In every generation, some churches lose focus and drift from their primary mission. So, it’s wise for us to be regularly reminded of what our God-given mission really is.
The mission is stated clearly by our Lord in Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus says to his followers:
19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (ESV, emphasis added)
So, what is the mission? It is to “make disciples” of Jesus Christ. And what is a disciple? A disciple is one who is under the tutelage of Jesus, one who learns from Jesus, one who becomes a fully-devoted follower of Jesus.
And how are disciples made? The passage above identifies three big steps. The first is to “go.” The Lord intends for us to go with the gospel to “all nations.” That means we are to live with a sense of being “sent” to share the good news of what God has done in Christ to save us. We are to tell the story of Jesus’ death on the cross for sinners and offer God’s salvation to all who would repent and believe. A disciple-making church will go with the gospel!
The second step is “baptizing them.” When a person repents, believes, and confesses Jesus as Lord they should be baptized. To be baptized means to be immersed as a believer in water as a way of identifying with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. So, it pleases the Lord when we share the gospel and baptize those who believe. A disciple-making church will be a baptizing church!
The third step in making disciples is “teaching them to observe” all of Jesus’ commands. As we teach the Bible to those who have repented, believed, and been baptized, the goal is not merely increased information or understanding. The goal is a life transformed and defined by obedience to Jesus’ teaching. Such a life, Jesus says, is the “abundant life” (John 10:10). A disciple-making church will be a church that teaches for life change!
It’s also instructive to note those to whom Jesus’ gave the command to “make disciples.” A careful look shows that he was speaking to those who were already his disciples. As one writer put it, we are not meant to be merely spiritual “travel agents,” we are to be “tour guides.” We don’t merely point the way, we make the journey ourselves. In a disciple-making church, God uses disciples to make disciples!
In a day when some churches are drifting with the currents of the age, I am grateful that our church remains focused and committed to being a disciple-making church!