Making Disciples – No Exceptions

A lot of things are still up in the air in terms of making plans, what’s going on with the pandemic, and what “normal” will be. There is a wide variety of responses to whatever is next which includes everything from “I can’t wait to get back to…” to “It will be at least a year after the vaccine before I…”

I get all that, but Jesus still asked us to make disciples – pandemic or no pandemic and vaccine or no vaccine. I read the passages over, and I didn’t find those types of exceptions. There was no, “Go and make disciples unless…”

We are asking churches to start thinking about the fall and what church life and programming will look like. We are not asking anyone to break the rules or ignore protocols. We are saying, in light of what we know and what we have learned, what will being about the business of our Heavenly Father look like? What new things do we need to consider? What new ways do we need to explore? Because just waiting until everything is back to the way it was is not an option.

I thought if we were asking local churches to think things through, it would be good to ask The Church (you and me because we are the church) how we are going to continue or get back to the business of making disciples? In light of what we know and have learned, how will we continue to be about our Father’s business? Given the wide variety of reactions to the current situation (in us and others) how will we continue to be engaged in growing, loving, serving, and making disciples? We all need to think this through, and this will not be a one size fits all exercise.  How will you do the things Jesus asks us to do?

Here is a list of things to think about and pray about and work through with our Heavenly Father and others. These are for us to figure out whether we are currently gathering for worship, gathering soon or don’t know when we will be gathering.

  1. How will we engage in fellowship and hospitality so that we can build and maintain the types of relationships that will be helpful for us and others as we look to be involved in the disciple making process?
  2. How will we use the gifts, graces, time, energy, and stuff we have been given to serve both our church family and our community in a way that brings honor to Jesus and draws people closer to Him?
  3. How will we continue to make sure we are caring for our souls? What practices and disciplines do we need to engage or restart? What spiritual pathways will we explore?  How will we connect with others to wrestle through Scripture and what we hear from God so that we can apply it to our lives and live it out?
  4. We need others speaking into our lives, folks who will mentor and disciple us.  Who will that be and what will that look like?
  5. We need to be “making disciples.” Who am I mentoring or discipling?  What does that look like?

This is just a starter list. Each of us needs to figure this out. We need to be ready to revisit and adjust our lists as our circumstances continue to shift. Let’s all figure out ways to be about our Father’s business.

Marc McAlister

Director of Leadership Development and Church Health