Mark Crull at Northview Church is leading his team to make 1,000 disciples in 2024. As we were helping with the messaging and marketing, one of his team members asked, “What would you say, in one line, is the reason you should make disciples? I stopped for a moment and said,
Because everyone deserves the life God promised.
The back story to the question is that I was pushing back on the common reasons folks give to make disciples. Perhaps, you have heard them too.
- We should make disciples because Jesus told us to do it.
- We should make disciples so that they will make disciples.
- We should make disciples so we can save the world.
None of the answers are wrong (in fact, they are all true statements), but none of them are focused on the real matter at hand. Jesus did not come so that we would make disciples. He came to make disciples. Jesus’ target, his success factor, was giving people the opportunity to follow God into the abundant life He designed for them. The church’s mission might be to make disciples who make disciples because Jesus said to. But our mission in making disciples needs to be helping folks become prepared, confident, and skilled in their faith so they get the life Jesus promised.
I speak to hundreds of pastors about their desire and the challenges they face in making disciples. We have all faced those challenges. Challenges like,
- Low buy-in,
- Low success rates, and
- Low multiplication.
I believe most of these challenges are entirely based on the “why we make disciples.” Because our “why” affects how we recruit, communicate, and actually make disciples. Just ask people. They will tell you why they aren’t keen on your next discipleship idea. They say things like,
- We’ve already tried that,
- Yeah, I did the last one, and
- It’s just another program.
Do you see what they are saying? They are saying, “There is no value to me.” But if you focus on inviting people to a grand life full of long-term value for them and actually deliver that value, you will have people standing in line.
And that is where the rubber meets the road! Most of us struggle to deliver value to the masses, much less articulate the value of discipleship. What is that value? Here’s one answer.
Jesus died to give you an incredible life, an abundant life. He promised it. You deserve it. And if you try this for a year, I promise you, you will never be the same.
Do you see the difference? I am not asking them to do something they need to do, that they should do, or must do. I am focusing on what Jesus wants for them and what they can have if they follow Jesus.
Before you think I am a humanistic heretic, think about Jesus’ call to the thousands he spoke to. He always called them to hope, and a life he knew was best for them. Jesus was focused on transforming individuals.
I have seen the power of this “vision shift” in hundreds of churches as they begin to make a “value proposition” to the folks around them. The world is hungry for hope and a better life. We need to focus on offering just that with no strings attached.
Why do we make disciple making a priority (the first thing we do every week)? Because everyone deserves the life God promised. Why do we sacrifice another evening to meet? Because everyone deserves the life God promised. Why do we challenge our boards to get on board? Because everyone deserves the life God promised. Why do we find great methods that provide great results instead of doing the next denominational packet? Because everyone deserves the life God promised.
The truth of the matter is that when people hear, see, and feel your genuine desire for them to have a most excellent life in Christ (just for them), they will follow you right into following God. And we have the data to prove it!
Have I won you over? I hope so. Now the only thing you have to do is deliver the value (the transformation). But that is a discussion for another day.