You had one job.
Have you seen these funny memes circulating through social media, featuring mistakes made doing one, clear job?
I wonder sometimes if that’s what Jesus will say to us? Before Jesus left, he gave his peeps one job: make more disciples. Very clear. Not really up for debate. Jesus, possessing all authority in heaven and earth, tells people who are under his all-encompassing authority to do just one thing: Make More Disciples.
Every Jesus-follower agrees. Any church worth the name “church” hails Jesus’ Great Commission as their central mission.
But is that what we are doing? Are we making more disciples?
When I look around the church-scape, I am happy to say that “Yes, disciples are being made.” Men and women, boys and girls, are coming to follow Jesus, and I celebrate that! It’s amazing to see. But–and here’s my concern–making disciples seems to happen more by accident than intention. I’m thrilled for each person following Jesus, but can we do better? I think so.
When questioned about our one job, we often make more excuses than disciples. I’ve hear them from others; I hear them whispered in my own heart. Here’s the top 10 excuses I’ve heard. Do any of them sound familiar?
The Top 10 Excuses Christians Give For Not Making Disciples
- I can’t disciple someone because I still have faith struggles. This one’s a classic. We think we must operate at some higher level of spirituality to make disciples. Listen, we are not perfect saints; we are forgiven sinners. What matters is who we follow together–he’s got enough perfection for all of us. Don’t let this excuse keep you from obedience.
- I don’t know enough. While teaching and learning are central to discipleship, we don’t need to know everything. Invite people into places where you are learning and praying and serving. And as you do that, your own learning will accelerate quickly.
- I don’t know what to do. Discipleship is not complicated; it’s not about a technique or methodology. Wondering what to do? Here’s my thing: just start. Invite a friend to discuss spiritual things. Take someone to church with you. Pray for a friend. Learn along the way. It’s not nearly as complicated as you think. It’s simply helping someone take the next step after Jesus.
- That’s the pastor’s job. I love this one. As a pastor, I want to laugh out loud, mostly because it’s so absurd. All disciples must make disciples. Pastors help us become better disciple-makers, so we can all do our one job.
- I don’t want to be presumptuous. Actually, it’s not called presumption to help someone follow Jesus–it’s called loving obedience. Remember: any trace of presumption or hierarchy is evidence that you’ve forgotten what’s going on: we are not making people our disciples but disciples of Jesus.
- I’m not an academic. You don’t need to be. In some circles discipleship has, unfortunately, become a kind of rigorous academic program–read these 40 books, pray 2 hours a day, etc. Discipleship is not primarily academic, though it includes loving God with our whole mind, as well as heart, soul and strength. In the end, we are not becoming religious egg-heads who know stuff but passionate followers of Jesus who serve him in the world. Be who you are.
- I tried that once and it didn’t go well. Yep. Sometimes things don’t go well. That’s just true. And we learn through it. But stopping because it didn’t work out well? I don’t think Jesus left us that option.
- I don’t have time. Then your priorities are wrong. At any job, how long would we last if we kept ignoring the one thing we had been tasked to do, claiming we don’t have the time for it?
- I don’t feel I have much to give. This one really shuts people down, and often includes a combination of excuses. Here’s the fact: none of us have that much to give, but by the Holy Spirit can give through us. Keep your relationship with Jesus in focus, and simply share where you are growing. Let Jesus be the giver.
- I don’t want to. This final one isn’t an excuse–it’s flat out disobedience. If we are honest, there are times when we hear Jesus’ commission to us and we reject it. We don’t want to. What do we do with that? We need to repent, reconnect with Jesus’ heart for people, and get on with the task at hand. Because in the end, we only have one job. Are we getting it done?