From the Foundation Up

Posted on January 15, 2013

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GoAndMakeDisciples2Author: Lonnie Wibberding

It is of interest that Jesus doesn’t give more instruction for how His church should be organized. There is some instruction in the letters of Paul, which are guided by the Holy Spirit (and we will look at them in time). But in the Gospels themselves, we get little direction on how to make a church.

As we follow the narrative, it seems Jesus will end His ministry without giving definite instruction. Then, just at the end, while the Eleven meet with Him on the mountain, it happens.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus claims supreme authority in the universe, and because He has the authority, He commands the Eleven to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Notice this is the command. It’s not to baptize, although that’s part of making a disciple. It’s also not to teach, although that too is part of making a disciple. The supreme command from the Creator and Commander of the universe is simply, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

At first glance it may seem this doesn’t add a lot to how a church should be organized. However, on closer inspection it helps us much. It becomes the litmus test, or filter by which we have to judge everything we do in a church. Each time we think about church, we can ask, “Is this the best way to make disciples?” If we only ask “Is this about making disciples?” without thinking about the “best way”, we will find ourselves excusing a lot of church activity we like as disciple making. Church can become more about us, than about the future disciples, unless we keep asking, “Is this the best way to make disciples?”

In preparation for next week, let’s forget church as we know it. Imagine there is no church. You and I are among the disciples gathered with Jesus and hear this command. What do we do? Where do we start? What is the best way to make a disciple?  [Source]