Moving to the Right, Looking to the Left

Moving to the Right, Looking to the Left

Moving to the Right, Looking to the Left

I’ve been doing the maths, and to be honest it’s not looking great.

We’re making disciples; but I suspect we’re not really making a decent enough number of them to count ourselves as faithful in fulfilling Jesus’ Matthew 28:19 command. Maybe it’s different in your neck of the woods. If so, praise God!

But if you agree it’s a problem where you are, then humanly speaking the solution is found in a pretty simple formula:

to make an ever increasing number of disciples of Jesus, we need to keep growing the number of disciple-making disciples

Divinely speaking, of course, the solution is God’s to bring about, and so it is our prayers which are primary. But God does use our human efforts to answer those prayers.

But what does that mean: “to grow the number of disciple-making disciples”?

If you’re familiar with our Vinegrowers diagram, it means moving people to the right…

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…it means we are engaging with the people around us, → evangelising them, and then → establishing them as stable disciples of Christ.

But then comes a key and often omitted part of the process: → equipping them to start looking to the left and to help others move to the right—just like they themselves have done and are doing.

As we’ve said before, looking to the left is an essential part of growing as a disciple, because in God’s great plan it is the core way we love and serve other people. Growing in love means looking to the left, and actively praying and working to help others become disciples of Christ and to grow as disciples—seeing them in turn mature to the point where they also are moving right and looking left.

If you’re a pastor or church leader my questions are these: (1) how effectively are you helping people to look left, and (2) how effectively are you equipping them to help others move to the right?

Of course, effectiveness can be a tricky thing to measure. So let’s start with a slightly easier metric. Let's ask these questions instead: (1) how much time are you spending consciously helping people look left, and (2) how much time are you spending consciously equipping them to help others move to the right?

Given the key part of the ‘formula’ that equipping represents, we think your answer should probably be at least 5-10% of your ministry time (in normal circumstances). How does that sit with you? Realistic? Too much? Too little?

And then, what might you actually be doing in that 5-10% of your time? That’s a good question. Let’s think more about that in an upcoming post.

Ian Carmichael

Ian has been with Matthias Media from its beginning (1988). In late 2020 he stepped down from the CEO role, and now works as an honorary consultant and editor for Matthias Media. Ian and his wife, Stephanie, have two adult children, two (gorgeous) grandchildren, and are part of Chatswood Presbyterian church in Sydney.