Scientists have spent a great deal of time trying to find the “missing link”. The desire to find the “missing link” stems from evolutionary theory which suggests that humans have evolved from apes or some other kind of monkey. If evolution were true, we would have the “missing link”, a part human, part monkey, somewhere in between the two creature’s skeleton or fossils. My interest here isn’t in talking about evolution, or the “missing link” monkey human thing that supposedly existed, but instead the theory of evolution as an idea of a process, of one creature changing, growing, evolving into a better creature. Let me make it clear I’m not suggesting this is a legitimate theory, but the theory itself can help illustrate something biblical in my opinion.
When it comes to making disciples, each person is going through a process. You started as an unbeliever….you hear and respond to the gospel….you begin to grow in your relationship with Christ….you begin to serve Christ….and then you multiply yourself in the lives of others. My greatest concern is what I perceive to be the “missing link” of discipleship. We all know we should make disciples, we talk about it, try to do it, plan programs and classes in an effort to do it. Unfortunately, many people have never truly been discipled and thus we have a “missing link”. We know what the end goal is, but because we never were discipled ourselves there is a disconnect and we end up stuck because we just don’t know what the “missing link” is.
I’ve had many men in my life that have had a profound impact on me and who I am today. I could tell you stories about each of them and how grateful I am for them but for the purposes of today, I want you to know about Chris. (If you know who this is, please refrain from tagging him on social media on the chance it could hinder his current ministry.) Chris knew what it was to disciple someone, he knew what the “missing link” was and set out to help me to grow as a disciple when I was in my later years of high school and then early college. Having sensed a call to serve the Lord in student ministry, I wanted to begin to learn and serve in that way. I was given the opportunity to serve in a middle school guys Sunday School class as a senior in high school. The class was led by Chris and another gentleman. Somewhere along the way, Chris began to meet with me about once a week. I can still remember the mornings where we met at Burger King or another restaurant; we talked about my walk with Christ, he held me accountable for my struggles, and taught me about serving the Lord. As a young guy, I got to sit and watch how Chris led the middle school guys, got to hear from him how to lead the middle school guys, got to start to minister to the middle school guys and get feedback and ultimately one day that became my class to lead years later.
While I’m thankful for how Chris helped me grow as an individual in my relationship with Christ, one of the most valuable things I learned was the “missing link” of making disciples. It’s really unfortunate that for many the end goal of discipleship is serving the Lord. The end goal of discipleship isn’t serving the Lord, it’s serving the Lord by leading others to do the same. For many of you, my hope is you discover the “missing link”. That you realize that while serving the Lord is important. God called you to do that so that you could show someone else how to do that. God led someone to share their faith with you so that you might lead someone else to share their faith with another. God’s plan, the Great Commission, doesn’t have an end goal of you serving the Lord….it’s making disciples…..followers. People who learn to do what you’re doing and follow in your footsteps. It’s real practical here; if you’re a teacher and you teach another how to teach…..2 classes have leaders instead of 1. The church should never have a shortage of servants.
While evolution is a bogus theory, it does illustrate the concept of a human in transition. Isn’t that what all of us are as Christians? Not physically speaking, but spiritually speaking? If we really, I mean really want to do what God wants….to grow in discipleship, we can’t neglect what has become the “missing link”. It’s time to take the next step as we aspire to transition…to become more like Christ. One of the things I’m most thankful for in our church is the number of people who willingly serve the Lord week in and week out. One of the things that I pray for the most is for Christians to realize serving isn’t the end, but just a step in the transition towards Christlikeness, and that we must take another step, the “missing link” step. The step where Chris was serving the Lord, then brought me alongside him as he served, taught me how to serve in the same way, and then turned me loose to serve. It’s a beautiful thing when you keep taking steps in making disciples....today Chris is serving God in another part of the world and I’m one of our pastors. Because Chris knew the “missing link” 2 people are serving God today instead of 1. Why don’t you eliminate the “missing link”, start multiplying yourself, your ministry….in the lives of those around you?