I recently read a powerful quote by Dallas Willard. He said, “Since making disciples is the main task of every church, every church ought to be able to answer two questions. What is our plan for making disciples of Jesus? Is our plan working?”
My personal experience has shown me that few churches actually have a plan for making disciples. Very few churches have actually developed a plan for helping untrained, disconnected seekers become fully trained connected disciples. Since disciples are made and not born, we must have a plan to make them. What a sad commentary on the Church when we have failed to develop a plan to accomplish the one thing Jesus told us to do: make disciples.
Developing a plan is really not very complicated. Just look to Jesus. Jesus gives us the perfect plan for how to help people become disciples. A church that reaches lost people, baptizes them, connects them to a growth environment, and then sends them out to lead others is following Christ’s model. The basic principles of winning, building, and sending still work today as well as they did two thousand years ago. Christ’s plan works if we will work His plan.
The answer to the second question Willard asks may be a bit harder to swallow. The reality is that very few churches are truly succeeding at the mission of making disciples that make more disciples. My experience is that some churches are reaching people and baptizing them. Some churches are teaching people and educating them. Some churches are even sending people out to reach more people. But very few churches are multiplying disciple makers.
This much I do know: the enemy will fight disciple making more than he will fight anything else we do. Why? Because he knows the power of multiplication. The enemy knows that movements of addition have very little impact, but a movement of multiplication has incredible impact. Satan will work overtime to stop a church from working its plan for making disciples.
My guess is that Satan doesn’t like believers being educated. He doesn’t like them serving, sharing, or worshipping either. But what he really can’t stand is a believer reproducing more disciples of Jesus. He will fight that with everything he has. This means we must persevere in disciple making. We must not lose heart or hope. Even when people bail on us, we must stick to the plan and process of disciple making. It may take time, but in the end, it will pay off. Work the plan, and the plan will work.
Impact Ministries is available to assist you and your church in making disciples. Contact us for a free download called, “Discovering Disciple Making.” You can request this free download and find even more information on our other resources at impactdisciples.com.