The Slayer of New Converts
I was in Spain last month for Project Barcelona ’92, and was asked to teach on disciplemaking. I had been given two hours. I took the podium, and began my seminar, but my opening remarks seemed to shock the Project leadership.
“I’ve been brought here to Barcelona to speak to you about disciplemaking and new convert care; but knowing that this subject is so deep and complex, I feel that two hours really isn’t enough time to do it justice. So instead, if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk today about ‘Training Techniques and Breakfast Cereals of 20th Century Decathletes’. I feel far more comfortable and proficient with that topic…”
I was no more than 15 seconds into my speech when Joe Smalley, PB Project Director, jumped out of his seat and hollered, “Wait a minute!! We have you here to teach about disciplemaking! We don’t care about decathletes! What’s wrong with you?! Get back to the proper subject!”
Well, I was persuaded to teach the assigned subject (despite my offense at his disregard for decathletes). But then I made my point: I had just exhibited the attitude that most people have toward a disciplemaking ministry. Since disciplemaking is deep and complex and takes a lot of time, we often choose to limit our ministries to what we are comfortable and proficient at, and what we feel we have time for. We disregard the fact that disciplemaking is the Number One assignment the Lord gave us in Matthew 28:19,20.
We all know who the “New Convert Slayer” is: Satan. But it may surprise you to hear what his main weapon is. In order to destroy a potential disciplemaker’s ministry, Satan doesn’t need to blow up his (or her) house, kill his children, tempt him into an adulterous affair, or ship him off to the Hari Krishnas. All he’s got to do is chip away at the disciplemaker’s time. So simple! And so perfect.
An extra magazine subscription here, an “unmissable” TV show there. Pressure to be the PTA secretary. Bowling league. Model building. Surfing. Do you see anything horrendously Satanic about those activities? They are perfectly harmless. But it’s very interesting how these benign pursuits can – before you realize it – fill up your schedule and make it “impossible” to obey the Prime Directive of the Great Commission.
I’m not advocating the end of all hobbies, recreation and relaxation. I know we all need diversion, and I know we can weave our ministries right into those pursuits as well. But if our weekly agenda is so crammed with various “good” activities that there is no room for the “best” activity, we’d better start looking where we can cut back on a few non-eternal non-essentials.
Not too long ago I sent out a survey to disciplemakers all over the world. One of the questions I asked was, “What keeps you from being as effective as you’d like to be in your disciplemaking?” The clear response of the great majority of the 161 respondents was, “Lack of time.” You must see it! Satan is waging war on disciplemakers worldwide! His weapon is subtle but deadly! We must target this attack with the same grim determination we use against his more obvious assaults.
As David Dawson, founder of Equipping the Saints Ministry wrote, “The real difficulty is not the lack of time but what we do with the time we have. Since we can never accumulate, stockpile, replace or turn back time, we must learn to control it as it passes. If we fail to manage our time, nothing else in our lives can or will be managed.”
There’s a fable that goes like this: Satan assembled his top advisors one day and asked them, “What strategy can we invent that will discourage Christians from their ministries?”
The first demon stepped up, “I’ll convince them there is no heaven! With no final reward, those selfish humans will lose interest.”
Satan thought for a moment and then rejected the idea. “No, they’ll still reach out to others because of the disgusting love God has put in their hearts.”
Another one speaks, “I’ll convince them there is no hell! If they think there’s nothing for people to be saved from, they’ll lose their motivation.”
“No. That won’t work for the same reason. The Spirit of God within them won’t allow their consciences to turn away from others in need, as long as it’s in their power to do something about it.”
A third demon rises slowly. “Then I have our solution… I’ll convince them there is no time.” And that, it seems, has indeed turned out to be the most effective strategy of all.
The above article, ‘The Slayer of New Converts’ is written by Chris Adsit.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.