The Distinction Between Disciples and Workers
This article was originally published as a part of the series titled “Just A Thought”
The most influential speech uttered in history is the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). More millions of man-hours and billions of dollars have been mobilized by that speech than any other in the history of the world.
The central mission of the church is “making disciples.” However, of the 108,000,000 American men 18 and older, only 6,000,000 are involved in discipleship—1 in 18. We have not been effective on our watch to make disciples of men. The results have been devastating: 33% of our nation’s children will go to bed tonight in a home without a biological father.
Nonetheless, the church is very busy. But if we are not making disciples, what have we been busy doing? A story to illustrate….
My dear father and mother, who both passed away last year, joined a church for the religious and moral instruction of their four young boys. Our church had a vision for putting my Dad to work—he became the top laymen by age 40. But our church had no vision for helping him become a disciple—a Godly man, husband, and father.
As a result, when my Dad was 40 and I was in the 10th grade and my youngest brother was in the 3rd grade, my parents burned out. Our family left the church. My parents never returned. It put our family into a downward spiral from which we have still not fully recovered.
The church does need workers. Jesus recognized this. He said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” Yes, there is important work to do. But Jesus went on to say, “Pray to the Lord and ask him to send out workers into his harvest field.”
We gotten work and disciple-making mixed up. We try to “make workers” and “pray for disciples.” Jesus said, “Make disciples and pray for workers.”
If we can get back to our core mission of making disciples, the work will get done. Disciples—Godly men, husbands, and fathers—are going to produce more fruit. But if we merely put them to work they, like my parents, will probably burn out.