I almost titled this blog “Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept it.” Then I erased the second part because if you chose to follow Christ, this is your mission. Today I’m going to re-examine the great commission, because I think we may have limited it; our perception might be off. (Many thoughts in this blog were inspired by content in Alan and Deb Hirsch’s book, “Untamed”).
First let me provide this visual of the “Engels Scale.” It acknowledges a process people undergo in coming to faith and growing in Christ (don’t get caught in the details, the point is that there is a PROCESS):
-6 Awareness of supreme being
-5 Initial awareness of gospel
-4 Positive attitude toward gospel
-3 Personal problem recognition
-2 Decision to act
-1 Repentance and faith in Christ
*NEW BIRTH IN CHRIST*
+1 Post-decision evaluation
+2 Incorporation into Body
+3 Growth in Jesus
+4 Communion with God
Our mission comes directly from Jesus. Summarized, our mission is to make disciples. In other words, our mission is to help people along towards a +6.
I think we err when we consider discipleship (or the Great Commission) as only getting the unsaved to Christ; getting people to a “0” on the scale.
I also think we err when we consider discipleship as only what occurs after we receive Christ. I think discipleship is the full process from -6 to +6. I am arguing that we have two types of discipleship: (1) Pre-Christian Discipleship and (2) Post-Christian Discipleship. This is our mission; and what Jesus modeled with his disciples.
So what’s that mean for us?
1) I think we should be discipling everyone we come in contact with; truly living out the Great Commission every day and in every place. We should be discipling people even without them knowing; showing God’s love in every situation.
2) I think we need to recognize the value in our “neighbors” moving from a -5 to a -4 without being disappointed that they didn’t make the jump all the way to “0” after one conversation.
3) I think we need to live and think like we are on a mission. Because we are. Living with this perspective is really kinda exciting! What will God do with people who are willingly ready to disciple?