Cliché Three: Not Everyone is Called to Disciplemaking
PodCast Link: https://castbox.fm/episode/Cliche-Three%3A-Disciplemaking-is-not-for-everyone-id2800003-id261407661?country=us
This cliché is insidious and can be found in seminaries and in the typical layperson when asked about disciplemaking. In seminary my wife Anne has heard professors state that pastors don’t have time for doing disciplemaking or personal evangelism because their main task should be caring for their congregation. Lay people will also say that they just can’t do disciplemaking that it is too hard and that only the pastor is really trained to do it.
I can’t find a ton of good in this. Usually there is a degree of respect for leadership in high churches (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Episcopalian) that the congregants feel making a disciple of Jesus out of someone is far too high of a calling of themselves and I think that has somewhat of a good root. For seminary professors they are concerned about the real number of pastors that are becoming overwhelmed, quitting the ministry etc. We don’t want to overwhelm people with more than they can handle.
The mix up here is between General Callings and Specific Callings. A General Calling is a calling for every single Christian such as the command to love one another. A Specific Calling is rarer in scripture it is a calling for a specific individual or group such as Paul’s call to be the Apostle to the Gentiles or a gift of Prophecy that only some people receive. The question is is disciplemaking a general or specific calling? Here is some evidence that it is a general calling:
- Jesus thought differently on the call to discipleship. The great commission was given to the whole group of disciples, this become more obvious when one reads the passages on Jesus sending out the 12 or the 70 (Luke 9:1-5, Luke 10:1-12) they were called to all go out and in two person teams do just what Jesus had been doing healing and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
- In John 15:16 Jesus again address all of His disciples saying that the reason He called them was so they might bear abiding fruit. Not just fruit but fruit that is able to abide and remain in Him. In other words He called all of His disciples individually to reproduce themselves in others in such a way that those others would be able to remain in a strong relationship with Him.
Discipleship is a general calling and so we all are responsible for taking it up as individuals. My first advice to people is to take an honest look, hour by hour, of how you use your time and ask your self if you have 15-30 minutes a day you can dedicate to disciplemaking, then begin to think about what a doable next step is that you can accomplish.
Some Application from the First Three Clichés:
For the Pastor:
Put the proper amount of responsibilities on individuals, we are supposed to be growing and helping others to grow!
Focus on growth more than personal care. While care is important if you do nothing but tend to problems all day you will have no time to help people individually to grow. Does your leadership team focus on growing others or just maintaining them?
For the Layman:
We are called to grow and be disciples! We should have our own plan of getting closer to God and be regularly updating and going further in it. Do we know how to share our faith? Do we know how to hear and learn from God on our own? Can we work through problems in light of the Gospel? Do we understand the basic gospel truths well enough to share? If not then seek out how to learn them! Seek out people who are active in the faith and learn from them (Philippians 3:17)