Robin and I have been involved in helping adults become followers of Jesus for the last 25 years. Before that, for 14 years my focus was helping youth become fully devoted followers of Jesus. I’ve been doing this for so long that Microsoft Word will not open the boatload of documents that I created 25 years ago as I was reading everything I could on small group ministry and how it could help us do a better job of discipling and caring for people in our large congregation. I met with consultants and traveled to other ministries, trying to learn from others who were already doing the kind of ministry we felt called of God to implement. 25 years ago I was tasked with spearheading a new initiative in our church, helping our staff of 22 pastors to change the software of in our minds to become a church that was focused on discipleship, helping people follow Jesus, developing leaders who were equipped to make disciples who could make disciples.
As we look back, Robin and I have hearts filled with gratitude for the thousands of people who put their shoulder to the plow and patiently allowed us to figure things out, while making plenty of mistakes and blunders along the way. Our great joy is the relationships we have enjoyed with some of the most amazing people, busy people, skilled people, successful people who said “yes” to Jesus and made it a priority to be a part of a team of people who were committed figuring out how we could do a better job of obeying Jesus’ command to “make disciples,” not just converts.
The flame is still burning brightly in our hearts because we know that making disciples who make disciples is dear to the heart of God.
Thank you for encouraging me to seek to be a
“fisher of men, not a keeper of the aquarium.”
I’ve noticed that everyone can find an excuse for disobeying Jesus’ command to make disciples, but those who understand Jesus’ Lordship will find a way to do it “as they are going.” Discipleship is messy and heartbreaking at times, because people are messy and seeing people fall back into sin patterns is heartbreaking. Ten spies reported,
“There are giants in the land!
Joshua and Caleb saw the giants too, but they looked to the Lord who is bigger than any giant and any excuse and responded with
“let’s take this land!”
That choice is what set them apart to be used by God.
Looking back gives me perspective on all that God had done in the past and inspires me to continue to listen for the leading of God’s Spirit, anticipating the even greater things God has in store for the future by faith!
Continuing the great adventure!