My friend Miquel, a church-planting missionary in Ecuador with Pathways International posed an interesting question some time ago. I’m glad I copied it and saved it because I had trouble finding it on his Facebook page or on his blog. Finally, I came up with it and it is attached now. Everything Miquel writes is worth reading (see blue text below). Here’s what I copied and saved (in blue):
“When can a church be considered as “planted?” You can see that post and comment here. Today, and along the same line of thinking, I ask, “When is a disciple considered as “Made?”
Before you answer quickly, consider the following verse. ”When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.” Acts 14:21
The language in the Greek is very clear, the result of their preaching the Gospel was the making of disciples. The qualifications of what exactly a “made” disciple was, remains ambiguous. If a disciple can be considered as “made,” then what implications does that have in modern day discipleship? If it means something else, then what?
How do we know that they are rooted in the truth? Great question. (I love how a great question can bring clarity to a discussion!) I think it would have to be defined by the content of what Jesus taught at the most basic level. So, not someone who is perfect, the apostles and first disciples weren’t and besides that, sinlessness is impossible this side of heaven. But …
- Someone who had repented and believed in the gospel of the kingdom. (Mark 1:15)
- Someone who is committed to obeying his command to love one another. (John 15:12)
- Someone who is bearing fruit (good works for God, answered prayer, more disciples. (John 15:4-17)
- Someone who demonstrates they are a follower of Christ by fishing for men. (Matthew 4:19)
I think this helps answer the previous day’s post. A church is planted when, there is a gathering of people formed by these characteristics who come together under the Lordship of Christ to worship him and encourage one another. There is a lot more to be said, but it must, I think, start here.