Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

Defining Reality

I think it was Max de Pree who is credited as stating, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”

Perhaps reality needs not only to be defined but also redefined regularly. Life has a way of distracting and diverting us away from our top priorities and purposes.

When I think of the top priority of the local church, I know that Jesus has clearly defined reality for the Body of Christ.

Jesus communicated His plan for His followers in the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

{Matthew 28:18-20}

Jesus clearly instructed His disciples that our primary mission is to make disciples.

Each week in our church staff meeting we begin our time together by reading the church mission statement which states: “We believe that God’s primary purpose for Mount Pleasant UMC is to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to represent His good and perfect will in our community and beyond, through our efforts to nurture, to reach out, and to witness to others.”

According to the church mission statement, our primary purpose is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ…”

What does it mean to make disciples of Jesus Christ?

First of all,

Making disciples is about bringing people into a personal relationship with God.

Matthew 28:19

19 …baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is not about obeying rules or fulfilling rituals. It is about knowing in a personal way, the God of the Universe, the God who created you. It is about knowing the Person, the purpose and the plan of God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about a living, personal, relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord.

A disciple of Jesus is someone who is devoted to developing that relationship with Jesus on a daily basis: time spent with Jesus, time listening to His teachings, time spent talking to Him in prayer, time spent growing in relationship with Him, time spent following His leading through:

daily devotions,

regular worship,

service, and

inviting others to become a disciple of Jesus along with you.

We are most clearly aligned with our purpose as disciples, and as a church, when we are bringing people into right relationship with Jesus.


Making disciples is about teaching people to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Matthew 28:20a

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…

Jesus said a disciple is not just someone who believes in God, or knows God; but someone who knows and follows God.

The combination of hearing the word of Jesus and doing it is vital to being a devoted disciple of Jesus.

The goal of disciple-making is not merely information or inspiration; it is transformation.

We preach and teach the message and commands of Jesus so that people will not only know Jesus better, but so that they will follow and obey Jesus with full devotion.

Jesus said,

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

{Luke 6:46}


Making disciples is about living daily as a follower of Jesus.

Matthew 28:20b

20 … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


A disciple is not a disciple once in a while. The very nature of being a disciple is to follow the master teacher continually.

The only way to become like the teacher is to follow the teacher and mold our lives after the teacher every single moment of every single day. Jesus said, 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40).

In the Great Commission, Jesus promised to always be with His disciple-making disciples.

Disciple making is a 24/7/365 days a year, way of life.

We are called by Jesus to be disciples…who make disciples…people who realign our faith, our lives, and our church in sync with the Great Commission of Jesus.



Jesus clearly defines reality for us by His Great Commission, and He still calls us to make disciples by

  1. a) connecting people into right relationship with Jesus,
  2. b) teaching for life transformation (them to follow His teachings), and
  3. c) guiding them to live daily, as a Jesus follower.

Now more than ever, the world needs the church—our church—to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ—people who will be transformed by the life-giving gospel of grace.

Now is not the time for the church to fall back—now is the time for the church to move ahead, in confidence that Jesus still has more disciple-making for us to do.


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