By Warren Janzen, SEND’s International Director — Some have described our current world as VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. I see evidence of this each week as I connect with our disciple-making and church-planting ministries in 22 countries. Laws keep changing, political and cultural landscapes keep shifting, and yet the Holy Spirit keeps making breakthroughs resulting in lives transformed by the gospel! But what happens to those who have discovered the love of the Father? What does missions look like if we are not making disciples?

 

Unlock the now

At times, the gospel is presented as a way to get to heaven, a way to unlock eternity. This future focus drains the power out of the present. It pins our hope on a future that often feels far away.

The gospel is not a way to get to heaven, but a way to get to God. Now. Here. Discipleship is not just preparing us for heaven, it is, as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, living his kingdom and his will now on Earth as it is in heaven. Real discipleship unlocks the now. It draws us into an ongoing experience of faith, hope, and love, which sets us free.

Missions without discipleship leaves people hopeful but frozen with fear when a VUCA world closes in. When we make disciples of the nations, those believers are equipped to move from fear to freedom, from retaliation to love, from hoarding to sharing. Jesus followers (and not just Jesus believers) love as Jesus loves and bring his kingdom to our world. A radical kingdom marked by a loyal love for God and others.

 

The Bible’s role in discipleship

The discipleship journey then is not simply about acquiring more knowledge, but about discovering Jesus in every element of our lives right now. Many people I’ve known in various cultures have approached the Bible as an artifact — something to be examined and studied. Something to be understood and appreciated. An ancient writing that reveals universal and powerful principles.

True discipleship recognizes the Bible as a window through which we see and encounter Jesus. It is a gateway to a relationship with our Lord. That relationship with an all-powerful and personal God lies at the heart of discipleship. That relationship transforms how we see ourselves, and therefore how we see everyone else.

Our VUCA world needs disciples of Jesus. It needs people who treasure Jesus above all else, who live in communion with him, and who express this through faith, hope, and love.

 

Be disciples. Make disciples. Let’s do both, together. 

    • Our internship programs include both practical outreach and personal growth through discipling relationships. We offer discipleship-focused internships in China, Japan, Ukraine, Southeast Asia, Croatia, Spain, Macedonia and New York City. Find one that suits your interests. 
    • SEND offers more than 200 opportunities to make disciples around the world. Explore them here. 
    • You can use this set of resources and stories to grow in your own discipleship and to disciple others, whether at home or overseas. Read more here. 
    • Sign up for On Mission, SEND’s monthly guide for people who want to become missionaries. Subscribe here, and as a welcome gift, you will receive a free download of a world map that highlights today’s unreached people groups. Together, we can bring them Good News. We can’t wait to join you on the journey!

Banner photo: Andre Benz