Are You Making Disciples of Jesus-Or of the Church?

by Bill Denton

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:19-20). I'm not in the business of making steel. I'm in the business of making men. They make steel."-Andrew Carnegie I remember reading somewhere that one of the dangers awaiting any person or group of persons is to forget what their purpose is, the one thing that they are trying to accomplish. It's easy to get sidetracked. There is an old story about a missionary in Africa. He walked everywhere, frequently logging several miles as he preached from one place to another. He prayed that God would somehow send him a car. It seemed reasonable, but it didn't seem that God was going to come through. One day, an old farmer approached riding in a rickety cart pulled by an ancient ox. The farmer told the missionary that he'd had it on his heart for some time to give the ox and cart so that the missionary could ride instead of walking. It was at that moment that the missionary realized that what he should have been praying for was transportation, not a car. "What does this have to do with making disciples?" you ask. The answer is in the fact that we get our focus slightly off center and end up a mile away from our intended target. Here's what I mean: Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples. We are to make disciples of Jesus. He didn't send us into the world to make "church members." He didn't send us to convert people to the church. I know, I know! People become "church members," and if converted they become the church. That's beside the point. The main thing is that they become disciples of Jesus. I do not become right with God because I become like the church. I become right with God because I put my faith in Jesus. My life doesn't become what it should be when I become like the church. My life becomes what it should be when I become like Jesus. I don't live right by following the teachings of the church, I live right when I follow the teachings of Jesus. We're not in the business of making church members. Were in the business of making disciples of Jesus. Perhaps it doesn't sound like much of a difference to you. I understand. I only ask that you think about it for just a bit. But, if you are more like the church than you are like Jesus, that goes a long way toward explaining why the church isn't what its supposed to be. No double-talk intended. Go make some disciples today-disciples of Jesus.
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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