After speaking and writing about topics on, ‘Why do people leave the Church’ and ‘Why do most Church’s not seem able to bring new people to Jesus,’ I get asked a lot, ‘Ok now what?’ Simply talking about the obvious does not change the circumstance. Over the centuries, and even now, churches and ministries all over the world have and are seeking that answer. Sometimes it seems like such a mystery as to what exactly Jesus called us to. Yes he said to go make disciples, to spread the gospel, but how?
I recently read that despite the incredible amount of money that the North American Church has spent on outreach and evangelism in the past decade that only 1% of it’s growth is non-biological. Most of the ‘new converts’ (99%) have some connection to the church already. This shows churches all over are trying, maybe not successfully, and are putting in an effort to grow, but many are not. What actually works seems illusive.
When Jesus left His disciples how did they understand the great commission? Were they like us, knowing we need to do something, but not sure exactly what? I personally do not believe it is a mystery at all, but this is just my random thoughts. Here is what I believe.
I believe the life of Jesus is God’s master plan or blueprint on effectively discipling the world. That sounds a bit too simple I know and not very earth shattering, but think about it for a moment. What Jesus did for his disciples is what He meant for his disciples to do when he told them to go and make some of their own.
Jesus did not try and disciple the masses but a few. Perhaps in His wisdom he only choose twelve. How many churches are set up in a model that believes a Pastor / Priest tries to disciple hundreds.
Here is the implication of this belief I have though. If someone asked Jesus, ‘who is your disciple?’ he could tell you them by name. If you asked the disciples, ‘who are you following?’ they would say Jesus. There was a defined relationship. How many leaders or Christians today would give you an answer to those same questions? The answer for most is no one. Yes they attend services, help with programs, and try their best to love and serve God, but are we truly following Jesus’ example and life? Do we want to live out Jesus’ model?
It may mean we actually stop inviting people to church and perhaps invite them into our lives.