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The concept of disciple-making is, thankfully, becoming in-fashion within our evangelical subculture these days. Unfortunately, few of these conversations start back or extend forward far enough.
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Here’s what I mean.
Language - Evangelism - Leads - Work - Disciples
The unnecessarily bifurcated language of evangelism and disciple-making leads one to presuppose that the work of making disciples begins after someone comes to faith in Jesus. Even worse, the concept of disciple-making often becomes synonymous with the notion of “leadership development,” leading others to assume that only those on a trajectory for vocational ministry or leadership in the church are suitable for the church’s disciple-making ministries. For the church to engage fruitfully with lostness and intentionally pursue a future that is characterized by multiplication, we must begin with a biblical picture of disciple-making with all those God saves, even before He saves them.
There’s certainly theological precision in the conviction that one is not a true disciple of Jesus until they are united with Him in faith. But this does not mean that the same person isn’t being tutored in the ways of Jesus as they learn from an authentic relationship with a kingdom-disciple. This incipient sanctification of replacing habits of darkness with more Christ-like priorities prepares a would-be disciple for rapid transformation at their point of understanding their own sin and Source of their forgiveness. When they are invited into the home of a devoted Christ-follower, they are discipled into the inner-working of a family following Jesus. When they hear the heart cry of a Christ-follower’s earnest prayer life, they are likewise being discipled into an authentic conversation with the Father. Even as we share...
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