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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Francis Chan talks about how he sensed the Lord’s leading for something like Multiply and the journey to this point:

“Almost two years ago, my family and I were in Asia trying to figure out where the Lord wanted us to live and minister. While apartment hunting in Hong Kong, I had a strong sense that God wanted me to return to the US. There was more I was supposed to do in convincing Christians to make disciples.

It was all a bit overwhelming as I couldn’t fathom how I could change the mindset of the millions who believe that being “fishers of men” and making “disciples” is the pastor’s job. At the same time, I was excited about pursuing a vision that was too difficult for me. I told the Lord that I could not do this on my own, but also that I would not “recruit” anyone. I trusted that if He wanted me to do this, then He would bring people my way.

Right after I returned to the States, I spoke at the Passion conference. It was there that I met David Platt for the first time. We immediately hit it off, and when I asked him what he felt the Lord was leading him to do, I was shocked by his answer.

He spoke about how he believed that every believer needed to be a disciple maker. He shared about his desire to create material to train believers to disciple others. He wondered about ways to spread this message through books, videos, gatherings, etc. He considered new expressions of church where disciple making was central and every member understood their responsibility. In short, he expressed everything the Lord had been laying on my heart.

After several conversations and prayer, we decided there was no reason for us to do this separately. It made more sense to pursue this as a team. So after a year and a half of prayer, planning, and work, we are ready to launch “Multiply”.

To learn more about Multiply, go here.

To learn more about the Multiply Gathering, go here.

To register for the Multiply Gathering (for free!), go here.

Multiply is designed to encourage every believer and every church to see disciple-making as the center of their mission. Even for those who recognize this imperative, however, there can be a misunderstanding in terms of how the task of making disciples is carried out.

In their book Transformational Church, Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer make the following observations with regard to the church’s method for obeying the Great Commission:

“…..Early believers desired transformation of the lost more than they desired comfort for themselves. The emphasis on seeing people changed by the power of Christ must outweigh other desires. For years Christians in North America had the luxury of depending on attractive churches and programs to be their proxy evangelist to our culture. It is ‘bricks and mortar’ evangelism. The church facility and the corresponding activity served as the entity tasked to draw the lost to Jesus. In past years, in specific regions in the U.S., this approach to evangelism worked. But the track record of success in the past is not always good.

 An entire segment of our current Christian population believes that giving, building, and inviting is good enough to keep the church on track as the evangelist to our culture. Some Christians think that if lost people could only hear the pastor preach then God will take care of the rest. As our culture becomes increasingly less churched (or interested in church), we are forced to move our methods further back in history to a more ancient approach to reaching people. Some call this the transition from the come and see evangelist church to a post-Christendom go and tell missionary church. That is not to say that “come and see” is over. It’s not. Be we need more ‘go and tell.’

 The church is no longer (in most places) the local evangelist. It is now the missionary. Being buried in the culture to display Christ in daily life is a critical issue. If the church is positioned in culture as the missionary, the members must learn to live like it. Terms like making disciples, outreach, and evangelism must be understood in the larger framework of the mission of God. God glorifies Himself through the transformation of sinners into saints. God’s mission is entrusted to us to be missionaries in a world to which we hold no allegiance. Rather, we are ambassadors on a mission to persuade all others to follow the King.” (206-207)

To learn more about Multiply, go here.

To learn more about the Multiply Gathering, go here.

To register for the Multiply Gathering (for free!), go here.

In his book i am not but i know I AM, pastor, speaker, and author Louie Giglio notes the ministry of John the Baptist as a model for pointing away from ourselves to Christ. Giglio’s description of John as a “little leader” captures the mindset that ought to characterize all followers of Christ. This is a good word from John 3:30:

“John didn’t politely say, ‘He should increase.’ Or, ‘I want Him to increase.’ John’s confession was not about tipping his hat to the Son of God. Rather it was an expression of focused determination, a calculated purpose statement for life and ministry. It’s as if John was saying:

‘No matter what else happens there’s one thing that has to take place—one thing that must happen—and the one thing that must happen is that Jesus must emerge and expand in the hearts and affections of people. He must be elevated, honored, exalted, focused on, cherished, enjoyed, amplified, and adored by all people everywhere.’

