Let me be blunt.
I believe the church comes closest to its intended shape when Jesus-followers are loving God, loving others, and learning how to disciple people who will disciple others.
Meaningful, organic, simple gatherings are meant to come OUT of the process of disciples making disciples and to support that process.
But there is one key that must not be missed or we will just be out trying to put together yet one more model and method of Christian living: We are called first and foremost to be a disciple ourselves… and there is a cost. Jesus said it quite bluntly:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)
At the very core of the church and at the very heart of disciplemaking, is the disciple who has eyes on Jesus and hands not grasping for the things of this world. And it is the freedom, love, and joy that comes from being such a disciple that is at the heart of relating to others in a way that they, too, become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Yes, discipleship does cost us everything. This cost is not about putting on a religious cloak of self-flattery, false-self-sacrifice, or pharisaical self-righteousness. Rather, there is the confession that my soul wants to cling to things that keep it from the full embrace of the most amazing lover and the only true infuser-of-life. When I daily seek to give up pig’s food for the Father’s grasp, I am a disciple who has found real life unlike any other. And such disciples are at the heart of disciplemaking.