18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20 NIV
One of the things I love most about Ascend is that we are a disciple making ministry. So often in the evangelical church we make the Gospel far too small. We tend to minimize the Great Commission and turn it into an orchestrated act instead of a life to be lived. We water it down to a call to make converts, not disciples. The call of Christ is the call to be a disciple who makes disciples. This process certainly includes sharing the Gospel message, but does not begin and end there.
Over the past twelve years of discipling college students and young adults, I have learned just how messy making disciples can be. Being a disciple maker means getting your hands dirty. It means getting involved in someone’s life and often asking the hard questions. It means loving someone too much to let them stay the way they are. Discipleship takes time, lots of time. It takes life on life investment, much more than just a casual bump and run on Sunday morning or Wednesday night.
This summer we got to see some incredible discipleship moments, both with our staff and our participants. There is something about spending a week in the mountains with a group of men that just leads to life transformation. We saw three men follow Christ in the baptismal waters of the mighty Rio Grande, and a student trust Christ and get baptized at my church shortly after camp. I saw a close friend who has been working with Ascend on and off for the past three years respond to the call of Christ to full time ministry with Ascend!
Through Ascend we are raising up the next generation of disciple makers in the Church. One of the things we get to help young men and women learn is that they are missionaries and ambassadors for Christ wherever he places them. In the Church we have created a sacred/secular divide that often leads church members to see evangelism/discipleship/mission as the job of the clergy or hired holy man. One of my greatest joys is helping young people realize that they are better equipped to reach their peers than I am! God has placed them in their classes, jobs, and friendship circles to be a witness to Himself and help people grow in a relationship with Him.
If you are a follower of Jesus, wherever He has placed you, remember you are His Ambassador, His missionary. May you find deep abiding joy as you live out the call of Christ to make disciples of all nations!
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