Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about missions is traditional missionaries who uproot their whole life and move to another country in order to make Jesus known. Among the various realities and misconceptions that typically accompany this mental picture is the idea that going is reserved for a select few with a very unique, specialized calling.
However, the call of Christ to make disciples is for all believers. It’s not so much a call to a one-time event as it is a call to a lifestyle of disciple-making. Written into the very heart of Matthew 28:19-20, the passage famously known as the Great Commission, is Jesus’ vision that disciple-making would be a lifestyle for His followers. The original Greek can be understood to say, “as you are going, make disciples of all nations,” (emphasis added). In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His followers that they are to be His witnesses, not simply that they are to do the task of witnessing occasionally. So we see that this is not a command for a select few, nor is it a one-time event. The natural, continuous identity of the disciple is that of witness and disciple-maker. This identity results in a lifestyle of witnessing to the sufficiency of Jesus and making disciples as you go, wherever you go.
Believers desiring practical implementation can gain further insight from Paul. In Romans 10:14, he poses the questions,, “How can they call upon the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” What was true in Paul’s day is still true in ours — that there remains a significant portion of the population who do not have access to a witness of Christ or the good news of what He has done. As followers of Christ who long for His return, would do well to keep this at the forefront of our minds and be intentional about where we go. This might inform which ethnic restaurants or foreign-born businesses we choose to frequent or which part of the world we consider visiting on a short-term trip.
“Going” and “making disciples” go hand-in-hand, and they are inseparable elements of a disciple’s life, whether you go across town or to the other side of the world. But wherever you go, be the kind of person who makes disciples… until all have heard.
Global Frontier Missions hosts short-term vision trips to Bangkok to expose people to the region and to help them discern if they want to serve in Thailand or Southeast Asia long-term.