Discipleship and Mission

This fall I am co-teaching with Reverends Joseph Nader and Megan Davidson (directors of the UT-Arlington and TCU Wesley Foundations, respectively) a study of The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch.  In our study we are learning on a deep level about the interaction between discipleship and mission.  Rev. Davidson recently directed my attention to an article in www.vergenetwork.org. The article is entitled “Why the Missional Movement Will Fail” and is written by Mike Breen.  The following is a brief excerpt. “It’s time we start being brutally honest about the missional movement that has emerged in the last 10-15 years: Chances are better than not it’s going to fail. That may seem cynical, but I’m being realistic. There is a reason so many movements in the Western church have failed in the past century: They are a car without an engine. A missional  church or a missional community or a missional small group is the new car that everyone is talking about right now, but no matter how beautiful or shiny the vehicle, without an engine, it won’t go anywhere.  So what is the engine of the church? Discipleship. I’ve said it many times: If you make disciples, you will always get the church. But if you try to build the church, you will rarely get disciples. If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get more leaders than you’ll know what to do with. If you make disciples like Jesus made them, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing.”  (Mike Breen, “Why the Missional Movement Will Fail,” www.vergenetwork.org.) I am convinced that Breen is right on target.  The Great Commission is to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20).  Disciples are engaged in mission for the long haul.