I had to find a better way to make disciples. I had been taught basic discipleship in a pretty hard core ministry. We lived ate and breathed ministry. I knew how to do Bible studies with new believers and teach basic Christian doctrine. It worked to some degree.
But when I became a pastor, I found myself dealing with so many different kinds of people. I was in San Francisco, and, you know… lots of … um … “interesting” people. Everyone was so unique! The same discipleship program didn’t fit everyone.
But I didn’t have the time and energy to create a unique tailored discipleship program for every individual.
Yes there were certain core truths and concepts that applied to everyone. But each individual had a unique set of gifts and passions and abilities. Each one was wired uniquely.
As I pondered this I eventually got the real question, which is, “What are we after?” We don’t make disciples so we can put notches on our belts and keep score. We do it because Jesus did it, and he commanded us to do it. But why?
Why did Jesus make disciples? Why not just take them to heaven once saved?
He did it not only to make them become like him; the disciple becomes like the master… but he did it to send them out to accomplish a mission.
We’ve heard a lot of “You’re a being not a doing.” “It’s all about the Father’s love.” “It’s all about a relationship.” And you know what? Those statements are true. But I think we’ve gone a bit overboard. Yes He’s brought us into a relationship but He has ALSO called us to a mission, to a purpose, to a Kingdom purpose.
Paul says we weren’t saved by works, but for the purpose of doing works that God prepared beforehand for us to do. Ephesians 2:10. Everyone He called in the Bible was called to a mission of some kind (except maybe Enoch, but as I said before, you’re not Enoch!)
It’s not either — or, it’s both and.
So the purpose of discipleship is to help people become mature in Christ, becoming more like Jesus AND fulfilling the calling He’s put on their lives. And if He has called you to do something, He has put gifts and talents in you, and put you through experiences that have prepared you to be able to accomplish it. Jesus called the 12 to a relationship with Him but also to become “fishers of men.” That’s what it meant to be called to be His disciple.
To put it succinctly, it’s about development.
Developing people to become mature in Christ AND accomplish their calling. And we use the term “destiny” to mean one’s calling or ministry purpose.
That’s the secret. Develop for destiny.
And we’ve found that this concept of destiny and calling is in fact the greatest motivator for service for all human beings. Once you understand the power of destiny, it will blow your mind. And once you understand how to help another person tap into their destiny and begin to fulfill it, it will completely change how you work with people. And that will revolutionize how you do church.
But how do you do that?
More in Part 2.