πορευθέντες οὖν *μαθητεύσατε* πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (Mat 28:19).
How have I never noticed, and never been taught, that Jesus did not command his followers to “make disciples of all nations”?
He commanded his followers to “disciple all the nations.”
“Disciples” is not the object of the imperative “make.” “All the nations” is the object of the imperative “disciple.” This is the difference between being told to “Make potatoes” and “Sow seeds,” or the difference between what Paul and Apollos did in Corinth and what God did in Corinth (1 Cor. 3:5-9).
One is focused on the product, the other on the process; one is measured by quantity, the other by quality; one values people to the degree they can be made disciples, the other values the nations and therefore sets out to disciple them; one is successful when the seats of the church are filled with people, the other when the people of the Church are filled with the Spirit of Christ; one sets out to make a factory, the other to build with spires; one calls the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20a, the other knows that the essence of the Great Commission is its frame (Matthew 28:18 and 20b); one is impossible, the other is too, but it is done with God, and with God all things are possible (Mt. 19:26).
Perhaps Christ really will build his Church.