Why Do We Make Disciples?

We make disciples for three reasons:

  • Because Jesus commanded us to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Because we will reproduce what we are (Genesis 1:11, 20-25, 28).
  • Because it is the only way we can win our generation to Christ (Matthew 24:14).

Four Things Jesus Did
Jesus made disciples by doing four simple things (see Matthew 10). While He continued to preach to the multitudes, He gave more and more time to these four things and increasingly moved from a public speaking ministry to the multitudes to a coaching and training ministry which focused on the spiritual growth and preparation of His disciples.

Jesus called His disciples (Matthew 10:1).
There is a major difference between “calling” a disciple and “attracting” new people. When I attract someone I have to appeal to what they want instead of calling them to what God wants for them. You do not attract disciples, you call them. This calling involves a personal and individual selection as opposed to a universal appeal made to many people. Jesus did not call everyone to be His disciple and even turned some away (Matthew 13:10-17; 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27; Luke 10:25-30; 18:18-27). It is good to desire that all should be saved (2 Peter 3:9); but the sad reality is that most will not be (Matthew 7:13-14). Here at CTHIM church we want to invest more time into making disciples than into appealing to crowds. As we have seen, the multiplication of disciples will produce a greater number of people preaching and hearing the gospel. Jesus carefully selected His disciples and invested most of His time in them.

Jesus empowered His disciples (Matthew 10:1).
Whom God calls, He enables. Jesus did not call His disciples to “follow Him” and then leave them powerless to do it. Too many of the people in our churches lack the power they need to live a transformed life because they have never been properly discipled. What was this power Jesus gave His disciples? This power was authority. The power of the church to complete the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is in the authority Jesus gave us to complete it. In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” In Matthew 10:1 Jesus gave His disciples authority over every sickness and over demons. We are not stronger than demons; we have authority over them. The people in our churches must know how to use the authority Jesus has given to them. They can only learn this as they are discipled and trained.

Jesus instructed His disciples (Matthew 10:5).
Jesus personally trained or instructed His disciples. Instruction differs from general teaching in that it requires two things: (1) the impartation (or giving) of knowledge and specific commands through teaching (Matthew 10:5-15), and (2) the development of skills and behavior through mentoring (Luke 9:10). This is what discipleship is: teaching and mentoring, learning and doing, commanding and obeying with accountability. 

Jesus sent His disciples (Matthew 10:5)  
After calling, empowering, and instructing them, Jesus sent His disciples out to do ministry. He released them to do what He was doing. Traditional church structures encourage pastors to focus on collecting more and more people. The larger the collection the more successful the pastor is considered to be. Jesus did not collect people. He called and sent them. The true success of our ministry is not how many people attend church services but how many people we equip and send out into ministry! Sending doesn’t mean they cannot attend your services. It means you have given them specific things to do to extend the kingdom of God.