Jesus and His disciples had been through a lot by the time they found themselves together on the hilltop in Galilee. Standing there in physical presence, Jesus was aware that His time with these 12 men was rapidly drawing to a close. One can imagine that He chose His words carefully.
For a moment, imagine yourself in a similar situation. You have spent three and a half years pouring into these men. You’ve laughed, you’ve cried, you been frustrated, you’ve been angry, and you have literally made your work teaching and showing them the kingdom. Now you’re getting ready to return to the Father, and you have some “last words” of sorts to share with these that God has given you to carry on His redemptive work on the Earth. What would you say?
If it were me, I would be trying to wrap it all up perfectly, to sum up everything that I had been trying to show them in my time on earth. I would want to say something so seminal to my purpose in being on earth that they couldn’t possibly miss the point.
This is what He said…
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus’ purpose on earth was to point the way to the Father. He did this every day in His daily walk, but His actions had a special point. He modeled the life of a disciple. He was someone who was completely dedicated to the Father’s will. You see it time and again throughout His ministry. Jesus was a disciple, who modeled and poured into His 12 followers (and many more) what it meant to be a disciple, and now He stood on a hilltop and basically ended by saying, “Go and do what I did for you. Reach them, baptize them, teach them, from here until the ends of the earth.”
Sometimes we get caught up with different ideas of what ministry is. Church planting, missionary movements, humanitarian or good works, evangelism—they’re all good things. They are all necessary for kingdom growth, yet Jesus didn’t go there. Why? Because disciples who make other disciples are the engine that grows the kingdom, and scripture is about growing the kingdom to glorify God.
I believe that in Hungary, we cast a vision for discipleship, disciple-making, church planting, and missionary movements, but we never forget that making disciples of Jesus is the “main thing,” as my old pastor used to say.
What if 20% of our churches were equipped not only as disciples, but to make new disciples? How would that change the church? How would that change the community? We believe that it will lay the foundation for life and community transformation. This is our goal.
We are embarking on a mission to help plant discipleship groups within our partnering churches in Hungary. It’s our belief that if we see a discipleship movement take place, we can realize a disciple-making movement. If a disciple-making movement becomes a reality, there will be a church-planting movement of influence and not affluence. If the churches grow in Hungary, perhaps someday we will see Hungarian churches sending missionaries to the “ends of the earth.”
At a recent conference, Tim Keller said that, while we “can’t make movements happen, we can steward the conditions for movements to happen.” We must put all the phases of kingdom growth into what we do, and Lord willing, our vision to see lives transformed in dynamic communities will become reality.