John’s mission was simple and clear: Jesus must increase, and I must decrease. Convinced and aware that Jesus was center stage in the story, John found great joy and compelling purpose in pointing others to Him. His is the voice of the ‘little leader,’ a man so blown away by the privilege of knowing God personally that he couldn’t be distracted by petty clashes and glory wars.

Jesus was a on a meteoric rise. In the short time since His baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus had called disciples and established a core team, performed the first recorded miracle at a wedding up the road in Cana, and spoken to Nicodemus in the night about being born again, uttering the words of John 3:16—words that have become the most well-known in Scripture. Jesus was clearly in a league of His own. But sadly, John’s followers had been so busy trying to protect their turf they failed to notice that the kingdom had landed in the neighborhood. That kind of myopic, ‘it’s all about me’ vision, is the crippling by-product of not knowing who He is and who we are not, a truth John embraced and championed.

‘The one who comes from above is above all,’ the Gospel records. ‘The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.’

In John’s mind he wasn’t losing his people to a bigger ministry. He was just doing what he came to do—holding wide the door for the arrival of heaven’s King.” (94-95)

John’s selfless, Christ-exalting attitude is precisely what is called for in the lives of those who seek to make disciples. Even if you’re not a leader, the temptation is strong to put “me” at the center of your life and your affections. But as Louie Giglio reminds us, this is not what we were created for. We were created to make much of Christ.

To learn more about Multiply, go here.

To learn more about the Multiply Gathering, go here.

To register for the Multiply Gathering (for free!), go here.

Good news: The discipleship material for Multiply will soon be available in book form!

Francis Chan and Mark Beuving have put together lessons on a number of foundational topics for those who want to grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus.

Although you will still be able to view and download the Multiply discipleship material for free on our website (starting on October 3), some people prefer a hard copy. So we’re making one available.

Here’s what one ministry leader has said about the material:

I am using the material with some of my college guys and one of the things that I find appealing is the fact that I don’t have to send them to the bookstore to buy anything. Plus this is some of the most solid and practical stuff out there for use in discipleship. Thanks for making it available.

Tracy D., Campus Minister, Middle Georgia State College

You can pre-order Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples right now wherever books are sold. This soft-cover book, which contains all 24 lessons of the Multiply discipleship material, is scheduled to release on Nov. 1st of this year.

Here are a few links for your convenience:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
CBD
Family Christian
LifeWay
Mardel

By the way, you do not have to use this discipleship material in order to be a part of or benefit from the Multiply Gathering. Our goal is simply to make good, biblical resources available to you for as little as possible. We hope you’ll take advantage of one of these two options, and that you’ll be encouraged to dig in to God’s Word and lead others to do the same.

As we think about the purpose of Multiply and the command Jesus gave to go and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20), there’s always the temptation to adjust our message in order to attract more would-be followers of Christ. However, the goal of making disciples will not be accomplished by our own ability or ingenuity.

Pastor and author Jim Cymbala gives us a healthy reminder that the call to spread the gospel is a call to remain faithful to its message:

“The apostles weren’t trying to finesse people. Their communication was not supposed to be ‘cool’ or soothing. They aimed for a piercing of the heart, for conviction of sin. They had not the faintest intention of asking, ‘What do people want to hear? How can we draw more people to church on Sunday?’ That was the last thing in their minds. Such an approach would have been foreign to the whole New Testament.

Instead of trying to bring men and women to Christ in the biblical way, we are consumed with the unbiblical concept of ‘church growth.’ The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers but rather urges us faithfully to proclaim God’s message in the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This will build God’s church God’s way.

Unfortunately, some churches now continually monitor how pleased people are with the services and ask what else they would like…

We have no permission whatsoever to adjust the message of the gospel. Whether it seems popular or not, whether it is ‘hip’ to the times, we must faithfully and boldly proclaim that sin is real but Jesus forgives those who confess.

God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church. He only calls us to do his work, proclaiming his Word to people he loves under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to produce results that only he can bring about. The glory then goes to him alone—not to any denomination, local church, local pastor, or church-growth consultant. That is God’s only plan, and anything else is a deviation from the teaching of the New Testament.”

– Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, 124-125

As we seek to obey Christ’s call in the Great Commission, we must rely on God’s Spirit to apply the truths of God’s Word to those we encounter. It is Christ who is building His church (Matt 16:13-20), not us.

