Does Disciple Making Work?
Several years ago, I was in a small group with some church leaders when one of the leaders said, “Let’s face it: multiplying disciples doesn’t really work.” I can’t tell you all that was going on in my head when I heard that statement, but I will tell you that I was in shock. How does a person say that the very thing Jesus did to reach the world does not work? Obviously this person had forgotten that he would not even be a Christian today if someone somewhere had not multiplied a disciple. Granted, our little multiplication charts and graphs might not work with our formulas for reaching millions of people, but don’t think for a moment that multiplying disciples does not work.
I am convinced that the only way for multiple generations of disciples to exist is for disciples to make more disciples. Two-thousand years of disciples is proof that disciple making does indeed work. My friend may not have seen disciple making working in his life, but his own salvation is proof that it does work. My friend may not be able to draw a pretty diagram of how he became a disciple, or how many disciples he has made, but that does not change the fact that the message of Christ has been passed down to him over thousands of years. That did not happen by accident!
Maybe the real question is not, “Does disciple making work?” Perhaps the question we need to be asking is whether or not we are working the plan. If we reject the concept of a movement of multiplying disciples, then it leaves us with a movement of addition. If all we have is a movement of addition, we have no chance of reaching the world for Christ. The rate of population growth will eventually render a movement of addition meaningless (at least in terms of worldwide impact.) It is certainly not meaningless for the individual that is reached by addition.
If we are content on accepting only movements of addition, we are rejecting the very approach Jesus took for evangelizing the world. If we settle for a movement of addition, the enemy wins a battle. We must never allow our experience to determine what we do and don’t do. We must always let the life of Christ and the truth of scripture to be our authority for how we live.
The sad reality is that I don’t know if my friend is making any disciples these days. I have a hunch he isn’t, and that makes the enemy very happy.
Why not work God’s plan and leave the results up to God? I tell folks all the time: commit to leading a small group of disciples every year, and lead a new group every year for the rest of your life. You only need one of those disciples to make a disciple for disciple making to be a success. Disciple making does work, but only if you make disciples.
Contact impactdisciples.com if you need help working God’s plan for making disciples. We do not have it all figured out, but we have not given up, and we are swinging at it harder than ever.