Just the other day I was listening to a pastor who is a Christian leader who I respect greatly, but he said something that made me kinda sit up in my seat and question what I heard. I came to the conclusion that I had to disagree with him, and in disagreeing, I realized what this man stated explains a lot of challenges that we’re facing in the church right now.
The statement had to do with this fellow expressing his call to build the church. When he said that, I stopped and thought to myself that Jesus is the one who builds the church and that our call is to make disciples that as we make disciples. The church grows and Jesus puts the body together and builds the church.
If we think our job is to build the church, we might end up building an organization, a body of sorts, but we may fail to actually make disciples. In my observation, I think we are building a lot more churches than we were actually making disciples. If we as Christian leaders and pastors think that our job is to build the church, I think that might just lead us down the wrong path, and we might be giving ourselves to things that we ought to give ourselves. We might also be distracted by things that actually do not contribute in the long-term.
If you look at scripture, individual believers are the parts of the body or the parts of the building, and Jesus puts them together as He sees fit. So if we think of individual disciples as parts of the body or as bricks in the wall, we are called to make disciples and we hand them over in a sense to Jesus and He builds the church.
Now obviously I’m not saying there is no organizational side to disciple-making. [It’s not that] there’s nothing we do as pastors in leading the church or those who are gifted in administration and administering the gifts and resources of the church. However, I think it is a fairly substantial mental and effort shift to focus on making disciples versus focusing on building the church, because, at least in my own understanding and my own efforts over the years, I don’t think they’re synonymous.
I think it’s very possible to be caught up in building the church or what we think the church is organizationally and not do a whole lot in terms of making disciples. I think if we’re honest, reflecting that this actually happens a lot, whether it’s church buildings or church ministries, or large staffs. We can do all those things actually without making disciples, in fact, without even being disciples.
The call is to be a follower of Jesus Christ and invite others to join us and on that mission, a community forms, and from that community, Jesus builds the church. But our basic call is to be disciples who make disciples. To follow Jesus and invite others to join us.
That’s my thought. That’s my conviction. Let me know what you think. God bless. Press on keep being a disciple who makes disciples.