"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And
behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 ESV
It's the Scripture behind the Jesus Connection email and the heart behind its mission. Go and make disciples of all nations, all generations, all walks of life, all stages in life. All people. It's
also the mission of the Church, but notice how Jesus never includes, "Inviting them to a church service," to His message.
The modern-day Church, especially in America, has replaced Jesus' command with our own. Rather than the Great Commission, we've created the Great American Sales Pitch. Now, don't get me wrong, I love church services and inviting people to one can be a good step, but getting people to sit in a pew isn't the be-all end-all. It's not even the front door.
When someone wants to attend a church service, it's evidence the Holy Spirit is working in their life. Therefore, He should be the One leading, i.e. He's the One who convicts, leads and tells. He convicts them of their need for a faith family, He leads them to one of His choosing and He tells them to put down roots there.
That's the work of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to do exactly as Jesus said: go and make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything He commanded.
If discipleship was merely about inviting people to a church service, the Apostle Paul wasted a lot of time writing letters and travelling. He, nor any of the other early church leaders, used inviting people to a church service as their discipleship model.
Instead, they spent countless hours writing them letters to encourage them and set them on the right path when they'd gone astray. They trekked land and sea to be with them in person. They labored in prayer over and for them. They endured beatings, imprisonment, and in many cases death, to bring them what, an invitation to Peter's church?
No! Our Church leaders sacrificed time, resources and their lives to tell people about Jesus and to walk alongside them as they gave their lives to Him. They mimicked Jesus and obeyed Jesus.
Imagine if instead of living 3 nonstop years with His disciples, Jesus had invited them to attend synagogue. Being God, Jesus could have started His movement using such a method, but He chose to disciple as He did for a reason. This is the discipleship He has called us to employ today.
Our church leaders sacrificed time, resources and their lives to tell people about Jesus and to walk alongside them as they gave their lives to Him.
We have entire generations who are tired of and want nothing to do with the American church institution. Satan may have intended this mass exodus for evil, but God can use it for good, if we love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul and all our might. Rather than cling to the church we've created the past few hundred years, what if we disciple these young people and follow
the blueprint Jesus lays out for us in the New Testament?
What do you think will happen? How many thousands—how many billions—do you think God will add to the Church? Only God knows, but how about we find out.
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.