Written by Teresa Goodnight

Generals for war are not made in 15 minutes.  They aren’t even made in 15 years.  Most receive that sort of command and respect after two to three decades of service.  Achieving the rank of a four or five-star general takes longer. In fact, I can’t find one other six start general besides Washington.  The strategists for war find great lessons learned from the heat of the battle.  The greatest ones are pulling from those decades on the battlefield to rise up to a position of great authority.  After all, the lives of our men and women in service depend on those strategists to effectively know how to approach and win the battle.  In reality, our very freedom as Americans rests on their very capable shoulders.

In life, we just don’t get many of the battlefield style ranks to put us into our positions.  The same is true in the church.  We don’t have ceremonies promoting through the ranks.  In the Army, your rank is your pay grade, as well as a representation of the amount of responsibility you hold.  The “m.goarmy.com” website shares that the fastest ways to move through those ranks are additional training and schooling.  Makes sense.  Just under the enlisted soldier status, there are 13 ranks.  There are 11 within the officer realm landing at General, which the army site says have usually 30 years of experience or more.

So what does that system have to do with you?  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are squarely in the infant category.  You might want to equate that to the Army’s lowest ranking of private, but I would take it back a step further to calling that person a recruit. It’s a person who has made an assessment of the situation and decided their loyalties belong to Christ.  In the Christian world, that is the moment where you move into God’s family and are adopted back in.  It’s an official rank not nearly on par in that regard with a recruit from that perspective, but it’s still an infant in Christ regardless of age.  

Many of our churches have given up any formal discipleship training process.  I really think that’s a big mistake.   But don’t take my word for it.  Let’s look really quick and what Jesus words were on this topic.  We embrace the idea that Jesus told us to go tell others about him—the Great Commission.  Jesus told us to go into the world and tell them about Christ.  But that wasn’t EXACTLY all he said.  Matthew 28:19 (NLT) reads,  “Therefore, go,” but he doesn’t stop with simply telling us to go tell others about him.  In fact, he is incredibly specific.  His sentence continues, “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you…”  The actual Greek word Jesus used here, “mathetes” is explained in Vines Expository Dictionary (great tool BTW) as “thought accompanied by endeavor.”  It’s the word we get mathematician from.  With all my reading, I would sum it up as someone who is incredibly intentional about being dedicated to a teaching both in learning it and following it.  Further, as a former Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) staff member, I’d say that we disciple so that those we have discipled are equipped to go out and disciple others.   

Those Christians are put in charge of Bible studies, home study groups, Sunday School and more who are not trained disciples, who understand how to study God’s word could unintentionally dismantle our churches.  Without a discipleship process, there is a lack of qualifications for those teachers in those positions.  We don’t allow those fresh out of the crib to waltz into our school system.  We put them through the 12 years of schooling, then college just to move towards a teaching certificate.  It’s very similar to how a recruit has to complete basic training to earn the right to be a private.

Many of our seniors came from a time when the practice of hardcore discipleship was being executed in our churches.  There are those of us out there who have long since moved past a recruit.  In fact, with many of the stories of trials and tribulations from life and experience with Christ—seniors are some of the best equipped discipling machines we have in the church.  Many of you know that you are actually sitting around the rank of a general with all that was taught to you, for all the battles you have lost and won.  We need you. 

There won’t be a formal ceremony pinning badges of courage and honor upon your chest.  Your armor, as you full well know, was crafted in the depths of Heaven and is empowered by our great and mighty creator.  When that power is invoked?  Katy-bar the door.  It was crafted to withstand the Gates of Hell, which cannot prevail against it.  So, yeah.  It can’t be penetrated with a simple stick pin.  We are in a spiritual battle daily.  There is a war beyond what we see in our day to day view.  We need to adhere to what Christ commanded us to do. 

So, I hate to break it to you.  If you think you’ve reached some sort of retirement age in God’s Kingdom, you simply must think again.  You are the generation of Generals, trained in the war for hearts and minds across our city, nation, and world.  You ARE crafted, trained, and chosen.  So grab your armor and get in the war.  We weren’t meant to do it without you.


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