The Send Network Church Planting Blog

Why last words are meant to be lasting words

August 5, 2014 by Danny Akin
Last words are meant to be lasting words. They are meant to make an impact and leave an impression. As the Lord Jesus prepared to ascend back to heaven, He called His disciples to Himself and said these words: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20, HCSB). These well-known words of our King are often referred to as the Great Commission. Their greatness is found both in their content and in the one who spoke them. These words are nothing less than a strategic mandate for the Church of the Lord Jesus to passionately obey until He returns again to consummate all things. So, we are told to make disciples. You would think this would be an easy assignment, but my 35 plus years in ministry have convinced me that this is an area where the Church has stumbled about in confusion. Too often we have settled for cheap substitutes that have produces anemic followers of the crucified Galilean. How few there are in our churches who truly deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34).
So, we are told to make disciples. You would think this would be an easy assignment, but my 35 plus years in ministry have convinced me that this is an area where the Church has stumbled about in confusion.
In many cases the problem is the will to follow. In other cases it is how to follow. Matt Rogers’ latest book, Aspire: Developing and Deploying Disciples in the Church and for the Churchprovides a model for how to make devoted followers of King Jesus who will learn His ways, reflect His character and then reproduce themselves in others. Now at this point I need to make something crystal clear: this book is not a quick fix. Why? Because the process of discipleship is not a quick fix. Jesus took three years to disciple the 12. Do we think we can make disciples better and quicker than our Savior? No. Forming disciples is a time-intensive process and this book will guide you well in accomplishing this divine goal within the Body of Christ. As I read Rogers’ book I was struck by how comprehensive it is and also by how practical it is. This is a rare balance you seldom find in most books of this nature. Therefore it is with great delight that I commend this book to all who would take seriously the final marching orders of our Commander-in-Chief. It is my sincere prayer it will be widely distributed and used for the building up of the Lord’s Church and for the sending of an army of disciples among every tribe, tongue, people and nation. I know this: it will be the first book I turn to and recommend when asked, “How can my church truly become a discipleship organism for the glory of God and the good of the nations?” I now have a tool I can confidently put in the hands of others.

Who is Aspire for?

New Christians. Aspire will provide them with a tool to discover God’s Word and ways through intentional reading and journaling. Ideally, they will be in a healthy local church where they can find a mentor who can meet with them for weekly, one-on-one discipleship through the book. Maturing Christians. If you feel the weight of responsibility to make disciples and are looking for a place to begin, invite a friend, neighbor, co-worker or fellow church member and work through Aspire with them. This book will provide a basic plan for disciple-making that can be used over a breakfast coffee, a morning at the park with a neighborhood mom or a drive to a business appointment with a co-worker. Church Planters. A perfect tool to equip a young church to make disciples, Aspire will help church planters flooded with new believers who are, by definition, new to the faith, filled with questions and in need of discipleship. Church planters cannot disciple their congregations alone, so this tool provides a resource to equip church members and small group leaders to make disciples. Established Pastors. If you are seeking to move your church beyond programmatic ministries and create a culture of disciple-making in the body, clear teaching on the need for disciple-making can be supplemented by a tool such as Aspire to show people how they can be obedient to the Great Commission. Order your copy of Aspire today at Seed Publishing Group. Also, a 10% discount is available for orders of 25 copies or more. To place your discounted order, please contact Seed Publishing Group at 843-601-6375.

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