29 October 2020

Dear Friends of Kingfisher

How do you disciple a nation?

I friend of mine very often asks me this question.  In Matthew 28:19 we read: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”.  So how do you disciple a nation?

On the face of it the answer is simple. You disciple a nation one by one leading people to salvation and then hopefully discipling them towards spiritual maturity. Most churches and ministry organizations have strategies and programs based on the idea of individuals becoming disciples of Jesus. Each one of them will then be able to disciple others until the entire nation is discipled.

In my own country, eighty present of the population self-identify as Christians, but when we look at the exceedingly high crime rate, the murders, rapes and violence that permeates the whole of society, the bile and hatred that we encounter on social media, we clearly are not a discipled nation. I only speak for my own country, but many of you all over the world may have the same experience in your own contexts.

It seems that the fruit that we expect of disciples of Jesus is missing. They have been discipled to some extent, but the outcome cannot be seen to have a marked effect on the nation as a whole. Even though eighty present of people self-identify as Christians, we are not a discipled nation.

How is that possible?

We may have been missing something. When Jesus called his disciples to follow Him it was not, first of all, a call to salvation, but a call to think as He does about life, the world, themselves and everything. Jesus spells His worldview out in the beatitudes. It is the poor in spirit, the humble,  the peacemakers, those with a passion for justice who live the Kingdom lifestyle of a disciple of Jesus. These are people who make a difference in society and are respected by even those of other religions. It is they who have a marked effect on society and bring Kingdom change to the world where they live.

Could it be that discipling a nation has to do with the effect true disciples of Jesus can have in broader society?

Could it be that discipling a nation is not only leading people individually to salvation, but changing them into change agents who think like Jesus did and act like He did with compassion, being peacemaker, striving for justice and living a humble lifestyle?

Could it be that the psyche of a nation, the vibe of a nation can be impacted by discipled followers of Jesus to such an extent that the values and aspirations of the nation becomes in line with Jesus’ way of thinking?

Would that be what it means to disciple a nation?

If that is the case we have to look carefully at the outcomes of the way  we often disciple people.

Do we see the fruit of a Kingdom lifestyle? Do we see that discipled followers of Jesus bring in a new way of thinking and acting, a different attitude and approach into public life?

If that happens more and more, we can approach the possibility of a nation being discipled.

How do your discipling efforts measure up?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.

Regards

Piet

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