Make Disciples not Converts
What if I told you that Jesus didn’t want us to win converts? What if I said that in all of Scripture we are never told to convert anyone? What if I proposed that people accepting Jesus into their life does not fulfill our mission?
Many people come to Jesus thinking it is enough to believe, to stand on the sidelines and root for Him. Jesus isn’t looking for cheerleaders. He is seeking men and women who will follow Him whatever the cost. He is looking for radical devotion, unreasonable commitment, and undivided dedication.
Jesus isn’t looking for converts. He’s looking for disciples.
Converts are new believers. We all start as converts. Too often we stop there. We make Christianity all about what we believe. Converts aren’t bad or wrong. They are like babies. There’s nothing wrong with being a baby. The problem comes when that doesn’t change. When a baby acts like a baby, it’s cute. When a 35-year-old does, it’s sad. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
For years churches have worked to get people to make a decision to accept Christ, which is a great thing. It’s important. But what happens next? Where’s the follow-up? How do we train up new Christians?
Our mission isn’t to win converts; it’s to make disciples. So what is the difference?
1. Converts are believers who live like the world. Disciples are believers who live like Jesus.
2. Converts are focused on their values, interests, worries, fears, priorities, and lifestyles. Disciples are focused on Jesus.
3. Converts go to church. Disciples are the church.
4. Converts are involved in the mission of Jesus. Disciples are committed to it.
5. Converts cheer from the sidelines. Disciples are in the game.
6. Converts hear the word of God. Disciples live it.
7. Converts follow the rules. Disciples follow Jesus.
8. Converts are all about believing. Disciples are all about being.
9. Converts are comfortable. Disciples make sacrifices.
10. Converts talk. Disciples make more disciples.
A disciple is someone who whole-heartedly follows the life and example of Jesus, who makes His mission their mission, His values their values, and His heart their heart.
A disciple is someone who desperately seeks to be like Jesus. A disciple is someone so committed to the cause of Christ that they would follow Him through the gates of hell and back.
A disciple is someone who finds their entire identity, purpose and meaning in Jesus. Jesus is the center of their lives. They are all in, fully committed.
Not only is a disciple willing to die for Jesus, but they are dedicated to living every day of their life for Him.
The “go ye” that Jesus gave to the disciples who followed Him while He was here on earth is the same “go ye,” the same task, that we have as His disciples today: To convince a needy world that the crucified Jesus is the resurrected Christ Who lives and meets the needs of mankind today.
Our task is to preach the Gospel by producing the proof of that resurrection power.
I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are going to reach this world, this entire world, for Christ before Jesus comes again. That is the purpose, the core, the heart’s throb of our ministry. It is so exciting to be a part of what God is doing in these last days, but it will take an army of God’s people to complete it. It will take an army of God’s people from every walk of life working together in the power of God.
The biggest need in our churches today is for people to become disciples of Jesus Christ. The reason why we have not taken this world is because we have been making converts, not disciples — sons, not soldiers. A convert, according to the dictionary, is a person who is brought over from one belief or view to another. Converts are people who change their minds concerning their religious concepts, then sit in the church and become lazy “spiritual bumps on a log.” They become good-for-nothings who spend more time watching television and reading secular literature than they do in prayer, the Word of God, or out winning lost souls.
Converts can use their time to for entertainment and sports and, in the meantime, let whole cities or nations go to hell. Yet they think that one day the trumpet is going to sound and the Lord is going to rapture them. They will have a rude awakening. The Church Jesus is going to rapture is made up of disciples, not just converts. But the Bible says:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)Mathew 7:21
Jesus doesn’t call us to be converts or to win converts. Jesus calls us to make disciples.
Jesus offers us grace and love without condition, but not without expectation. When we try to water down the message by saying things like, You don’t have give up sin. You don’t have to change. You don’t have to be transformed. You don’t have to die to yourself. You just need to believe. In doing this, not only are we depriving people of the truth. We are denying them access to a real, transforming relationship with the almighty God.
Christianity isn’t just a system of belief. It isn’t a lifestyle. It’s a life transformed by Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t call everyone to leave everything every day. He calls us to be willing to give up everything at any point.
His call for each of us is different. He has uniquely gifted every person to carry out a unique and valuable function in His kingdom. While what we are called to may be unique, the call is an extreme standard: Jesus must be greater than everything else.
Make this declaration:
I will not just say ‘Lord, Lord’ — but I will do the will of God the Father. I will reach out in power and authority to a lost and dying world.