For some reason many people use “making disciples” as a code phrase for “being the church policeman/ being a bully for Jesus”.
Making disciples was never about investigating people’s lives to make sure they come up to our high standards – it wasn’t even about ethics. It was about training people to create masterpieces.
In the ancient Greek world, a skilled artisan would take on some young helpers – disciples, who would watch him work, watch him create, watch him make works of art, find out how he found his inspiration, how he handled the tools, how he turned a block of marble into a statue, how he combined paints, how he rested, how he worked, how he made decisions.
Making disciples is when a Christian – a masterpiece of God designed to work masterpieces – who is fruitful, who is changing lives, healing the sick, ministering grace and life to people, lays down His life into younger, more inexperienced people and loves them enough and sacrifices enough of his privacy and time so they can see him heal the sick and find out how he does it, see him preach and realize how he does it, see him change lives, see him deal with criticism, with praise, and learn how to heal the sick and cast out demons and speak in tongues and extend the kingdom of God on earth.
It has nothing to do with looking at those who can’t and critiquing their decisions and habits from our ivory towers. It has to do with getting your hands dirty and living the life in a transparent way that others can model it.
Of course – if you aren’t doing anything worthwhile no one will ever want to model it! Then of course you need to criticize and attack them because otherwise people will see the Emperor has no clothes and realize you can’t do the stuff in the Word. So quickly attack the people who don’t want to be your disciple, and tell them they are rubbish and don’t care about God, and have no heart for the kingdom and that they are not disciples and just converts and whatever. It should deflect from people realizing you are naked.
On the other hand you could clothe yourself in righteousness, realize who you are, and do the works of the kingdom. Then people will crawl over broken glass to be close to you and be with you, and you won’t have to lie to discredit them.
Of course if you are not skilled at what you do no one wants to be your disciple! It’s a simple thing but one you need to realize. The quality of discipleship does not depend on the novice, but on the skill of the master.