“Go and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus said to his disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20)
Jesus is always saying “go” to his disciples. Go serve. Go preach. Go teach. And his disciples go. And so do the folks to whom they go. They’re gone fishing, golfing, vacationing, grocery shopping, and to little league baseball, softball….everybody’s going somewhere. We’re busy. A former resident of this county and a friend of mine use to say, “They’ve organized all the fun out of sports.” And we have organized all the fun out of living.
A wise philosopher in Chattanooga told me once, “When we quit building fireplaces and front porches, the family disintegrated.” We have taken the first work of Jesus’ command very seriously. We go. But we’re not making many disciples, at least in the formal sense. But disciples are being made. There are a lot of disciples who do not gather in formal worship services. There are a lot of disciples who dig deep in their pockets when someone else is in need. Some disciples serve the rest of us by holding public office. Some disciples teach school or enter the nursing or medical field. Sometimes work schedules interfere with formal worship time.
Did Jesus command us to attend church? Three times a week? He did command us to live righteously, and many believe that regular attendance in church and Sunday school help us to do that. He commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves, too. Sometimes church helps us to do that. He commanded us to love God. The church focuses on God. But church is normally scheduled only on Sundays. And some folks cannot attend on Sunday.
Would you like to have Saturday night church? As I observe the schedule of church services around here, there are all kinds of opportunities available. There are even a number of Bible studies offered at various times of the week, day or night. These opportunities are times for making disciples. They are times of spiritual strengthening. Surely there is one designed for you.
We have to take seriously the Great Commission to “Go and make disciples…” We don’t have to have a formal time to do that. We actually do that wherever we are at whatever time it happens to be. We make disciples by the pattern of our living. Even a little league coach makes disciples by the love he or she shows, the compassion for the less talented, the emphasis on teamwork and community.
“Go, make of all disciples.” We hear the Call, O Lord. That comes from thee, our Father, In thy eternal Word. Inspire our ways of learning Through earnest, fervent prayer, And let our daily living reveal thee everywhere.”Hear the challenge of Jesus in this old Christian hymn and go, make disciples.
Bill Lassiter is a retired United Methodist minister and a member at Holly Avenue UMC in South Pittsburg, TN.