I’m very excited that the CLB Forge is up and running; we announced our launch during our U.S. regional conventions. This will be a place of communication and connection for all things “North American Mission [NAM].” Please take a look around and engage in our ever-expanding platform for NAM communication, vitality, and planting resources. Your involvement is key for the Forge to serve the CLB in our call to be a “Disciple-Making Movement.” In this post I simply want to take a moment to get us thinking in the same basic direction when we refer to the CLB as a Disciple-Making Movement.
What does it mean for the CLB to be a Disciple-Making Movement? In NAM this means that we are continually connecting people to Jesus, his Community and his Mission.
- DISCIPLE-Making: People were attracted to Jesus for a variety of reasons and therefore could be described to a certain degree as followers of Jesus. Often people define a disciple of Jesus as simply synonymous with following Jesus. Although this is technically correct it also has too broad of a semantic range. Therefore, a CLB definition needs to be clarified so that we properly understand each other. A disciple is one who has received Jesus as both gift [Savior] and example (John 1:12; Romans 6:23; John 13:15). This truth is clearly communicated in Scripture. The Holy Spirit strengthens and equips us through God’s Word to walk daily as disciples of Jesus Christ.
- Disciple-MAKING: This includes, but it is not only evangelism. Disciple-making flows out of the missiological quality of justification and the continued fruit of the Gospel transformation—the lifelong process of sanctification (Acts 13:47; II Timothy 2:1-2).
Disciple-making should naturally happen from simply being Christ’s Church, which is created in the image of our missionary God. The Great Commission speaks of the proclamation of God’s Word and the administration of his Sacraments in the context of disciple-making, thereby highlighting the reproductive design for his Church (Matthew 28:18-20). Disciple-making is also fruit bearing as we live out the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40).
- MOVEMENT: United in a focused and intentional defining identity. It is a momentum generating transformation towards a passion and action to transform others.
Disciple-making becomes a movement when God’s people work collectively and intentionally, according to their gifts, abilities, and positions in life to make disciples who make disciples (I Chronicles 16:24; Acts 1:8).
As an individual and as a corporate body, disciple-making should be a natural “living out” of walking with Jesus. As we abide in Christ we are transformed to be his ambassadors everywhere we go and in all our relationships. We want others to have what we have been given. It is an overflow of grace and truth into the way we think, listen, talk, and live out our days.
The CLB wants to be intentional in making disciples. This happens when we love God and seek to do His will. Jesus was sent into the world to reach into the darkness and bring light. We follow him down this path of service and love as we seek to connect with the others in our world. The others are the broken, hurting, lost, angry, oppressed, and misguided that we encounter every day.
There is also a need to be deliberately equipping our congregations to do this as we care for those that are currently among us. Are we raising up generations in our churches as disciples of Jesus? Are our current leaders deliberately and deeply connecting to our youth and young adults, so they grow in faith and service? Jesus opened up his life to others, thereby making disciples – are we willing to do the same?
With the Forge our hope is to equip and encourage towards becoming effective Disciple-making congregations. We have long been united in our theology and our mission. One of our goals with the Forge is also to unite in doing our congregational ministry in North America. We want to connect and amplify congregational ministry as we minister to our communities.
So, we invite you to join the Forge and be a part of the CLB in North America connecting in our united vision to be a Disciple-Making Movement.
Director of North American Mission