THE TRICK OF STARTING A CRICKET LEAGUE: “MAKING CONVERTS” VERSUS “MAKING DISCIPLES”
The following is an excerpt from a teaching I did a few weeks ago titled “Jesus Is Teacher.”
Suppose you visit England and fall in love with the sport of cricket. You’re so intrigued that you set out to start a cricket league in your hometown. So you gather a few friends who are willing to play with you. You hype the cricket league, spend money on advertising, and get the word out to as many people as possible. A dozen or so more people show up. So then you and your friends cast the vision to the newbies, and they also start helping your raise awareness and sign up people for the league. This goes on and on and snowballs, and after a few weeks you’ve got hundreds of new cricket players and dozens of teams.
Notice that up to this point, everyone involved still has no idea how to play cricket.
You’ve made a boat-load of converts. But until you start learning and practicing the fundamentals of the game, it’s gonna’ to be a hot mess. Sometimes I’m afraid modern Christianity operates in a similar way.
Jesus said to go and make “disciples.” I feel like we sell this awfully short sometimes, and just aim to make “converts.” Sometimes people get really hyped on being converted and go out and try to convert as many people as they can. Some people do this their whole lives. The problem is, you can become a “convert” and never enter the rough task of being a “disciple.” And then you miss all the really good, deep stuff like feeding the poor or loving your enemy or learning how to forgive even when it sucks.
We aren’t doing ourselves any favors by making thousands of converts without discipling people. People that don’t go to church have a name for that. (Hint: it starts with an “h” and rhymes with “zip-a-crits.”) I think the global church would do well to return to the task of disciple-making, and the “conversions” will take care of themselves.
So let’s go learn some cricket, eh?