Workplace Discipleship: The Command
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen. Mat 28:18-20 NKJV
For the past several years, the Lord has been teaching me much about discipleship in my place of employment and He continues to teach me every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to share these lessons with people who are passionate about discipleship and to hear of your experiences around these same topics. With this audience, I would guess much of what I share may be something you have already heard or done. However, there may be those who have not yet heard this message of how to apply the "Great Commission" to the workplace and how to engage in this ministry within their place of employment and so I am praying the Lord will use this blog to encourage you to make disciples in your workplace.
When considering the Great Commission, all of us would eventually end up in Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus' final command to them was to "Go and make disciples…" but for some reason this portion of scripture has been used to apply mostly to "foreign missions" which leaves 98% of us who are not missionaries or in "full-time" Christian vocation either focused on discipleship within our churches or totally disregarding the command altogether. For the longest time, this is what I thought as well. As a child, I dreamed about being a missionary, but as I prepared for college I had the sense that God said "no", (how I got to that decision is a long story that I don't want to get into right now) so I thought I would do everything I could possibly do to support missions: give, pray, write, encourage. They were my heroes. You could say that I had a heart for missions and missionaries.
I had this pattern in my life for quite some time until one day I started to really study what these verses were saying and how they applied to me and it totally changed my perspective on the Great Commission. I won't provide the "book" version of what the Lord showed me, but will just share several key points in my study.
- The Great Commission is a command that applies to me. There are several verbs in this passage that are pretty direct. Being from NJ originally, I appreciate a very direct communication style, which these verses provide. "Go", "make disciples", baptize, teach. This is not something that missionaries and pastors are responsible to do; it is something we are all commanded to do.
- "Go" - I used to think this meant you had to leave your home and go to a foreign land because that is how it was always used, however, when you look at the Greek word, it actually speaks about "as you go on your journey" or AS you are going you are to make disciples. This was the big ah-ha moment for me. All of a sudden the command to make disciples applied to me, even though I wasn't a missionary. Not only that, but it applied to wherever I was…when I was a stay-at-home mom, that's where the application was; when I went into the workplace, the command to make disciples followed me there. Wherever we go, wherever we are, we are to make disciples. Wow!!!
- "Make disciples" - what does that mean exactly? What is a disciple? I looked it up…a disciple is one that accepts (adheres to) and helps to spread the teachings/doctrines of another. This phrase then was not one activity (i.e. preaching); it was a process or a series of activities. First, in order to be a disciple, you have to accept the doctrines of another, which means, you have to BE a believer of the gospel. Secondly, in order to be a disciple you have to "spread" the gospel, which means, evangelism or "WINning" souls. Lastly, in order to be a disciple, you have to teach; that means "MAKE" them understand the doctrines/teachings of Christ (one of them being baptism).
That process of discipleship: Be One, Win One, Make One has become my motto and what drives me every day. In the next series entries, I am going to share what these activities really mean and how they can be applied to the workplace.