The mission of the church is clear. In fact, every New Testament church has the same mission. It’s found in Matthew 28:19-20. We are called to make disciples of all nations for the glory of God. That’s a big task! And it’s a critically important task.
If it’s so important, why don’t we have a plan to make it happen? And how do we know when we’ve been successful? If I worked at a shoe factory, I would know that my job is to make shoes. And when I was done, I could hold up a shoe and see the finished product. Making disciples isn’t quite that simple.
So, with much help from other sources, books, pastors, blogs, and leaders, we’ve developed a process of discipleship at our church. A disciple will do (at least) these three things.
1. Connect. We connect with God in worship. A true disciple will faithfully connect with God. Privately and corporately. In other words, a true disciple will be faithful to church. This doesn’t mean they’ll never miss a Sunday. It means the trajectory of their life is faithfulness to the Body of Christ.
2. Grow. We grow in small groups, Sunday School, and Discipleship Classes. A true disciple will grow in the faith. A small group setting brings relationships, encouragement, fellowship, and accountability. At our church, our time to grow is the Sunday School hour. Maybe you have Sunday School or community groups. Whatever it is and whatever you call it, a true disciple will grow in the context of community.
3. Serve. We serve in ministry within the church and in mission beyond the church. A true disciple will serve. A follower of Christ will find a place within the church to use his or her gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. And a true disciple will serve in mission beyond the church – across the street and across the globe.
In my opinion, this is the minimum threshold for what it means to be a disciple. This is how we’ve defined it. This is how we’ve developed our process. I’m not saying it’s perfect. But at least it’s a start. And from what I can tell, if we’re trying to figure this out we’ve got a pretty good head start.