Leadership Lessons: Growing Missional Disciples

How does a church bring God glory in the world? Jesus put it very simply in the Great Commission:

Go into all the world and make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you

God receives glory through more and more people becoming followers of Jesus. Every local church is meant to be a community of disciples, each and every one of whom is involved in some respect in making more disciples. It is multiplicatory. 

"Missional" is a current buzz word. All it means is having a commitment (as individual disciples and as a local church of disciples) to doing what Jesus said: making more disciples. Witnessing, praising God to the world, calling others to come and be worshippers and followers with us. 

Therefore the goal of all leadership, all ministry, is growing and equipping missional disciples to do this. A church is not just the church when we are gathered for a couple of hours on Sunday. We are God's missional community when we are dispersed in our work places, families and everywhere we go for the other 110 hours a week we aren't asleep, living for Jesus and speaking for Jesus. The role of biblical leaders is to equip all the disciples to go there and make disciples.

God gives leaders to churches to facilitate every single disciple in participating in various ways according to their spiritual gifts in disciple-making ministry. Every disciple has unique disciple-making opportunities that nobody else has, because they have unique networks of relationships. A senior medic said to me a couple of weeks ago that his clinical director had asked him an astonishing question about the Lord out of the blue, and he instantly had an opportunity to encourage the man towards Christ. Disciple-making.

God does not give leaders to remove the burden of having to make disciples from everyone else and just do it themselves. It is worth leaders and congregations taking a long hard look at everything they do to see whether each activity has a connection with biblical disciple-making to the glory of God. Every home group leaders, every Sunday school teacher, every compassion ministry leader, every preacher. If it doesn't, we must ask "why are we doing this thing?"

Just think for a minute of the difference in effectiveness between a church where everyone has a correct concept of themselves as a disciple-maker, and one of the same size where everyone thinks that is the job of one or two leaders. The gospel effectiveness of the second is a fraction of the first. Woe betide the leaders who take disciple-making away from every disciple and keep it all for themselves. They decimate the maturity of the rest of the disciples, take away their joy in witness and radically diminish the glory that goes to God.