The purpose of the Great Commission is to make disciples who worship Jesus. For those that are missions minded, there is a temptation to get caught up on the “go” part and miss the reason that we are going in the first place. We are to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.
Some pastors argue that disciple making isn’t for everyone because the word disciple isn’t used in the Bible beyond the first generation of Christians. The fact that the word disciple doesn’t appear in the Bible after Acts 21 doesn’t mean anything as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t invalidate Jesus’ original command to make disciples. A disciple is a student. The original twelve disciples were students of Jesus. The many that followed them were students. And generation after generation, disciples were made who were taught the same thing that their teachers were taught who were taught what Jesus taught.
Jesus modeled disciple making perfectly. He taught to the masses but he spent the majority of his time with just twelve men. Even among them, He had His inner circle of Peter, James, and John. Jesus spent the most time with just three people instead of stretching Himself out over the thousands who wanted to watch Him perform miracles.
I believe that we’ll find much greater success in ministry if we carefully choose who we spend our time with. It’s not playing favorites or being mean to acknowledge that some people are going to respond to us much more than other people. Those who we can’t reach as well aren’t lost and we shouldn’t forget about them. Instead there is likely someone else who is capable of reaching those people better than we are. We all have different life experiences and different people are going to respond to us differently. Even more importantly, we all have different spiritual gifts. Someone with the gift of service is more likely to recognize someone else with the gift of service than perhaps someone with the gift of teaching.
In the end though, disciple making is all about passing along what we know to others. The word Christian means little Christ. We are “little Christs” because we followed the teaching that someone taught us about Christ. We should be making more “little Christs” by passing along His teaching to others.