Recently I saw a headline that came from a U.S. Department of Labor report that said the average man in America will hold 12.7 jobs in his lifetime. The average woman will have about 12.1. Diving into the report a bit, you find things like the statistics drawn from later-era baby boomers born from 1957-1964. In any event, it got me thinking — and reading further. Digging through the data it said that when these folks were 18-24 they generally had 5.5 jobs. From 25-34, they had 4.5 jobs; from 35-44 it was 2.9; and 2.3 jobs from age 45-56. I’m not the smartest guy, but those numbers don’t add up to me, overall, but it is a government statistic.
In any event, I got to thinking about all the jobs I have had. I’ve worked cleaning carpets, in three nursing homes and one hospital; I’ve worked in two churches for three jobs. I’ve served in two different district offices as an assistant to the DS and now here for the last 11+ years as District Superintendent.
It struck me that since age 21 (39 years ago), I have had a number of different ministry roles (youth pastor/assistant pastor; lead pastor twice, asst. to the DS twice, and now DS) yet my number one job, above it all, has been to make disciples! That is job ONE for the Christ-follower! It may sound simplistic to say, but in our roles, as church leaders, pastors, and Christ-followers, we are to make disciples!
As many churches gear up for a new ministry season kickoff this month, let us not forget what God’s desire for us is — make disciples! Notice, that I am not prescribing a particular program, model, or plan. I am simply reminding us that in all the planning, in all the executing, in all the work and effort that gets expended, let us not lose sight of the real goal — to see people come to faith in Christ and grow to maturity in Him!
If we engage in this, there will be many transitions from darkness to light — from death to life! The angels in Heaven will rejoice and the Lord will most pleased with you and I. One of my favorite descriptions of disciple-making — the process of becoming like Christ — is found in Colossians 3. Paul starts out by saying, v. 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. He goes on to describe in v. 2-11, things we, as redeemed Christ-followers should engage in, things we should realize, and things we should put off. In v. 12-16, Paul describes things we, as redeemed Christ-followers should clothe ourselves with, things we should do, and things we should allow to permeate our lives. Finally, in v. 17 Paul says, And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him!
September brings a transition in seasons. School re-starts. A new church ministry season kicks in and sometimes we can fall into a rut or a routine. May the transition this fall be one where we put off the old things God desires for us to take leave from and put on the better things, yes, even the best things God has for us as we seek to follow Him and live for Him in greater paths of discipleship going forward!