We are to make disciples …who go and make disciples.
Her words resonated in my heart. It’s not that they were new words, after all, Jesus did command us to go make disciples. But over the years the focus of Women’s Ministry in many churches had become internal. It was about us, what we wanted. It was about tea’s, craft nights, retreats and girls night out. Please, please hear me, these things are not wrong, but if the focus isn’t to reach out into the community to offer a place for women to hear the gospel then what is the purpose?
We are called to more than just fellowship with the body!
Can’t women have a fun girls night out, invite the community, let them see us living out Christ in the the hopes that they will come to know Him? Can’t we be a ministry where the broken, the homeless, the prostitute, and the unsaved feel welcomed and loved? Why is ministry often more about the believer than the unbeliever? Yes there needs to be a place to bring our unsaved friends, but many times we offer teas, and girls night out only to invited our Christian friends!
Making disciples it not just about reaching a lost world with the name of Christ, it’s about teaching and training the church. The believer needs to go out spread the news and make disciples. It’s about raising up disciples so that they can go out and raise up disciples.
Do you see the beauty in that? Isn’t it exciting?
I thought so too! I went back to my church and my team with great excitement. Some how I must have not shared it well, my words must have gotten lost. They didn’t seem to understand. I can’t blame them. It was my job to cast the vision, to share the excitement. I failed. Don’t tell me I didn’t. I was the leader and I could see this vision so clearly I could touch it. I wouldn’t give up, so I grab a couple ladies took them to the next workshop hoping the vision would be painted so they could see.
I don’t know what happened. Sometimes I still look back and wonder what I could have done differently. I do believe part of it was the enemy. At least one of the women who went with me “caught the vision” but soon after her life began to fall out from under her. Eventually her husband would leave. The other two women seemed to get to it but the passion, the excitement wasn’t there.
I’ve never shared this before but my heart broke. Doubts began to creep in. Discouragement came. Maybe I wasn’t called to do this? Maybe I was the wrong person to lead? Eventually I just moved on to another ministry. I look back and realize I should have fought harder. I should not have given up. It was wrong on my part. And yet I know there was grace, there is forgiveness and God does not waste a thing.
The ministry I moved on to didn’t work out either. In fact I have been wandering since, feeling like I do not fit any where. It’s been my desert experience. It’s been hard, but not wasted. God has continued to teach me, mold me, heal me, refine me and re-ignite the passion to disciple women.
So here I am, fire ignited again as I read these words from Radical by David Platt (my 2nd reading of the book) “Disciple making is not about a program or and event but about a relationship. As we share the gospel, we impart life, and this is the essence of making disciples. Sharing the life of Christ. The is why making disciples is not just about going, but it also includes baptizing.” (pg 96) And this, “It is multiplying because the people of God are not longer listening as if his Word is intended to stop with them. They are now living as if God’s Word is intended to spread through them.”(pg 103)
As I re-read these words my heart broke, again. This is what I am called to do. This is how I follow Jesus. So I am picking up my Bible and praying that God would bring a group of women that I can disciple. I want to help them see their need of Jesus, I want to help them to grow. I want to disciple them so that they will go out and disciple others.
I will start in March and I am so excited! It’s not a big program or event. There aren’t tons of people involved. It’s just me, picking up my Bible and sharing truth with women. It’s allowing time to ask the hard questions, to help them see Jesus in the everyday moments of their lives. It’s about building a relationship with them. Most of all it’s about helping them gain the tools needed to study God’s word for themselves. Its about teaching them to take the truth they learn and apply it to their life and then in turn share it will others.
It’s about training them beyond myself, so that they no longer need me or our group but will go on to train and disciple others. Their “need” of a group will change to the point that they do not necessarily “need” to be discipled but will be the discipler. And just so you do not misunderstand, we all have more training that is needed, we all need to be humble enough to realize that we never stop needing one another. We must never stop growing. So the disciple that goes on making more disciples will always need the encouragement, prayers, feedback, and continued training of the church body.
You see the beauty of this plan, which began with Jesus, it’s His plan, is that I can disciple a small group of women who will then go out and reach other small groups of women, their families, and neighbors. They will impact women I do not know, they have access to women that I do not have access to.
For me, I have realized that while this is a mandate to the global church it is a mandate to me as His child. The global church is good about sending out missionaries to the nations but I think we lack in making disciples here in our communities, in our own churches. But it has to start somewhere. I must start with me. It must start with you. Are you making disciples who are making disciples?
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age." Matt 18:19-20