God is on a mission. He is at work redeeming the world. The story begins with God’s perfect creation, but marred by human sinfulness, he begins his redemptive process. But he invites us to join him on his mission. Jesus put it this way, “Go, and make disciples.” To be a follower of Jesus is to be missional. But disciplemaking sounds scary. ‘Ordinary’ Christians sometimes leave it to the experts. It’s just too hard. I understand this, but spiritual elitism isn’t at the heart of Jesus. He wants every follower to be a disciple maker. I asked some missional leaders for their top piece of advice for helping ‘ordinary’ Christians embrace God’s mission of making disciples. Here’s what they said…
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to encourage people to join God’s mission of making disciples?
First, take people to the Bible story to show that mission is central to the Bible story and integral to who we are as God’s people. So mission is not a duty we fulfill, but an identity we are given. Second, expose to mission in action – there’s nothing more exciting than seeing God at work through his word.
Dr Tim Chester is a pastor with Grace Church, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, and a faculty member Crosslands Training, a partnership between Oak Hill College and Acts 29. He is the author of over 30 books including Rediscovering Joy, Mission Matters, A Meal with Jesus, From Creation to New Creation and, with Steve Timmis, Everyday Church.
God is actively at work around us in the everyday stuff of life. We can either idly sit around and miss out, or join Him in life transforming, world altering work. When Jesus called his disciples to follow him, he called them into the adventure that changes everything – including them. God calls every one of us into an intimate and dynamic relationship with him that cannot be fully experienced apart from being in a community of disciples sent together to make disciples. This is how he designed us and this is what he rescued us for. It is in community that we learn to be loved and to love and it is on mission that we experience the power and presence of God at work in us and through us. Jesus said his food was to do the will of the Father who sent him. The thing that will give Jesus-followers the greatest fulfillment is doing the will of Jesus who sends them. Besides, Jesus said if we loved him, we would obey his commandments. If you know his love, you will love his mission.
Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate and the Soma family of churches, as well as the teaching elder at Doxa Church. He travels frequently speaking and teaching on missional leadership. Jeff has written Saturate, and Gospel Fluency, the Making Space course, and co-wrote the Saturate Field Guide and Gospel Fluency Handbook.
Read the gospels and follow Jesus. I don’t mean to give a pat answer. This is a serious call to do the work of a disciple by investing time and effort in knowing Jesus. The rabbi is the disciple’s focus. Knowing Rabbi Jesus is a life-long pursuit and not something anyone can master. Just like Jesus’ first disciples, today’s disciples listen, observe, and ponder Jesus’ words and actions in the gospels. They strive to understand and become more like him. Not the Jesus we’ve domesticated and made comfortable, but the Jesus who, at great cost to himself, put the interests of others ahead of himself, took the place of a slave and washed his disciples’ dirty feet, spoke truth to power, and blessed, healed, and empowered the powerless. Jesus leads his disciples to become courageous kingdom agents in his mission to reclaim the world he loves.
Carolyn Custis James is an author intent on exploring what it means to be a follower of Jesus in a postmodern world. As a cancer survivor, she is grateful to be alive and determined to address the issues that matter most. She travels extensively both in the US and abroad as a speaker for churches, conferences, colleges, theological seminaries and other Christian organisations. Carolyn blogs for Missio Alliance and Huffington Post focusing on the needs of disciples as they seek to extend God’s kingdom in a broken world together.
Admit your own deep need for grace. No one gives grace better than someone who knows he needs it himself. Discipleship is about teaching people to forsake self-reliance and run to the grace of Jesus.
Paul Tripp is a pastor, author and speaker. He is president of Paul Tripp Ministries, has authored 17 books and travels world wide speaking at conferences. Central to Paul’s ministry is helping people for hope in a broken world through Jesus.
The most important part of joining with God on his mission is to listen to what God is doing in your context. Your context might be your workplace, neighbourhood or community. If we have a humble posture and are willing to learn from others we will more likely notice the Spirit of God working through those people around you. Usually God will teach us something about himself as we listen to others. As we listen and discern, God might also ask us to form partnerships with people and groups who are interested in the same things we are-promoting justice, peace, salvation and beauty in our world. In that way we can model the story of the reign of God and then invite others to join with us on the journey.
Karina Kreminski is the Lecturer of Missional Studies at Morling College. She has a passion to help equip Christian leaders to engage the world in such a way that the good news of Jesus is fleshed out. This passion is reflected in Karina’s speaking engagements and blog.
All of scripture points to God’s eternal purpose: filling the world with his glory. (Ps 72:19)
Jesus is the glory of God. (Heb. 1:3)
Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” is what Paul called the mystery revealed: that God will fill the world with Jesus as disciples of Jesus make more disciples all over the world. Families, neighborhoods, cities and nations are restored as lives are transformed and restored back into the fullness of God’s own image–his Glory.
Joining God’s mission of making disciples in every context is joining him in the fulfillment of his eternal purpose! We were created and are being re-created for this alone.
Caesar Kalinowski is a ‘spiritual entrepreneur and mentor.’ He is passionate about equipping people to intentionally be active disciples in their family, faith, and work life in such a way that it proclaims Jesus. Caesar hosts the Lifeschool Podcast, serves as the Director of the GCM Collective and has authored 4 books.
Is there anything you would add? Leave it in a comment below.