As Christians, as disciples of Jesus, Jesus commissions us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). There’s no way around it. In my last article, I explored what it meant to go, but as one of my readers commented, the emphasis is not in the “going” but in the “making disciples”. What does it look like to “go and make disciples”?
I think Paul sums it up in these words:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
— 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV)
I read about one missionary couple in Taiwan who were burdened to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ where it had not been heard. They moved to a rural township of farmers and labourers, about 2000 households. The reception they received was far from positive, they were received with suspicion. Not exactly the impression you want to make when you want to share the gospel with people.
In order to bridge the gap between the locals and themselves, they opened a coffee shop. Now, get this, Taiwanese country folk don’t drink coffee, they drink tea. Why not open a tea house? They didn’t want to harm the other local businesses! So, a coffee shop it was. Furthermore, the profits are channelled back into the community, a decision that surprised the local community.
Even though they were free to open a tea house, by making themselves servants and opening a coffee shop, they have the opportunity to win more of them. They have become locals, that by all means they might save some. They do it all for the sake of the gospel, that they may share with them in its blessings.
There’s a Japanese pastor who uses Ikebana (Japanese art of flower arrangement) as part of his ministry. There’s a Christian retreat in the highlands of India for people on a spiritual pilgrimage. There’s a surfing ministry on the southern coast of France.
What about you? What would you do for the sake of the gospel? What gifts and passions has God given you to use for His Kingdom? The opportunities are limitless as you submit them to God’s creative inspiration. Will you go and make disciples?