Reprinted from the June 2014 issue of “Gospel Advocate” Magazine.
Some will undoubtedly read the title of this article, raise an inquisitive eyebrow, and ask, “Aren’t they the same?” Others will read a little deeper into the question and, with the same raised brow, muse aloud, “You really can’t have one without the other, now can you?” Both of these questions reveal the greatest threat to the fulfillment of the Great Commission: We have become confused about what the church is doing.
The Great Commission charges Christians to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20 nasb). In the Greek, the only word in the imperative mood, making it a command, is “disciple.” “Go,” “baptize,” and “teach” are all subordinate parts of making disciples. In other words, to make a disciple you must go, baptize and teach.
Rethinking the Great Commission
Church growth gurus have suggested a number of ways of fitting the three parts of the Great Commission into a working model of evangelism. After reading a number of these over the last 12 months, I find the vast majority to be wrong. Here is the basic model I found: