These steps first appeared in a Leadership magazine article (Summer 1988). I rediscovered them in an ebook by Calvin Miller called The Disciplined Life.
According to Miller, these are “nine rather drastic steps wealthy Westerners would have to take to truly identify with the developing world”:
- Take out the furniture: leave a few old blankets, a kitchen table, maybe a wooden chair. You’ve never had a bed, remember?
- Throw out your clothes. Each person in the family may keep the oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. The head of the family has the only pair of shoes.
- All kitchen appliances have vanished. Keep a box of matches, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a handful of onions, a dish of dried beans. Rescue the moldy potatoes from the garbage can: those are tonight’s meal.
- Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, take out the wiring and the lights and everything that runs by electricity.
- Take away the house and move the family into the tool shed.
- No more postman, fireman, government services. The two-classroom school is three miles away, but only two of your seven children attend anyway, and they walk.
- Throw out your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, insurance policies. You now have a cash hoard of $5.
- Get out and start cultivating your three acres. Try hard to raise $300 in cash crops because your landlord wants one-third and your moneylender 10 percent.
- Find some way for your children to bring in a little extra money so you have something to eat most days. But it won’t be enough to keep bodies healthy—so lop off 25 to 30 years of life.
Question: Which of these would be the hardest “step” to take? For me, I think steps 4, 5, and 6 would be the most jarring for my American sensibilities. You?
Before Jesus left the planet, He promised His followers that they would become Spirit-empowered disciples pursuing His mission.
When the promised Spirit filled them on the day of Pentecost, He turned ordinary fishermen into extraordinary fishers of men.
Simple Galileans began preaching the Gospel in the languages of the nations. Peter, who had denied Jesus three times preached a powerful message of the Gospel and 3,000 people were added to their numbers.
A movement began.
The next day, and the next, and the one after that, the new believers committed themselves to one another and to God.
Acts 2:41-47 is a record of those first few days and weeks of the movement. These verses reveal some key traits or marks of a Spirit-empowered follower of Jesus.
1. Wholehearted Worship
Then fear came over everyone…
Wholehearted worship is active. Worship is sacrifice. Whether “in the temple complex” (large gatherings) or “from house to house” (smaller, more intimate gatherings), when we are together with other believers, our worship should be filled with energy and praise.
Worship is both ritualistic and relational. A spirit-empowered disciple will dedicate himself to the celebration of communion, to prayers, and to other elements in a consistent way with other believers. On the other hand, worship is also spontaneous and from the heart. There ought to be a holy awe that permeates our corporate worship and our private worship because God’s Spirit is on the move.
I recently ran across Downline Ministries that exists to “equip Christ followers to make disciples”. It looks like they’ve got training resources, books, and articles to help promote making and multiplying disciples. I haven’t really explored their content very deeply but it looks great.
Check out this video for a look at what Downline is all about:
What do you think?
The irony is that I recently wrote a post entitled Disciple Making vs. Downline: Practicing God’s Presence Or Pyramid Scheme. I wrote that post because I had been hearing some negative voices criticizing discipleship as some sort of multi-level marketing pyramid scheme. Those negative critiques spoke disparaging about discipleship as some sort of “downline”. Personally, I don’t care what you call it and if what I do to make disciples (in obedience to God’s will) looks like a pyramid scheme to critics, then so be it.
Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples. That’s our mission. But apparently, only 1 in 20 Christians has even shared the Gospel.
Less than that will ever lead someone to Christ.
Less than that will ever invest time in leading that new disciple toward Christlikeness?
What are we to make of so few disciples actually making disciples? If you’ve never made a disciple (or haven’t in a long time) there are at least 7 factors that might be contributing to your disciple making slump.
You aren’t obeying
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
What you can do: Confess your disobedience and ask God to equip you to become a disciple-making disciple. Remember, it’s in the context of the Great Commission that Jesus says, “I am with you always…” (What else? – Read this post on The Mission of the Church)
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.