Making More Disciples
The Acts 2 community was living out a divine commission given by Jesus to his first disciples.
'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.'
As followers of Jesus today, we share that commission. But how do we do it? You will find ideas in the following material to help you think about and practise this habit. As you prepare to explore and adventure with making more disciples, here are two thoughts to reflect upon.
The first comes from Roger Walton in his book, Disciples Together (SCM Press, 2014). He concludes that for the Christian disciple, worship, mission (which includes both serving and making more disciples) and intentional community (or koinonia – fellowship) are the three primary formative energies. As you journey with Holy Habits, you may find it useful to notice how each of these helps to make new disciples and deepen the discipleship of those already following Jesus.
The second thought comes from many biblical commentators, who note that the kind of Christian community Luke presents in Acts 2 is in itself highly conducive to making more disciples. As David Watson puts it, ‘it is not surprising with such a community of disciples bound together in love that God added to their number, day by day those who were being saved’ (Discipleship, Hodder & Stoughton, 1981, p. 37).
Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples’ to the first disciples, but the command is for us too. It’s not our job to bring people to faith, but we are called to share our faith at school, in our places of work and leisure, and in the communities in which we live.
The word ‘disciple’ means ‘one who learns as they follow’. The first disciples learned to be disciples by living alongside Jesus and watching what he did and listening to what he said. They learned by his preaching and ‘doing’, but most of all they learned by his ‘being’.
We’re all called to make more disciples, and we can do that by being disciples, by trying to be more like Jesus, and by living and breathing our faith. We may not all be great preachers, but we don’t have to be. People will know when we’re speaking with honesty and integrity about our faith. We just need to have the courage to try and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Any event or activity run by the church has the potential to be evangelistic or missional (as does every encounter and every moment of our individual lives) as we share our faith in words or actions, allowing the Holy Spirit to be our helper and our guide.
As you explore this and all the Holy Habits, our prayer is that ‘day by day the Lord [will] add to [your] number those who are being saved’.