“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Part of what we will attempt to cover on day five of Team Times is the idea of follow-up. In other words, we will head back to Texas when this week is over. We will celebrate all that God has done in and through our lives, but still, we will return home. The students to whom we minister this week will need to get plugged in to our partner church in Germany. When Jesus said these words (Matthew 28) to His original disciples, the emphasis was not simply on telling people the good news. His calling to them (and to us) is to make disciples. Part of that process, and the reason for which we are going, is to share with people how that might become a part of God’s family.
For those who take advantage of this offer, it is a glorious new beginning in their lives. However, it is important for us to remember that it is still just the beginning. In order for someone to become a true follower of Christ (a true disciple), there are actually several steps in the process. We want these new believers to know the benefits of studying God’s word on their own and letting God speak to them in this way. Additionally, our desire is for them to begin to dive into the depths of what it means to spend time in prayer with their Heavenly Father. And, we want them to come to an understanding of what it means to be a part of a local church – a group of like-minded followers of Christ who can equip, motivate, and direct their new life in Christ. We need to begin the process of follow-up with the players on our teams, but ultimately, we will need to pass this baton on to our friends from the church there in Bunde.
Again, we can think of this in terms of teamwork. We will not be there to help them all along the journey, but we still have an important part to play. Paul referenced this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9:
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Overall, we have to see this as God’s work. Additionally, though, we have to see the vision of what it is that God desires to accomplish in the lives of those we will have the opportunity to interact with while in Germany. We may only get to plant the seeds and someone else will water and maybe even bring in the harvest. On the other hand, perhaps we will be blessed to be the ones who get the opportunity to call some of these students into God’s family. What will we do at that point? Simply thank God for that encounter and then move on? This will not be our plan if we keep the idea of making disciples on the forefront of our minds. Instead, we will point these new believers in the right direction of studying God’s word, spending time in prayer (developing this new relationship) and being involved in the local church with our friends there in Bunde, Germany.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know that we are very excited about being a part of this mission trip. We thank you for the opportunity to go all the way to Germany to share the faith! However, please help us to keep the big picture in mind as we go. The work that will be done is spiritual work – it is work that is done by the Holy Spirit. We cannot make one good thing happen on our own in Germany. We need you to do the work! Also, help us to remember that ours is only a small part of the bigger picture. We ask that the students who come to our baseball/cheer camp will find connections with the local church in Bunde. We know that this is your plan for the long-term goal of making disciples. We place all of this into your hands.