Missionary or Disciple

In a very hard hitting comment, Mike Breen asks, “if you look at your congregation do their lives look like the lives of Jesus’ team? Is a good disciple someone who shows up weekly, tithes and helps out when free?” He argues that we do not have a missional or leadership problem in the 21st century church; we have a discipleship problem. Grow disciples and they will be forced to mission, by the nature of their relationship with the resurrected Jesus[1]. Breen describes this using the language of discipleship, Woodward using a model of Polycentric Leadership. Both models align with the description of the NT disciple, μαθητησ (mathetes), a learner or follower of a rabbi[2].

We must be prepared to be and do what he calls us to, for some it means staying at home and testifying Luke 8:38-39, for others travelling with Jesus to the mission field, near or far. For some it will be the mission field that we call work[3].  We should however use every resource that the Lord has given us to do this work, we who work in the world may not be full time pastors however we make decisions every day, which teach, heal, restore and show the kind of person we are and hopefully reflect Jesus. We should aspire to being in a position where the organization and people we work with can be changed and restored whether the organization is a school, hospital, government, council or church.

Woodward talks of the need to focus on God in community, sharing resources like the first century church did, naturally and out of love[4].

Are you a disciple in your fellowship, are you discipling others?


[1] Mike Breen, and Steve Cockram. Building a Discipling Culture. (Pawleys Island, SC: 3 Dimension Ministries, 2011.) NP

[2] William D Mounce. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Word Electronic. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006.) NP

[3] Darrell L Bock. NIV Application Commentary Luke: Electronic. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.) Luke 5 NP

[4] J R Woodward. Creating a Missional Culture (Kindle). (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012.) 31