The mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is straight-forward. Two thousand years ago Jesus gathered his disciples on a mountainside in Galilee and told them to, “Go make disciples of all nations…” The mission we’ve been given is clear, concise, and compelling. We might be able to debate our effectiveness at fulfilling the mission, but we there is no confusion on the mission itself.
A fellow pastor at my church was recently in a seminary doctorate class, and the class was discussing strategies for disciple making in the Church. The professor asked students to share their church mission statements and how those statements connected to the Great Commission. The response was typical. Some of the students are part of a church that did not have a mission statement, and some had mission statements that had little to do with the Great Commission. In light of that response, can we even wonder why the Church is not making a bigger difference in the world today?
So why are so many churches drifting away from the main mission? Why isn’t the last statement Jesus gave His Church our focus? Here are a few thoughts worth considering.
1. Confusion – Satan can be a master at creating confusion and can cause believers to lose sight our main mission. The enemy can lead us to think that we only exist to worship, care, serve, or reach out. Yes, we are called to do all of the above. But if we have great Bible studies and worship services but we do not produce disciples, we have missed a significant part of our mission as Christ-followers.
2. Comfort – Let’s face it, accomplishing the mission of making disciples is work. Hard and, at times, uncomfortable work. Many times people are not fulfilling the mission of making disciple simply because we are not willing to pay the price that it takes to multiply disciples. Jesus spent three challenging years to prepare His disciples to lead His mission. Jesus was willing to pay the price and do the hard work of helping untrained seekers become fully trained disciples. We must be willing to stick with and keep our hand to the plow in fulfilling the mission of making disciples.
3. Complacency – Let’s be honest. Sometimes we lose sight of the mission simply because we are satisfied with where we are. “Complacent” means being self-satisfied and pleased with yourself, or your situation, often without awareness of some potential danger or defect. The mission of making disciples ought to drive us and motivate us to reach more and more people. When Jesus said “all nations,” that quantified the mission. We cannot be complacent with where we are as long as there is one person who has not learned what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
The Church must keep the mission of Jesus front and center. We cannot allow our confusion, comfort, or complacency to get in the way of accomplishing what Jesus put us here to do. If at the end of the day we are not making some progress in making disciples, then we are drifting from the mission.
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to inspire people and churches to be and build disciples of Jesus Christ. We want to help make the mission clear and to help people accomplish it. Contact us if we can help your church pursue the mission!