Why We Don't...Disciple

by Peter Swann

In Matthew 28, Jesus gives us what is known as the Great Commission. In it, we’re exhorted to make disciples of all peoples. Wherever we go, we are to make disciples. That’s our commission.

It’s striking, then, that so many in the Western church are neither discipling nor being discipled. Many could claim that they have never in their life been discipled. This is clearly an issue, and I’m so grateful for all the discipleship efforts across our Hope family.

But this reality makes me wonder why it’s challenging for many of us, and we have to understand the obstacles before we can effectively push through them. I’d like to propose some possible hindrances here:

1. We don’t think we are mature enough.

This is a common one. Most of us don’t feel worthy to disciple someone, and the truth is that we probably never will. It’s as if we’re feeling the need to be perfect, or pretty close, before discipling. But that wasn’t in Jesus’ commission. We’re just encouraged to dive in and make disciples.

2. We don’t think we teach well enough.

It’s true that we all have varying abilities in our capacity to teach, but this one wasn’t in Jesus’ commission either. We are to make disciples no matter how gifted we are. But the reality is that much of discipleship isn’t explaining deep theological truths anyway. Much of it is inviting someone into the depths of your life, exposing your heart, and revealing what Christ in you looks like. That’s powerful discipleship.

3. We’re too busy with other things.

This one really calls us out. This hindrance points to our priorities and what we place as more important than discipleship. There’s not much more to say on this one – it’s all in what we care about most.

The reality is that we’ll soon pass this earth, and our jobs, hobbies, and social media friends will quickly forget about us. But the people we’ve invested deeply in… that impact will remain.

It’s striking that Jesus took a bunch of young guys and discipled them for just three years. He then turned the future of the Christian movement over to them. If this was a secular enterprise, it would have been a terrible idea. But empowered by the Holy Spirit, these disciples turned the world upside down.

So here’s one reason we should disciple: God Himself lives in you and me. He’ll do the work in us and in the people we disciple – let’s just go after it. It’s time to embrace our commission.