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So you’re a Christian… Now what?

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by Pastor Brad Mann

 

Seventeen years ago I came to faith, in a Baptist Church in Cape Town South Africa. I had come from a nominally Christian home and we’d attended church for years...

but on the 29th of February 2004, I finally realized that Jesus was more than just a story or a religious system. He was real and He was God. That moment changed my entire life!

From that moment, God began to work with a new intensity in my life. I found myself attending church not because it was the thing that we did, but because I really wanted to be there. Within a year I was leading a small group, within two I had added young adult ministry to my serving platter and the church was my home. Over time, the center of my friendship group shifted and very soon, I found the church to be the nucleus of my life. To nutshell a much longer story, I am now serving as a pastor at that very same church where I found Jesus all those years ago and I love God even more now than I did at first!

And God has taken me on a bit of a journey over the last 17 years where I’ve experienced a lot of what the church has to offer. I’ve been a deacon and an elder, I’ve lead small groups and congregations, I’ve organized sports days and spiritual courses, I’ve done healing on the street and evangelism in the shopping centers… But finally, after 17 years I feel like God has given me the real and final answer to the question, “Why am I here? Why are we all here?”

This question is at once incredibly basic and yet monumentally profound. It’s a question that even the youngest believer should be able to answer and yet it has had deep significance for me here in the middle years of my faith. For me, I have found the answer in one of Jesus’ most famous statements - the Great Commission.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.

Christians often do a strange thing when we consider this commission of Jesus. When we consider it’s personal application, we usually think about a call to evangelism. When we think about it corporately, we think about the church’s role in discipleship. What has caused this command to become so incredibly special for me is when I began to understand what Jesus was really saying to me, and really to all of us as individual Christians. And that is quite simply this: That each individual Christian is called to be a disciple-maker.

This is not a responsibility that we can outsource to the church, or to those who have the gift of evangelism (they exist to help us, but more on that another time). It is the command of Jesus, to his 11 disciples, set in perpetuity by His use of the phrase “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. By using this phrase, Jesus takes this command (and indeed every other command He has given) and makes it universally applicable to you and I as the individual Christians.

This means that each of us should be able to answer questions like:

  • Who are you discipling?
  • Is someone discipling you?
  • What are they currently developing in your life?
  • What are you growing in at this moment?

When our church doesn’t embody a culture of disciple-making, these questions can become quite difficult to answer and yet Jesus’ most significant command to His disciples was to go and make more disciples.

This is the journey that God has begun to lead me on. A journey of individual responsibility for disciple-making. Where those that I disciple will also be those that disciple others; and those that they disciple will disciple still others, and so on and so forth, to the glory of God!

This is the revelation that has turned my thinking and ministry on its head. It has caused me to reorient everything that I do, so that I can do it within this lens! If you would like to join with me on this journey, I have started a weekly podcast which you can find here (also available on Apple, Spotify or Google Podcasts), where I journey this out in all of what it looks like and how we can do it effectively together with the Lord.

So you’re a Christian… Now what? Well, it’s time to start making disciples, as you yourself are discipled. That’s the plan that Jesus gave us. It’s the plan I am trying my best to live by. And it’s also the plan that God has for you. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a man or a woman, wealthy or poor, it is the plan God has for all of us. Come and join me on this journey!

Brad Mann serves as the Pastor responsible for Small Groups and Young Adults at Connect Church in Cape Town, South Africa. He is married to Glenda and they have one fur-child, Shelby. Brad is passionate about disciple-making, but also loves field hockey, mountain biking, sea kayaking and computer gaming with his friends. His deepest desire is to see the church become the bride that Jesus designed us to be!

Check out his podcast here:

Hosting Platform: https://anchor.fm/brad-mann

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/za/podcast/the-disciple-making-podcast/id1555477033

Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy80ZThjNTk4MC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7K6WdUWQ0GuOZWy08O5i70

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