As you are going….
There are lots of imperatives in these verses: “Do not be afraid!” “Go quickly and tell his disciples!” “Make disciples of all nations!” There is, however, one imperative in the English versions of these verses that perhaps should not be an imperative. The Greek of verse 19 may be translated, “Therefore, as you are going, make disciples,” meaning “As you are going about your life….”
When the beginning of verse 19 is translated, “Therefore, go,” we may be prone to understand that here is a command to missionaries who must go to far places. When translated, “As you are going,” however, the command to “make disciples” applies to all Christians. The verse would mean that as we are going about our ordinary lives we are to make disciples. It would mean that we are all called to bear witness to Christ wherever we are, whatever we do. Let’s read the verse this way for a while and see how it might change us.
–Dr. Mitzi Minor
- How have you read Matthew 28:16-20 in the past?
- What kinds of sermons have you heard on these verses? Have they been primarily directed at missions? Have they been applied to you?
- Has the church “made disciples” of people around it, or has evangelism been something missionaries do faraway?
- Many Christians are uncomfortable with witnessing for Christ. Are you one of those? If so, examine why. What experiences(s) made you uncomfortable?
How Do I Act?
- Christianity is spreading most rapidly today in Third World countries. Whereas North Americans were among the first to take the gospel to these countries, many people now believe they have much to teach us about evangelism. Read and discuss such books as Partnering in Ministry by Luis Bush and Lorry Lutz, Mission Trends No.1, No.2, No.3 edited by Gerald Anderson and Thomas Stransky.
- There is debate today about the number of unchurched Americans. Magazines like Time and Newsweek have had articles on such things as the decline of mainline denominations, the rise of new types of churches, the lack of commitment felt by Baby Boomers, etc. Spend a week gathering as many of these articles as you can. Share them with those in your church as a way to understand what is happening in and outside churches in our country. Or take a class on the subject if available.
- List questions arising from discussion of the articles (see #2) and invite your pastor to discuss the questions.
- Discover a church in your area that has tried a new outreach program. Invite the pastor or an involved layperson of that church to talk with you about it.