Consider what God could do if we decided to make disciples with the people that are already around us every day.
Read your Bible and pray every day. Go to church on Sundays. Attend a weekly community group and/or Bible study. Serve the poor from time to time. Go and make disciples of all nations.
Wait . . . go and make disciples of all nations?
You may be familiar with some of Jesus’ final words here on earth from Matthew 28:18-20, otherwise known as the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (NIV, emphasis mine).
This calling is not just for the super-spiritual Christians who have their lives perfectly together or for people who are in full-time ministry. This is a calling for all followers of Jesus.
If you’re like me, between family, work, and all of the other good things that are part of the Christian life, you may be asking yourself, “How can I possibly fit yet another thing into my already full life?”
You’re not alone. In 2020, The Navigators (an international Christian ministry) commissioned The Barna Group (a Christian research firm) to conduct a study on the state of disciple making in the American church. While nearly 67 percent of respondents showed at least some interest in the idea of disciple making, only 31 percent are actually discipling. The Barna study discovered that one of the challenges to actually making disciples is “making it a priority with all the other things I’m juggling.”
What if I told you that making disciples doesn’t require adding yet another thing to your already full life? What if I told you that you can make disciples right where you live, work, and play just by living out your walk with God . . . and that in fact, that is one way God intended for us to make disciples?
Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus calls some to leave everything behind and follow him (Matthew 4:18-22). More often, however, we see Jesus call those whose lives have been transformed by him to stay and proclaim the goodness of God to those around them. The Samaritan woman in John 4 is one example of someone who had incredible Kingdom impact right where she lived just by being faithful in sharing what little she knew about Jesus with those around her. Jesus did the rest of the work. This all resulted in a radical movement of the gospel throughout Samaria where many people came to be saved. Might I add, this woman’s witness impacted many that the disciples would likely never reach (or even want to, for that matter).
Years ago, a friend shared with me that she and her husband joined a Dungeons and Dragons gaming community. Whereas she viewed their times together as simply a place to have fun with some friends, I couldn’t help but get excited at the potential Kingdom impact. Even though most of the people in this group may never set foot in a church, they are regularly around people who love Jesus and are intentionally living out their faith among those who don’t know him.
What could God do through these regular connections? What could God do if my friends took the next step to intentionally share their faith with these friends and teach them how to have a relationship with God? What could God do if these friends started following Jesus and then shared what they knew about having a relationship with God with those in their other circles? What if their faithfulness could ignite a whole gospel movement throughout the Northern California Dungeons and Dragons community? The worldwide Dungeons and Dragons community?
This may seem far-fetched, but consider with me, what could God do?
Making disciples of all nations needn’t be a whole separate thing that followers of Jesus need to add to their already busy lives. All it takes is intentionally living out your faith right where you live, work, and play—remaining sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading to share with the people in your everyday life what you know about having a relationship with Jesus.
So who are the people in your circles—in your workplace, your classes, your friend groups, your yoga class, your parent-teacher associations, and so on—that God has placed in your life for such a time as this, people that perhaps only you can reach? What would it look like for you to intentionally share what you know about having a relationship with Jesus with those right around you? What would it look like for you to help them do the same with others?
If you’d like some help thinking through what discipling others could look like and finding the motivation to do so, along with some easy and practical ways to get started, consider checking out my book How to Save the World: Disciplemaking Made Simple. We’ll demystify this idea of disciple making and walk you through how simple it can be to start making disciples of all nations, right where you live, work, and play.
Alice Matagora is the Leader Development Initiatives program coordinator for The Navigators and Navigators Collegiate staff at the University of California at Irvine. She lives in California with her husband and children. Alice’s upcoming book, How to Save the World: Disciplemaking Made Simple, releases from NavPress in August 2022.