Jesus said, go into all nations evangelizing them and bringing them to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Spirit.
Actually the word used by Matthew, when writing what Jesus said, was the Koine Greek word mathēteuō. This word is a verb and its etymological root word is mathētēs, which means (a) disciple. The verb, as all verbs do, denotes action, which in this case is the teaching or instruction of another who is to be the “disciple.” So, what does any of that have to do with the great commission? Follow this to the end and it will be clear.
Jesus made his disciples simply by saying, “follow me.” Those to whom Jesus spoke agreed to be his disciples by following him. Their great statements of faith did not come until later. Their baptism was more than likely before their commitment to follow Jesus (Acts 1:21-22). Their union with the Soul of God (Holy Spirit) was after their discipleship from Jesus had ended. So, what is discipleship?
Discipleship (as referred to in the Bible) is an ancient practice of education and training. Consider a master potter maker taking on an apprentice; this would be a close resemblance to discipleship. The apprentice would study with the master, learning from him the trade. Not only would the apprentice learn how to make pottery but learn the tools and how to make specialty tools. The apprentice would learn how to market the products, acquiring new clients as well as retaining customers. The apprentice would spend great amounts of time by the master’s side in order to learn all of this. Jesus, a Rabbi, was training his disciples (apprentices) His brand of Judaism. Being that Jesus is the Son of God, his brand was God’s heart.
The point being, that the hearers of “go make disciples of all nations” would not have taken that as “go get people to follow me (Jesus).” They would have understood that as, you are now trained as Rabbis go and call others to follow you in order to train them, and baptize them in the name of Father, Me, and The Great Soul Connecting Us. (The baptism was more of the conversion or declaration of faith.)
Today we keep calling people to follow Jesus, yet where is the discipleship? Where are the trained, training others; follow me as I follow Christ? Telling people to read their Bibles, be a part of a local church, pray as much as you can, and listen to your pastor; is not discipleship. Our call to discipleship does not necessarily mean we must quit our job or sell our business, but it has to be far more involved in the re-training of people’s minds than the one to three group meetings a week allows for.