Only 20 percent of Christians are involved in any kind of discipleship activity, according to the Barna report that just came out. Unfortunately, making disciples is the number one job of every Christian, not just of the clergy.
Jesus didn’t mince words. Some of his last words were, “Go make disciples of all people groups.” Later, in his post-last will and testament, he said, “Be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I don’t think Jesus could have been any clearer. So why are those who profess to follow him avoiding doing what he asked us to do? Isn’t a servant supposed to obey his or her Master? If being a disciple means becoming more like Jesus, what does it say about us when we fail to do what he asked us to do on his deathbed?
It says we’re failing to be his disciples. And that hurts.
I just got off the phone with a multi-site pastor I’m coaching. We were talking about how to become a multiplication church. His comments are worth passing on. While talking about the need for more discipleship, he said, “We’re learning that the old way of discipleship isn’t working. When our people invite someone to church or to worship they don’t get as positive a response as they used to get. I’m beginning to believe that we need to teach our people how to talk about Jesus without scaring people to death.”
Bingo. He hit the nail on the head. Inviting people to church isn’t what Jesus meant when he said, “Go make disciples,” or “Be my witness.” What he meant was “Tell them about me. Instruct them in my ways.”
If only two out of ten of us are involved in any form of discipleship, whether it is growing ourselves, or sharing the Gospel, we are failing miserably to be the Church of Jesus Christ. We may be some form of church, but not his Church. And that hurts.
So what can we do?
Here are a few suggestions.
- Start preaching about the importance of being a disciple who shares their faith with their networks.
- Start leading the revolution by involving yourself in actual one-on-one discipleship with a non-Christian.
- Shut down all the in-house programs that keep your people bottled up in the church and send them out into the streets to sink or swim. Some will learn to swim.
- Get Discovery Bible Study and require it of all your small groups. Have sessions for those in the church who aren’t in small groups.
- Encourage your small groups to spend one evening a month working on a chosen mission project.
Any real Christian ought to be able to share their faith with someone they know who isn’t a Christian. And there are plenty of non-Christians to go around. According to another Barna study just out, “the percentage of Americans who qualify as ‘post-Christian’ rose by 7 points (from 37% in 2013 to 44% in 2015), bringing the number very near the halfway mark.”
WE ARE LOSING THE BATTLE. Something has to change or the U.S. will be like Europe and Canada. I don’t want that. I don’t think you want that. So what are you going to do about it?
Question: How does your church make an effort to obey Jesus’ last will and testament? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.