The Grunt Work of the Gospel

The Grunt Work of the Gospel

"I am concerned," writes David Platt, "about a general vagueness that has existed in contemporary Christianity regarding the next step..."

We have seen that God blesses us so that his glory might be made known in all nations. But an all-important question remains. How do we make God's glory known in all nations? If God has given us his grace so that we might take his gospel to the ends of the earth, then how do we do that? (Radical, 87)

Platt goes on to cast a vision for disciplemaking in the local church — a vision that is further developed by David Mathis in the appendix of Finish the Mission (Crossway, 2012). Mathis calls disciplemaking "blue-collar Christianity."

[It's the] rolling up your sleeves, putting on your mud boots, and doing the grunt work that moves the gospel forward. . . . There are very few frills. Rare accolades. Low hype. It's jolly hard work that doesn't grab headlines or come off as fascinating to the masses. (171)

Expounding 2 Timothy 2:1–7, he summons readers to jump into "the grunt work of gospel advance through personal, intentional, relational, patient, gospel-centered disciplemaking." Here's the outline:

I. Christians are called to make disciples (verse 2)

  • Disciplemaking demands intentionality
  • There is a context of deep relationship
  • The content centers on the gospel

II. Disciplemaking is hard work and brings suffering (verses 3–7)

  • Single-mindedness (verse 4)
  • Discipline (verse 5)
  • Hard work (verse 6)

III.

The key to discplemaking is gospel grace (verse 1)

  • "Jesus is the ultimate empowerer of disciplemaking. And Jesus is the one whose cross covers all our many failures in, and through that cross energizes us for, making disciples who make other disciples of his lavish grace." (181)


Finish the Mission is now available as an outreach case special — that's 48 books for $79. Read the book. Be equipped. Give them away.

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.