Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Followers or Disciples?

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy of: Priscilla Du Preez

Jesus came near and said to them, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”

~Matthew 28:18-20

We end each Sunday morning service at our church reciting, as a congregation, these words of the Great Commission. It is a very meaningful practice each week, but I recently became very convicted when I stumbled across a quote that went like this: "The Great Commission says to make disciples, not get followers. There is a difference."

This quote is a real (let’s be honest, probably much needed!) zinger for any of us who have any kind of online presence, whether through a blog, podcast, or something else.

It’s an ongoing challenge for many of us not to focus on how many followers we are getting or how many times an article of ours gets shared or how many times we see other people sharing about our products or podcasts or blog on social media. And that is when we have to begin asking ourselves the hard questions:

As a Christian, am I honestly concerned with fulfilling the Great Commission (and thereby discipling followers of Christ) or am I concerned with gaining followers for myself?

This sounds cliche, but do I want to make the name of Christ famous or my own?

Do I want people clamoring to hear what I have to say or do I want them hungering to hear and know the Word of God more?

Do I want people to imitate and follow me or imitate and follow Christ?

Am I concerned with building the Kingdom of God or my own social media empire?

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a bunch of followers. If the Lord brings them to you, then rejoice in that responsibility you have been given to teach and lead them well.

The problem comes when you idolize having more and more and more followers. Because when that is your focus, chances are you aren’t even stewarding well the hearts and minds of the folks who have already been sent your way. Serve *them* well, minister to *their* hearts, point *them* to Christ. Then you will be fulfilling the Great Commission.

Reflection Questions:

1) Are you more focused with making disciples of Christ or gaining followers for yourself?

2) Does anything need to change in how you are approaching the way you seek to do ministry right now?

3) In what ways are you fulfilling the Great Commission already? In what new ways is the Holy Spirit calling you to fulfill the Great Commission?

1 comment:

  1. Rebekah, this is so good. I will admit that there are times I struggle with gaining followers. Not for me personally, but ministry-wise. And that is wrong. It isn't about growing, it is about discipling. Thank you for this reminder! ♥


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