I don’t know how many times recently I have heard it said that the church in America is counting the wrong thing. This message mostly comes from those in the Missional Church movement (a movement I like). My problem is that they have a tendency to overstate their case. Just today I was reading in Mike Breen’s blog: “The problem is at the end of the day, the only thing that Jesus is counting is disciples. That’s it. He doesn’t seem to care too much about converts, attendance, budgets or buildings. It’s about disciples…”
I’d agree with Mike that Jesus wasn’t too big on budgets and buildings – but Jesus didn’t care about converts?!? (Read Luke 15 for a bit about how Jesus felt about converts.) Jesus cared very much about converts. The whole “it-ain’t-about-numbers” crowd has obviously not read the early chapters of Acts (3,000, 5,000, etc.). I know what they are getting at. It’s not enough just to usher people into the kingdom, we need to disciple them. But ushering them into the kingdom is a big deal! I’m trying to find an example of angels rejoicing over the discipleship process. I read twice in Luke 15 about angels rejoicing when a sinner steps across the line of faith.
All prophetic movements have the tendency to overstate their case to make a point. But this particular overstatement has been repeated so often that people are treating it as fact. And people are adopting this over-emphasis on discipleship as a way to justify a lack of need for churches to bring the good news to the lost.