Elijah Dahl | Worship & Tech Associate
Matthew 28:19-20 says, “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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
These words from Matthew’s gospel are the ones that are most widely turned to when the Church is referring to missions, particularly global missions. Go could mean traveling all the way to Uganda, it could mean traveling to Hospers, or even across the street to your neighbors. Go is not a passive word but simply means to “move from one place to another; to travel” (thank you, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
In the context of the Great Commission, go means to take steps forward and make disciples, build connections, train and teach, and to walk alongside of another person, leading them towards Christ no matter where you are! This is what we refer to as mentoring; pursuing spiritual friendship with someone while leading them towards a life of Christ. “Go and make disciples” is also a command, and one that I have realized that we, as Christ followers, need to take seriously and engage in on the daily. Here are three questions that I have had to ask myself when thinking about “disciple making” in my own life, as well as a few answers that have helped put me in the right direction:
1) What does it mean to make disciples?
Verse 19 continues and says that we are to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” (vs19). Discipleship has three basic steps and the first one is to lead a person to Christ. This starts with building a relationship with the intent to bring a person to Christ. This is the “baptizing” section of the Great Commission. The second step is to help a person live in such a way that honors God, teaching them to obey the commands that God has given us in the Bible. The final step is to help the person become a disciple maker themselves. Verse 20 says “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Discipleship making should be a process that continues until Christ comes back; it needs to be exponential.
2) How do we do it?
This is the question that has many answers to it, but again I would like to suggest three points that have helped me grow into a disciple maker. Don’t worry about discipling many people at one time. A good first step is to disciple someone you know; spouse, children, athletes, co-worker, teammates, etc… I am reminded that even Jesus had just a few that he discipled over his three years of “official” ministry. The second is to teach the Truth in love. If we are not teaching the Bible for what it is, then we will not be making solid disciples! I realize that not everything a person is going through has an objective answer in the Bible, but it is important to become a good listener, ask good questions, and respond concisely with answers grounded in Truth. The third is to just keep moving forward. Learn from your experiences and try new things. Learn to trust in the Holy Spirit and continue forward. (pursueGod.org)
3) Am I even qualified?
Are you a born-again Christian? Is Jesus your Lord? Do you live in a way that honors God? If yes, then YES, you are qualified. Our lives will never be in that “perfect” spot, which is why there is so much encouragement when Jesus tells his disciples, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If Jesus is your Lord, and you love, honor, and are pursuing a deeper relationship with Him, then you are more than capable of discipling others.
This fall, we have had 12 college students and 12 adults engage in the college ministry mentoring program, and there are about 5-10 more students that I know of who are being mentored outside of this program. I am encouraged that this has been a process that has grown over the last 6 months, but with 150-250 college students attending Trinity on a regular basis, I would love to see the engagement grow and become part of our culture!
Discipleship and mentoring needs to be a large part of our Christian lives. In a way, it should become second nature and really just requires us to take a step forward, going with trust and obedience, making disciples, leading them to Christ, and showing them how to live in a way that honors God.
Who is someone that you can start discipling and mentoring today?
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