Jesus commands us to “Go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19-20). According to the Barna group, many people in the U.S. Church today don’t know what the Great Commission is. Though the term itself isn’t found in the Bible, we need to ask if people know the words themselves and their significance for us as believers. Even more important, are we fulfilling this mission? Perhaps it’s time to revisit God’s Mission for the Church.
A Look at Jesus’ Command in Matthew 28:19-20
Often we think of the Great Commission as the outreach arm of the Church. A careful look at Matthew 28:19-20, however, lets us know that it’s much more encompassing. We are to …
“go and make disciples of all nations” — That’s the outreach part. We take the Good News of Jesus to the world around us and beyond (Acts 1:8).
“baptizing … and teaching them to obey …” — That’s helping people who have put their trust in Jesus to become more fully devoted followers (disciples) of Jesus.
Let’s Not Limit the Great Commission to Outreach Efforts
Matthew 28:19-20 commissions us to not only lead people to the Lord but also to shepherd them in the ways of the Lord. This is the mission of the Church. It isn’t merely about how many new converts we make. It’s also about how many of those people are going on to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind, so that His love spills over into loving others as themselves (Matt. 22:36-40). And, it’s about how many of those people are doing their part in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16).
Need Help Revisiting God’s Mission of Discipleship?
The TrainChurchLeaders.com site has a section devoted to this encompassing view of the Great Commission. The MinTools.com site divides it into two sections, one on Outreach Ministry and another on Shepherding Ministry. You’ll find much written on these sites but even more help if you order the Discipleship Bundle. In that resource you’ll get the Steering the Church Toward Discipleship Leadership Guide, Outreach Ministry Manual, and Shepherding Manual. These resources will help you gain a more comprehensive view on our mission to go and make disciples. (Each of those resources can also be ordered separately.)