Something in the way...
With a clear agenda before you of simple obedience out of love, you will begin to recognize just how many distractions there are to the disciple-making life that are presenting themselves as the necessary tools for the same. However, it is the life of Christ and the Apostles that forms our foundational understanding. An examination of their ministries reveals a freeing simple approach, an incredible sense of having far fewer tools and training, and an increasing element of risk-worthy sacrifice and investment.
Fast forward to now and we see that we have little to no living examples of sincere, authentic, intentional disciple-making role models for the next generation to follow. Oh sure, we have great teachers and great speakers- people that are all telling us that our job is to "Go and Do", but how many are also saying, "Come and See." Who in your life is the living example of a disciple-making follower of Jesus that is leading others to go and do "likewise". There is hope still. While the philosophers may not predominantly be practitioners, we have the foundation. Jesus and the Apostles in the word of God paved the way for what it means to reveal that the Kingdom of God is among men.
We have become so dependent on the approval of men. We fear men to much. We are gravely concerned over whether they will receive us, and we are equally concerned over whether they will applaud us. The follower of Christ has his eyes fixed on CHRIST. He stands already approved, no longer condemned, assured of Him to whom he belongs, and is not living calloused to the world nor so soft and melancholy that in either case he does nothing.
This sense of inadequacy and insecurity that has spread like a virus across the landscape of the modern American church has furthered a dependency on curriculums and experts, professionals and people who seem to have great experience and can reveal the nature of God's Kingdom with spell-binding wonder. However, we leave such experiences thinking much more about the man than the mission.
I would call the church to the movement of Living Backwards in that it is time to re-examine Christ. It is time to re-examine the lives and teachings found in the New Testament- not so much what men say about such things, but what they say for themselves being the inspired Word of God. What was Jesus doing for three years that He was calling His immediate followers (and all of us since) to go and do as well? Did He articulate seven steps to successful spirit-filled living? Did He provide the 10 best practices for dynamic disciple making? What then? Do you know?
We have been drawn to many an altar over our failure to follow through with the Great Commission. It touches our hearts with a strong sense of burden and even guilt when preached upon and emphasized at mission-focused events. When we sense that burning question of "but how?", we are really agreeing with the Spirit's invitation to join Him in discovering the real Jesus and His Church. We are sensing that there is something still yet to discover. You will find that there are few who you can follow the example of, yet an abundance of those who will "Amen" the need to do it.
I once asked a real practitioner of making disciples what one must do when confronted with the vast void of congregants that are actually doing what they are "amen-ing". His answer was simple, and I find it relevant to the testimony and examples of Scripture. He said, "Find a friend."
For two men, it began on a road to Emmaus. They walked with the risen Jesus, not knowing at the time the identity of the man who was revealing the fulfillment of the Scriptures to them, yet their hearts burned within them as He spoke. Jesus broke up His followers and sent out two at a time to go ahead of Him. Paul and Silas, Paul and Timothy, Paul and, and and.... Yes. Find a friend that you can begin walking with Jesus with, that you can begin going ahead into communities with in prayer, that you can begin finding people of peace with, and that you can begin revealing the Scriptures with unbelievers with and so on. Learn as you are going.
Jesus is the Great Teacher, and the Holy Spirit the One who "guides you into all truth". It isn't just your pastor's job or the missionary's job to make disciples. It is our JOYOUS privilege to be His disciple and to be IN discipleship with others, and thus to invite others into discipleship along the way. Living Backwards will reclaim that the Gospel really is GOOD news.