Since Jesus’ priority petition for our prayer lives is “on earth as it is in heaven,” shouldn’t our disciple-making efforts prioritize the same?
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. Many of us call Jesus’ model prayer The Lord’s Prayer. The prayer begins with a powerful acknowledgement of God’s incomparable nature: “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.” The very next words, and the first petition Jesus includes in this model prayer are palpable: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, Jesus says our first petition should be for life on earth to resemble life in heaven.
In heaven there is no conflict. In heaven there is no sickness. In heaven there are no tears; there is no hunger, no poverty, no injustice.
In heaven, there is only shalom. We are a long way from experiencing life “on earth as it is in heaven.”
This reality begs the question; Since Jesus’ priority petition for our prayer lives is “on earth as it is in heaven,” shouldn’t our disciple-making efforts prioritize the same?
I believe disciple-making at its core should prepare people and point people to join Jesus in bringing His restoration, His beauty, and His peace to every nook and cranny of the world.
10 years ago I realized my disciple-making efforts were not aligned with this prayer. My disciple-making efforts were designed to prepare people to live effective lives within the church, avoiding the broken influences of the world, as they prepared to live in heaven someday.
Here are four key indicators that our efforts were not aligned with Jesus’ petition:
- Our disciple-making efforts were focused primarily on developing character or biblical/theological understanding… not on developing personal calling.
- Most, if not all of the volunteer roles suggested in our limited personal calling process were within our church organization.
- We did not have working relationships with Christian organizations in our city that we could point volunteers to work with in addressing our city’s needs.
- Missionaries were a small percentage of people that most often left town to do their work instead of a large percentage of the church that was “sent” where they already live, work, learn, and play.
Over the next 10 years, our strategy changed dramatically. Consequently, so did our church’s impact in our city. Here are a few of the shifts we made:
- Two executive pastor level positions, Community Impact and Global Impact, were dedicated to vetting and building relationships with other Christian organizations in our city and we added those volunteer opportunities to our personal calling process.
- We considered the volunteer roles within the walls of the church to be “personal calling incubation roles” instead of “destination” roles. We recruited people to them with the goal of intentionally discipling them out of them as their gifts and passions became more evident.
- We leveraged Disciples Made’s theology of disciple-making: Character x Calling = Impact. This theology elevated personal calling to the center of our disciple-making efforts, helping EVERY disciple to become a missionary where they live, work, learn, or play.
Six years after my painful realization that our disciple-making efforts were not in alignment with Jesus’ “on earth as it is in heaven” petition, I had a powerful conversation that let me know our shifts were working. Desiree Monize, director of Kansas City’s Avenue of Life, told me that the volunteers that were coming out of our church were consistently more equipped, more committed, and more helpful than most volunteers she had worked with. She asked me what we were doing differently in our disciple-making processes that produced these kinds of volunteers.
The answer is simple. We aligned our disciple-making efforts with Jesus’ priority petition in the Lord’s Prayer. Our aim was to make life “on earth as it is in heaven” by developing personal character AND personal calling.
You can make the same shifts. Disciples Made can help.
Step One: Unlock and start using your GPS Gold or Platinum Kit today. These kits help you develop a culture in your church where personal calling is the norm. The kits enable you to invite your entire church to take our GPS assessment and search their results for helpful volunteer placement. A four week message series and accompanying small group curriculum are included to boost that invitation church-wide. The kit is also slam packed with invaluable insights for integrating personal calling into your church, including developing a team of volunteer coaches.
Step Two: Learn more about Disciples Made’s Intentional Disciple-Making Environments that you can start using right away to develop character and calling in your disciple-making process. Want more info? Set up a free 30 minute video conference today to see our app and get started.Back to Blog