Making Disciples for Life – Our New Normal
January 15, 2021, 12:00 AM

Making Disciples for Life – Our New Normal
LCMS Virtual Evangelism Conference


On the evenings of January 11 - 14, the LCMS Office of National Mission held a virtual conference to fulfill a convention resolution to provide resources for churches to ‘Make Disciples for Life and to equip men and women to bring the good news of salvation to the world.

I do not know how many pastors and lay people registered to view this event, but I thought I, your OK District’s Evangelism Executive, would provide an opportunity for those who participated and those who did not to reconsider or consider what the LCMS Office of National Mission hoped to accomplish.

Reconsidering or considering the first session, the question ‘What are you here to do?’ was asked of participants. That question may be very appropriate as you begin 2021 and take a new look at your church’s vision. Looking ahead and asking, ‘What are you here to do?’, you might answer like a conference plenary speaker did. We are here to make disciples, to seek the lost, and to share the good news about Jesus Christ so the lost may hear the truth and be saved.

But how do we make disciple in the ‘context’ we’re in? Our world is different from what it was ten, twenty, or forty years ago. Our world view is different than it was thirty or fifty years ago. However old you are, you know that things have changed. Some of our priorities have changed. Some of our freedoms have changed. Some of our beliefs have changed. But there is the ‘constant’ of God’s Word that has not changed, and God’s Sacraments continue to be used by the church to provide forgiveness and proclaim salvation to the people in and around the church.

Reconsidering or considering the first session, a second question asked the participant was ‘Where are we?’ You might live in an urban or rural community. You might serve a church that’s developing or declining. You have been affected by the COVID-19 virus directly or indirectly, and competing faiths and religions have affected how you see yourself in society.

It was said during the ‘Making Disciples Conference’s first plenary session that 80% of LCMS congregations are declining. If that concerns you, if lost souls concern you, turn to God’s Word and applying it to your life and the church’s, ask, ‘What am I or the church doing well and what needs improving’. And ask: ‘Is what I am doing (or the church) focused on bringing the means of grace to the people and people to the means of grace.’

Some factors in bringing the means of grace to the people and people to the means of grace are 1) how adaptable are church members to make necessary changes; 2) how engaged are we with the community; 3) how well do we minister to and strengthen the family; 4) how hospitable (welcoming) are we to others; 5) how do active church members minister to inactive members (Does knowing that 30% of rostered members in many LCMS churches have strayed affect how and to whom you minister?); 6) how well does the church incorporate its member to use their gifts for the Lord (equipping and enabling to make disciples); 7) how viable is the church in maintaining and in confidently doing the mission and ministry God calls good; 8) how well is the vision of the church known by its members.

At the close of the first session, the plenary speaker asked, ‘Where do you want to end up?’ He said that if a person walks long enough, he or she will eventually get somewhere, but where will he or she be? So, consider or reconsider where God has placed you. God has given you a family to care for, a church to worship in, and a community and district where you live and serve. And then consider the command Jesus gave in that last chapter of Matthew: ‘Go and Make Disciple of all nations.’ Where you are, you plant and water and God grows the seed, and then the harvest will come and it will yield a thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold.

Making Disciples for Life – Our New Normal

Visit the Making Disciples for Life Internet Resource Center.

Submitted by Rev. Dwayne Schroeder, Evangelism Executive