Taken from a post by Lady of the Covenant at Christian Forum:
Although, I agree that evangelism is apart of the great commission, it is not the actual great commission. Jesus said, “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 28:19-20)
I can’t speak for all of the Church, but most of the Church does not do this. To be a disciple means that you are like someone who is an apprentice, learning to do the things that your teacher does. Joshua learned to be a great leader like Moses, so he could take over when Moses was no longer with Israel. Elisha followed closely in the footsteps of Elijah, observing all that he did, so he would know how to do the things that Elijah did when he was no longer with him; and the 12 disciples followed Jesus everywhere He went, learning to do the things he did, and walk in his ways, so they could teach and do the things of Christ when He was no longer with them.
This is what it means to be a Christian; it comes from two Greek words:
- Christ- meaning “anointed one”
- -ianos- a suffix meaning “little”
The first disciples were called “Christians” by the Greeks because they looked like, acted like, and did the things that Christ did after He left. They were being called, “Little Anointed Ones” because people saw no difference in what they were doing, and how they lived, than the things Christ did and how He lived. Not only were they healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and preaching the gospel, but they were as loving and compassionate as Christ was as well, and they taught their disciples to do the same.
In church people are not really doing discipleship. They are evangelized and converted, then sit in a pew, listening to the pastor preach once a week. Most Christians do not read the Bible, or pray, or have any real connection to Jesus if they are not in a church. They recite a sinner’s prayer, and are assured of their salvation, knowing nothing about the gospel, other than what they may occasionally hear preached on Sunday, and that is not discipleship.
We are supposed to walk in the ways of Jesus doing what He did, and teach others to do the same. We are supposed to teach other people to obey everything He commanded us, but we do not. To be a disciple means to be in relationship. Moses and Joshua spent time together, Elijah and Elisha spent time together, and almost everywhere Jesus went, He took Peter, James, and John with Him. He was close to all His disciples, and spent time with them individually or in small groups, teaching them; so we should know that this is our pattern for how to make disciples as Jesus instructed.
Even the commission of the 72 disciples shows us that one-on-one discipleship/evangelism is preferred. Jesus sent two disciples to each house to preach the gospel to whoever would accept them, and He told them to stay the night at the house they went to rather than going from house-to-house:
“And remain in the same house
, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.
So this is my proposal to the Body of Christ, that we not only evangelize, but make disciples, and discipleship continues long after someone has accepted Christ. It is about teaching people to obey the commandments of Christ(not just the commandments to love God and our neighbor, even though that is the meaning of the Law), and that means that we need to learn the commandments and do them ourselves:
Here is a list of the New Testament Commandments
What are your thoughts and suggestions? How can we go about making disciples, rather than just adding numbers to the church?
I personally think we should be in fellowship. That every member of the church should be in groups of 3, holding accountable the people who are in their group. Not only that, but making sure they are talking and spending time together outside of church, getting to know each other, and making sure that they are all edifying the body with their gifts. I would also think it’s a good idea to do placement tests(Myers Briggs personality test, 5 love languages test, and spiritual gifts test) to see where everyone should end up. I also think that church should be more communal, and an everyday thing, rather than just Sunday (and maybe Wednesday). Preaching can still be on Sunday, and Bible Study/Prayer Meeting on Wednesday, but the rest of the week should be focused on community, discipleship, and outreach(witnessing, feeding the poor, healing the sick, casting out demons, etc.).