Jesus’s great commission calls all Christians to go into all the world and preach the gospel, baptize, and make disciples. Over the centuries, the christian church has carried the message to new worlds and continued the great commission by preaching the gospel and baptizing believers into the church. In our modern day America, the Church has done a good job preaching and baptizing. We have filled our buildings with members and celebrate the number of baptisms. This is good, but I would contend that the difficult work, the work that needs attention, and the work that is required to continue the great commission is the latter part of our command to make disciples or make Jesus followers. Training disciples is not a graduate level course that you can send recent converts to become a disciple. It is in the practice of following Jesus, studying His Word, and applying it in our daily lives that we incorporate the great commission in our daily thoughts and lives. It is in becoming a disciple that we testify to the truth that we have come to know and has saved us. It is in becoming a disciple that we are seen as different from the world and share a genuine conversion resulting from saving grace. Training disciples is tough work that requires self discipline and focused commitment of time and relational energy devoted to an individual life.
As a Christian I am challenged to go into the world and preach the gospel, baptize and make disciples. As a father of three I am also challenged to preach the gospel, baptize and make disciples of my kids. I have experienced the privilege of seeing each of my children come to know the grace and love of Jesus and trust their lives to Him. I have also had the privilege of personally baptizing each of my children. I am now instructed to make disciples. So how do we make disciples of our kids? How do we inspire and train our children to know Jesus so that they experience truth and are deeply transformed into a new creation? How do we develop children that desire to carry on the great commission to go, preach, baptize and make disciples of others? In this blog I cannot expect to do much more than scratch the surface and begin to stimulate thought that will inspire and encourage you to contemplate this great responsibility, command, and spiritual calling as parents. To develop disciples we must look to Jesus as our example. First, He chose 12 men and committed to invest in their lives. He lived with them. He modeled a life that was so attractive that they left their careers, town, home, and families to be with Him. Although he did attract crowds, most of His work was invested in the lives of individuals. As parents looking for instruction how to make disciples I need look no farther than how Jesus taught his disciples. The following are but a sampling of the witness Jesus has given us in the New Testament that we can model and share with our children as we live life together.
Jesus instructed his disciples on many truths of life through parables. We also can teach these truths to our children through the life experiences we share. Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples through the fulfillment of prophesy and the celebration of the Jewish feasts that we can also practice with our children and point to as fulfillment of God’s plan and evidence of God’s providence. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray and has given us the Lord’s prayer to model to our children. Jesus associated with all levels of society as we also should train our children to be comfortable in associating with the old, young, handicapped, wealthy, poor, sick, and sinners. Through observing the poor widow, Jesus taught His disciples how to give. Jesus taught His disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross to follow Him as we can teach our children to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. Jesus taught His disciples that the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few as we can challenge our children to pursue the great commission. So as you consider how you accomplish the great commission in your family, look no further than following the example that Christ provided for us. You have a brief time to love, live with, eat with, work with, travel with, pray with, sacrifice with, share life’s truths with, and practice preaching, celebrating baptism, and making disciples of others. There is no greater discipleship training ground than living under a parent that lives a life fully committed to Jesus, actively models good choices, and incorporates the daily circumstance of life around us in teaching God’s truth.
Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you, always, even to the end of the age.”