“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 all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19–20
Jesus’ command often falls on deaf ears. Even in evangelical churches, the command to make disciples can sometimes become second rate to curriculum and ministry programs, which means churches are bringing in new people, but failing to make disciples. This can also negatively affect the congregation, because the congregates lose personal responsibility to spread the gospel, and once personal responsibility is lost, the church can become sick or stagnant. The body of Christ becomes weak and insists that the paid staff (pastors, teachers, preachers, and elders) do the grunt work of making disciples, while the majority of the church sits idling by.
“Jesus gave his followers a command: ‘Follow Me.’ And a promise: ‘I will equip you to find others to follow me.’” —Francis Chan
It’s time to make a change and start living out real discipleship. Here are three ways to be a better disciple of Christ:
1. Stop just believing—begin following
Francis Chan’s book, Multiply, is designed to eliminate a fruitless ministry by replacing it with a ministry focused on true discipleship. But what is a real disciple? The majority of the church believes the word means to follow Christ, as if it’s simply believing he lived, died, and rose from the dead. This is true, but it also excludes the most important concept of being a disciple: disciples are students of God. Chan pushes disciples to imitate Christ, carry on his ministry, and become more like him in the process. The results of becoming a disciple of Christ—in taking on the full meaning of the word—change the way you think, the way you live, and how you love.
2. Build stronger relationships
If being a disciple means we imitate Christ, it means we must be intensely relational—just like Jesus. Building relationships is actually one of the subjects Jesus talked about most often. Specifically, he spoke about two relationships: one is found in the greatest commandment between us and God, and the second is found between us and our neighbors. So instead of skipping your small group or ignoring your daily devotions, you need to build a real relationship with Christ, and grow closer to the friends, family, and strangers around you.
3. Make more disciples
Chan puts it brilliantly, “Making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker.” This is the most difficult part for me. I can believe in Christ and all that he was, is, and will be. I can study the Bible, love others, and love God, but ask me to lead others to Christ and it’s like pulling teeth. If you’re like me and the majority of Christians, you’ll understand when I say it’s uncomfortable (to say the least). Nevertheless, Jesus commands that we make more disciples and spread the gospel. This is your calling, and this is why you were made—to become a disciple who makes disciples.
Want to learn more about following Jesus’ command in your life? I highly recommend Francis Chan’s Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples. And I’m not the only one—this book was one of Vyrso’s best-selling books of 2013. Download it today!