The call of God for the church is not only to make converts, but to make disciples. Jesus gave what is known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It is too easy to lose sight of the simplicity of the church’s call, and get drawn into everything but making disciples. We must not allow ourselves to forget this critical aspect of our mission.
Jesus was the master “discipler.” He called some of His first disciples—Peter and his brother Andrew—with these words: “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Jesus gave a call to commitment—“follow Me”—followed by a promise: “I will make you fishers of men.” This is a great picture of discipleship; a commitment to Christ that leads to transformation.
Peter and Andrew were fisherman by trade. When they heard the call to follow Jesus they responded without hesitation: “They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:18). They were willing to leave behind their livelihood and old identity to follow after Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we will have to leave our “nets” behind as well. You’ve not yet begun to follow Jesus until you have left some things behind.
Notice that the end result of being discipled by Jesus was that they would end up becoming something they were not before they began their journey. “I will make you become fishers of men.” Transformation is the fruit of discipleship. Jesus was saying, “Come spend time with Me, learn from Me, follow My ways, listen to My teachings, and put into practice what you see and hear. When you do this, you will become something you were not before we met.”
Discipleship transforms us into who we were created to be. It draws out of us the gifts, character, and calling that God has deposited in us. This will happen only as we count the cost and make the choice to follow Him!