In our churches we should focus on Jesus. After all He is our example. Throughout the gospels we are told to follow Him and in Philippians 2:5 we are told to have His same mindset. We cannot escape the fact that we are be like Christ. We are to think the way He did and do the things He did.
I believe that the church overall today tries to conform to the image of Christ. In our services we focus on Jesus preaching. Who wouldn’t! I mean, that man could preach! We focus on His teachings. The way He used stories and the elements around Him to open the eyes of His followers to truth was astounding! We focus on his healing and miracles. The compassion and power He showed in those moments are awe inspiring. All of this encompasses His ministry here on earth and we focus on these things in our churches. We preach about them. We teach them. We have small group discussions about them, but the question I have to ask is, “Is it working?”
Do we see changed lives in our churches? Do we see young Christians growing deeper in their faith? Do we see passion and zeal from those in our congregation, small groups, or student ministry? Or do we see apathy? Do we see infants in Christ remaining infants in Christ? Do we see a lack of concern for any sort of change in our people’s lives?
I like statistics. But I don’t have to look at statistics to know that when students graduate from high school they leave the church. I look around and see people who have accepted Christ 40+ years ago still with a shallow faith. We are sending out less and less pastors, missionaries, and lifetime ministry workers every year. Why? We’re preaching and teaching the gospel. We’ve provided vast ministry opportunities for people to grow. What is it that we’re missing?
The answer: Discipleship. We focus on everything else of Christ, but when it comes to the last command He gives the church we fall short. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I believe what the church is missing is the one principle that Jesus practiced daily.
Think about it. In Mark 1:17-18 Jesus says, “Follow Me” and for the next three years Jesus spends every day pouring His life into a small group of men. They saw his miracles. They listened and watched as Jesus forgave and restored broken souls. They even helped physically in Christ’s ministry. And then, after Jesus died and rose again, He turned over His ministry to His disciples and told them to finish His work. What was that work? To make disciples.
Ask yourself right now, “Am I making disciples?” Take a look at your church or student ministry. Is discipleship happening? Why not? It was practiced by Christ and even commanded.
Check back for part two in my three part look at Discipleship.