Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Matthew 28

So if this was your reality, if you had just witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ, wouldn't you hang on his every word? His final words as recorded in Matthew are among the most important in the whole Bible. The Great Commission.

Go and make disciples...

In my role as a curriculum developer and content writer, I have often gotten into discussions about the spectrum of evangelism vs. discipleship. When we design an activity or lesson or video or even a whole new class, we determine who our audience is, the lost or the churched, and pick a place on that spectrum as our target. Evangelistic on the weekends, discipleship on Wednesday night.

But recently, through a revelation of this scripture, God has shown me that these two goals are not mutually exclusive. They are two sides of the same coin. Making disciples is our goal right? And it requires BOTH evangelism and discipleship. But still, practically, how do you design ministry that reaches the goal without compromising one or the other. Well, I'm not sure how it will play out in practice, but I know in theory what God has shown me. I had a conversation with a friend who designs ministry for people through the internet. And he shared a concept with me that suddenly filled in all the blanks.

Seedless grapes.

The pure DNA that Christ was passing on to his disciples at the Ascension included genes for both evangelism and discipleship. And when you look at how Jesus prepared them, how he transferred his DNA, it was through a process of equipping them to do both. Then in Acts we see them passing on the Christian DNA in that same pure form. We can tell because the people that they made disciples out of were making disciples too. And so it has been transferred for 2000 years.

But probably in every generation, and certainly I see it in ours, sometimes the gospel we spread mutates into something weaker. Instead of bearing fruit, we are cultivating seedless grapes. We are leading people to continue to rely on us to feed and nurture their growth. What we should see, with the correct DNA transfer, is even very new believers diving in whole-heartedly to discipleship while also reaching out and converting new believers right away. (One interesting thing about seedless grapes too is that they actually can be made fruitful again but they have to be caught at a very early stage of development which has exciting implications for new believers and children!)

So instead of creating ministry that caters to either non-believers or to churched folk, we can design ministry around how to make disciples. Then, if you're new, you just listen and learn. And if you're not, you realize that you should be actively discipling others.

Again, this is a fairly new mind shift to me, but I believe this is what God is leading at least me and my church towards. Go and make disciples that make disciples. That is true fruitfulness. That is the Great Commission.


Anonymous said...

We were just talking to a friend from Michigan yesterday about our ministry in India and were all excited that the young men in our first class 13 years ago are 'bringing forth much fruit' in their country. They heard the WORD and went forth to DO IT!!!!