Most people fall into one of two groups: planners and improvisers. I like the idea of planning, of being organized and structured. The practice of planning and organizing and structure has always somewhat eluded me. Don’t get me wrong, over the years I have, by necessity, become somewhat of a planner and organizer but it is most certainly not natural. My default mode is to just sit back and what happens happens and make it up as I go. I even use trendy buzz words to justify it saying things should be more “organic” than structured. There are somethings that just need planning though.
When Christ was here doing ministry He made a plan for how that ministry was going to carry on after He left. The plan was for His disciples, and His plan for them was to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….” God’s plan for His church was and is for people who know Christ personally to share what they know with other people, then for them to help those people grow in their understanding so they can then go and do the same. God’s plan is to make disciples who make disciples.
This means that we need to plan first on being a disciple. Who are you closely following and learning from? Is there someone you are around or meet with on a consistent basis that you can ask hard questions? Is there someone in your life that can ask you hard questions? Jesus was around His disciples all the time and they had some hard conversations. At one point He called Peter Satan, all of the disciples were told they had little faith multiple times, and of course there is the conversation at the last supper of where He tells His disciples one of them would betray Him. We need that in our lives. James tells us in James 5 that we need to confess our sins to each other so we can pray for each other, we need someone in our lives we can do that with. Again, who is that in your life? It could be more than one person but we all need at least one person who is pouring into us so we can then pour out.
Which is the second thing we should be doing, not just being discipled but discipling. The question then becomes, who are you around or meet with on a consistent basis that you are investing in and having difficult conversations with? What the disciples saw Christ do with them, they then went and modeled that with other people. Paul did this with Timothy and he charges Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 saying, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I discipled you, now you disciple others, so they can disciple others. This is the plan God has for the multiplication of His flock and the growth of His Kingdom.
The beauty of this plan is it doesn’t have to be a structured event. Jesus did sit His disciples down in a classroom and lecture them like a school teacher. But, He also used life as His classroom and was intentional in everything He did. As they went through life He was constantly finding opportunity to instill Biblical truth into the lives of His disciples. As it is with a lot of things however, we can’t just sit back and see what happens and wing it. Jesus knew He was going to train and teach and invest in His disciples, how He did that was going to be flexible.
God’s plan is for us, the Church, to make disciples. Are you following God’s plan and making disciples? Maybe you’re one of those planners that is always focused on making the plan but never putting it into action. Just about every Christian can tell you what the great commission is, but are we all actually putting that plan into action?
Be a planner, be an improviser, and make disciples.
-Richie Gibson, Youth Pastor