Starting Gospel Planting Movements on Campus: Make Disciples

by Paul on November 17, 2009

The Funny Thing About Labels

People try to label me all the time.  Some want to call me a house-church-guy.  For others, I’m the simple church or CPM guy.  Still others call me the online missionary or church online guy.  Some want me to be a Baptist, a Charismatic, or a Wesleyan.

People who label you often assume you want to convert others to their label.  It’s like they think I judge my success by how many people I convince to adopt church online, start a house church, become Baptist, believe in the all the gifts of the Spirit, or attend a Wesleyan church.

Let’s get something straight.  None of those things are bad.  But if my goal is to convert people to those religious systems, then I have my priorities out of wack.  I’m not interested in making more Baptists, house church people, simple church people, CPM people, church online people, Charismatics, Wesleyans, or online missionaries.

And, if you want to change the world, you shouldn’t be either.

I want to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  I want to make disciples, not converts.

That means I don’t judge my success by how many people I get to be part of my program, organization, church or methodology.  It does mean that I measure success by how many lost people I disciple into a relationship with Christ and who will, in turn, do the same within their community.

Thinking About Universities

If you are concerned with increasing the size of your organization on campus or your church off campus, you probably won’t reach the whole campus with the Gospel.  A mindset that focuses on the expansion of any religious system will force you to ignore and reject opportunities and partnerships to reach people that will not join the system.  Once again, I’m not saying that religious systems are bad; I am saying that they are limiting.

I can say, with confidence, that if you focus on making disciples of Christ you will grow your organization or church.  It is natural to assume that some new disciples will be drawn to your religious system as they build relationships with you and your friends.  Some, however, will not be attracted to your system.  You have to be ok with that and not force things one way or another.

Of course, this means your church, organization and/or those funding your ministry are ok with this as well.  If, by your actions, you lead 10 floors in dorms to Christ and half of them don’t want anything to do with your church, is your church going to be ok with that?

Catalyzing Movements on Campus

If you want to catalyze Gospel Movements on university campuses everything you do has to be about discipling lost people into relationships with Christ, not about making them look and smell like you and your organization.

There is a lot to cover regarding making disciples.  We’ll talk more about various aspects of making disciples as the series progresses.

For more about making disciples of Christ rather than converts to religion, check this post out David Watson’s blog.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Eastburn November 17, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Good word here about the difference between making converts (either to Christ in general or simply to your denomination, church, etc.) and making disciples. For a guy like myself who is trying to help other churches follow mine's and going from a traditional church model to a house-church model, that is a much needed reminder.

Terry Dorn November 18, 2009 at 4:08 am

Reaching the lost is the life blood of the church. No new blood = a dead church. Many old line churches are closing their doors due to loss of vision for the lost in their community. The streets are full of gangs, drugs, and the mentally ill. Read m y new book that deals with the most misunderstood group of our day, the mentally ill. Find, The Cross and he Psychiatrist" at or google it. This book will stir your heart for winning the lost. Terry D

David Fredrickson November 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Great post regarding hitting the bottom line in regards to authentic discipleship. As far as religious systems go, however, I think they're more than limiting. They tend to cause people to identify with a denomination, institutional organization and/or a leader rather than with Jesus Christ alone. Being attractional rather than incarnational they tend to market their "product" as the "success" of the organization is necessary in order to pay the bills. Since each member is a potential part of that "success" they are generally saddled with religious obligation to perform. All of these issues and many more I won't take space to mention here make them non-relational and counter-productive to genuine discipleship.

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