Mission Statement:“We are dedicated to making fully devoted followers of Christ in every generation.” Ice-Breakers:
It is estimated (on some pretty good data) that 81% of the children that grow up attending church will leave the church somewhere in their late teens to early adulthood; furthermore, it is estimated that 60% of the 81% will never come back to the church on a regular basis. Why do you believe this is happening? List your top three reasons.
In a poll taken in 2016, 73% of Americans claim to be “Christian.” What does this tell us about “Cultural” Christianity in America?
About 40% of people, in the United States, who claim to be Christians have no affiliation with a local church body. What does this say about potential problem areas or bad experiences in the church? How do we reach people who claim to love Jesus and dislike the church?
For young people who grow up in the church, what is the attraction “in the world” that draws them away from the foundations of their faith?
The Case for Discipleship: Let’s look at the Biblical case for disciple-making. It starts with the words of Christ called “The Great Commission.”
The Command of Jesus: Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Example of Jesus: Matthew 4:17-22 (ESV) 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
The Example of Paul: 1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
We know that the church has been called to make disciples as opposed to converts. In fact, according to a warning issued by Peter (2 Peter 2:21,22), not making a disciple out of a convert is filled with dire consequences. So here are a couple of questions to consider:
What can we learn from the example of Jesus in terms of making disciples?
How can all of us be involved in the making of disciples?
The Big Challenge: The big challenge is clear, we need to raise up the younger generations in the church to become disciples. We cannot afford to lose our children to the influence of pop culture or spiritual darkness. If we take Deuteronomy, Chapter 6 seriously, then discipleship of our children should start in the home.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV) 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What can we learn from Deuteronomy, Chapter 6?
Finding the Solution: (RJ’s personal opinion) I believe there are probably several reasons that young people walk away from their spiritual heritage.
Most of their thinking has been shaped by an overwhelming exposure to things secular. (Public Education, Pop Culture, Secular Media, Social Media)
The church has not provided or developed a disciple-making culture. (Who is intentionally making disciples?)
The home environment is more secular than sacred. (What is the home environment? Is active discipleship taking place in the home?)
Adolescents should already be grounded, tested disciples before they ever leave home. (Children and adolescents should be involved in age-appropriate ministry throughout their developmental years)
Wrap-up: The Core+ Class needs to be a class where we take that which is philosophical in nature and develop and execute action-items that take us in the direction of fulfilling the Great Commission and any other imperatives found in God’s Word. So, what action-item(s) can you develop and apply from this lesson?
Develop two action-items that you can walk in this week in terms of fulfilling the mission.
What are some long-term strategies that will assist you in making-disciples of your children or grandchildren?
Outside of your family, consider taking on an individual that needs a spiritual mentor. Pray that the Lord will bring someone to mind. Pray for God’s wisdom to proceed forward.