Think of a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or a coworker who doesn’t have a strong relationship with Jesus. How would you share your faith with them?
Matthew 28:18-20, also known as “The Great Commission,” is a great place to start:
“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of every nation. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to affirm all I’ve commanded you —and I’ll be with you till the end of the age.”
In the original Greek, the phrase “make disciples” is actually an order to “disciple.” This isn’t a suggestion Jesus is making—it’s an urgent, ongoing command, and it’s the focal point of the Great Commission.
Here are 3 ways we can disciple others by applying the Great Commission to our lives:
The original Greek word used for “go” conveys a continual action. It isn’t necessarily a command to leave your job or your home and strike up debates with strangers.
Instead, this verb is showing that we disciple others by developing relationships with the people we interact with every day—the people at our jobs, in our schools, and even at the grocery store. Basically, Jesus is saying, “as you are going about your lives, train and teach people to follow me.”
Before continuing, it’s important to point out that “going” doesn’t always mean leaving our country. While Jesus does call His followers to make disciples “of all nations” — Jesus was also talking to Jewish disciples who avoided interacting with other ethnicities. His command would have challenged them to reach out to Roman conquerors, Ethiopan travelers, and Samaritan neighbors in their own city, as well as abroad.
In other words, Jesus was showing them that Christianity isn’t exclusive to one race, ethnicity, or country—it’s for all people. Always. And the people we interact with every day are usually the people God is urgently asking us to reach.
So who has God placed around you, and how can you reach out to them today?
When you think of “baptism,” what comes to mind? If you said “dunking someone in water” —you’re not wrong! But the purpose of baptism is to outwardly express an inward change of heart. It is both a symbolic expression of faith and an act of obedient surrender and repentance, which is why it’s the natural next step someone takes after they make a decision to believe in and follow Christ.
We can help people decide to take that step by having honest conversations with them about what it means to follow Jesus, responding to their questions about God, and then inviting them to take part in the physical act of baptism.
Baptism matters because it’s something that Jesus did, and He also commanded His disciples to baptize others. So when we take part in baptism, we are living like Jesus and obeying Him. This public act allows us to identify with Christ’s death and resurrection, repent from the way we used to live, and celebrate the new, eternal life we have because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Tip: As you develop relationships with people who might be thinking about getting baptized, here are some questions you can ask them…
- Do you believe you need Jesus?
- What does believing in Jesus mean to you?
- Do you believe that Jesus died for you and rose again?
- What does following Jesus look like?
- How have you asked God to forgive you for your past mistakes?
- Have you invited Jesus into your life?
Teaching someone is a two-step process: it involves imparting ideas to someone and consistently modeling the things we’re teaching. It doesn’t have to be formal, and according to the Great Commission, it’s often done as we go and baptize.
The main thing to keep in mind is that we can’t expect people to observe what Jesus has commanded us unless we are also observing His commands ourselves.
Do we want people to learn about God’s love? Then we need to show God’s love to people. Do we want people to learn about Jesus’ compassion? Then we need to be compassionate. Do we want people to give generously? Then we need to be good stewards of our money. Do we want people to study God’s Word? Then we need to study it for ourselves.
Model what it means to be a disciple by letting someone come alongside you as you pray, study God’s Word, budget your finances, and live your everyday life.
Tip: Try inviting someone to complete a Bible Plan with you. Tap the link below to browse Plans.
Ultimately, our goal isn’t to make people follow Jesus—only God can change someone’s life. But we can live every day with intentionality, look for opportunities to develop relationships with the people around us, and show others what it means to know God and make Him known. Sharing our faith is about sharing our lives, and so as we do that, we will be presented with opportunities to make disciples.
Want to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus?