I attended a long and intense 4 days of conferences in Columbia, SC. I got to know, listen to, and glean lots of wisdom and knowledge as to what God is doing around the United States and Canada in the "world" of international student ministry. I was incredible and yet challenging! The greatest message that I have learned and been challenged with is the issue of disciple-making.
This is the greatest challenge and disappointment of the American church (as a whole) because it is what we were commissioned to do at the end of Christ' earthly ministry in Matthew 28:18. The disappointment has come because it doesn't fit in our lifestyle as typical Americans. We believe that the challenge was issued to only a few then and only applies to a few today. The common layperson in the local church either doesn't want to "disciple-make" or they don't know how (which means they are a failed product of the ones before them).
At some point, we must get this issue dealt with. There needs to be a renewed passion to disciple-make! We are called to "go and MAKE disciples!" "Making" disciples WILL require a lot from each of us. This job can't be left to the pastors of our churches. He is only one man. It can't be left to the "more spiritual" people of the church. If you are saved, born again, a follower of Christ, a Christian, or any other title you would want to give yourself, then you are must be a disciple maker. In order to change a society or culture, it takes more than one generation of a people. There can be a start with just one generation, but for it to be a long-lasting culture change, it has to take place over more than one. But, how can that happen? It can only happen, when something that is genuine and authentic is passed down from one person to another, no matter the connection between the two people involved (as long as they are within the same culture). Let me be clearer and put this in better words.
In order to change our American culture (or another) and to have it last, we must teach one person to another and then that person teach another, the precepts of God and His commands in a way that changes lives. It must be done with love and compassion, but it must be true and relevant. We must let each follower of Christ know that they are important to the Kingdom/Body of Christ. They must know that they were not called to occupy a pew or chair. They were called to impact this world! This message must be proclaimed to every culture.
Dennis Runner- a witness, a follower, a student, and a lump of clay in the hands of my God and Savior.