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Foundations of missions: Disciple Making

Continued from: Foundations of missions: Our Calling (part 5)…Go and make disciples… (Matthew 28:19) We are commanded to make disciples. But we know disciple-making takes time. After a week’s digression on the subject of receiving a specific call from the Lord, we …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Continued from: Foundations of missions: Our Calling (part 5)

…Go and make disciples…
(Matthew 28:19)

We are commanded to make disciples. But we know disciple-making takes time.

After a week’s digression on the subject of receiving a
specific call from the Lord, we return to the subject of the biblical
foundations for missions. Today we look
at the verse that is referred to as the “Great Commission.” And specifically, the part that says, “make

Somehow, many Americans, particularly some Southern Baptists,
have interpreted this verse to mean “make converts.” Jesus didn’t charge his disciples with the
job of getting people to say the “sinners’ prayer” or to pass out tracts or to
transfer their letter of membership.

His disciples understood that they were to do the same thing
for others that Jesus had done with them.
That is, invest something on the order of 15,000 hours waking up people
from life in the kingdom of darkness to life in the kingdom of light. It’s a huge investment. It takes patience. It takes vulnerability. It takes a laying down of rights.

I’ve written a lot on disciple making elsewhere in this
blog. I define it as “waking up people
to their identity and role in the kingdom
of God.” It’s a paradigm shift. People wake up slowly. They have to change mindsets and change

You can’t follow a call to missions until you’ve learned to be
a disciple maker. Many people feel
called to the romantic, adventurous aspects of missions; but at the end of the
day, if you don’t have the patience to make disciples, you’re better off
staying home and practicing on those whose language and culture you
understand. If you’re successful there,
then perhaps you’re a candidate to go overseas.

Continued in: Foundations of missions: Power Evangelism

Comments (6)

  • Making disciples should really be at the threshold of missions. However, missionaries should really be ready to share their lives that has been transformed to a Christ like image. Discipleship is not just teaching all the things Jesus taught with our lips but most importantly teaching His words with our lives, i.e. with our thoughts, words and deeds. Missionaries must be living proof of God’s holy words through their attitudes, character and way of life. Indeed, we need to start discipleship in our lives by checking how we talk and how we walk. Are they congruent with the biblical teachings? Spending time by praying for our own transformation is a sign that we are really serious in doing God’s business in our lives. Our lives is the measure of how much of Jesus we can give to others. We can only teach and give to others what is already true in our lives.

  • Love that last paragraph. Really makes one stop and think and evaluate. Have I been doing this here at home? Hmmm, yes. Could I do a better job, invest more, learn how to be a better disicpler…yes. Yet even another question: do I enjoy it, do I have a passion to continue discipling, seeing lives changed…yes!

    I’ll be thinking on this alot this week. Can’t wait to read your next one….

  • thanks, Christine.

    Tony – I’ll ponder your suggestion and write about it in the future. your suggestions are always excellent.

  • Good article, Seth! Would you be willing to review my recent book on making disciples (Organic Disciplemaking) if I sent you a copy? Let me know.

  • stumbled upon this entry through a google search, and i must say, this is the first blog that i can say i want to read through and apply to the end.

    God bless you and your ministry even more.

  • Seth,
    I love that last paragraph. It resonates with one of our goals for our students – getting them some training in sharing and understanding their own culture before they go anywhere else.
    Would love to hear more of your thoughts about that subject – how do we train students before they go overseas, etc.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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