What is the gospel?
Why aren’t we making disciples?
Those two questions are connected. If you make the Gospel any and everything you will also think discipleship entails any and everything.
In Churches of Christ, I am afraid our gospel has been church-centered rather than Christ-centered. The good news becomes the church and doing church right and being part of the right church rather than the work of Jesus. I don’t think people overtly say this but it is how we act and operate in many ways. Case in point, I have people talk about becoming a Christian and it had far more to do with church than with Jesus.
If you make the gospel whatever you want, your disciple-making will also be weak and misinformed.
Have you ever thought about what making disciples is all about? Some people think feeding the homeless is making disciples. Some think Bible class is making disciples or small groups is making disciples. The definitions are too broad, just like with the gospel.
Here is what we need to do – we need to go back to the New Testament and find out how the Bible itself defines the term Gospel. It is pretty specific. It is specific about the problem we face and, then, makes the news truly good. And it is bigger than getting our sins forgiven. If we think the gospel is just about getting sins forgiven then our disciple-making will be about getting people’s sins forgiven. That means we will have a conversion-focused discipleship rather than a discipleship that is truly about following and following because of the Gospel.
I think our view of discipleship and what it means to be a Christian is largely about making a decision to conversion, because our Gospel was isolated to sin management and forgiveness. But if you expand the gospel out to all Jesus included when he used that term we will, then, have to re-think what it means to live as a disciple who makes disciples.
The two go together. More on this soon but in the meantime I want to hear your thoughts and reflections on this.