I’ve noticed something about the natural life-cycle of every living thing on the planet: reproduction is natural, and to some extent it’s expected.
No one needs to tell salmon that it is spawning season, or an oak tree that it’s time to drop an acorn, it’s built into their natural, biological cycle.
And this holds true for every plant and animal in the world, reproduction fits into the very normal life-cycle of an organism.
Except that is, for Christians.
For whatever reason, we’ve decided that reproducing other Jesus followers doesn’t really matter. It’s become the exception instead of the norm.
When Jesus said to go and make disciples, we’ve interpreted it to mean, “If you can occasionally get someone to say a prayer, great! If not, don’t sweat it.”
When we read about being witnesses to the end of the earth we interpret it as: “Some super spiritual pastors will give captivating sermons so you normal folk are off that hook, just invite someone to hear the rockstar and leave the real work up to the professionals.”
When we hear the call to incarnate ourselves with others (like Jesus) or become all things to all people (like Paul) we apply it by saying: “First, when you become fully like me in all things we can talk about this whole evangelism thing, but don’t come here until then.”
The greatest single problem facing the church today is the lack of a desire for reproduction. It has become a task or chore that is too easily overlooked. We’ve settled for the false belief that discipleship is only something that can (and should) be done by paid clergy, instead of the whole body of Christ. We’ve heard the words of Jesus and decided to ignore them. We’ve decided that it’s far better to consume than sacrifice.
For this, I think we must repent. We have supported and advocated for a distorted version of the gospel for far too long. We’ve simplified a life of transformation for a prayer, we’ve made outreach about programs and prestige and not about people. We’ve sensed that walking with people is too hard and it’s easier (and often more fun) to just point the finger and blame others for the problems we see.
But any true Christ follower, anyone serious enough to say yes to Jesus, must realize that he has called us to one mission, goal, and standard measurement for success: disciple-making. Calling others to repent, believe, and enter life in a new Kingdom with new values. To make disciples who have a goal to make disciples who have a goal to make disciples.
Simply: reproduction, not self-satisfaction. Heart transformation not mindless words. Growing/advancing not maintenance.
What steps do you take to actively disciple those around you? How would you sense your own level of commitment to disciple-making?