The church and mission tend to focus so intently
on the securing of conversion that little else matters in
the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The gradual
progressive work of spiritual formation in the making of
disciples can be overlooked and overshadowed by the
unwholesome focus that prioritizes saving sinners at a
moment of decision rather than shaping and molding the
lives of believers over a period of many years.
Transformation and the making of disciples is a long and
arduous journey and it requires more spiritual patience
than what is required in the quest of just securing
conversions. Yet the imperative in the mandate is crystal
clear – “make disciples of all nations”.


After conversion, believers are often encouraged to
be up and doing. They are urged to plunge into Christian
meetings and various activities and service with the
assumption that genuine fellowship with Christ must be
expressed in being involved in as many spiritual
activities as possible. This poses a threat to discipleship
and spiritual formation when activity is emphasized at
the expense of prayer, spiritual discipline and
communion with God.


We have noted earlier that the one who shares the
gospel and disciples others must himself be a disciple of
the Lord Jesus. It takes disciples to make disciples. It is
interesting to note the observation of John Stott in the
book entitled “The radical disciple”. He shared that the
main reason why our evangelistic efforts are often
fraught with failure is that we do not look like the Christ
we proclaim. The one who shares must embody the
things he is sharing.

Our lop-sided focus on securing conversions and
our unbalanced emphasis on activities in the church and
mission often result in sending believers to be
messengers when they are not spiritually ready and they
do not yet look like what they are talking about. The
church and mission may mistakenly conclude that such
ones are ready simply because they have gone through
certain training programmes or acquire some skills in
sharing the gospel. Evangelism then becomes the
business of counting converts, numbers, and
programmes and ignores the faithfulness of the message
and the faithfulness of the messenger. This is not to say
that believers cannot share what the Lord has done for
their lives, but effective evangelism and disciple making
entail spiritual warfare, and authenticity comes from
lives which have been transformed by the Spirit of God
to face the challenging task of ministering and teaching
all that Jesus had taught.

AW Tozer in “Of God and Man” rightly pointed
out that the first obligation of the church is not to preach
the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth but to be
spiritually worthy to spread it. He stressed that
Christianity will always reproduce itself after its kind.
He highlighted that a worldly minded unspiritual church,
when she crosses the ocean to evangelize, is sure to bring
to other shores Christianity very much like her own.
In our current context, a church, eager to show
statistics that she is mission-minded and is fulfilling the
Great Commission, may succumb to the pressure of
sending just about anyone who is willing to go. This is a
likely scenario, given that there are not many who are
even willing to consider being sent (reflecting the poor
quality of discipleship in the churches today).

For many believers, after conversion and believing
in Jesus, they are not quite sure what to do with the rest
of their lives. a) For some, it is just looking forward to
heaven one day and perhaps to persuade some to go
along with them. b) Some look at Christianity as an
obligation to live by the rules and if they fail, they 7
simply try to do better the next time. c) Others think that
the rules ought to come easily as they are already
converted and when they find it not to be so, pretend that
it is. Among these are those who expect that they will
automatically want to live according to God’s will and
when they see the shortcomings and failures in their
lives, they become disillusioned and guilt-stricken. d)
Then there are those who prefer to go by the saying,
“Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”, so why strive
so hard for perfection? They suppose that it is what
everyone else is experiencing and this is as good as it can

Is this what God truly desires for His children?
What is His calling for His children and how is this
related to His mandate in the Great Commission? What
has it got to do with making disciples?