Are we distracted from God because we are making disciples?

The mission statement of the UMC is to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." This is the standard by which we measure all our local churches and ministries and leaders and clergy. If these things produce disciples then it is valued. There is a lot of discussion about how to define what a disciple looks like. But the overarching (and often unspoken) definition is that to make disciples means, at the very least, to make more disciples. The emphasis is really place on the quantity and not so much the quality of the disciple. 

This is not only a theological conviction but, like most theology, there are real world forces that influence our theology. And the real world force influencing this theological stance may be rooted not only in imperialism but in the face that we are a dwindling Church. We fear losing what we have, we know the Baby Boomers are beginning to die and Gen X is not large enough to replenish the numbers. We also are told that the generation that is large enough to bolster the ranks is assumed to not be interested in Church. So, the push to "make (more) disciples" is a logical position for an organization to take. 

However, the concern might be that when we are focused on making others into disciples we neglect our own discipleship. I see this a lot when there is a death in a family. Everyone is so focused on the health and wellbeing of the other family members that self-care takes a back seat if ever take up at all. Or even when there is a party, like a wedding, and the bride and groom can be so focused on making sure everyone else is taken care of that they forget to eat and enjoy their wedding day.

The point being that when we define making disciples as making others into disciples of Christ we relegate our own discipleship to the back seat. God is working in your life and desires for you to die to self and live into your true self and embrace the shadows as well as the light, but it is tricky to find time to sit in silence when you are always teaching others in Bible study. It is hard to practice Sabbath when you are always leading the worship. It is impossible to go on a pilgrimage if you are the leader.

For all the good that comes with making new disciples it can come at the cost of being distracted from what God may desire to do in our very own hearts.