Disciple all nations
In Matt 28:19-20, Jesus instructed his followers to go and disciple all nations by teaching them to observe all he had commanded them. He showed his disciples how to disciple others. This is by teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded his followers. That is the assignment of the great commission; teaching men to follow the teachings of Christ.
As followers of Jesus, we have the commandment from our master and Lord to take the gospel to all nations and disciple those that will respond to the gospel. There is a big difference between a convert and a disciple. A new believer in Christ is a convert. He has confessed his sins and sought forgiveness by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. A convert is ready to follow Jesus and learn obedience to the word of God. Natural age does not come to play here. A man who is advanced in age physically is a baby in the Lord when he becomes born again. He therefore still needs to be schooled in the things of God and learn to follow Jesus.
How to disciple converts
Preaching makes converts while teaching makes disciples. How to disciple a convert is by first taking the convert through a systematic teaching of the rudiments of the word of God. Lay a good foundation for the new believer to build his faith upon. Heb. 6:1-2 talks about teachings on repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment as foundational messages. Teachings on prayer, assurance of salvation, persecution, soul winning etc are good foundational teachings for the convert. Peter referred to these teachings as the milk of God’s word. ‘As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby’ (1 Peter 2:2)
Training converts to become disciples
Discipleship training takes time and efforts. It involves continuous teaching and modeling. Leading by example is the surest way to disciple others. The teachings and examples the new believers see go a long way in helping them to understand what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. There will be times to correct the new believer in love. His discipler needs to show understanding that he is just learning the ropes. Therefore, the maturity of the discipler will aid the effectiveness of his discipling others to follow Jesus.
As the new believer matures into a disciple, he should be encouraged to start discipling others. We are all called to discipleship. ‘And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also’ (2 Tim. 2:2). The mark of a disciple is that he is able to disciple others who in turn can also disciple others. For example, the mark of John’s discipleship is that he has discipled Matthew to the point that Matthew is now discipling others. Every disciple of Jesus must disciple others, or else, he is not yet a disciple. Discipling others comes naturally to a follower of Jesus who had been discipled.