I recently launched a collaborative writing project about how to make disciples.
This is the first post in a series of posts that will ultimately be bundled into a free eBook. By publishing content here first, I get the benefit of running it by you, getting your feed-forward, and hopefully avoid heresy 😉
I’d love for you to subscribe to the blog, engage in the conversation, share the content with others, and help make this an extremely helpful resource for you, me, and anyone else who wants to join in making disciples of all nations.
For now, I’d like for you to look through the tentative titles and table of contents below and answer the following questions:
- If you were going to read this eBook, is this what you want to learn about making disciples?
- In addition to what is included here, what other questions do you have about becoming a bearing more fruit as a disciple maker?
- How would you rephrase these titles and subtitles to be more intriguing and creative?
Not everyone is a super-Christian!
We don’t all have stories of how we glanced at the stranger seated next to us on the plane and led them to Jesus right there on the spot.
Most of us are probably missing like 9 out of every 10 opportunities we have to share the Truth. (Wait! What opportunities?!)
Worse, in the unlikely event that we ever did
accidentally unintentionally luckily lead someone to Jesus, we wouldn’t have the first clue what to do next. Maybe the pastor knows what to do? Sadly, maybe not.
Or, maybe you know how to “lead people to Christ” but you have never considered how to lead them toward Christ-likeness.
We may not all be super-Christians, but every-Christian has been tasked with making disciples of all nations.
A Collaborative Writing Project
I’m writing an eBook to help the every-Christian make and multiply followers of Jesus.
But I’m not writing from a super-Christian’s perspective. I’m writing from an every-Christian perspective.
I actually believe that if Jesus has given us a mission to make disciples of all nations he can empower every-Christian to fulfill that mission. And if we’re not intentionally making disciples who make disciples then we are pursuing the wrong mission.
I was having a conversation yesterday with someone about the lack of disciple making in new churches and in established churches. It seems that many church leaders know how to implement small groups and preach sermons but few know how to make and model disciple making on a personal level.
The reason I was talking about this is because I am beginning work on an eBook about the path to making disciples. I want to encourage Christians that they can make a disciple in the next 12 months who will make a new disciple in the next 24 months. I’ll share more details soon on the blog (I’ve already share the details to my newsletter contacts).
But in the meantime, my friend J.D. Payne has written an eBook on discipleship and church planting that is a great resource.
J. D. is a National Missionary with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and an Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism in the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. where he directs the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.
I love J. D.’s definition of church planting: “Biblical church planting is evangelism that results in new churches”. (For my particular focus, I might modify the definition to “Biblical church planting is intentional disciple making that results in new churches”.)
Some troubling research according to Greg Laurie:
- Only 1 in 20 Christians has ever shared the Gospel.
Let’s combine that with some data from ARIS 2008:
- US Population = 307,006,550
- Self-proclaimed Christians in US = 233,324, 978 (or 76%)
- 1 in 20 US Christians who has ever shared the Gospel = 11,666,249 (or 4%)
What does Jesus have to say about this?
Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
One of the definitions of deny is “to refuse to grant a request.” If 19 out of 20 self-proclaimed Christians won’t acknowledge Jesus with their lips and deny his
request command to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) and be witnesses (Luke 24:48, Acts 1:8) then what are we to conclude?
From The Living Church: Convictions of A Lifelong Pastor by John R. W. Stott (1921 – 2011):
The Mission of the Church
We believe that the church has a double identity. On the one hand we are called out of the world to belong to God, and on the other we are sent back into the world to witness and to serve. Moreover, the mission of the church is modeled on the mission of Christ. He himself said so. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). His mission meant for him the incarnation. He did not stay in the safe immunity of his heaven. Instead, he emptied himself of his glory and humbled himself to serve. He actually entered our world. He took our nature, lived our life, and died our death. He could not have identified with us more closely than he did. It was total identifacation, though without any loss of identity, for he became one of us without ceasing to be himself. He became human without ceasing to be God.
And now he calls us to enter other people’s worlds, as he entered ours. All authentic mission is incarnational mission. We are called to enter other people’s social and cultural realit: into their thought-world, struggling to understand their misunderstandings of the gospel, and into the pain of their alienation, weeping with those who weep. And all this without compromising our Christian beliefs, values and standards.
Most American churches are doing lots of addition, subtraction and division. Few are doing multiplication.
+ It’s easy to settle for addition. At least it is positive growth. Addition is safe. Addition is comfortable. But addition is often the result of a lack of mission and vision. Church leaders get bogged down in caring for the urgent and the existing members are happy because the attention is all on them. Sometimes people move into the area and just naturally look for a church. Put out a sign and we can probably grow through addition.
– However, addition is just a step away from subtraction. People start to withdraw from the church when the church has no purpose. I bet more people leave the church out of boredom than from being asked to step up and pursue the Great Commission.