“Go and make disciples of all nations.” That’s the final command of Jesus to all those who follow him, and if asked, most church leaders would say it’s the core reason we exist.
After pastoring for over ten years I had a growing sense that ‘there must be more than this.’ It wasn’t that things were going badly – they just didn’t really look like what I saw in the Gospels. I started questioning the effectiveness of what I was doing, of the things I’d been trained to do: Sunday services, establishing small groups and mechanisms for pastoral care, prayer, counsel, training leaders, funerals, weddings (plus buildings, budgets, newsletters). I was busy… but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there must be more.
The clarifying moment came when I was asked two simple questions: “How are you making disciples?” and “Is it working?”
It wasn’t that it was all bad – there were highlights and moments – but I couldn’t answer that I had a specific strategy for discipleship, and the fruit of our discipleship efforts was haphazard. The fact is I didn’t know how to do it! I could organise a church service but when faced with questions about my pathways for discipleship and for equipping my people to be disciples who disciple others – I didn’t know where to start!
These questions started our church, Cashmere New Life in Christchurch, on a journey (find more about Cashmere New Life at www.cnl.org.nz). We’re learning what it means to become people who live lives worth imitating and who know how to invite others to do the same. An invaluable companion has been the resources and people from 3DM (3dmovements.com). Two years into our journey of putting discipleship front-and-centre, we’re seeing that Jesus’ command to make disciples is not only possible but revolutionary.
How are you making disciples?
Is it working?
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