18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[b] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
One of the hardest parts of planting a disciple-making church is that we don’t actually know what we are doing. Most of us don’t really know what it means to make disciples. There aren’t many true disciple-making churches as models…which actually turns out to be a good thing. Why? Because it’s not a program. You can’t make it a program. It’s connecting with people and meeting their needs where they are. And what is their biggest need? Jesus. There is no agenda. Just love. And therein lies the problem. Love doesn’t come with an agenda. EVER. It doesn’t come as part of a program. It comes from your relationship with Jesus. It comes from the Holy Spirit.
Here are a few things Called2Be has learned so far about planting a disciple-making church. It takes lots of prayer and trust in God, pleading for the Holy Spirit, and obedience to what God is saying. There is no program. There is no plan to follow. The only thing we can do is to pray, listen and act on what we are being told.
As you can imagine, this is hard. It’s hard because well….I am a planner. Now, there is nothing wrong with planning as long as you understand you are not in charge. You have to be willing to change your plan at a moment’s notice if you are listening for the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to do that. Especially when it is an organization doing it. God has truly blessed our little group with people who when they think the Holy Spirit is leading, will change our plans on a dime and do what He’s saying. Some examples of that? When one of our members experienced the death of his Mom, we canceled our church service and all went to the funeral. It meant so much to him. That is discipleship.
When another member who has cancer needed help, we canceled our outing and all showed up at her house to help her unpack (she just moved), cleaned her house, and went and bought her groceries. During this event, I got Covid. My husband and I couldn’t go. This amazing disciple-making church went anyway because that is what the Holy Spirit was saying to do that day. That is discipleship.
It is our human tendency to focus on things like the number of people attending your functions. This is very deceptive. The miracles are in the heart. The miracles are in the sacrifices we make to love on and help others the way Jesus asked us to.
So what does a disciple-making church look like? It looks like a group of people who are praying, asking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, spending time in the Word, and then going. Going where? Where ever Jesus says to go that day. As we spend time in our world, whether at work, in our neighborhood, running errands, or with our people, we ask ourselves every time we encounter a human “Did Jesus put him/her in my path?” “What is my role right now? How can I help? How can I love?” “Jesus, what do you want here?” (That praying, while you are watching, is huge.)
Sometimes our role is to not be a jerk when things don’t go our way. Sometimes our role is simply to connect with their eyes and let your eyes smile at them. Sometimes Jesus sends folks who want to know him but don’t know how. What should you do in all of these cases? Pray. Engage. Participate. Share life together.
The lie we believe is that we don’t have anything to offer. This is a lie straight from hell. If you are in a relationship with Jesus, you always have something to offer. Every day Jesus gives you something. That is something you can share. You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to be in love. With Jesus. He’s amazing.