Disciplemaking Priority in the Great Commission
Shouldn't Outreach be the top, maybe even sole, priority for church leaders due to the Great Commission?
To determine the level of priority the Great Commission should be, take a look at all Jesus said about it. Since He is the One with all authority who gave the commission, certainly He is the One to determine its priority, not us.
Jesus never claimed making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) to be the greatest commandment.
Rather, He identified loving God with your whole being and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-40) as the greatest commandments.
Jesus did not limit the Great Commission to evangelism.
Disciplemaking goes beyond the initial salvation experience. Remember that Jesus went on to add baptism and teaching people to obey everything He commanded, that which happens after conversion.
Jesus did not imply that the ekklesia (gathering of believers, the called out ones) should focus on bringing in, appealing to, and catering to the lost.
He said "go" and make disciples, implying just the opposite.
So, while outreach clearly is a priority, so is shepherding those who put their trust in Jesus. Above all, we're to love. When we truly love as He loves, we will "go and make disciples" as He commands.
You'll find these points in the Steering the Church Toward Discipleship Leadership Guide along with some additional brief thoughts about each.
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