Updated: Mar 23, 2019
by Dave Miller
Cheese heads will know the name Vince Lombardi. He isn’t just the namesake of the Super Bowl Championship trophy; he is the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. He led the Packers to five NFL Championships in seven years. Three consecutive championships included the first two Super Bowls in ’66 and ’67. Every pre-season, football in hand, Lombardi would walk to the front of the assembled team and say, “Gentleman, this is a football.” Nothing matters in the game of football if you don’t have a football. Nothing matters in the church if you are not fishing for men.
Jesus described fishing for men as making disciples. In some of the Savior’s final words he said, ““All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18-19). If the disciples who followed Jesus were in fact made into fishers of men, then you would expect Jesus to commission them to fish for men. He did. He called fishing for men making disciples. Disciple-making is the purpose for which you were saved. Following Jesus and making disciples is the focus of the church. The football.
Church, follow Jesus. I don’t care if you regularly attend the weekly worship service, a weekly small group, and join the ranks of the super-committed to weekly serve in the preschool ministry, if you aren’t personally making disciples who make disciples you are not following Jesus. In your commitment to a campus you could be missing the Kingdom.
Jesus says if you follow him he will make you fishers of men. I was not fishing for men. I was growing a ministry. I had to repent of my pride, my trust in my methods, and my metrics of success. Pardon my bluntness, but are you fishing for men? I wasn’t and it was like death in my bones.
I wanted to be made into a fisher of men. I wanted more than anything to follow Jesus the way Simon Peter and Andrew did in Luke 5. I wanted to leave everything and follow him. Little did I know that journey would take our family from a full-time pastoral position to dry cleaning, dining room table conversations, and completely volunteer disciple making and church planting. The ways I wanted others to define me are changing drastically. The image I was creating is long gone.
Image is everything. Perception matters greatly to each one of us. As image-bearing ambassadors we were designed to gain our identity in the one true creator God. To be like him, is to be satisfied. But we look to so many other images for our identity. We constantly attempt to recreate ourselves with the clothes we wear, the location of the homes we buy, or the amount of knowledge we have. If you don’t believe me, then why do Americans owe $890.9 billion in credit card debt, $8.17 trillion in mortgages, and $1.19 trillion in student loans?Our consumer culture has transcended the need to have something and has morphed into things making me something. Tomorrow’s trash has defined us.
I am a full on recovering narcissist. I have paid credit card debt. I am paying on student loans. I had mortgages, but after loosing all $39,000 of our equity by moving twice during the housing crisis, we now rent. Yet after all that, my identity as Pastor Dave was the hardest to release. There was history, education, blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices and successes bound up with “Pastor.” I had longed for and gained a little notoriety for my efforts. I had made “important connections” with “important people.” My network was filled with people who were like what I wanted to become and others were seeking to learn from my experience. I could feel the pedestal rising underneath me, but Jesus would not let me go.
I found myself in the sanctuary of the church I was pastoring in New Mexico one Tuesday morning broken from the realization that my efforts were never going to impact the 4 Billion lost souls around this world whom Jesus had come to seek and to save. My soul was torn between what I had and what I wanted. I was crushing under the weight of what I needed to do and what I spent my time doing. It was a full on identity crisis between who Christ said I was and who I had become. I was tired of just talking and teaching as a Pastor about who we should be.
My wife and I decided to be disciple makers no matter what it took or how ill equipped we felt. We owned the identity given to every follower of Jesus: Image-bearing ambassadors with a ministry and a message of reconciliation.
Until there's #NoPlaceLeft...
“American Household Credit Card Debt Statistics” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/Accessed September 15, 2015.
Sentergy: When Jesus, People, Practice and Theology Collide
Chapter 1: The Glory of God
Chapter 2: The Glory of God in Jesus
Chapter 3: The Glory of God in the Gospel
Chapter 4: The Glory of God in Disciple Making
Chapter 5: If You Love Me You Will Obey What I Command
Chapter 6: Monday Morning Disciple Making
Chapter 7: Monday Morning Disciple Making Part 2
Interlude: The Father's Heart
Conclusion: The Lump In Your Throat