, attend church, give, serve, worship, and a dozen other
categories of thought that come to mind. But without a clear, precise,
and concise definition how shall we fulfill the Great Commission to
make disciples? If we can’t identify the end-product, how shall we lay
out a game-plan?
have ceased to be strategic about discipleship because we can’t define
it simply and straightforwardly. The result is a church afflicted with
spiritual inertia and immaturity, Worse, because we can’t wrap our own
hands around it, we ourselves are left groping and without focus.
Growth takes far longer than it should (if it happens at all) and we
find ourselves increasingly incapacitated in the process of
is not just a mission to get folk saved. It is the essence of the
faith, moving ourselves and guiding others towards a deeper faith,
trust, and walk with Christ. So how might we define it?
agree with historical Christian claims, but disciples are marked in
three very different ways. They are people with Christ, becoming like Christ, and
living for Christ.
you’re battling spiritual dryness, it’s likely because of a vital
deficiency in one or more of these three simple areas.
you practicing His Presence (aware of what He is doing in and around
and through you)? Are you humbly surrendered to His transforming work
within you, changing who you are at heart? Are you actively engaged in
His mission – to draw others into this life-giving with Christ, like Christ, and
the Journey is simpler than we thought.