Jesus said, “This is how you glorify God, bear much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
Today, when the category of “Christian” can mean so many things, we need to focus again on our mission mandated by Jesus. He said, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” Not make decisions for Christ. Not make converts. Not even make Christians — but make disciples! According to Jesus, one important mark of a disciple, is that disciples are productive in bearing the fruit of reproducing more disciples! They are all about sharing Christ, and leading people to know and love God!
Somewhere through the evolution of the Church, we made a wrong turn! We took the mission, ministry and purpose of every disciple — and gave it to committees! (An ongoing jibe in many churches is that when there is a job to do: “Form a committee!”)
Over time, we’ve grown accustomed to having those committees do our ministry and mission for us. Every congregation knows they should be sharing Christ – so they create an evangelism committee and it becomes that committee’s responsibility to share and win people to Christ instead of the responsibility of every member. We know we should be reaching out to others in our communities so we form an outreach committee to engage my community instead of me! We know we should be in mission serving our communities and world so we get a handful of committed members to make a Missions Committee to do missions for us. Some members even say “Those things are the Pastor’s job — isn’t that what we pay her for?”
If I am a disciple, I’m the one bearing much fruit and proving I’m really a follower of Jesus! It’s my responsibility and calling! Read the Book of Acts! Study the Epistles (the letters to the early churches) and the formation of the early church. You won’t find the apostles saying, “You know, we need to do a better job at reaching our communities for Jesus so let’s form an evangelism committee who will go door to door and share Jesus!”
They didn’t have to! Every disciple was engaged in making disciples, sharing Jesus, reaching out to their neighbors in mission to the world. That was the expected fruit of a true disciple. The early disciples couldn’t be stopped from sharing Christ even when it meant jail time or death! It was their life’s ambition because they were so thankful and grateful to God and passionate about Jesus Christ and what He did for them!
Sharing Jesus, reaching out to our communities, serving and helping people is why God kept us on this planet after we gave Jesus our lives! We’re to bear the fruit of people! Our mission is to bring to God an abundant harvest of souls by living out the radical love of God in Christ in our own lives while introducing Him to others who don’t know Him.
The early Church grew from 12 to 120 to thousands spreading all over the known world! And they did it without committees. The church grew because every disciple believed they were on a mission from God to reach the world for Christ — starting right at home with their own families, neighborhoods, communities.
Someone said an NFL football game is much like the church today. In the stands are thousands of spectators in dire need of exercise while on the field are 22 players in dire need of rest! When Jesus told us to bear much fruit, He was calling us to get in the game! “Get out of the stands and off the bench and be My hands and feet in your world — and glorify God by bearing much fruit!”
We can take the pressure off our committees in their impossible jobs! We can make their roles obsolete if each one of us will step up and do what Jesus commanded His disciples to do: make disciples!