This article appears in the Spring 2022 edition of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.
If my wife doesn’t get what she ordered at a restaurant, she has no problem communicating with her server until she gets what she requested. I’m different; I don’t like the fuss, the potential embarrassment and the very possible frustration that may be taken out on me and my food. So, there’s been many a meal where I’ve reasoned that the chicken on my plate was probably healthier than the steak I ordered.
I think the church is learning that Jesus tends to be more like my wife in restaurants. Jesus has no issue clarifying what He ordered and sending back what He didn’t request.
CROWDS VS. DISCIPLES
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus’ order came in loud and clear: “Go make disciples.” His ministry was about calling disciples to Him, and He consistently commanded those who became disciples to go and make them.
Those who gathered in mass, the multitudes who came interested in hearing His message, were fine—but making disciples was the order. This order He issued thousands of years ago is still His order today. The entertaining talks, the comfortable environments, the smoke, the sounds, the stage design and the jumbo screens may all play a role, but if they don’t lead to disciple-making, we’ve sadly misheard His order.
Throughout the past two years, it’s been evident that the faith communities who have diligently responded to Jesus’ order of disciple-making have thrived. They too have had their worlds rocked, but they’ve navigated these times more successfully.
Those who have feverishly worked to draw a crowd, make a splash, find a presence in social media spaces, and grow their numbers have found the past two years to be tough and challenging. Sadly, this was also the case in the Gospels, and many people turned away.
I personally peddled a “Gospel-lite” version of following Jesus in the past, encouraging people to make a momentary decision to follow Christ. But I realized this type of faith couldn’t help people process the complexities and pains of life. That’s what we’re witnessing now in the church because of this past season.
Jesus didn’t mumble: He ordered disciples.
So, make disciples. Men and women, young and old, need to understand that salvation cost Jesus His life. Living as His disciple will bring abundant and eternal life, but it will cost us ours.
Make disciples: People who will bravely follow Jesus when the crowd cheers and the mob boos. Make disciples: Those who will count the cost, pick up their crosses and refuse to turn back. Make disciples: Those who have exhausted every excuse and have made the decision to run with perseverance the race marked out for them, fixing their eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Make disciples: Because Jesus’ order was clear. Disciples were His ultimate game plan and how He wanted the life-transforming Good News to reach the outer ends of the earth and every segment of society.
There is no plan B. Our lives and ministries are like servings delivered to His table. Whether we’re seen by the masses or we work quietly in the shadows, all we do is presented before Him. Let us renew our commitment to work toward what He ordered, and what He still hungers for today: disciples.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to serve what You ordered and make disciples. Put people in my path who I can lead. Help me model how to follow You as a disciple. Amen.
About the Author:
Husband. Dad. Gospel-Ninja. Golf tragic. Pastor Dan Lian has over 20 years of ministry experience traveling the world preaching the Gospel and teaching the Bible. He is a sought-after church and conference speaker who is known for his passion, humor and insight. He now serves as a Teaching Pastor at NewSpring Church in South Carolina where he and his family enjoy a slower pace and a growing appetite for fried food and college football. Dan recently taught more than 2,100 FCA teammates each day during the all-staff gathering, Realtime 2022.
Photo courtesy of Dan Lian