By Shawn McMullen
Therefore go 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 I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19, 20).
Before his ascension, Jesus instructed his disciples to spread the good news of the gospel, making “disciples of all nations.” From that day forward, Christ’s followers have taken the Great Commission to heart.
When we think about making disciples of all nations, we often think about missionaries who travel to foreign countries to spread the gospel. Or we may think about leaders and churches that have developed concrete goals and strategic plans for discipling others. Both groups are vital to the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on earth.
But there is yet another group of disciple makers to consider. These faithful followers of Christ don’t travel around the world. They haven’t established concrete, disciple making goals. They haven’t thought through a dynamic strategy for making disciples. They simply make disciples the best way they know how, in whatever circumstances they find themselves. They may not even think what they’re doing falls into the category of disciple making. But they’re making disciples nonetheless.
They are God’s inconspicuous disciple makers. They’ll never write a book or magazine article about discipleship. They’ll not be asked to speak at conventions. People won’t seek out their opinions on the topic. Even so, they do much—very much—to contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom by leading others to Christ and teaching them to obey his commands.
They are the Sunday school teachers who, week after week, diligently prepare and faithfully present lessons to students who often seem disinterested, but who are listening more closely than most of us imagine. They are the volunteer youth workers who carve time out of busy work schedules and pressing family obligations to teach and model Christian principles before impressionable young people who are asking hard questions and making tough life decisions.
They are the elders and deacons who lead and serve the church through good times and bad, who give up nights and weekends to keep the church moving forward. Who attend to the needs of the saints, counsel the fainthearted, and “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). They are the shepherds and servants who humbly endure criticism, complaints, and skepticism from those who don’t lead or serve. They don’t need the hassle, but they refuse to quit because they signed on to serve Christ—not to win popularity contests.
They are the ministers who serve Christ’s church receiving minimal compensation and even less encouragement. Yet they consistently preach the Word, comfort the hurting, encourage the lonely, and challenge the complacent. They’re not well known. They don’t have a speaking circuit. They may even question their own competency from time to time. But they continue to make disciples, one by one.
Inconspicuous disciple makers can be found everywhere. Rarely acknowledged, these humble servants are faithfully reproducing themselves in others who will also reproduce themselves in future generations. And God is glorified by their efforts.