In the Great Commission, Jesus tells us to go and make disciples. Do you really need to go somewhere to make disciples? Is it even possible to live out the Great Commission in the digital world?
The Great Commission: Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Go and Make Disciples
Verse 19, starts with “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
I’ve heard people reference this Scripture, urging themselves into overseas missions. We do need people to go to other places and bring the gospel with them. Not everyone is destined for the mission field in that sense. Sadly, sometimes people think that if they don’t go somewhere else, they are disobeying God. So, let’s look at this more closely.
In the phrase “go and make disciples,” the word “Go” is not the imperative. It’s not “GO!” It’s a participle, meaning more along the lines of “as you go,” or “when you go.” However, “make disciples” is in the imperative form. So it’s “MAKE!” disciples. So, one might translate the great commission something more like, “As you go and do whatever it is you do in your everyday walking and talking and breathing, make disciples!”
Ok, so there’s more emphasis on the “make” instead of on the “go” in there. So what? Well, first of all, the command to make disciples, of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them, is pretty emphatic. That didn’t change the meaning of the Scripture for me when I learned this. What was new for me was the “as you go” part. It meant that making disciples was possible for anyone, anywhere.
I’ve spent the majority of my career in digital ministry… and voice overs… and consulting… and speaking… (but I digress). I’ve tried to convince people that it was legitimate ministry. People who are accustomed to building relationships face to face as the only way to do evangelism and discipleship, sometimes struggle with the possibility of developing genuine friendships online. The funny thing is, people are often much less guarded online than they are in person. Sometimes they are dishonest, but when you’re talking about Jesus, those people self-deselect pretty quickly. When people aren’t so worried about keeping up appearances, they can let down their guard, and can be more open.
Making disciples in the digital realm, or in person, doesn’t happen when you’re trying. It happens in the little ways. It happens when you’re living life, and talking with your friends. It happens as you do whatever it is you do. It happens in your everyday walking, and talking, and breathing. It happens as you go.