Cross-cultural Discipleship


In Matthew 2:19, the Scripture says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The words used in the Greek New Testament for “all nations” are πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (panta ta ethne), which literally mean “all people groups.”

From that Scripture we learn that the gospel is ‘transcultural’ (cross-cultural). If the gospel is ‘transcultural’ then it has the power to reach out to all people. It was designed to be accepted and practiced by all people of our world. Therefore, true discipleship must be ‘transnational’ and should have the ability to teach, train and equip believers of all people groups, for evangelistic and discipleship purposes.

Just as Jesus was concerned about people from other cultures, his followers must share the same concern. This attitude is completed when members of the community of faith open their hearts to others and accept them in the church as they are, without conditions or prejudice.

Today, God’s world has many people groups still unreached by the gospel. Many churches and cross-cultural workers are making outstanding efforts to reach out to them. We join those missionaries by praying and supporting them with our financial assistance. That way we also become an active part of the the evangelization of our world.

The gospel transcends cultural, religious, racial, political and socioeconomic barriers. Likewise, all teachings provided by the church must lead to the formation people and communities that welcome sound Christian formation.

God designed discipleship and the Lord commanded his followers to disciple all people groups. He even gave them the formula of how to carry it through. The apostles discipled nations and now the Holy is Spirit is sending us, church members, to make disciples too. Our task will start with our willingness to obey!

Rev. Miguel Alvarez, PhD
Director of Hispanic Ministries
Church of God State of Virginia