Pastor David Platt talks about how disciple-making should fit in to the church’s priorities.
In their book, What is the Mission of the Church?, Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert give some helpful counsel concerning what exactly the church is to be about. Here’s a quote followed by seven questions that summarize the Great Commission accounts:
“The mission of the church—as seen in the Great Commissions, the early church in Acts, and the life of the apostle Paul—is to win people to Christ and build them up in Christ. Making disciples—that’s our task.” (63)
7 Questions about the Great Commission:
“Who? Jesus gave this mission verbally to the first disciples, but it did not end with their deaths. As Lord of the church, he expects his followers to carry out this mission “to the end of the age.” Their mission is our mission.
Why? The authority for our mission comes from Christ. It is rooted in the Word of God and based on the Father’s sending of the Son. We are sent because Christ was sent, and we go in his name, under his authority.
What? The mission consists of preaching and teaching, announcing and testifying, making disciples and bearing witness. The mission focuses on the initial and continuing verbal declaration of the gospel, the announcement of Christ’s death and resurrection and the life found in him when we repent and believe.
Where? We are sent into the world. Our strategy is no longer “come and see” but “go and tell.” The message of salvation is for every people group – near, far, and everywhere in between.
How? We go out in the power of the Holy Spirit and in submission to the Son just as he was obedient to and dependent upon the Father.
When? The mission began at Pentecost when the disciples were clothed with power from on high with the presence of the Holy Spirit. The mission will last as long as the promise of Christ’s presence lasts; that is, to the end of the age.
To whom? The church should make disciples of the nations. We must go to every people group, proclaiming the good news to the ends of the earth.” (59)
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David Platt and Francis Chan give some practical counsel on discipling others in the video above. Find out more about the Multiply discipleship material here.
This topic of making disciples is the focus of Multiply. The Multiply Gathering led by David Platt and Francis Chan is Nov. 9th & 10th (you choose the evening) and the webcast is FREE. Register here. Check out the Multiply website and blog for more.
Pastor, professor, and author J.D. Payne gives us a good reminder in terms of our philosophy of making disciples. Efficiency is not our goal:
Every morning I take my children to school. And every morning we enter into the crazy car pool drop-off line. Crazy? Yes! Efficient? Well, that depends on whether or not you are in a hurry.
All the parents enter campus and snake their way around the school’s property, until they reach the designated drop-off point. This traffic pattern requires that one drive across eleven speed bumps, while moving very slowly. Now, while this trip circumscribes most of the school’s property, the cars continue to move. There is very little stop-and-go traffic.
A slow process? Yes. But, efficient and effective for moving hundreds of cars in a short period of time. . . while not running over the kids.
Any recalcitrant parent needing their Starbucks could easily take the short-cut, cutting their lengthy cruise across campus down to a matter of seconds. They could easily miss most of the speed bumps–hitting only two. They could be on and off the school’s property in a very, very short period of time.
Their disruption of the normative flow of traffic would cause a great delay that would ripple throughout the hundreds of cars already in the car pool line. Their interference would cause a breakdown in the entire system–hijacking the effectiveness (and efficiency) for everyone.
As I dropped off my kids this morning, I could not help but think about the great temptations that exist to short-cut the Church’s call to make disciples of all nations. Sometimes the shortest and seemingly most efficient route to accomplish the goal is not the most healthy way.
Sure, it will win the sprint for us. But after the sprint is over, we may be very surprised to realize that the race is actually a marathon. And we just ran out of energy!
What about you? Are there missiologies, ecclesiologies, philosophies, strategies, and methods presently being applied in your country that appear to be efficient but not effective for the task to which the Church is called? Are there any shortcuts being taken–and looking very efficient and successful–but are likely to result in poor health and chaos later?
Sometimes the drive around the building is the best way to go. Sometimes it is right and good to miss the opportunity to get a cup of coffee.
Be sure and check out J.D.’s latest book, Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission, which was written to “raise awareness of what is happening in the West when it comes to the migration of the world’s unreached people groups, and to offer a biblical response.”
J. D. Payne serves as the pastor for church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Before moving to Birmingham, he served for ten years with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and as 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, where he directed the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.
