“If you make disciples, you will always get the church. But if you try to build the church, you will rarely get disciples.” -Mike Breen, “Why the Missional Movement Will Fail”
Breen makes some great points in his post I reference above. Definitely worth a read. I can see church leaders all over the country discussing this in staff meetings. But here’s the thing that keeps coming back to me. I read lots of articles and have been involved in lots of discussions about discipleship vs. mission (as if they are diametrically opposed in a church or small group). The church in America is good at swinging the pendulum from one extreme to the other in this and a variety of other issues.
Here’s another great quote from Breen’s post:
If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get more leaders than you’ll know what to do with. If you make disciples like Jesus made them, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing.
That seems pretty obvious to me … so why are so many churches and small groups not making disciples, not growing, not bearing fruit, not winning the lost, not multiplying?
I believe commitment is the missing ingredient in most American churches and small groups.
I’ve been blogging about Commitment and Small Groups
for two weeks, and I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. There seems to be so much more to discuss on the topic. I really believe that lack of commitment to the right things is one of the primary things keeping the church from carrying out Christ’s mission for us.
We’re too busy with other lesser priorities. We’re afraid that people may walk away from our groups or churches if we ask for too much. We’re afraid of being too pushy. We don’t have the guts to jump in with everything we’ve got. We lack faith. We lack prayer. When it comes right down to it, we lack an all-in, totally surrendered, self-forgetting, wholehearted devotion to God and his will.
In the midst of this, Jesus stands and calls us to, “Come, follow me.” Jesus beckons us to a high call and high commitment. His first disciples left everything to follow him (Matthew 4:19-20
). And when want-to-be disciples did not want to make that kind of commitment, Jesus loved them but let them walk away (Mark 10:17-22
; John 6:66
The words that describe the actions of these same authentic disciples after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, at the beginning of the Church, are vital for them and us: “The devoted themselves …” (Acts 2:42).
These believers, these committed followers, devoted themselves to the right things … and the result was, “the Lord added to their number daily those being saved (v. 47).
Small group pastors, small group leaders, small group members … What are you really devoted to?
What are you willing to sacrifice for God? for your own spiritual vitality? for your group? for the kingdom of God?
God can and will still change the world through committed followers.