authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything
I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).
disciples is the heart of the sacred mission which Jesus
entrusted to the Church. Christ commands us to "make
disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19a). The
Apostle Paul elaborates on what it means to make disciples:
And the things you have heard
me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to
faithful men who will also be qualified to teach others
(2 Timothy 2:2).
A number of things are clear from
these passages. First, followers of Christ must multiply
themselves not only by preaching the gospel and winning
converts. Converts must be baptized into the covenant
community and instructed in obedience. Notice also we
must go and reach all nations. The Greek word is ethnos,
and the term refers to ethnic groups, not just political
entities. Are we obeying Christ's mandate to reach all
nations, or are we satisfied with just trying to reach
our own small circle or subculture? Given, for example,
there is only about one worker per 150,000 Middle Easterners,
much more remains to be done in many parts of the world.
Even if God doesn't call us to go, we can do much through
prayer, giving, sending, short-term missions, reaching
internationals and "tentmaking." A tentmaker
is a witness for Jesus Christ who supports himself just
as the Apostle Paul supported himself through making
tents. For information on tentmaking, see the U.S. Association
of Tentmakers site at Intent.
Second, we are to baptize those whom
we disciple. This not only means new believers are initiated
into covenant relationship with the Lord, but also that
they are incorporated into the Body of Christ through
membership in a local church. It follows that church
planting is necessary when bringing the gospel to a
an unreached people.
Third, we are to teach obedience to
the commands of Christ. We must impart devotion to Christ,
and cultivate faithfulness in the disciple, not merely
knowledge of the Bible and doctrine. "On the job
training" and correction by telling the truth in
love have a place here as well as mere instruction.
The goal is godly character, not mere Bible knowledge.
Finally, we are to disciple qualified candidates. Faithfulness
is the qualification for disciples.
Resources for Discipleship
of resources are helpful for discipleship. First, the
Ten Steps of Faith and Obedience
are designed for both discipleship and counseling. They
can be used one-on-one or with a small group.
of the Bible is a very useful resource. Dr. Richard
C. Halverson, the late Chaplain of the U.S. Senate used
this as his main teaching tools as he discipled men.
memorize the broad outline, and it will help you to
understand not only the great plan of the Bible, but
also God's master plant for the redemption of man in
Third, the Navigators
is a Christian organization devoted to helping Christians
to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Finallly, John Broger's Self-Confrontation:
A Manual for In-Depth Discipleship is a wonderful
printed resource for applying the Bible both in discipleship
and biblical counseling. It is available from AlphaOmegaBooks,
or directly from:
42-600 Cook Street, Suite 100
Palm Desert, CA 92211-5143
Orders only: 1.877.933.9333