The Great Commission
The Great Commission is not an optional extra for believers. Many
of us live in Christian communities—all our friends are believers
and we rarely have significant interaction with others who do not
yet know the Lord. We have tried to keep ourselves separate from
our neighbors out of concern that we might be “contaminated.” But
Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners,” and, as it asks in Romans
10, “How will they hear unless someone tells them” (verse 14)?
Admittedly, not all of us are evangelists, but all of us can be
witnesses to what Jesus has done in our lives (Acts 1:8). We have
the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us, and if we ask the Lord for
opportunity to share His life with others, He will delight to
answer that prayer.
Study the great commission from Matthew 28:18-20 by reading the
passage and using the scriptures to discuss the following
More helpful resources
- What is the relevance of Jesus having “all authority?”
- What is the difference between a disciple and a “convert?” How
might this affect how we reach out to those who don’t yet know
- What would be the outcome if we obeyed Jesus command to go
rather than asking people to come to church? What difference would
this make in our own lives, in the lives of our churches or in the
lives of those we go to?
- What is a nation?
- How will we know when a nation is discipled?
- What is the significance of baptism? Who does the
- What are we to teach?
- Think around the cycle of discipleship—disciples making
at Table Number Two
” by Bill Hoffman
Reaching the “Nations” Around Us
The Great Commission tells us to make disciples of all nations. The
Greek word for nation is “ethne,” from which we get our word
“ethnic.” It implies far more than a nationality, however. It could
refer to a cultural group such as skateboarders, the elderly, those
involved in the bar and club scene, students and so on. Think
language and customs. For example, skateboarders have their own
clothing style, their own vocabulary, their own stories and ways of
relating to each other.
Brainstorm and create a list of the “nations” in your area. Are
there obvious ways that different people in your group could reach
out to these groups? Spend a few minutes asking the Lord of the
harvest if there is a particular people group or area of town he
would like you to focus on.
Prayer is a vital part of preparing the ground for starting
churches. Joshua 1:3 tells us that God will give us the places
where our feet tread, and Psalm 2: 8 tells us that He will give us
the nations as our inheritance.
If the Lord has shown you a particular group He would like you to
concentrate on, then prayer walking may be a great way to get
started in praying for them. Go to the neighborhoods where these
people live or to where they hang out and begin to pray there.
When we prayer walk, we can expect that the Holy Spirit will reveal
to us how to pray, including giving us insight into the demonic
powers that control the area.
There are four main ways to pray for an area when you are prayer
walking: 1. Bless the city 2. Pray for the welfare of those living
there 3. Demolish strongholds 4. Repent for the problems in the
Make plans to prayer walk during the next week in the place that
Jesus indicates to you.
Helping Someone to Become a Follower of
Becoming a follower of Jesus is usually a process. Often, during
that process, a person will come to a decision point, and it is
good to know how to help them commit their life to following
Christ. Discuss in your group what you think is the minimum a
person needs to know to give their life to Jesus. (Jesus died on
the cross to take the punishment for the things we have done wrong.
If we turn away from these things and give control of our lives to
Him, He will give us a new life and His Holy Spirit will come and
live inside us.)
The following are some useful verses (sometimes known as the “Roman
Road”) when it comes to helping someone commit their lives to
Divide into pairs and role play leading a person to become a
disciple of Jesus using these verses. Keep it simple and let
everyone take a turn.
- Romans 3:23 (If using the New Living Translation, verses 24-25
are a great addition here)
- Romans 6:23
- Romans 5:8 (In the NLT, the whole paragraph, (verses 6-11) is a
great explanation of salvation)
- Romans 10:9-10
- Revelation 3:20
Jesus did not command us to plant churches. He told us to make
disciples (Matthew 28:19). He said that He would build His church
(Matthew 16:18). Our commission from Him as ambassadors for the
Kingdom is to make disciples, and Jesus will build His church.
Discuss the following questions:
- What is the difference between a disciple and a convert?
- How do we ensure a person becomes more like Jesus (rather than
- If discipleship is a lifestyle of obedience to Jesus rather
than a body of knowledge to be learned, what is the best way to
We highly recommend the Life Transformation Group pattern of
discipleship started by Neil Cole. Small same-sex groups of two to
four people commit together to read large chunks (about thirty
chapters) of Scripture each week and then come together to answer
accountability questions and to pray for their friends who do not
yet know Jesus. You can find the materials for this at www.cmaresources.org/ltg
More helpful resources:
6 - Disciplemaking is for Everyone
” by Roger Thoman
here to return to "Getting Started."