FIVE SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE MAKING DISCIPLES OF YOUR CHURCH INSTEAD OF FOR JESUS by
Everyone makes disciples of something or someone. Just think about all the disciples made every Fall as college football and the NFL kicks off with a new season full of thrills and excitement. It’s not new. It’s the same game played every year. But there’s much to be excited about. Why? Because we love it. We throw on our favorite jerseys, eat our favorite nachos, and party while grown men fight for a trophy. It’s “great.”
Disciples love the object that is teaching them something. The very definition of a disciple is “learner,” though it is not simply a cognitive thing. It’s a life thing. We invest our emotions, desires, affections, money, time, and energy in its mission. We’re all followers; we’re all passionate about something.
It is often the case that local churches build disciples around the organization itself. More often than not, this is accidental. We, as church leaders and members, typically have good intentions. We want people to know Jesus. We think that our pastors, music, and worship experience are great gateways to meeting Jesus. That’s why we invest in that church community, right?
But being a disciple of Jesus means that we are learning from him, walking in his ways. Being a disciple of Jesus means taking our cues from him, not an organization. If we’re not careful, we can get distracted by the organization or event and forget the reason it exists – for the glory of God.
What happens when we make disciples of the church instead of disciples of Jesus? What might that look like? Here are five signs that we might be making disciples of our church instead of Jesus.
- We Get Upset When People Are Gone.
A prominent temptation of a local church is to root success in attendance on Sunday mornings. This is only part of what it means to be the church. Yes, we gather, but we also scatter. If we put too much emphasis on the Sunday gathering and see this alone as “church,” we’ll get frustrated when people aren’t there. Many pastors and members build their identity around numbers. This is dangerous and is certainly a sign that you aren’t focused on making disciples of Jesus, but instead, disciples of the church. Disappointment is understandable; we want to see the lost come to know Jesus. But that must be grounded in gospel motivation toward seeing more and more people become disciples of Jesus.