Over the past few months, God has been giving us clarity on our church planting vision for Queens, NY.
Without even planning it this way, the vision God has given us has become more than a vision of what we will see happen. It is also the process to accomplish the vision. In fact, our vision is our disciple making process, our church planting plan, and an embodied apologetic.
First, here is our mission:
Our mission is to glorify God by making disciples of all peoples.
The mission is larger than us. It’s simply the mission that Jesus gives all of His followers. Our church in Queens isn’t going to accomplish this mission entirely on its own, but, as far as it depends on us, the above is what we will strive for.
Our vision on the other hand, is how we will pursue the mission in our particular time and space.
Our Church Planting Vision
We will be a multiplying community of Jesus’ followers in the heart of Queens who will go on mission, grow in grace, and gather in His name for the glory of God among all peoples.
I know. I know. What good are statements like these, right? However, when God gives you a vision for what He is calling you to do it helps to capture it in a clear statement. Otherwise, you might find yourself building something flashier and trendier and otherwise different than what God intended.
Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples. That’s our mission. But apparently, only 1 in 20 Christians has even shared the Gospel.
Less than that will ever lead someone to Christ.
Less than that will ever invest time in leading that new disciple toward Christlikeness?
What are we to make of so few disciples actually making disciples? If you’ve never made a disciple (or haven’t in a long time) there are at least 7 factors that might be contributing to your disciple making slump.
You aren’t obeying
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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
What you can do: Confess your disobedience and ask God to equip you to become a disciple-making disciple. Remember, it’s in the context of the Great Commission that Jesus says, “I am with you always…” (What else? – Read this post on The Mission of the Church)
Visualize this scenario: You are at a coffee shop sharing Jesus with a friend. He puts his latte on the table and tells you he wants to turn from his sin and follow Jesus.
Once you’ve cleaned up the mess from the macchiato that just came out of your nose, you talk with him about his decision and you welcome him joyfully into the family!
So here’s the question: What now?
If you were only interested in a notch on your evangelistic belt then you might be tempted to outsource this new disciple’s growth to a church program.
If you don’t have time to make disciples then you might just give your new brother a book and send him on his way.
But, if you are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission by making disciples who make disciples, then you need to be intentional about this moment.
In fact, there are four habits that you need to help your new brother (or sister) form before he (or she) pays for your coffee. (Okay, maybe you should pick up the check this time.)
Making disciple-making disciples (or making DMD’s) sounds redundant.
Yet, very few are actually doing what Jesus told us to do in Matthew 28:18-20. Instead, the commission to “make disciples” is often interpreted in one of two ways:
- Some “make disciples” by making converts and then outsourcing their “discipleship” to a church program.
- Others gather converts together and attempt to “go deeper” but place no emphasis on being a witness to their neighbor.
This is the danger of separating evangelism and discipleship. The former is engaged in evangelism, the latter is engaged in what he or she believes to be discipleship. Evangelism without discipleship isn’t evangelism. Disciple making without evangelism isn’t disciple making.
That’s why we need to recapture a true understanding of what it means to make disciples.
Discipleship Training or Transforming Disciples?
“Discipleship training” is usually a class that informs our knowledge of God but it doesn’t always encourage us to live for God.
Making DMD’s is a much more robust commitment to the spiritual transformation of another. When Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples, He was basically telling them to make disciple-making disciples. Just as Jesus invested in them, now they were to invest in others.
Matthew 28:20 was a charge to the disciples to teach more disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded (ie “Love God,” “Love people,” and, oh yeah, “Make disciples!”).