(EDITOR'S NOTE – In the July 21 issue we focus on discipleship. What does it look like? Why is it important? Most importantly, we look at how you, your family and your church can get involved in making disciples. We hope you find the information in these stories to be helpful in that journey.)
The most basic challenge of any organization or ministry is staying focused on its purpose. It is easy to drift and lose our way in the maze of daily demands. But if we don’t “keep the main thing the main thing,” we are not effective.
Our “main thing” is to obey the final assignment our Lord left with us before he physically departed this world – make disciples. Failure to fulfill the Great Commission is inexcusable. We will be held accountable.
Maybe we are distracted. Maybe we are too busy with a million good things but missing our main mission. If we are honest, every Christian leader will admit that we’ve all been there. We have a dozen T-shirts to prove it.
Are we making Baptists, Calvinists and traditionalists, or are we making disciples? Are we making church members, deacons and choir members, or are we making disciples? Are we making converts, missionaries and teachers, or are we making disciples?
Am I suggesting that any of these roles are bad? Absolutely not! But any good thing is no longer a good thing when it either distracts us from the main thing or fails to contribute to the ultimate goals of the main thing.
Are we making disciples through Sunday School, worship services and fellowship dinners? Are we making disciples through deacon meetings, budget committee meetings and youth rallies? Again, these are not bad things. They may contribute to the disciple making process, but are these events getting the job done?
It seems to me that when Jesus said we must “make” disciples, he was describing a process that is neither incidental nor accidental. It is an intentional, personal, valuable investment of one person into the life of another.
So, what is disciple-making, and how do we become successful in the discipling process?
There are no short answers to that question. That’s why this issue of the Biblical Recorder is putting emphasis on how some leaders are trying to answer the most fundamental questions about disciple-making.
As we have listened to these leaders and attempted to convey their stories, we have not heard a “know it all” or “I have arrived” spirit in any of them. Each one has clearly stated they are still on the journey, but they are finding great satisfaction in seeing progress toward the ultimate goal of making disciples. They are discovering what is fruitless and what is fruitful. Their heart is to share what they are learning as an encouragement to you.
In years past, men like Dawson Trotman (Follow-up: Conserving the Fruits of Evangelism) and LeRoy Eims (The Lost Art of Disciple Making) have led the way toward a clear vision for disciple making. God has given us men like J. Oswald Sanders, Robert E. Coleman and Waylon B. Moore to flesh-out the vision. Their materials reveal a passion for obedience to Christ’s command.
But no amount of materials will work as long as they are on the bookshelf. Effective disciple making requires a living, breathing person like you and me to take action. We pray that the models and examples of this issue’s articles will motivate you toward an intentional, joyful pattern of making disciples.
Please notice that we have a list of the names and contact information for Baptist-related campus ministries across North Carolina (View list here). College students desperately need to get connected with a vital campus ministry. It is essential for this critical point in their lives. Please share this list with college students, the parents of college students, college class leaders and anyone else whom you believe will benefit from this information. Encourage them to contact the campus minister for their college or university. You will be doing them a great favor!