All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
There are wonderful exceptions to this but often perceived success in fulfilling the great commission is tallied when red hot zealots arise from the lukewarm pack and heed the call to full-time ministry. They make preparation and ultimately find their way into professional ministry posts as missionaries or pastors. The Body of Christ then looks to these called ones as their leaders. In many models they in turn, spend their lives preaching the gospel in order to save souls from hell and preserve them, through church involvement, for heaven. But, with this paradigm, how are we doing in the making disciples – department?
As hard as professional clergy may try, it is nearly impossible for them to prevent an us versus them – culture with us being the called professionals and them being the less-called unprofessionals. This mindset promotes a crippling option; that one can be a disciple who is actively engaged in ministerial activity or that one can be a mere believer who attends church. If the adage is true that 20% of the people do 80% of the work, then the effect of this error is that 80% of the army has not been commissioned. Infecting the Body of Christ with the notion that one can possess saving faith without being a disciple has been one the enemy administration’s most effective policies.
The original mandate to make disciples has effectively been derailed by an idea that has gone largely unchallenged within western traditions of Christianity. Consequently, many bible believing followers have been breaking away from traditional churches to engage in missional communities where the assumption is that all are called and that the primary mission of leaders is to recognize this and equip them all as disciples through their teaching and the example of their own lives. Does seminary or bible college equip people to lead in this way? Jesus said….
As I am so are you in this world.
While Pastor and the gospel have their place, I can see a day when the disciple and the Kingdom will have theirs. A disciple is nothing more than a person in whose heart Christ’s kingdom is operative and expanding. The Kingdom of God is simply that domain of activity where Christ’s government is prevailing. This is why Jesus said, in Him the kingdom of God had come. This is why He said the kingdom of God is within us.
The leader who is deconstructing the us vs them and the disciple vs attender-wineskin myth is partnering with the kingdom of God. The leaders who are helping believers discover their identities in Christ and laying hold of their kingdom destinies are partnering with God’s grand kingdom objectives. The leader who is intentionally helping believers discover their individual giftings and helping them to see how relevant and essential they are to their immediate network of souls is making disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission mandate. When believers become disciples who recognize they are here only temporarily and that they were born for such a time as this, the administration of this planet will shift from the Prince of this world to Lord of Life and King forevermore.
Father, we acknowledge that you have commissioned us as ambassadors to make disciples in all nations. Help us to prepare by living out Your life in our neighborhoods and our networks. Help us to see our wineskins from Your perspective. May Your Kingdom inform our reality. Help us to embrace the Kingdom of God and may that eternal paradigm govern our lives individually and corporately that the world may see that special and long-awaited glory upon us and credit You for the miracle. In Jesus name. Amen.