Jesus stood on the mountain, ready to ascend into heaven, and gave His marching orders to the disciples: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).
Jesus never intended to limit this invitation to the most effective communicators, the most brilliant organizers, or the most talented leaders and artists—all of the allegedly right people whom you and I are prone to exalt in the church. Rather, this statement is meant for everyone. We are all called to make disciples.
If the 11 disciples standing there were to teach all nations to observe everything Jesus had commanded them, then that had to include what Jesus was commanding them that day. Part of making disciples for that initial group was to tell others to make disciples. Then those disciples were to tell new disciples to make disciples, and on and on.
Unfortunately, you can look around Christianity today and find a definite divide between lay people and professional Christians. Where did we get the idea that some people are specifically charged with the disciple-making task while others are not? Certainly not from Jesus.
It’s surprising when you think about the people to whom Jesus entrusted this mission. Fishers? Reformed tax collectors? A prostitute? It’s hardly the core group most church planters dream of today. Jesus didn’t seem too worried, though. Perhaps that’s because these “wrong” people were more ready for the mission than they realized.
During His ministry on earth, Jesus spent more time with 12 men than with everyone else put together. In John 17, when Jesus recounted His ministry before going to the cross, He didn’t mention the multitudes He’d preached to or the miracles He’d performed. As spectacular as those events were, they weren’t His primary focus. Instead, 40 times Jesus spoke to and about the men in whom He’d invested His life. They were His focus.
Jesus commanded His followers to do with others what He had done with them. Jesus didn’t sit in a classroom; He shared His life. He walked and talked and ate with them, and at every turn He taught them about the kingdom of God. You can do the same.
Instead of seeing your ordinary activities as simply things to be done, follow Jesus’ example and start seeing them as opportunities to make disciples. Like you, I’m constantly beset by the busyness of life. If I’m not careful, disciple making fades into the background. Intentionality is vital to a radical disciple-making strategy.