Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 28:19
I have been a part of many discussions on various levels of ministry around the subject of discipleship. Should we have a class on it? Should we do a sermon series on it? What’s the proper context to make disciples? Who should we disciple? But in the streets we have realized an important thing about making disciples: everything we do is making disciples of the neighborhood.
We were awakened to it when we heard the president of a major television network comment in passing, “We own your kids.” At first I was annoyed at his arrogance. Yes his network targeted teens and pre-teens, but to say they owned our kids seemed like a huge stretch. And then I thought about the confusion in my peers when it came to the subject of how, when and where to do discipleship. It appeared to me that we were complicating the matter in a certain way because, what the TV president realized is, everything disciples. Let me give you some examples by asking some questions.
Where did you learn what is acceptable to eat or not eat? Who did you learn it was acceptable to have a beer after work from? Who showed you it was wrong? How did you figure out that you should put money in the basket on Sunday? Who taught the kids to sag their jeans? Who taught you to say thanks before you eat? The answer to most of these questions is your parents or peers. But the crazy thing is that it was probably not a conscious program or conversation. You just saw as before every meal someone led in thanking the Lord. Or you just saw that your guardians didn’t seem to think it a big deal to have a Coors Light after raking the yard. You absorbed it and it became part of your makeup.
Everything we do disciples.
So we have begun making disciples of all the streets. And whether they know it or not we have consciously decided to disciple them with our whole being. This looks like insisting that we open with prayer as a group before we eat together, whether they believe yet or not. This looks like letting the ladies eat first. This looks like praying for anyone who comes into the ministry house who is in pain in some manner. This looks like leading a prayer for people who have stolen from us or tried to hurt us in some way. This looks like finding a refrigerator for someone who doesn’t have it. This looks like patiently listening to the neighborhood drunk and greeting her with excitement when she comes to our gatherings. This looks like…well this looks like everything we do. If someone can learn that getting beat by your spouse is okay just by watching, someone can learn that putting others first and serving is better by observing that regular behavior in our team.
Our challenge? First realize that everything you do is discipling. Now take some time this week to look at what you have been showing your friends, family etc. and ask if it is showing them what you should be showing them. Then ask if some changes should be made.