Making Disciples in a Short-Term Mission Trip

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20

The great commission given to the eleven apostles on a Galilean mountainside is a familiar passage. It holds much truth about what we as believers are to be doing as we await the Lord’s return. We are instructed to go and “make disciples” of all nations. The Greek word mathetes, or disciple, means a learner or a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require. 

What is necessary to make a disciple? The requirements listed, according to Jesus, are baptizing followers and teaching them. He is even more specific in this instruction, telling us in whose name we baptize these we disciple and what we are to teach. We baptize them in the name of the Triune God, and we teach disciples to observe all He has commanded. \

Simply put, we disciple by giving proper instruction from the Bible. We follow through in ways that help a believer progressively learn the Word of God so that they may reach a mature understanding of the truths, commands, and the hope it contains. In addition to the Spirit’s work in granting understanding of the Word, we petition for the power of the Spirit in the application of the Word in hearts and minds that results in belief and practice in the life of a disciple. Notice that observing all that Jesus commanded is part of this commission. Observing means spiritually guarding and keeping intact the commands of Scripture.

Twelve21 Global is committed to the discipleship of those who come to saving faith through the work of the Spirit. As we share the gospel message in regions and villages of Tanzania and witness conversions, we begin the discipleship process. On location, villagers are invited to afternoon discipleship times where the basic tenets of the Christian faith are taught and discussed. A New Testament in the native language, Swahili, is given to those who are present. 

Instruction from the Word on the permanence of salvation, the One True God, and Baptism is provided in the afternoon meeting sessions in the village. New converts are introduced to church pastors in the area and are encouraged to join the fellowship of the local church. When the U.S.A portion of the mission team leaves the area, our Tanzanian brothers and sisters continue discipling through the local church body.

What a comfort to know the truth that Jesus is always with us. He is omnipresent; He never leaves, He never forsakes. Knowing this, we may boldly proclaim the gospel and fulfill the commission given by Jesus in his earthly ministry in our day as we travel to the nations and make disciples. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

 

Written by Wendy Knox

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