Get your hands dirty

The Covington News - - RELIGION - Dr. Wil­liam Burn­ham is pas­tor of Point of Grace Church in Cov­ing­ton. He can be reached at burn­hamw@char­

The church is fail­ing in a big way! Yes I am aware God has, and con­tin­ues to use, the church to reach the lost and min­is­ter to the world in mighty ways. How­ever, one of the great­est and most foun­da­tional tasks given to the church by Christ is one of the things the church is ne­glect­ing the most — “dis­ci­ple­ship.” I have of­ten said, “We are out­raged at the idea of some­one aban­don­ing a new­born and we should be, but yet the church does this ev­ery­day to those who are newly born again.”

It is a di­rect com­mis­sion from Christ to all be­liev­ers (not just pas­tors, min­is­ters and teach­ers) to make dis­ci­ples.

But the deeper truth is the church is not mak­ing dis­ci­ples as we should be­cause we don’t have many dis­ci­ples. And it takes dis­ci­ples to make dis­ci­ples.

In other words, be­fore we can make dis­ci­ples, we must first be one! What are the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of be­com­ing a dis­ci­ple (th­ese qual­i­fi­ca­tions ap­ply to our­selves and oth­ers whom we may dis­ci­ple) (Lk. 14:25-33) Je­sus said if we don’t meet th­ese qual­i­fi­ca­tions we are not and can­not be His dis­ci­ple.

Je­sus is look­ing at and speak­ing to a crowd of fol­low­ers when He makes this state­ment. And from this crowd, af­ter a full night of prayer, He calls to Him­self and chooses His dis­ci­ples. Now don’t get me wrong — there were always crowds around Je­sus (like folks in our church build­ings) for var­i­ous rea­sons — but only 12 were there to truly be­come dis­ci­ples. Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing His call to the 12, Je­sus preached the Ser­mon on the Mount. There was a crowd there, but the ser­mon was for the 12. Je­sus called the 12 for one rea­son; “He ap­pointed twelve — des­ig­nat­ing them apos­tles — that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mk 3:14) So we have to ask our­selves, am I just one of the crowd fol­low­ing Je­sus or am I truly His dis­ci­ple? If I am truly His dis­ci­ple, I am one for the pur­pose of be­ing sent out to make one. Am I a dis­ci­ple maker?

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