December 12 I Monday
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...” —Matthew 28:19
We often talk about the importance of bringing others to know Jesus. We plan evangelism events, such as special Christmas and Easter services with follow-ups that include altar calls in the hope that someone will make a decision to submit to Christ. This is an important decision; in fact, the most important decision a person will make in their life, but we need to reconsider our priorities when acquiring new converts becomes more important than making disciples.
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples a command. He told them to go into the world and “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). They were not commanded to collect decisions, church members, or a following. The decision to submit to Christ is the necessary first step in the disciple-making process, but it is not the final goal. If the only thing we are worried about when sharing the gospel is getting people to make a decision for Jesus, then we are setting them up to miss the joy of the Christian life.
Our gospel presentations need to focus on much more than getting people into heaven. The forgiveness Christ offers is absolutely necessary, and we certainly look forward to spending eternity with Him, but making disciples is about training people how to live in the joys and the hardships of the here and now. It is about helping people grow in their relationship with Christ and equipping them to live a life that is fruitful and effective.
Making disciples is the entire reason the church exists. Anything less is fraudulent to the purposes of Jesus Christ. The goal of the church should be to preach Christ in all things, to guide those who do not yet know Jesus towards a relationship with Him and to develop that relationship in existing believers. This is not a task that belongs only to those in full-time ministry. As members of the church, of which Christ is the head, we are all called to come alongside our fellow believers and help them grow in their relationship with Jesus. We are called to teach and encourage others to love Him more, trust Him more, obey Him more and to daily surrender more of their lives to Him.
Be thankful if God gives us the opportunity to guide someone into a relationship with Christ, but do not be satisfied with merely collecting a decision. The greatest way we can participate in the community and mission of the church is by continuing to come alongside new believers and helping them to become totally dependent on Christ, so that ultimately, their decision to submit to Christ will lead to lifelong discipleship in making more disciples for Him.
Prayer: Father, I am humbled and grateful that You want a relationship with me. May Your Spirit work through me as I help others grow as Your disciples. Thank you, Lord.