Disciple

Follower of Jesus

What is the mission of the church? Just before Jesus returned to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection, he gathered his followers up onto a mountain. This is what happened:
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
What happened next in the book of Acts? The followers of Jesus don’t scratch their heads and ask, ‘How do we do that? How do we make disciples of Jesus?’ They waited for power from on high, they waited for the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost to empower them in the mission, but there was complete clarity about how to go about making disciples.

For three years, they followed Jesus, listened to him teach, watched him heal, went out in his authority and did what he did. They knew what being a disciple of Jesus meant, because he had invested the last three years of his life in these men. He focused not on crowds but on twelve men,  who when empowered with the Holy Spirit would go and do what he did, and as Jesus himself said:

Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

That’s what they did. They were empowered by the Spirit to do what Jesus did. And his mission was to make disciples of all nations. His mission has become our mission, and, like the original twelve, we learn best how to do that like they did: Watch how Jesus does it, then do it in the power of the Spirit!

Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus. This means that we bring the good news of the kingdom to those who don’t yet believe in Jesus, and then as they come to a place of faith in Jesus, we walk through the growth process into maturity as functioning members of the body of Christ.

Disciple-making is a community project. It best takes place in close knit missional communities, but it also requires the commitment of a mature spiritual parent to walk alongside those that are new to a relationship with Jesus. It requires someone who will allow all areas of their life to be an open book, so that new believers in Jesus can see how he is real and he changes all aspects of our lives.

To this end, we encourage the establishing of discipling relationships. These are clearly best where the relationship is a natural one, and where there are significant areas of life crossover. It requires intention and commitment on the part of the ‘spiritual parent’, but the benefits are enormous to the church family – there is growth to maturity, encouragement to persevere, release into areas of gifting and service, and replication: Disciples making disciples who make disciples!

A lot of churches have become orphanages. They know how to have babies and they have a couples of dads and mums but not nearly enough to care for them well, or to train them to send them off to start new families. So it’s a perpetual orphanage they’ve created. A church committed to multiplication will have great leaders because they’ll have to train (everyone) up to lead their own family someday.”
Jeff Vanderstelt (Soma Communities)