Are We Making Disciples?

Matthew 28:18-20 has been called by some, “Jesus’ Marching Orders.”  It is Matthew’s account of the great commission.  It is clear from this text that Jesus wants us to be “making disciples.”  Are we doing that?

This question has been prompted in my mind by an article I recently read in Wineskins Magazine. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read it.  You can click here to go directly to the article by Wade Hodges.  It is titled “Unintentional Nondiscipleship.” His basic argument is that the bad news is we are not making disciples (generally speaking) but the good news is we’re not really trying.  Be forewarned about this article and this BLOG.  Neither of us have the answers, just some thought provoking questions.

It has really made me think about our own situation at Creekside.  We are a very loving, open minded fellowship of Christ-followers.  We don’t focus on the issues that take our mind off of Jesus as the center.  We trying to reach out to the community in loving ways.  Our leadership is shepherding.  Our people are forgiving and willing to look at others through the eyes of Jesus.  We have developed as a theme, “Love God, Love Others, and Serve.”  Please don’t hear me saying we are the perfect church.  We have much to improve, but it really is a loving group of people and I feel very blessed being where I am.  I’m not even insinuating that we are not making disciples.  It’s just his article has brought the question to the front of my mind.

I think that part of this question in my mind stems from a lack of real understanding of what a disciple is.  We seem to answer the question, “Who is a disciple?” in very generic terms like  “Christian,” “follower of Christ,”  or “one who does what Jesus said to do.”  Those answers are all technically correct, but they seem to fall short of specifics.

If we are making disciples, then what are we making and how are they making a difference in this world? What is your church family doing to make disciples  in your communities?   Am I asking the wrong question?  Is this answerable?

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2 responses to “Are We Making Disciples?

  • gregengland

    My response is more to Wade’s article than to your blog, but maybe there is a connection. For a long time I’ve thought we have this whole disciple-making process wrong. As I understand it, we are to teach people the good news of Jesus Christ and there is a community of faith into which they are welcomed. In your part of the country, there are many, many believers serving the Lord, but not under the auspices of “church of Christ” so they are generally not considered disciples by others in the coC! Go figure. As for the maturing of disciples, (which seems to be our whole purpose of programs) why would God leave to us the task of making others more like Jesus? Seems the Word tells us He is the author and perfecter of our faith. I believe the spiritual maturing of a disciple comes from the Holy Spirit, not our programs. Or have I missed something?

  • Meowmix

    Our congregation is a loving group of people, and I dearly cherish my association with the family at Berclair. As I’ve shared before, Berclair is a very old-paths, traditional church. So I will answer, at the outset, in the way I think our leadership would. We support missionaries in other parts of the world. We build each other up. We have a needy food pantry that mostly serves our neighborhood street people. We have a “gospel meeting” once a year in October. We have Bible-based preaching twice on Sunday and Bible study on Wed. night. In the three full years I’ve been at Berclair, I know of two baptisms. Are we making disciples? My own answer would be I think so, maybe so, hope so, and I don’t know. The missionaries are teaching, of course. But there is a difference of opinion as to whether the needy food pantry is being used for the benefit of those who “deserve” it. As far as I know, the gospel meeting is attended by those who are always already there. We did pass out leaflets in the neighborhood last year, but I don’t know of a visitor from that effort. One of the two people baptized was one of the “street” people, and he hasn’t been there in a year and a half and no one knows where he is. I DO believe our study together and our fellowship continues to strengthen our own faith, and love that is present shores up our own discipleship. But outreach? This is an “I don’t think so.” I would have to hang with Greg’s comment that spiritual maturing comes from the Holy Spirit and not our programs.

    I didn’t answer any questions……….because I can’t. Just some thought-sharing………

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