“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples were simple, and yet they would change everything. “Go and make disciples”. That’s all He commanded them to do. That was to be all that they did. Their all was to be devoted to making disciples of every nation, baptising them and teaching them to follow in the ways of Jesus. That was to be their central purpose, their modus operandi. And if we claim to be followers of Jesus then that same task has been given to us.
Jesus has commissioned each of us to make disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We have been sent out to magnify the name of Jesus. Everything we do must be about giving glory to God. We are not sent to make a name for ourselves. We are not sent to build our own church. We are not sent to show the world how great we are. We are sent to make disciples.
Often a lot of what we do when we say we are doing things for Jesus can be about ourselves. Building our brand. Sustaining our church programmes. Creating environments and atmospheres where we feel comfortable. Creating places where we can retreat from the realities of the world and enjoy a little holy huddle and some good coffee “for the sake of the kingdom”. But that is not what we have been commissioned for. We have been commissioned to make disciples.
The reason we do what we do must be in order to make disciples. To lift up the name of Jesus and teach others how to follow in His ways. We are not just called to create environments that people can come in on a Sunday and get a bit of a pep talk and enjoy some above average music with nice lights – we are called to make disciples. To help people grow closer to Jesus, and to live out their faith in their daily life. We are called to create disciples who will live it out during the daily grind of work, kids and housework. We are called to create disciples who will be deep rooted and able to survive the storms of life.
Creating disciples takes time. It requires investment of time and energy. It means being prepared to dig deeper in conversation and not just settle for the superficial. It means hanging out with people outside of the Sunday service. It means being prepared to open up your house and invite people in who may still be a bit rough around the edges. It means not hiding away in the comfortable all the time but spending time with those who need to be made into disciples. It means being vulnerable and real with people, not pretending you have it all together but showing them that it is ok to not be perfect yet.
The why of everything we do for God should be about making disciples. Not making a name for ourselves. Not to look good. Not to grow our church. But to make disciples. It may follow that as we make disciples our church will grow, people will be impressed and we will get a reputation as being someone God is working through. But that should never be our motivation. That is not our why. Our reason why we do what we do must always be about fulfilling Jesus’ calling on our life – to make disciples of all nation.