I have been thinking about the movie War Room that I watched the other night. I believe it had another lesson to teach us other than making time to pray and taking your battles to Jesus in order for Him fight for you. I believe it was also teaching us about Discipleship and making disciples.
In the movie, Miss Clara, a mature Christian disciples her real estate agent Elizabeth in how to improve her relationship with Jesus, which in turn improved her relationship with her family. Elizabeth was a luke warm Christian which is on the verge of back sliding. Let me be clear, I believe there is a difference between a back slider and someone who may have never been saved in the first place. For one, a person who once went to church and presented themselves as saved but then out of the blue (or out of a crises) denies Jesus as the son of God, may even leave Christianity all together and becoming a Buddhist, or a Unitarian, or a even Muslim was never truly saved. A truly saved person would never deny Jesus as the Son of God.
A person who back slides still confesses that Jesus is the son of God, they just no longer have a relationship with God. For whatever reason they stopped having a relationship with God. They may be angry with God for the death of a spouse or a child, or they were young when they got saved and was never discipled and was lured away by peer pressure to live as the world lives. There may be other reasons for someone back sliding that I cannot think of right now, but as long as that person is alive we should not give up on that back slider and continue to pray for them to come back to the fold.
I know some Christians who will look at a back slider and immediately judge them as never have been saved. I am glad that when I back slid throughout my twenties my mom and church family never made that assumption; they just continued to pray for me that I repent and come back to Jesus. I believe that one of the reasons I back slid and became luke warm was because I was never discipled after I was saved and the lure of the world became too great. I believe if we had more disciple-making there would be less back-sliding and luke warm Christians.
All of us Christians have that commandment from Jesus to make disciples, but sadly we are ignoring that command. Even I am. Jesus discipled Peter and Peter discipled Paul and then Paul disciple Timothy. Who Timothy discipled we do not know, but I am sure he discipled someone. One of my professors, Dave Earley wrote in his book Disciple Making Is...How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence, "that disciples must be continually pushed to go to the next level: from believing to immersing, abandoning, ans serving; from obeying to multiplying" (pg 127).
We need to stop the "Now, you're saved. Peace be with you," attitude, leaving the Babe in Christ on its own and start assigning a mature believer to the new Christian and have the mature Christian mentor to the babe-in-Christ. A truly saved person wants to learn and know more about having a relationship with Jesus. Earley also brings to his readers' attention that Jesus lead disciples through three distinct stages (pgs 126-127):
Stage 1--Declaration: investigation leading to repentance and faith in Jesus. (John 4:39-41; 10:38; 11:45; Mark 5:18-20; Matt 8:10; 1 Cor 15:6)
Stage 2-- Development: immersion, abandonment, and apprenticeship into ministry. (Luke 10:1-5; Acts 1: 18-20)
Stage 3--Deployment: intentional global commissioning. (Matt 28: 18-20)
Miss Clara did these things. She first found out where Elizabeth stood with her relationship with Jesus. When Elizabeth admitted her relationship with Jesus was luke warm and repented of her anger towards her husband, Tony she willingly stepped into the role of apprenticeship into ministry. Towards the end of the movie, the audience and Miss Clara see how Elizabeth has matured in her relationship with Jesus. Miss Clara then deploys Elizabeth to disciple others, which she in turns disciples her daughter and sister. Miss Clara asks God to send her another person to disciple.
Shouldn't we as Christians do the same? Shouldn't we ask God to send us someone to disciple? Today, I am asking Jesus to send me someone. What about you?
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
-Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)