Mission Impossible

discipleship steve norris Jun 13, 2022
Mission Impossible | Dr. Steve Norris

I am a big fan of the Mission Impossible movies starring Tom Cruise. It’s a team of uniquely gifted and flawed people called together to accomplish one thing—The Mission Impossible. But with this team, it is possible. In each movie, the mission is clear. The team has a plan, though it never goes according to plan. And the members give everything to accomplish the task. 

The approach seems so simple and applicable in a variety of settings. You focus on one goal. All your resources are diverted to get it done. The team gets it done. Game over. Time to celebrate! 

Then we walk into the church. Watch for a few minutes, and conclude the church isn’t getting it done. We love to complicate what should be straightforward—the mission of the church. 

Learning from Ethan Hunt

In Mission Impossible, Ethan Hunt receives a voice-recorded impossible mission challenge. The adventure officially begins when Ethan accepts the mission. The film would have been much shorter if he didn't take the task. Two hours later, Ethan and his team have saved the world from terrorists.

Before Jesus ascended, He gave the Mission Impossible challenge to the disciples—save the world from sin. It was hard to say No to the resurrected Lord. But today, we do. We can learn something from Mission Impossible. 

Mission Impossible Step #1: Know Your Mission


Jesus said to make disciples (Matthew 28:18–20). That’s pretty clear. There are a lot of good things a church can do. The problem is that when you focus on the good things over the most important thing, the mission stays impossible—making disciples is lost amid the busyness or the immediate. 

Let’s have a raising of hands. How many have been tasked with the job to come up with a mission statement at church? I see that hand and another, and at times, it takes months to get the wording right for all those word-smithing people. It’s not that complicated. 

In Romans 1:16–17, Paul clarifies by stating, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” WOW! Now that’s powerful and clear. 

Jesus understood it takes time to move disciples from causal observers to fully committed to the mission. He cast vision to the uncommitted potential disciples. (John 4:34-36)

After time with Him, He called them to rearrange their lives to follow Him. (Mark 1:16-17)

Later, He called out many of His disciples, The Twelve, to not just rearrange their lives, but now this was their life. (Mark 3:13-19)

He never quit until they were fully committed to the mission. Before He left, He reminded them not to lose sight of the mission. 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Christ didn’t say just be a disciple. He said, Make disciples. At times churches communicate that following Christ is about them. But He redeems us to give our lives for others. 

Mission Impossible Step #2: Equip a Gifted and Passionate Team


The church, the Spirit, and the Gospel are the trinity of resources to accomplish the mission. The Spirit has gifted Christ-followers, empowered them, and armed them with the most powerful weapon -- the Gospel to reach the world. What more do we need? 

Mission Impossible Step #3: Commit Everything Until Completion


Christ-followers are willing to lay down their lives to advance the Gospel. In addition to their already demanding lifestyle, they choose to include the purpose of making disciples, and they adjust their life to complete the objective. They relinquished good things to accept greater things to advance Christ's kingdom.

You may want to consider putting a challenge out to your disciples to set aside beautiful things to focus on the priority of spreading the Gospel and building Christ's kingdom. 

Paul writes, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15)

God’s method to get the Gospel out is people—you and me. There is no Plan B. 

Embracing Gospel Priorities

Churchgoers can go all their lives and not be a part of disciple-making. If we do not embrace our Gospel priorities and mission, we rob them of an incredible calling, fulfillment in life, and investment in eternity. 

The art of disciple-making is modeling and equipping your disciples to be a part of the making of disciples. Like Jesus, they never let up until they are pouring their lives into the lives of others. 


  1. From the beginning: The final test in disciple-making is reproduction. 
  2. Be intentional: Everything you do is to accomplish the mission. 
  3. A new approach: Following Christ is about living for others. 

We need to stay on mission. It is possible!

His command is to go and make disciples of all nations. And your mission as a disciple-maker is to make a difference in the world through making disciples. You can use our free study guide to delve deeper into God's Word and see your life accomplish the mission. Enroll in our Discipleship Certificate Course at Grace On Demand and learn to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the greatest disciple-maker. 

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