“Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”
– Jesus, commissioning all disciples to be disciplemakers
“Come and see.”
– Jesus calling two men to be His disciples and disciplemakers
The last command of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 28:19 has inspired the mission statement of many a church. Yet many churches and Christians struggle to live up to their stated aspiration. Sometimes it seems like we have “outsourced” the fulfilment of Christ’s final command to the church missions committee and to the handful of missionaries, while our own Christian life primarily comprises staying behind to fellowship and do bible study.
Part of the problem might be confusion over the nature of the Great Commission. We acknowledge Christ’s instruction to “go and make disciples”, but no definition or method seems to have been provided. And so, for want of better ideas we periodically invite our friends to “special events” where they can hear a gospel presentation, and there our efforts end.
Jesus however had a strategy for reaching all peoples: make disciplemakers among a few, and unleash them to do the same. This is why He spent His life investing deeply in a handful of people. His ministry was marked by two characteristics: relationality and intentionality. He influenced people in every environment – whether in a synagogue, market or someone’s home. His intentionality showed in what He did in each environment. In the CROWD, Jesus proclaimed God’s truths and evidenced His authority by performing miracles. In this environment, God’s name was lifted up so that some would be saved. In the COMMUNITY, He did life with some of His followers so that they would see and imitate how He prayed, how He served, how He faced difficulties with faith. With His CORE group, a few maturing disciples were taught how to do ministry. And finally, there were a very few individual COMMITTED disciples who responded positively to His special call to a unique life destiny.
Few people are making disciples today the way Jesus made them. We are mistaken if we think we know better than Jesus how to do the work that He asked us to do. We need to return to doing His work His way. For church programmes and structures, no matter how well-planned, cannot replace the personal principles of being relational and intentional.
In a sense, YCKC’s journey back to our disciplemaking roots has finally brought us full circle. Some of us are convicted that a disciplemaking culture will be more transformative and longer-lasting than a programme. So, with the Lord’s strength we will make disciplemakers His way and expect the extraordinary to happen in the context of ordinary moments spent together, outside the four walls of the chapel. You are invited to come and see, to make our core value of “spiritual growth and disciplemaking” truly our way of life, and to help this culture flourish in our church and beyond. If you wish to be a part of this movement, come and speak with any of the church leaders.
By Aaron Lee, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 16&17 August 2014)
(This article is adapted from a longer piece by the author in an upcoming book that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Brethren work in Singapore.)