“If you find yourself frustrated that you don’t have enough of those who serve, evangelize and tithe, the root cause is a lack of disciples. If you see too much divorce, too few discipling their children, too many knuckleheads, too little passion for ministry, the underlying cause is non-discipleship. It doesn’t work—and it doesn’t make much sense—to expect non-disciples to do disciple things.”
When people talk about the Great Commission in Matthew 28, they usually focus on conversion, baptism, world evangelism and unreached people groups. What’s missing from this list?
“Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In Dallas Willard’s words, this is “the great omission” of the Church. It also happened to be the focal point of Jesus’ ministry model. Oops!
What’s your plan—and your church’s plan—to fulfill the missing phrase?
Willard says that the “Great Omission” naturally points to “the Great Disparity” between “the hope for life expressed in Jesus” and “the actual day-to-day” life of professing disciples. Instead of Christ’s plan, “historical drift” has led us to “make converts to a particular faith and practice and baptize them into church membership.”
If you don’t have a plan to “teach them to obey everything”—to make disciples and disciple-makers—how do you expect the hope to line up with the reality?
The Great Omission results in “vampire Christians” who only want “a little of” Christ’s blood. The implications for them and the Church? Not much in terms of discipleship, disciples, or disciple-makers. Instead, frustration, inconsistency and a big focus on behavioral adjustments.