Real-Life Discipleship – Week 1, Day 1 – A Heart to Make Disciples

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So, last night was the first night of the new semester of the Timothy Initiative.  My book this time is more like a Beth Moore study guide instead of a college textbook, so I am already comforted.  🙂

Real-Life Discipleship class description:

The proven tools and strategies offered in this study will strengthen you as a disciple maker and help our church create an environment of intentional followers of Christ. You will learn how to identify, recruit, and create gifted leaders from within your church fellowship who go out and make disciples, who then go out and make disciple, who make disciples…

Ok.  Not so comfortable anymore.

I carefully open the workbook and start at Week One, Day One.

Title:  A Heart to Make Disciples

Heartbeat speeding up.  Hands a little clammy now.

What Does Winning Look Like?

Oh!  Sports analogies!  I can do sports analogies.  Comfort coming back.

(1) If Christianity were a team sport and the church were Christ’s team, what would winning be?  

(2) What is the church supposed to be and do to win?

Ok, so what’s our purpose as the Church? What’s our purpose as individuals? What should our main mission and cause be?

Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Getting uncomfortable again.

I have to admit that the thought of being an intentional disciple maker makes me a little nauseous.  That involves talking to people, right?  Actually opening up and being transparent with another human being?  Moving out of my comfortable place?  Do I really have to?

Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

 

From the text: “Jesus’ last command in Matthew 28:18-20 makes the church’s mission clear:  The church is called to reach the world for Jesus one person at a time.  In other words, every Christian is commanded to participate in the mission to make disciples.”

Every other mission or cause must be second to that.  First and foremost, we are to be a reflection of the love and mercy of Jesus.  We have to extend love, mercy, and grace to everyone we come into contact with.  Whether we want to or not.  Whether we feel like it or not.  Whether we feel like they deserve it or not.

(Side note: Speaking from experience, if the other mission or “cause” you support makes you angry, judgmental, self-righteous, hateful and unloving toward others – re-evaluate your involvement with and support for that mission or “cause.”)

The part we play as believers is critical.  If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.  It doesn’t mean we have to stand on a street corner with a bullhorn and a sign.  It doesn’t mean we have to hand out tracts to strangers and ask them if they are going to hell (personally, I think this does WAY more harm than good, but that is another topic for another day).  We were each uniquely created by God with differing circumstances, differing pasts, and differing personalities.  We each have a personal role to play based on the sum of our life experiences.

So, what is MY personal role in helping the church make disciples?  After thinking about it for a while, it was really pretty simple.

  1. Continue to train my child in the way he should go.
  2. Support, honor, and encourage my husband.
  3. Show the love of Jesus to everyone I meet by serving them and meeting any needs that I can.
  4. Speak the truth IN LOVE when necessary.
Pretty simple on paper.  A lot harder to actually follow through with in real life.  It means biting my tongue when I want to respond harshly to someone who has hurt me or people I care about.  It means not saying anything if I don’t have anything nice to say.  It means spending more time in the Word learning about Jesus and how He responded to broken, hurting people (hint: it wasn’t by trashing them, calling them names, or trying to legislate morality on them).  It means knowing enough of the Word to be able to speak it to someone who is struggling and in need of encouragement.  It means getting over myself and remembering that, in God’s eyes, I was equally as bad as the worst person I can possibly think of, and the only reason I’m not anymore is because when God looks at me now He doesn’t see me, He sees Jesus.  Period.
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