Jesus changes the world. And Jesus invites us to join him in his work as he changes the world. His world changing plan is called discipleship.
Clint Regen and I went through seminary together and have stayed in touch over the years. I was grateful to be able to worship with Clint and hear him preach in his small church in Wimberley, Texas. As we visited before lunch he said, “So tell me about this thing your doing in Jacksonville.” I looked him straight in the eye and responded, “Clint, I don’t mean to sound grandiose, but I think this ministry that God’s led me into has the potential to change the world.” What I was referring to is the power of the gospel working through discipleship. The gospel changes a life. Discipleship allows the gospel to grow through multiplication. In other words, when someone learns to be the sort of disciple who is equipped and motivated to make other disciples, over time the entire world can be transformed.
Over the last four months, I’ve seen that begin to happen. It’s been a process of learning. I would learn to use a tool for discipleship. In turn, I would pass what I learned on to the people in our huddles. They, in turn would learn to use the tool. I’ve been impressed that the discipling tools we’ve used are straightforward enough for kids and sophisticated enough for well educated adults. On several occasions now, people in our huddles have taken the tool and passed it on to another. Missional Communities are great vehicles for mission, study, and fellowship. But discipleship is clearly the driving force.
That’s how it should be. That’s how Jesus set things up. In Matthew 28:16-20, you will find the command to make disciples. Disciples would be recognized by baptism, taught the way of Jesus through everything he commanded. That was Plan A for Jesus – and there was no Plan B. But frankly, much of my ministry in the past has been putting Jesus’ Plan A behind other things. I often figured that once everything was set up and running smoothly in my church, I’d be able to focus on making disciples. How silly of me. My churches never got smooth enough. There were always fires to be put out, deadlines to meet, and programs to run. I did manage to make some disciples – but frankly, it was by accident.
I am deeply grateful for this season of church planting. I’m grateful for what God has taught me – especially how central discipleship is. We are centered on Jesus. And that’s what we pass on. Mission and worship flow from discipleship.