Tag Archives: Making Disciples

Making Disciples or Not

Living in the Spirit
October 29, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-46

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
 “The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. –Matthew 22:41-46

Those of us who center on Jesus’ commandments to love God and love one another might want to take a deeper dip into how Jesus dealt with his fellow believers. Throughout the gospels, the Pharisees challenged Jesus trying to catch him up in what they deemed “bad theology” apparently in the hope of discrediting him. He challenged them right back and knew his faith’s history and scriptures as well as they did. Do we?

I just read a blog* by John Pavlovitz where he asserts that some Christians are doing a better job of creating atheists than they are making disciples. Are we driving people out of the church because we may say the right words but do not live them or because we pick and choose our Biblical quotes as a means of supporting our bigotry and privilege?

Soul-searching, a quest for greater understanding of the ways of Jesus, and repentance of our ways that may differ from his all are indicated in such a time as these. Follow-up actions may include learning to dialogue across Christianity to try to understand how such divisiveness in our faith has occurred and how it can be healed.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us if our actions have driven anyone away from knowing you. Help us find ways to build bridges of understanding rather than putting up roadblocks. Amen.


All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

The Art of Making Disciples

Living in the Spirit
July 12, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 

‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. — Matthew 13:19-23 

It use to bug me for the state legislature to consider only giving pay raise the top say 25% of state employees. I was an administrator in the State Department of Human Services and such pay incentives were counterproductive. Why would you not want those other 75% to do the best they could also? Most of them did not think they would ever be able to break into that top group. It is also very difficult to construct an objective means of measuring quality or quantity of work produced.  Staff became resentful and mutter concerns about favoritism.

Indeed it was my observation that there was usually a bell curve of staff. A few did work at a higher level than others, most did their jobs as was expected, and a few worked below par requiring more oversight. A few of this last group failed to meet even minimum standards and had to be terminated. I don’t know about you, but I want all the people working in this government to do their jobs to the best of their ability. I would think private businesses would want that also.

Jesus’ assessment of the seekers in our parable today falls along similar lines. More than anything else I see it as a guide for turning distracted people, flighty people, and troubled people into disciples. In all honesty all of us fall into one of those categories at one time or another. When my mother was on hospice, I was very distracted and probably only doing the bare minimum at my church.

The challenge for our churches today is to meet seekers where they are and incorporate their skills and talents in the best way we can to enable their transition from seekers to disciples. We must be flexible enough to open ourselves to diverse ways of being church and thus serving God. If someone is seeking God, we can be sure that God is seeking them. We are called to make them disciples.

Prayer:  God, Help us see the potential in each seeker and in each disciples as we grow together in service and in love. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.