There have been a few good posts about discipleship this week: Terry Goodwin’s “Making Disciples That Make Disciples“, Alan Hirsch’s “leadership as an extension of discipleship“, and Bob Roberts’ “Platforms or Disciples?” Quoting from Roberts:
If churches, denominations, networks, etc. put as much energy and resources into making disciples as they did organizing events, institutions, etc. Iâ€™m convinced it would speed up engagement dramatically. I hate the terminology of using â€œplatformsâ€ to engage society. You donâ€™t have to. Make a disciple, help them understand their primary ministry is their vocation, and it should be lived out as a disciple and youâ€™ll see God work and move. This is the only way the Gospel can and will ever be viral.
I like this idea of the gospel being viral. Of course, a viral can only be spread if the person infected in contact with people who are not infected. Unfortunately, I think that many of our “church” practices and programs tend to place infected people in isolation – away from others who need to be infected with the gospel.
I love the church. I love gathering together with brothers and sisters in Christ. I love to hear what God is doing in their lives and how God is changing them and how they are maturing. I love teaching and being taught. This is all very important. But, we are not infecting new people with the virus of the gospel when we spend all of our time with other believers.
I enjoy discussing theology. I enjoy studying Scripture and the writings of others and diving into different nuances of the apostles’ teachings. I enjoy hearing the different perspectives concerning ecclesiology, leadership, discipleship, the Lord’s Supper, baptism, etc. This is all very important. But, we are not infecting new people with the gospel when we spend all of our time discussing theology.
The gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. God has chosen to deliver this gospel – this power to salvation – through his people. He has infected us with the gospel so that we can infect others. The assumption, of course, is that we will live among other people – that is, those who have not been impacted by the power of the gospel. The assumption, of course, is that we will make time in our lives to speak and serve others so that the gospel will be made known to them. The assumption, of course, is that we will not place ourselves in isolation.
I like this idea of the gospel being viral. It reminds me that I have been infected with the power of God that is effective toward my salvation. It reminds me that I cannot make disciples if I do not interact with people who have not been infected.