Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
When it comes to this text, it seems to me, that too often there is an overly strong emphasis placed upon the word “Go” and not enough emphasis upon the truthful and general call for us all, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, to “make disciples”. In fact, the word “go” is too often treated as an imperative or command in this passage, when in truth it isn’t. Rather it is a present participle. This means that the word go, means going. So when we put it in the context of this passage it speaks more clearly of, as you are going, going forth, or going out, along the way, make disciples. The implied assumption is that you, being a child of the Lord Jesus Christ are already going forth in this world, in your everyday life, and therefore as His Kingdom witnesses, He has a mission for you. The phrase, “Make disciples”, is the imperative or the command here, and not “go”.
It is true that discipleship gets a lot of writing. There are all kinds of books, classes, articles and messages upon this word, disciple, or even attempting to describe and encourage the process of discipleship. In Jesus day it was also a well known concept and practice. Today, this word may more closely resemble our terms for “apprentice” or “mentor”. I personally like the word mentor. It has over the years become very important to me. The idea is that of personally getting involved in the process of training and equipping others to do the same kind of job or fulfill the same kind of responsibility as the one who is doing the teaching, training, etc.