We long to see people come to know Christ and grow as His disciples, and to this end we pray and seek to share His truth. But we must leave the results up to God. Our call, as pastor Cymbala says above, is to be faithful to our Lord and His gospel. At the Multiply Gathering, we will be challenged to do just that.

To learn more about Multiply, go here.

To learn more about the Multiply Gathering, go here.

To register for the Multiply Gathering (for free!), go here.

Multiply:  The Heart Behind the Movement

To be a disciple of Jesus is to make disciples of Jesus.

Many don’t actively make disciples because they don’t know what it means to be a disciple.

What exactly did Jesus intend when he said, “Follow me”? Many people in the first century chose to follow him from a distance. Scores of casual listeners were content to associate themselves with Jesus as long as following him did not intrude upon their lifestyles, preferences, comforts, and even their religion. But whenever these listeners took the time to actually look Jesus in the eyes and see who he was, and really hear what he was saying, they scattered. Like many people today, they were content to have casual association with Jesus, all the while shrinking back from total abandonment to Jesus. In the haunting words of Jesus in Matthew 7, they did all kinds of deeds in his name, yet they never actually knew Jesus. And tragically, the church is likely filled with countless such people today.

Yet there was a small group of men in the first century who refused to retreat from Jesus. They knew that following Jesus meant leaving behind comfort and careers, possessions and position, friends and family, safety and security. It meant fundamental abandonment of sin and self and total adherence to Jesus. It meant thrusting their lives upon his grace, attaching their lives to his person, entrusting their lives to his authority, and devoting their lives to his mission. Jesus’ invitation to follow him was—and is—an invitation into a relationship marked by self-denial, personal intimacy, single-minded ambition, and ultimate joy. When people truly engage the personal invitation of Jesus to follow him, absolutely everything changes, for he is worthy of all our trust, all our dreams, and all our affections.

The natural overflow of being a disciple of Jesus is then to make disciples of Jesus. “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This was a promise: Jesus takes every disciple and makes them into disciple-makers. And this was a command: He told each of his disciples to go and make disciples among every nation, baptizing them and teaching them to obey him. His design is for every single disciple to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples until the gospel spreads to all peoples.

Yet we have subtly and tragically taken the costly command of Christ to go, baptize, and teach all nations and mutated it into a comfortable call for Christians to come, be baptized, and listen in one location. Read More

Do you ever hear Christ’s words in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and think, “I can’t accomplish that”? If so, you’re right.

Pastor and author J.D. Greear reminds us that obedience to the Great Commission is our responsibility, but the work of salvation is not:

“Now, let’s remember here, lest we saddle ourselves with a burden we can’t carry, that the work of salvation, from start to finish, is God’s work.  God didn’t lay the Great Commission on our shoulders as if He expected us to go accomplish it for Him.  Just as He is the only one who can save, He’s the only One who empowers and supplies for the mission.  Even after Paul laid out the case that people can only be saved if we preach to them, he says, “And how shall they preach, unless they are sent?”  Notice he doesn’t say, “And how can they hear unless we go?”  But, “How can they hear unless we are sent?”  Paul still looks heavenward for the completing of the task.  The Holy Spirit has to do the sending before the going does any good.  The Holy Spirit anoints us, commissions us, and resources us.  He’ll use us and our stuff in the process, but don’t confuse His doing it through us with Him telling us that we have to do it for Him.  He gave us a promise, that He would build His church through us, not a charge that we were to build it for Him.” 

— J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, 150-151

Greear’s words are a good reminder as we think about the central focus of Multiply, namely, encouraging the church to fulfill its primary mission of making disciples. It is certainly imperative that churches and individual followers of Christ obey the Great Commission, for this is how God has ordained to carry out His plan; yet, as Greear points out, we must remember our place in this mission.

In the task of disciple-making, God does the saving, the empowering, and the providing of the necessary resources. We, on the other hand, are to trust Him, obey Him, and proclaim the truth of the gospel. If making disciples seems impossible, you’re right; it is, humanly speaking. It’s a supernatural work of God. And by His grace we get to be a part of making His salvation known.

To learn more about Multiply and the Multiply Gathering, you can go here. Participation is free via live webcast. Go here to register.

Come be a part of the Multiply Gathering, and invite others to join you.  Let’s encourage one another to follow Christ in this glorious mission.

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