OUR CONNECTION MATTERS
8 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20, NIV
Have you ever noticed that sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of the church that we forget about the business of the church? We can become so attentive to the structure and processes of the church that we forget to be the church. Please understand I’m not saying that structure and process are unimportant. We are Methodists. Our very name tells the world that structure and process are an important part of the way we live together as a church. However, attending to those methodical practices should not cause us to neglect the work Christ gave us to do.
Our work is simple: go into all the world and make disciples so that the world is transformed. Jesus tells us to go. Go is an action word. Look around you. If you have neighbors who don’t belong to a church, go to them. If the persons sitting next to you at work don’t know Jesus, go to them. Share your story. Tell them what Jesus has done for you and why you trust him with your life. Invite them to come to church. Don’t be discouraged when they find excuses at first. Keep loving them with the love of Christ as you pray that he will give you the words and deeds to share his love with them. And remember to smile when you talk to people about Jesus. Having the joy of the Lord show on your face goes a long way when talking to someone about Jesus.
Jesus tells us to go into all the nations. Many of us will never travel to the ends of the earth to make disciples. And, yet, we do just that every day of the week through the missions and ministries of The United Methodist Church.
“Make disciples” is the next part of the great commission. In order to make a disciple, you first have to be a disciple. How is your relationship with God through Christ his son? Are you a part of regular worship, Bible study, and prayer? Are you growing in grace and going on to perfection?
We are in the season of Lent right now. This is time to ask what needs to be different, if anything, so that you can draw closer to Jesus and represent him better to the world. You may feel that you aren’t far enough along on your personal faith journey to do the work of making a disciple. You are. If you love Jesus, you have a story to tell that will touch someone’s heart and help them start their journey of faith. Remember, you are not alone in this disciple-making process. Jesus is with you always. And so is his body. You have an entire church with you as you do the work Jesus has given all of us to do.
I say all the above in order to say this: General Conference is over. The doors of our churches are still open. There are still people all around us who don’t know Jesus. We still have work to do.
Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com.