Opening Doors To Discipleship is a series of four courses in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition to help teachers and leaders equip themselves to be faithful teachers and leaders.

Making Disciples

Choosing the Presbyterian and Reformed faith as an adult makes me passionate about Reformed theology—God’s grace and sovereignty at work in the world, actively working out God’s purposes in my life and in the lives of others.

Although I cannot explain the will of God and how God saves, it comforts me that someone’s salvation is not my responsibility. God is waiting, calling, inviting, nurturing, and claiming. Whew! What a relief!

Then I read the Bible and feel called to action by the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20 NRSV

Me, make disciples? Wait a minute! Making disciples is God’s job, right?

This is where the making of disciples and what that means to me collide with the questions of whether faith is caught or taught, innate or nurtured, given or gained—on second thought, not really. If we reflect on the passage itself, we find a two-fold calling: to evangelize and to educate.

Someone once said that the evangelizing part is to make known or to proclaim and the call to educate is to make meaning and bring understanding of the proclamation. The challenge for us is to go, to tell, and to teach. Wrestle with these ideas and more in the excellent essays found in Christian Education as Evangelism, Norma Cook Everist, editor, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2007.

Praise God, we are not called to save, but we are called to tell faithfully what God has done in our lives and in our faith communities. We seek meaning for ourselves and try to help others find meaning out of their own God experiences. God calls us to show others, through our actions, how God is at work in the world.

Go therefore and make disciples.

Contact a Presbyterian Reformed Educational Partner (PREP) representative, listed under CONTACT US, for more information about this topic or other articles in the e-newsletter archives.

Article written by Candace C. Hill, coordinator of educational ministries, Congregational Ministries Publishing, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).