Spectator or Follower?
Understanding the parts of The Great Commission expanded my view of how its directives should live in my life. The inescapable aspect of it, for me, is a draw towards teaching.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The church is pretty good at focusing on making and baptizing, but sometimes, the “teach” part seems neglected. We’re pretty good at encouraging being servants, too, also an important part of being a disciple.
Making, baptizing, and serving are crucial elements of the Christian walk. Unfortunately, they don’t always result in spiritual growth. Involvement in church does not necessary translate into spiritual growth and maturity.
Said another way, the goal is to develop faithful followers of Christ instead of individuals who participate in Christianity like it’s a spectator sport.
“What the Church needs to do is to make disciples, to grow people in the faith, not be spectators. We must teach them what Christians believe and how to live out these doctrines in all of life. Church leaders need to examine whether they are making disciples and encouraging holy living.” (What Non-Christians Really Think of Us)
While not everyone holds a formal teaching position and not everyone may be described as a “gifted” teacher, every Christian should teach others. We do this by living out our faith and having conversations that move from the external, to the internal, then to the eternal.
We move from being spectators to teachers by getting deeper into God’s word, which increases our intimacy with him. As this happens, we are naturally drawn to deepening our conversations in this way.
To be teachers, we must first be students. Thus, learning is an essential part of fulfilling the Great Commission, too.