Convert or Disciple
Many churches today are under the pressure to grow their churches. It may be a good thing because we can see more people being saved. The Lord is opening up many doors for us in recent years. There are many kinds of social outreach activities churches can be involved in, not just to the locals but also to the migrants as well. We need to seize these opportunities to help these people know the Lord. We need to rise up and develop relevant ministry to help these people.
But we need to be careful not to chase after the numbers blindly. We cannot love the results more than we love the people. There are times we put results over relationships. Sometimes we just want people to convert more than treasure their repentance. As such, we try to make converts first before they know what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. While I understand that a person may take time to grow in the Lord and be committed fully, care need to be taken so that believers understand what repentance means. They cannot just be people who just want the love, grace and blessings of the Lord without repenting and living new lives for God. As a new convert, he is also a new disciple. We should not try to create a stage where people can first become converts then disciples. In the end, we may have greater problems in church because these people have never really believed in the first place. Then we have to get them to convert again in church.
Disciples need to repent and believe in the Lord. I don’t think there is a easier path. Of course, we can get people into the church first, but let us not rush to make them say the sinner’s prayer until they understand the whole Gospel. Perhaps this is also the reason why Christians are less committed these days compared to the first century. We have unknowingly created a easier path on the way to Calvary. But it may not reach the cross.
Some of us may try to remedy this problem by building better discipleship programs. Yes, it will work well for those who have genuinely believed, but it is fire-fighting to those who have a vague or blind faith. Discipleship must come with a clear decision. It’s not something to sort out after we have made them say the sinner’s prayer. Let us make disciples with integrity. Make true disciples and not just converts.