17 Going, then, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19
Disciple – So, we clarified a few things. First, evangelism happens. It is the by-product of walking the life with God, of “going” down the road. Secondly, Jesus calls us to disciple others, not recruit them. There is a big difference between pushing information into someone’s hand or head and living life together in holy community. Now let’s pay attention to one other important part of this “great” commission. No one can disciple the masses! Discipleship requires personal life involvement. It is a one-on-one long encounter. I can deliver loads of information to thousands in just a few minutes, but discipleship takes time and a lot of life together. Jesus did not call us to spread the good news in the most efficient way possible. He called us to enter into the lives of others with the deliberate intention of demonstrating the will of the Father. Not once, but continuously . . . and not anonymously. Can you imagine how ridiculous it is to think of choosing an apprentice anonymously? I can’t be an apprentice unless I know the one I am copying. You can’t be a disciple-maker unless you choose someone to follow you.
Did you get that? Jesus chose twelve. They did not volunteer or vie for the positions or stand in line or send in resumes. Jesus picked them for His own reasons. In fact, the New Testament doesn’t tell us why He picked them. It only tells us that the Father was instrumental in drawing each one to Jesus. The teacher picks the learner because it is not about passing tests and memorizing facts. It is about living as one.
What this implies is that real evangelism is never anonymous. I can’t disciple someone that I don’t know. I must confidently travel my pathway with God, allowing Him to bring into my life those whom I might choose. Then, with prayerful consideration, I invite some to join forces with me. I commit my ways to them. I embrace them in a day-to-day experience that takes us to the cutting edge of God’s kingdom. And away we go, following the same road together until the Lord brings us to a parting fork. Evangelism is not efficient, but it is incredibly effective. It doesn’t happen quickly, but it lasts. It might start with a sense of deep conviction and repentance, but it will not proceed without copying life transformation.
Contemporary Christianity has been trying to sell the gospel for more than a century. We have packaged it so that we can deliver the goods in three points and twenty minutes. We have condensed it to the minimally necessary truths required to communicate information about Jesus. But we don’t disciple anymore. We’re too busy with our own lives to even think about day-to-day meshing with someone else’s life. It’s just easier to invite a friend to watch a man in a suit parade across the stage. Don’t you think Jesus will ask you whom you chose as an apprentice when you stand before Him? Then what will you say?
Topical Index: Evangelism