The Great Commission is given to us in Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus said, “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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
What does it mean to make disciples? Is a disciple different from a Christian? Is preaching/explaining the gospel to someone, and having them repent and put their faith in Jesus different from making a disciple?
I did a quick search of the Bible and there are 292 occurrences of the word disciple(s) in the NIV. There is zero times when this word occurs as a verb. I can find nowhere that we are commanded to disciple someone—only where we are commanded to make disciples.
If someone truly gets saved, do we have to hunt them down and call them constantly to make sure he or she is reading the Bible and going to church? We should definitely encourage that person to read the Bible and go to church, but someone who truly is born again will be desperate for those things with little encouragement. (To learn the key to making sure someone is truly born-again, listen to Hell’s Best Kept Secret.)
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The one who begins a good work is not the evangelist—it’s the Lord. And we have His promise that He will complete that good work—whether or not we, as evangelists, have the opportunity to participate in it.