We probably all know the famous verses that have become known as “The Great Commission”,
“I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising 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. And be sure sure of this: I am with you already, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
If we call ourselves followers of Jesus then let’s consider what Jesus did and how he made disciples.
When we started the work of Mission Somerset years ago we came to the realization that we were not making any disciples. We were doing lots of “christian things” and “church activities” but we were barely being disciples of Jesus ourselves let alone helping anyone else to be a disciple! But these are basics according to Jesus!
We asked God to shift our thinking and practice so we could be faithful to His command to be and make disciples. I don’t think we appreciated how much God would have to shake us up in order to do this!
Take a look through the Gospels at how Jesus lived, how he invited others into His way of life and how he empowered these people to continue the work in His absence – and then you will begin to understand what it means to make disciples.
I hear lots of talk about church, evangelism, mission, outreach and follow up. But don’t see much disciple making as Jesus modelled and taught.
Through our work we don’t “do evangelism” or “outreach”. We search for people who want to know more about Jesus and then gather with them and their friends and families in homes, cafe’s or pubs. We plant the seed of the Gospel into households and networks of people and work with Jesus to grow His church right there amongst them. This is what Jesus sent out his disciples to do in Matthew 10 and Luke 10:1-25 and we see this pattern throughout the gospels and the New Testament.
We also don’t do “follow up” – the people we meet become our partners in the Gospel from the first day they hear it! We start discipling someone the first time we meet them – not somewhere down the line when their religious head knowledge has grown! We teach obedience to the gospel from day one,
“Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now” (Philippians 1:4-6)
Being a disciple of Jesus is quite unlike anything we know. It’s going to take more than a few ecclesiastical tweaks if we are to see the nations discipled (Click here to read more about this)
To read more about how we are multiplying disciples, churches and leaders check out our book “Accidental Apostle”