By: Andy Callis
As our church looks at discipleship for the fall, I’ve been challenged taking our students through “Multiply” by Francis Chan on Sunday mornings. Here are some of the things that have hit home with me.
To be a disciple maker, we must first be a disciple. Our church attendance, number of AWANA verses memorized, family traditions, mission trips, etc don’t make us disciples (see Matt. 7:21-23). Committing your life to Jesus as the Son of God who died for your sins and rose again is the beginning of becoming a disciple. I spoke with a student recently and likened our relationship to Jesus as choosing someone to marry. When I married my wife, I wasn’t confused about if it happened or not. I wasn’t confused about the time it happened. I knew going into it that it was a lifelong commitment that I would never break. In other words, I counted the cost and made the decision. In Luke 14:27-28, Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Disciples of Jesus weigh the decision to follow Christ and then they commit to Him for life. We have to make sure we start with “us” first in the disciple making process. If we aren’t sure we’ve committed to Jesus, we shouldn’t be worried about making disciples yet.
Another interesting thought about making disciples that Chan pointed out is how surprised the original disciples must have been at this strategy. After Jesus died, they were in shock and despair. Jesus had said, “Follow me (Matt. 4:19, John 1:43),” and they were sold out. They left behind all securities and certainties in life: income, food, careers, families, and more. They literally followed Jesus by faith, not knowing what would happen. Then it all seemed to come crashing down on the cross. Ah, but then Jesus rose again! Surely He’ll set the record straight now that He’s even overcome death! He’s unstoppable! Good bye Rome! Good bye Satan! Jesus is ready to rule and reign…right?! No, He’s going to leave again. What?!? He’s actually going to let you finish the mission from here on out. You will now be Christ’s ambassadors on earth and he’ll complete God’s mission through you (2 Cor. 5:20). How shocking that must have been to them! But through the power of the Holy Spirit, here we are today and the process of making disciples is still moving on.
Lastly, our motive for making disciples must be pure. During this series, some might be compelled to make disciples out of sheer guilt and a desire to not be disobedient to the Lord. Others may think they’ve finally got the green light to make their discipleship army because they really have a lot to offer. 1 Peter 5:2-3 speaks to both of those faulty views. “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” If compulsion or pride is our motive, we’ve failed. In fact if love isn’t our primarily motive, we are wasting our time. We are annoying at best and nothing at worst (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3).
As we embark on this disciple making journey together, let’s commit our own lives to Jesus first, embrace His mission that He left for us to do, and do it all with love in our hearts.