I have a new follower on twitter! Whoopie! I now have 278 followers. Just two more and I’ll have 280! Wow! I have followers!
Ah Twitter! The land of following! Some of you may be seasoned experts on twitter and others of you may have no idea how twitter works at all. I am not going to provide a lesson in tweeting, but suffice it to say that it is an incredible networking tool that connects people with people and helps to create momentum around various products, ideas and personalities. I am thankful for my 278 followers but that number is nothing compared to the thousands of followers that others have. In the land of twitter, it’s all about following. We pay close attention to how many followers we have, people thank their followers for following, and businesses and websites all say, “Follow us on Twitter.” Yes, it’s all about following! But when I learned that I had a new follower, an idea struck me. When I think of following or followers, I think of Jesus!
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and His brother, Andrew. They were casting a net into the the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come follow me’, Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James, son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were in a boat with their father, Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left their father and followed him.”
Jesus didn’t have access to twitter, but in that one encounter, He recruited four followers and He would prepare them to recruit more. James, John, Peter and Andrew were Jesus’ first followers. They were the first disciples and as we know, Jesus went on to recruit others. The men were so taken with Christ that they left their families, their homes, their fishing businesses and all that they knew to follow Jesus. In turn, it would be their job to lead others follow to Jesus too.
And this my friends, is where the fun begins! Guess what we are called to do? Just like Jesus called the disciples that day, Jesus calls us to follow Him too. Imagine Jesus standing beside you, lovingly calling you by name and telling you to follow Him. What would you do? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I would drop everything, just like the disciples did, and I would follow! But my friends, this is not just a story that we read in the Bible, this is real life. This is exactly what Jesus commands us to do.
In the Great Commission, Jesus says:
“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.”
Yes, my friends, we are supposed to go and make disciples of all nations! We are supposed to recruit followers for Jesus. This is not just a suggestion, it is the Great Commission. As followers of Jesus, we have been entrusted with this job! So why then, are we so afraid to do it? We should be shouting from the rooftops, but somehow we forget. We get busy with life and we get stuck on who is following us instead of who we can get to follow Jesus.
There are many factors that keep us from effectively making disciples for Jesus, but I am going to focus on three:
- I Don’t Know Why
- I Don’t Know How
- I’m Afraid
Let’s start with the “Why”. Why should we encourage others to follow Jesus? Is it just because He tells us to? Well, that is one reason, but there is more to it than that. Think of how Jesus has impacted your life. There have probably been experiences where you have felt the powerful presence of Christ in your life. Maybe you felt comforted, maybe Jesus was with you during a difficult situation, maybe you have experienced incredible joy, or maybe Jesus rescued you from a place of despair. Chances are, you have expereinced Jesus at one time or another and your life was transformed. As people who have experienced the powerful presence of Jesus ourselves, we should want everyone to have the same opportunity. The power of Christ is transformational. It is life changing and it is life giving. I know that when I think of all that Christ has done for me, I want to share my joy and the Source of my joy with everyone I meet! As followers of Jesus, we want others to follow so they can know the joy, the freedom and the transformation that comes from a relationship with Him too. That is why!
Now that we know why we are recruiting others to follow Jesus, we get to the next step: How? Aaah! This is a little trickier. Should you stand on the street corner waving signs? Shout from the rooftop as I suggested earlier? Start inviting everyone you know to church? I would avoid the first two options, and certainly encourage you to choose the third, but I think there is even a better way to go about making disciples. Jesus’ disciples were his friends. He spent time with them. He taught them, He loved on them, He ate with them and they hung out together. There wasn’t anything flashy about it. Jesus gave them His time. That, my friends, is how we make disciples. We spend time together. We share with our friends how Christ has worked in our lives and we talk with them about how He can work in theirs. We pray with each other, study the Bible together and hold one another accountable. That is discipleship and that is all there is to it.
I would encourage you to pray for one or two people who God wants you to disciple. When God tells you who those people are (and He will tell you) start spending time with them. Make sure that your time together includes conversation, an opportunity to pray, and a time to check in with each other and hold one another accountable on your journeys of faith. If the people God shares with you are new to Christianity or have no relationship with Christ at all, ease into it, but include a Scripture or a prayer so that they can begin to feel comfortable. Follow your instincts and PRAY. That is how we make disciples.
Finally, there is the issue of fear. I know what you are thinking. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself. You don’t want to look like an idiot. You have never done anything like this before and you have no idea what you are doing. You don’t want to offend people and you don’t want to look like a Bible beater. I know! I get it! But here is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus did not die on the cross for us to shuffle along hoping that someone more experienced and more capable would handle the disciple making. My friends, it is up to all of us! And let me tell you that YOU ARE CAPABLE! God has provided you with everything you need! You have HIM! God does not call the equipped, He equips the called! So if you are reading this and you feel called to go make disciples, look out because you are equipped and you can do it! Get over the fear and get busy!
So, now that I have my 278 followers on twitter, I think I should start working on getting 278 followers for Jesus! How about you? Let’s do it! Join me in making disciples!
Nugget of Bold Faith
We thank you for calling James, John, Peter and Andrew to follow you and we praise you for their discipleship . We pray that you would help us and equip us to follow you and to make disciples for you. Where we are afraid, give us courage, where we feel unqualified, we know you qualify us, when we don’t know where to start, we trust that you will lead us and where we feel joy and excitement we know that you will multiply that for your glory. Help us to focus on you instead of ourselves. Where we have chosen to spend time with people the way you spent time with your disciples, give us courage, give us wisdom and provide the people you want us to lead. Help us to walk boldly in faith as we lay our fears aside and follow you.
In Jesus Name,