Without Being a Missionary You Cannot Be a Disciple (Quote to Ponder: Alan and Deborah Hirsch)

I’m currently reading Untamed: reactivating a missional form of discipleship by Alan and Deborah Hirsch.  This quote stood out to me on page 29:

You simply cannot be a disciple without being a missionary – a sent one. For way too long discipleship has been limited to issues relating to our own personal morality and worked out i the context of the four walls of the church with its privatized religion. In doing this, we have severely neglected our biblical mandate to go and “make disciples.” We have narrowed the gospel message o just being about us. Please hear us: we don’t want to neglect issues of personal morality. To strive for holiness and maturity in our own personal lives is extremely important, but it is only half the picture; the other half is our God-given responsibility to the world around us. The fact is that you can’t be a disciple without being a missionary: no mission, no discipleship. It’s as simple as that.

Do you agree?  How does the connection to mission and discipleship play itself out?

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  • Read this book about 2 years ago….couldn’t agree more…Christ’s disciples aren’t saved for their own good, they are saved to continue blessing the world, to continue the Abrahamic blessing…how can you do that if you aren’t a missionary as well?

    • KingsofZion

      maybe it’s time for a change. A God change.

  • The other day I was reading a sample of a Kindle book about establishing “missional” communities and I was left with the impression the author saw this as just the latest way to do evangelism. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of a warmed-over, postmodern “Evangelism Explosion.” I may have been passing judgment too quickly, but I have other things to read that I know will do me better.

    As for this quote, sure…as long as we understand the mission of God as more than evangelism and discipleship as deeper than just being evangelistic.

    • Mike Ward

      I wasn’t really sure what he meant be being a missionary. Could you get a feel for what he was getting at from the sample?

  • I also am drawn to this truth. I’ve found in my own life that I only got so far in my “development” or growth with Christ.  Once I stepped out onto the street to serve…I began to see the areas where I was lacking.  Those areas never would’ve been touched had I remained within the four walls. 
      As a pastor of outreach I often talk about evangelism and discipleship in the same context, as opposed to two totally different “departments” of the church program.  I think our best discipleship model will be our best evangelism model and possibly vice a verse.

  • Nate

    I would highly recommend the book “Missional Spirituality.”  It builds on this whole concept.  In it they write, “Private piety must flow into mission.”

    You can read the first chapter here.

  • Anonymous

    There is a song that is on a David Baroni CD from 1991 or so entitled: “If You’re Not A Missionary” the other part of that chorus states: “then you’re a mission field.” I try to live my life in that fashion. Not always successful, but that  is the goal.

  • C A Ballard

    To me being a disciple is being a follower of Jesus, i.e. dying to self, taking up our cross and following Jesus into the world to proclaim that the Kingdom of God has arrived.  I agree that our faith is not to be a privatized type of morality.  However, I think when a lot of people read “missional” they think “evangelism”, i.e. getting people to make a “decision for Jesus” and that puts a lot of people off.  I think being “missional” is being in the world, shining the light of Jesus wherever you can and perhaps being able to speak into people’s lives when the opportunity arises.  It’s showing the love of Jesus wherever and whenever we can.

  • Yep, I’ve read this book as well. Al definitely is not saying you need to go out and convert people. When he says missionary, he is specifically talking about being one who engages the Missio Dei, or mission of God (or God of mission, he’s also suggested). But his understand of mission is certainly not trying to get people to make a decision. It’s a good read, Untamed, very challenging to the middle class lifestyle.

    • Exactly!

    • Mike Ward

      I’m still not clear on what he means. Being a missionary means engaging in the mission of God is close to being circular.

      What is the “mission of God”? If, for instance, the mission of God is to live like a Christian, then well naturely to be a Christian you should live like a Christian. But that’s not a very interesting or challenging observation.

      And how is it specifically challenging to the middle class? Maybe if I understood what he meant the answer would be obvious, but generally speaking I’m not sure why God’s calling should be any more challenging to the middle class than, to say, the rich.

      Keep in mind that the claim here is that if you are not being a missionary then you are NOT A CHRISTIAN.

      That’s a pretty strong claim.

      If some people who profess Christ are going to be accused of not being Christians, it needs to be clear what exactly they are being accused of failing to do.

      The problem I have with these vague standards is that whole groups of people are so easily JUDGED by them without being given any real understanding of what they are supposedly doing wrong.

      So in this immediate case it is being used to indite the “middle class”. But I’m sure it can just as easily be used to take swipes at evangelicals or Americans or whoever.

    • KingsofZion

      I have to say that I’m a lazy blogger. I tend to read the blog author’s topic article, but I don’t really take time to go to all the links promo’d or read the books promo’d either.  This probably leads to me not really having as thorough an understanding of the topic as some.  Still love to blog though. It’s kinda like online school in that you can participate in the discussion as the schedule allows. 

  • KingsofZion

    mission is different for different people. They do what they can in their context. Prisoners in the prison, infirm at home. I suppose it’s doing what we can. On the other hand, the Word of God is everywhere. How can anyone miss it? When I wanted to find those preaching the word, I think it took me all of 20 minutes to find something to listen to or someone to preach.  Is the food not good cause a lot of people don’t care what they eat.  You’d think they’d even be drawn to the multitude of heresy that abounds as well.  I don’t know.  We just always gotta have something to disagree about.  It’s depressing.

  • KingsofZion

    well my mission today was to feed my Mother, get my son going on his homeschooling computer assignments, settle the anxiety of my three dogs as I changed window coverings in the dining room, attempt meal prep, make my daughter who is a new Mother (and a non-convert) laugh by texting a picture of my big toe which I had drawn a laughing face on, added hair with ink and finally fashioned a nice toupee (wig) out of threads from frayed curtain. I also gave my mom a shower which she wasn’t too happy about, went to see my therapist, and now I’m blogging about all that and some of the topics here (which work to both keep me sane & make me crazy all @ the same time).

    Tomorrow….well it’s usually both something new and the same mosaic of everyday thangs. God bless all on their mission for Christ. 

  • Anonymous