Statistics bear out a gloomy season for the church. Every year over the past four years, 4,000 churches have closed their doors. 16,000 churches gone. This year, 50% of American churches will remain stagnant, not adding a single member to their congregations, and 61% of Christians will not speak even once to share their faith. Not one time.
“And Jesus came and said to them all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and 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 28:18-20).
Jesus Christ calls us make disciples in His name.
But doing so takes great courage, and sometimes sacrifice.
The Bible is filled with scores of people down through time who hung on to their mission as an anchor in times of uncertainty. Consider Moses, who handed the baton off to Joshua knowing that Joshua would do great works. Moses passed on the knowledge and wisdom he grained from the land of Egypt. He bequeathed Joshua an understanding of God’s history and how to handle the future in order to conquer for God.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged., for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). This command reflects the character of a human being following God.
Christians should live a life with more purpose and meaning than anybody else on the face of this planet. When I look out at the world, I see fleeting missions that leave people empty and begging for more–more success, money, love, time, traditions, cabins, boats and retirement. Nothing satisfies.
We’ve been given purpose and mission by Creator God. We cannot be distracted. During times of uncertainty and change, lean on your mission. Cling to it, keep moving forward.
Make disciples. In Greek, this means student or learner. Intense mission here, much more than simply sharing our faith. Jesus isn’t just talking about evangelism, He’s talking about discipleship, just as He discipled the twelve.
The future of the church hangs on every one of us making disciples for the Kingdom, for Jesus Christ in the authority that He gave us and in a symbiotic, catalytic, synergetic relationship with Him. Will you step out in obedient faith?