This past Sunday, at the congregation I am privileged to serve, I was asked during the message to contemplate something I have been talking with my pastor about for some time. We were asked “Are we just members of a congregation or are we disciples of Jesus?” Now before you get angry and say this is just part of the wishy washy Christianity that says I don’t want to go to Church or organized religion I just want to follow Jesus crowd. That was not the question I am asking, nor was it the question asked of us on Sunday.
The question we were asked is do you just want to be a member or do you want to be something more? Do you want to be a disciple? You may be asking “what is the difference?” Those terms have meaning and this is what I think they mean. Members are people who belong to a group for a benefit. Disciples are people dedicated to the teachings of a master and to spreading that teaching to others.
Did you become a member of the Church just for the benefits? Are you coming to our Church to have someone to bury you when you die, or someone to marry you when you fall in love? Are you coming to youth group just so you can go on trips, and have fun events? Or, are you coming to this community, this congregation, because this community is dedicated to learning from the master Jesus Christ. You see a disciple is something more that just coming to make sure our name is on a membership role. You are coming to meet with these people so we can learn from the Master. We come so we can learn who God is through his Son Jesus Christ, the Master. As disciples we don’t just learn about Jesus but we go and share that Jesus with others. A disciple is a learner and a sharer. He or she not only gets something but shares something with those who God has put in her path.
So are we challenging our students, our children, and our families to be disciples? Are we challenging ourselves? Are we reinforcing a mentality that says “I come to this place called Church so I can be a member, and receive my rewards for doing this. Or are we challenging ourselves, our people, our families to be disciples. Are we asking them to be in the Word to receive the greatest gift we have in Jesus. Are we asking our students, parents, families, adults, and children to be disciples who come to the master to learn and to share? I pray our answer is yes.
5 thoughts on “Are we challegeing them to be disciples, or just members?”
Great article! Folks need to stop seeing the church as ‘my’ church and remember who it really belongs to- JESUS!
I get nervous when we start to make distinctions in the body of Christ; member/disciple, fan/follower. It is a way to say to a kid Jesus died for you IF you are telling others about Jesus (implying doing it the way I teach you to do it.) Now there is doubt. Am I really a disciple? Am I doing enough? The devil loves doubt.
Kevin, I agree we have to be very careful in our challenge to students we dont lead them down the path of are you doing enough to be a disciple. But I do think it is important to share with them that we don’t just receive the good new but we share it with others. I think it is a sanctification issue that we need to share. This is a way I have chose to share with the students I minister with. We also talk a lot about even when we fail as the disciples did we are still in the saving arms of Jesus.
How much do we need to share in order to be a disciple? Certainly we should live our lives as salt and light in the world knowing we ourselves are poor in spirit. We should know we are disciples by looking to Jesus not looking to our sanctification. As soon as we start thinking that my doing is what makes me a disciple we say Jesus is not enough.
Something my pastor said a couple weeks ago is that Jesus asked his early followers not only to follow Him but that He would make them fishers of men.
Of course I had heard this verse a hundred times but never had the word “make” jumped out at me. In other words, spreading the word isn’t something we were asked to do but instead it is something we have been made to do.
He didn’t say He would simply make us believers and followers who sit in church and listen to the Word, this is important.
He, my pastor, further explained that, if the body of the chuch stops sharing the message, the message will die. I am not so sure it will die completely but the point that it’s critically important for us all to be disciples is still valid.
Jesus knew He couldn’t do it alone, pastors know they can’t do it alone, and church leaders know they can’t do it alone, they all need help.
While it is important to stress that limits should not be put on how much evangelism is required by Christians, it is also important make it known to them that Jesus has made them fishers of men, therefore disciples who share the message.