We are called to make disciples. But what is a disciple, and how is one made? A disciple is one who has renounced ownership of his life and recognized Jesus as Lord (Luke 14:33). Realizing this gave me clarity in my ministry. What was I really trying to accomplish in the lives of students? Teach them how to read the Bible? Make sure they were members of a church? Ensure they know how to share their faith? These are all good things, but none of them is the target. At the end of the day, my goal is that they “might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
But how are disciples made? The Great Commission helps us here. “Go and make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . ” Baptism is the faith-response to the preaching of the Gospel. We make disciples by preaching the Gospel. It is the message that Jesus is Lord, by virtue of His resurrection, and that He is worthy of our allegiance by virtue of His sacrificial death. The cross is the only thing that can make us want to surrender. It is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love. When we see His love for us, we want to respond with the obedience of faith.