The Pastor's Pen

Making Disciples Together - By Cole Daum


Recently we finished our membership classes. We had a wonderful response and are looking forward to bringing new members into the covenanted faith family of New Life Church.

In our membership classes we explained what we believe the Bible defines a church to be, our core beliefs and what the gospel is. We also spent a large portion of our time explaining the ‘Mission’ of our church as defined by scripture and a ‘Strategy’ as how we are trying to fulfil this as a church.

Can you put into words the mission of New Life Church and do you know what your role is in accomplishing that mission?

Everyone needs to be on the same page, understanding the goal and their part in achieving the mission. This principle is applied to sports teams, sailors on a ship, workers in a factory, soldiers in combat, bands playing music and every other endeavor of life requiring more than one person.

A clearly communicated strategy for accomplishing a well-defined goal does not guarantee that everyone will engage in the mission but the absence of that framework does guarantee that the organization will fall well short of its potential.

What then is the goal of the church? 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The overarching guiding principle for the church is to glorify God. Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, in their New Testament commentary, The First Letter to the Corinthians state; “The point is that when the Corinthians think about issues related to food and drink (or any other issue), their overriding concern should not be with the exercise of their own rights and freedom or desires but with the potential implications for God’s honor and glory.”[1] The context of Paul’s statement instructs the church to prioritize its activities according to effectiveness in accomplishing the primary goal of glorifying God.

Glorifying God is very broad, so a more specific objective needs to be identified. What is the best way to glorify God? Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). Rod Dempsey in his book, Disciple Making Is, explains:

God’s ultimate plan for your life is to bring glory to His name as a follower of Jesus Christ (a disciple), the fundamental proof of which is bearing fruit, or disciple making. Disciple making in its purest form is helping people find Jesus and then helping them to grow and become all they can be for Christ. In turn, they will become committed to following His commands and obeying the Great Commission.[2] 

The Great Commission, of course, refers to Jesus’ command to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19a). The best way to glorify God is then to focus the church’s resources on making disciples and the best way to make disciples at New Life Church is through relational small groups which are organized for multiplication. Michael J. Wilkins in, The NIV Application Commentary focuses on the details of making disciples and concludes: 

It is perhaps in carrying out the directive of the final participle that we have failed the most: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Do we have a personal strategy for carrying this out? Because most of us personally and most of our ministries lack such a strategy, many have called this the Great Omission of the Great Commission.[3]

Glorifying God through making disciples in the context of relational small groups should be one of the focus of New Life Church. In order to avoid the Great Omission, it is necessary to develop a strategy which includes definitions of key terms, methods of implementation and a means of measuring the success of the plan.

In the following articles, I will focus on some key terms and ideas as to how we can be more effective and fruitful in obeying our Lord’s command to ‘make disciples’.

We certainly hope that you will sign up for the Discipleship training classes that we will be starting after church on the 13th April. Our prayer as elders is that these opportunities for increased learning will result in increased service and that New Life Church will bring glory to our Saviours name by being fruitful followers of Jesus Christ.


[1] Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 496.

[2] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 15.

[3] Michael J. Wilkins, Matthew, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2004), 971.