Our Mission is NOT Making Disciples

It is thrilling to see thousands of people gathering to worship God and pray to him. He deserves it. But he deserves more. He deserves the worship of all 7.3 billion people on the planet. He deserves the worship of all the 16,500 people groups on earth. He is passionate for the spread of his fame among the nations. He desires that as the waters cover the sea, so the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God (Hab. 2:14).


But the earth is not yet filled with the knowledge of his glory. Billions of people are still worshipping gods of their own creation rather than the Creator himself (Rom. 1:25). That includes 1.3 billion Muslims, 860 million Hindus, 275 million Buddhists, 161 million tribal people, 121 million nonreligious. And even those who call themselves “Christians” are still bowing down to the gods of money, sex and power.

According to Joshua Project, more than 6,600 people groups are still considered “unreached.” That is more than 3 billion people. They are going to hell without even an opportunity to hear about Jesus, the only one who can rescue them from their idolatry and rebellion against God.

We worship God revealed in Jesus. And if we truly worship him, we desire that the unreached will also bow down before him. They are unreached because millions of Christians in tens of thousands of churches refuse to bring the gospel to them. We say the gospel is good news – that God in his grace has done what we could never do for ourselves, that he has given us what we don’t deserve. He has sent his Son Jesus. He lived a perfectly righteous life on our behalf, died on the cross to pay the penalty that our sins deserve, and on the third day rose again, declaring victory over Satan, sin and death. That’s good news (1 Cor. 15:1-5)!

But that is not good news to those people who don’t have any chance of hearing it. How will they believe in Jesus if they will not hear about Jesus? And how will they hear about Jesus if no one will preach Jesus to them? And how will we preach Jesus to them if we will not go? If we will not send our people out to reach them (Rom. 10:13-15)?

The mission of the church of Jesus, of every follower of Jesus, is NOT making disciples; our mission is to make disciples of ALL NATIONS (Matt. 28:19). Because Jesus is Lord and Savior of all nations (28:18) and God deserves the praises of all nations (Psa. 67:5).

That’s why James went to Thailand last year. He can be pastoring in our church, but a holy discontent compelled him to go and shepherd the Buddhists there and bring them into the flock of Jesus (John 10:16). That’s why Jean went to Japan last month. She quit her job, left her family, left our church, and is now working there. Not to earn more money. But to bring the gospel of Jesus, trusting God for a hundredfold return of what she might have sacrificed by leaving the comfort of home (Mark 10:28-31).

That’s why Judith is preparing to go to Thailand this year and Mina the following year. We might be losing some of our most hardworking disciplemakers in our church. But if it means gain for the nations, we are ecstatic to let them go.

If you are a student, what’s your ambition? Why are you studying so hard? To have a good job and be successful? Or to position yourself to God’s purpose for you in missions? If you are now working, why not consider working in another culture? Not to earn more money, but for the sake of the gospel. If you are into business, why not consider expanding your business to other cultures, to help in the expansion of the gospel of the kingdom? If you are retired/senior citizen, consider that when it comes to God’s mission there is no retirement. Why not spend your remaining years working among the unreached and not waste your life by coasting on your way to your last breath?

For the sake of the glory of God, for the sake of the nations, for the sake of the gospel of Jesus, go and make disciples of all nations. When all the nations are discipled for Jesus, then, and only then, we can consider our task as finished. And when it is done, Jesus will return (Matt. 24:14). Then countless multitudes from every tribe and tongue and nation will bow down and worship God forever and ever (Rev. 5:9; 7:9).

But our job is not yet done. It is still far from over. You can begin now in praying for the nations. But you cannot end there. When you pray, “Father, send out laborers into your harvest field” (Matt. 9:38), God might say to you, “Yes, my child, I will. I will send you.” And I pray that your response will be, “Here I am, Lord. Send me and I will go” (Isa. 6:8).

Pray and be ready to be the answer to your own prayer.


  1. HI pastor,

    I enjoyed reading it. It clarifies what’s needed to be clarified and it serves as a good reminder to the church that there are ethnes who know little about our God we worship because few or no Christian have gone there to serve as a witness.

    However, I don’t see any bottom line difference between “making disciples and making disciples of all nations”. The phrase “making disciples” is taken from “make disciples of all nations”, They don’t contradict each other.

    Whether the church is making disciples cross culturally or within her own culture, it is obedience to the great commission. As a local church or as individual Christian, the Church can only disciple one soul at a time, one church at a time, one people group at a time—hence, in that sense the goal is to make disciples. One can’t simply target “all the nations”.


    1. Thanks for your comment brother. I totally agree with you. I just want to emphasize that our mission as the Church of Jesus won’t be over until we reach “all nations.” I am not de-valuing the need for “local” disciplemaking. That is crucial also in fulfilling the Great Commission. I just want to challenge Christians and churches to not neglect “global disciplemaking.” Some of us will go and must go to the unreached. And that’s my challenge here because there is a great imbalance in missionaries working among the unreached. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” But of course some are called to stay. But even those of us who stay must have the nations at heart. I may write another blog post to address that if you feel this post is just one-sided. Or you can take a look at my sermon on “a disciple as a missionary” – https://pastorderick.com/2014/11/06/everyjuan-a-missionary/.

      Thanks again and grace to you.


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