The Authority to Make Disciples

by Chris Matthisen —

When I encourage disciples to take up the challenge to disciple another, I get one of two responses. The first response goes something like this; “But I don’t have the knowledge or maturity to disciple another person!” and the second is “Who am I to assume that I can spiritually invest in another person to help them grow!?” assuming that if they did decide to invest in another person they would be committing the sin of pride.

After hearing their objections I lead them through a brief Bible study of six key passages. Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Corinthians 13:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6; Acts 1:8 and 1 Peter 4:10.

The first passage in Matthew speaks of the authority God has passed on to each disciple to go and make other disciples. The next two verses from 2 Corinthians speak specifically of the authority the Lord gave Paul and his group of disciples for building others up.[1] All disciples today are given that same authority.[2] Second Corinthians 3:5-6 encourages us by stating that our competence comes from God and not from ourselves. Remember this as you engage in helping another person grow[3]. Acts 1:8 further informs us of the power we receive to make disciples.[4] Finally, in 1 Peter 4:10, Peter speaks of using whatever (spiritual) gift we have received to serve others. Taken as a whole, all these passages speak of the authority, competency, power, and gifting, given to us to make disciples.

It’s beautiful how God not only commands us to make disciples but He also thoroughly equips us to do it. Disciple-making comes in many forms. It can be one-on-one, in triads, small groups, or through any other form or medium that builds other disciples up in the Lord.[5]

One final point to make is that disciple-making does not always require one person to be of superior maturity to the other(s). Making disciples can also be equally maturing disciple’s investing in one another.[6] In the Great Commission Jesus never distinguished the maturity level we had to be at in order to make disciples.

The body of Christ is in desperate need of men and women who will obey the challenge of the Great Commission. I believe the greatest church growth method ever to be conceived of is found in Matthew 28:18-20. Therefore go and make disciples with the gifting, power, competency, and authority that God has poured into you so you can produce an abundance of lasting fruit that glorifies God.[7]


[1] In Ephesians 4:29 Paul shares with us one way in which we may build someone up – by speaking words that are “helpful … according to their needs that It may benefit those who listen.”
[2] We know this from Matthew 28:18-20. The 2 Corinthian passages exemplify what God has given all disciples.
[3] 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 reminds us that we can invest in people’s spiritual growth but it is ultimately God who generates the growth.
[4] I also direct the disciple to 2 Timothy 1:7For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us powerlove and self-discipline.”
[5] I have used Skype, Face Time, the phone, emails, and other electronic devices and programs to help others grow.
[6] Romans 1:12; “That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
[7] John 15:8; “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

3 thoughts on “The Authority to Make Disciples

  1. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your encouragement! Just last night I went on a physical power walk – but it ended up being a spiritual power walk — as I strongly made my plea in prayer that there would be a revival in London. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see people seeking to understand this great God?! One of the greatest blessings I have experienced is to come along side other women on this journey – I sure don’t always feel like I have all the answers – but God really floors me when the Holy Spirit puts something on my tongue when I lack the words or the insight. It is only from the Holy Spirit himself and it pours forth at just the right moment ! Those are wow moments!! Watching women flourish as they grow in their love for Him – those are “heart” moments!! and they bring me to my knees in adoration of our King — Jill Hartwig

    1. Ephesians 2:1313 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.Romans 12:2Do not cnrfoom to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’sEzekiel 36:26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Psalm 37:44 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart

  2. I have been looking for soemhting for the men’s ministry in our church. We meet monthly for breakfast, would like to know if you would be willing to come out for a breakfast soemtime and talk about discipleship. Our breakfasts are the second saturday of the month at 7:30 am. The church is ridgeview Baptist, phil young spoke here as the mens night guest speaker. Talk with Phil he can tell you where I would like to see our church go.

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