Our mission at west valley Bible church is to be an “as we go…” people, worshipping God by making disciples who make disciples … or making disciple makers.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the ends of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
There seems to be some confusion over the term “mission” as it applies to the church today. Right now it’s ‘hip & cool’ to be “missional” in church circles but it seems few churches understand it enough to actually apply it. The definition of ‘mission’ can be all over the map, here are a few: 1) a term used in corporate and organizational conversations defining why an organization exists; 2) someone who travels half way around the world to a foreign country to tell them about their religious beliefs; 3) a military strategy or campaign to conquer a city/land/people; 4) a way of life centered around and focused on loving and pleasing God; loving people and living like Jesus lived. This last definition is the one we’ve embraced believing it’s what God expects of all who claim to follow Jesus. Jesus said in John 8:29, “…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:9, “therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” The apostle John stated in 1 John 2:6, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
Most sincere Jesus followers hear mission and think ‘evangelism.’ This usually conjures up thoughts of cornering somebody at work and forcing them to listen to a prewritten and sometimes memorized presentation designed to lead them to only one reasonable conclusion culminating in a prayer that guarantees entrance into heaven. While it is true that telling people about Jesus is critically interwoven into the lifestyle God calls us to, we don’t believe He meant evangelistic techniques when He told us to “make disciples of all the nations” in Matthew 28:19-20. We’re convinced that only within the context of giving our lives to God and sharing our lives with others can we experience the life that He intended. Jesus not only modeled this but He demanded a radical departure from the typical self focused life of His followers and told them right up front “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). We believe the mandate to ‘make disciples’ applies to every single follower of Jesus without exception and should be the heartbeat of the local church.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A DISCIPLE MAKER?
Jesus’ mission was to make disciples who make disciples (John 17:4). His disciples were in turn to love what He loved (Luke 19:10) and do what He did (John 13:15). This was His method, His only method, for spreading the message of the Gospel. Men and women were His means of winning the world to God.
Making disciple makers is not just evangelism. It is about bringing all people to maturity in Christ regardless of where they are in their spiritual growth process. It is seeing people go from “enemies of God” to multiplying followers of Jesus and everything in between. That was the mission Jesus was on. When we follow Jesus, that is the mission we have signed up for because it is the mission He calls His followers to.
We must reject the “I’m not there yet” mentality because we are all ahead of someone in the disciple-making process. We must reject the “Who am I to disciple someone?” or “Who are you to disciple me?” mentality because we have all been called to be disciple makers. We should all be in this process with someone ahead of and behind us in our spiritual journey.
Just before Jesus was betrayed and crucified He prayed the following “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do.” (John 17:3) What was the work He was given to do? He wasn’t referencing the cross, He hadn’t gone there yet. He was referring to the work of making disciples. After the resurrection He then told the disciples in John 20:21, “…as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” We believe that the “abundant” life (John 10:10) Jesus offers His followers cannot be lived without personally embracing our Father’s mission for Jesus and now for us. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Ever since we started as a small (20+) home Bible study in October of 2003, we have asked everyone to pray that God would use us in the lives of four friends who may not know Jesus. We have strongly desired to create a culture that is focused the same way Jesus was focused…pleasing His Father by engaging in His mission. We believe Jesus handed us that mission and gave us the power by the Holy Spirit to go and make disciples who make disciples who make disciples…