God is on mission. He always has been.
As His people, we are on mission as well.
Jesus said, "Come follow me."
3 years later, Jesus told the same men, "Go and make disciples."
Come watch how I live. Learn to live and walk and talk the same way. Now, go and lead others - someone else - to live and walk and talk the same way. I am sending you out on this mission!
God is on mission. He always has been.
And His people have always been a "sent" people.
From slaves in Egypt, to captives and exiles in Babylon, to sojourners and exiles driven out of Jerusalem and scattered to the uttermost parts of the globe, to disciples and exiles right here and right now. We are a sent, missionary people. We always have been. And until Christ returns, we always will be. I attempted to illustrate this in my chicken-scratch doodling from my sermon preparation last week:
Come follow me. I will make you "fishers of men". I will make you my disciples.
To be totally elementary, but necessarily clear, Jesus has only one kind of disciple: a disciple-making disciple. And while to a first-century Christian peering into the western church of today it must seem a bit ridiculous to even need to state this, it is necessary to state it nonetheless: our priority as the Church is making disciple-making disciples. It always has been. At The Brook, this is what we have set our minds and fixed our eyes on. It is the utmost priority. It's the non-negotiable. As the people of God and as followers of Christ, if we fail at this mission, we've totally missed the point. I really don't believe that any of us want that to happen.
Are you a Christian? A follower of Christ? Then you're a disciple.
Jesus said, "Come follow me", and you responded: "I will follow!"
Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I am?", and you responded, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God!"
So here's the question: Where are you on the journey?
Are you a new disciple? Did you just start walking with the Lord? Then someone else - a mature believer - should be walking alongside you, leading you, saying, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." But they should also be leading you in your understanding that you will also (in due time) take someone young in the faith and walk alongside them. They should be leading you to be a disciple-making disciple. That's what Jesus did. That's what Jesus calls us to.
And yet, somehow so many who have "come to faith" - have "decided to follow Jesus" - have never had anyone disciple them and, therefore, have never discipled anyone else. How can this be so?
To be blunt and direct: Let's not waste time answering that question.
Let's just do something about it.
Right now we are taking multiple steps to do something about it.
First off, we have just started the Discipleship Intensive. This is a 90-minute class that meets one evening a month, walking through the 4 foundational traits and tools of a disciple. And while I believe many who hear or read about this class will automatically think, "Oh, I don't need the 'foundational' stuff anymore. I'm past that!", I would challenge you with this question: Are you making disciples? If not - if you have not yet learned how or taken steps to be a disciple-making disciple - then this class is for YOU! Please don't underestimate the value of learning, re-learning, and fanning the flames of the basics.
To follow this, we are now implementing - at a deeper level - these traits and tools into our Missional Communities. During our Leader Huddles (that meet for 120 minutes, one night a month) we are investing in and equipping our leaders to invest in and equip those they are leading. We're teaching them to make disciple-making disciples. The Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy (2 Timothy 2:2) and told him to take what he had taught him and "entrust it to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." If you play out what Paul's instructions to Timothy imply, you understand that it leads to 4 generations of disciples. Not much later, way down the road, but right here. Right now.
4 generations of disciples.
That's what Paul wanted to see. So do I. So should you!
At The Brook, we are raising up and equipping our leaders - disciples - to go into their Missional Communities and their ministries and make disciples. And not just disciples; disciple-making disciples. (Remember: that's the only kind.)
We are also just wrapping up a brand new series called (drum roll....wait for it....) Disciple: The Traits & Tools of a Christ Follower, exploring these traits, tools, and characteristics and allowing the scriptures to define for us what a disciple looks like - right here, right now. You can find those sermons HERE. As I've attempted to clearly communicate, I now reiterate: we have sold the farm and cashed in all our chips on this one thing. There is nothing more important than the calling the Lord has placed on us to make disciple-making disciples.
So...allow me to go back to the earlier question: Where are you on this journey?
In Paul's exhortation to Timothy, there's only one generation that is not yet making disciples - the brand new disciple. So according to 2 Timothy 2:2, (Ephesians 4:11-16, Matthew 28:18-20, Hebrews 5:11-6:2, and we could go on and on) you should either have someone pouring into your life (or) you should be pouring into someone else's life (or) both.
If no one is pouring into your life, come to the Discipleship Intensive. We will begin walking with you and connecting you with someone who will. (The next DI is Monday, November 16th (6:30PM) at The Brook.
If you're ready to begin pouring into someone else's life, but don't feel equipped or ready, come to our Leader Huddles. (For more info, shoot our Worship & Discipleship Pastor, Chad Cronin an email.) We will invest in you, equip you, walk with you, and prepare you to use the tools the Lord has given you to carry out His mission. And always remember that: it's HIS mission! He is always faithful to equip us to do what He's called us to do. This is why the Church exists; for the mission of God.
God is on mission. He always has been. Are you?
Where are you on this journey?
Let's walk together.
More to come...