Check out J.D.’s blog, Missiologically Thinking
In The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren talks about how to gauge a church’s health:
“I believe that you measure the health or strength of a church by its sending capacity rather than its seating capacity. Churches are in the sending business. One of the questions we must ask in evaluating a church’s health is, ‘How many people are being mobilized for the Great Commission?’” (32-33)
On a similar note, in The Purpose Driven Life, Warren talks about the attitude and posture that ought to characterize the life of a follower of Christ:
“To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God’s agenda for your life. You can’t just ‘tack it on’ to all the other things you’d like to do with you life. You must say, like Jesus, ‘Father,…I want your will, not mine.’ You yield your rights, expectations, dreams, plans, and ambitions to him. You stop praying selfish prayers like ‘God bless what I want to do.’ Instead you pray, ‘God help me to do what you’re blessing!’ You hand God a blank sheet with your name signed at the bottom and tell him to fill in the details.” (286)
Warren’s perspective is helpful here, as all followers of Christ should be mobilized for the Great Commission and yielded to God’s will for their lives, While this should be our heart’s desire, our sin and selfishness can make this perspective difficult. That’s one of the reasons we’re getting together at the Multiply Gathering, to encourage one another in obedience to this great task. God’s grace and power are sufficient.
If you’re a church leader and you want to help us get the word out about Multiply, or even learn more about Multiply yourself, we’ve created a simple flyer that hits some of the highlights. This flyer should help you answer questions and communicate with those who plan to lead others in discipleship.
Here’s the download of the flyer: Multiply Flyer
Also of interest for churches is the special bulk order rate for the Multiply book. Keep in mind, this rate is for churches, not individuals, and this special edition is not for re-sale. We hope you’ll take advantage of this rate to get the Multiply material into the hands of as many people as possible. (Of course, the online material will remain free). Here’s the deal for the books as it’s stated in the flyer:
We’ve created a special church edition of the Multiply book by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving. With this special edition, packaged exclusively in boxes of 36 copies for only $143.64 ($3.99 per book), your Multiply team will be equipped and ready to get started.
For those wondering how to use the Multiply discipleship material, here are 7 brief points to explain how we envision these lessons being used:
1. Be personal. The material is intended for a smaller, more intimate setting. Picture the kitchen table rather than a lecture hall. Ideally, you will be walking through the lessons with an individual you are discipling, or with a small group. The more interaction you can have, the better. So ask questions and invite dialogue.
2. Be biblical. The ultimate goal is not to “get through the material.” We want to teach people what Jesus commanded (Matt 28:20), and this truth is contained in God’s Word. Trust the Word to do the work, not the lessons.
3. Be flexible. Use the material as a help, not a straightjacket. The lessons are simply meant to equip and to come alongside you in this discipleship process. Feel free to linger on sections where there’s a greater need. Don’t be afraid to adapt.
4. Be wise. Remember who you’re talking to. If you’re with an unbeliever, certain aspects of the material will obviously be more critical than others. Whatever you do, don’t give short shrift to sharing the gospel just because you want to stay on pace with the material. New believers will likewise have particular needs. Meet people where they’re at and bring them along.
5. Be prepared. As a leader, you don’t have to know everything or have all the answers. However, if you want to effectively instruct and equip others, be sure to read and think through the material before you meet, which also means reading through the key passages dealt with in these lessons. Anticipate questions. Understand the material as best you can. And be sure to check out the Leader Videos for help in this process.
6. Be engaged. That is, be willing not only to transfer new information, but also to build a relationship. Discipling someone will involve sharing life with them. Take every opportunity to model godliness in your actions and in your conversation. Truth is both taught and caught.
7. Be consistent. While discipleship is not formulaic, at least some structure is almost always helpful in such relationships. Have a set time to study the material, with the expectation that everyone will come prepared. Without being legalistic, try to stick to a plan.
As a reminder, the Multiply discipleship material is now available on the website for free. You can go here to view it or download it. This material is also scheduled to come out at the beginning of November in book form for those who prefer a hard copy. Check that out here, or wherever books are sold.