Monthly Archives: October 2012

This is the first of the Leader Videos that accompany the free Multiply discipleship material. Each of the 24 lessons contains a video with David Platt and Francis Chan aimed at helping you lead someone else (or a small group) through this material in the discipleship process.

In order to get to the videos, simply go to the Multiply website, click on the “Materials” tab, find the specific lesson you want, and then click on the “Read More” option to see the video and the lesson appear on the screen.

Read through the week’s lesson and then watch the corresponding video. Hopefully, you’ll find some questions answered and be encouraged along the way.


In the latest 9Marks Journal, Brian Parks talks about the benefits of evangelism in discipleship.  His article, “Six Benefits of Evangelism for Discipleship,” addresses the need for every follower of Christ to be sharing the gospel.

“But the New Testament paints a picture in which every disciple of Christ is normally and naturally involved in evangelism as much as in Bible study, prayer, and corporate worship. From the brand new Christian to the wizened old saint, sharing the gospel is necessary and integral to a growing life in Christ.

Many of us have heard and even preached sermons that rightly focused on the Great Commission’s theme of “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20). And we’ve taught those around us that they should be disciple-makers themselves. But we also need to be clear that “making disciples” necessarily involves helping people who are not yet disciples to become disciples—that is, evangelism. Jesus modeled it (Mk. 1:1415Matt. 9:35) and trained his apostles to do the same (Mk. 6:7-13Lk. 10:1-12). Only a few days later Jesus said that they would be his “witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Part of the apostles’ teaching that the newly Spirit-filled church devoted themselves to (Acts 2:42) must have been the normal and regular sharing of the gospel with family, friends, and strangers. From those very first weeks and months after the Pentecost, people were being saved every day (Acts 2:47). Evangelism was immediately a part of their new life of discipleship to the risen Lord Jesus.”

The following is an excerpt from the new Multiply Material concerning our motive for making disciples:

Why do you want to make disciples?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? The answer is incredibly important.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be focused on making disciples. But if we don’t do it with the right motives, we are wasting our time. Worse yet, we could be doing more harm than good. Ministering to other people has been a deadly trap for seemingly godly people throughout the ages. If God cared only about outward appearances and religious activities, then any effort toward ministry would please Him. But God tells us repeatedly that He cares more about the heart than the externals.

If God cared only about religious activities, then the Pharisees would have been heroes of the faith. They were continuously engaged in ministry: they vigorously pursued outward demonstrations of godliness; they made sure the people around them kept themselves holy, and they diligently taught the law of God. And yet the Gospels present the Pharisees as villains. Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for these religious overachievers:

This people honors me with their lips,
     but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
     teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matt. 15:8–9)

The Pharisees devoted their whole lives to religious activity. They must have seemed so impressive to the people around them. Yet Jesus came along and declared that it was all in vain! An important theme that runs throughout Scripture is this: “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart“ (1 Sam. 16:7). Clearly, God wants us to pursue certain actions, but as we put God’s commands into action, our motivation makes all the difference.” (39-40)

Making disciples is obviously a good thing, and we should desire to obey God in this matter. But as Francis Chan and Mark Beuving point out above, our motives for doing so must be right.

Everything we do in service to God should be done out of love for Him and a love for others (Matt 22:36-40). Making disciples isn’t a way of earning God’s favor or getting another notch on your spiritual belt. It is the fruit of knowing, trusting, and loving the God who has revealed Himself supremely in Jesus Christ. To be sure, this won’t always be easy, nor will we always “feel” like doing it; Satan, sin, and selfishness still seek to pull us away from doing God’s will. But at the end of the day, disciples of Jesus should desire to see others come to know and love our great Savior. And Christ has promised to be with us in this task (Matt 28:20).

Good news: the Multiply discipleship material is now posted online. And it’s FREE! Go here to view or download the material. (Starting in November, you’ll be able to purchase the discipleship material in book form if you would like. See more about that here).

Cloud 'plane': Taken through the window of an aeroplane.NB: Credit to read Does the thought of evangelism and making disciples make you, well, nervous? You know you should, but it just feels too intimidating. Perhaps you’ve never connected Jesus’ authority to His command to make disciples.

John Piper makes the connection for us:

Without this declaration of Jesus’ authority, we could never venture confidently to make disciples. On what possible basis do we have any right to tell anybody they should change their whole way of thinking and acting and become a disciple of Jesus Christ? Only one thing could justify such outlandish proselytizing all over the world—that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and has been given an absolute authority over natural and supernatural forces so that every human and every angelic being will give an account to him. If Jesus has that kind of authority, then we Christians not only have the right but are bound by love to tell other people to change and become his disciples. And Jesus does have that kind of authority, or else he is a deceiver or this book (the Bible) so distorts his portrait that we don’t know who he was. But to call Jesus a deceiver and to call this book a distortion are both unwarranted accusations. Therefore, this man has all authority in heaven and on earth; more than President Reagan, more than Mr. Andropov, more than the military-industrial complex, more than all the CEOs of all the corporations in the world put together. He is the absolute sovereign of the universe, and one way or the other every knee will bow to him.

And therefore—notice the word in verse 19—therefore, those who bend the knee of allegiance to his authority have from him the right and the power to go and make disciples everywhere. The command to go make disciples is not arbitrary. It is reasonable. Jesus did not say, “Do it because I told you, and that’s it.” He said, “Do it because all authority is mine.” Nothing is more reasonable and more loving than to plead with the rebellious creatures of Jesus Christ that they turn and give their devotion to the King of kings who will have the last say in this world.”

(For Piper’s full sermon, “Go and Make Disciples, Baptizing Them…,” go here.)

Piper’s connection between Jesus’ authority and Jesus’ command is important to remember as we seek to make disciples. Without this realization, we will shrink back in fear. However, by trusting in Jesus’ words, we can engage others with the confidence that the King of the universe is with us and for us. This is part of what we want to remind each other of at the Multiply Gathering.


In his book, Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler talks about seeing the place where he lives as a strategic placement by God. Chandler’s perspective captures well the mindset that all followers of Christ should have as those seeking to make disciples:

“It is my understanding from the Scriptures that I live in the neighborhood I live in according to the predetermined plan of God, and I have been uniquely wired and drawn toward certain things so that men might know God, hear from God, see the gospel, hear the gospel, gravitate toward the gospel, and have it preached and proclaimed to them. So when I go to my house after I’m done at the office, it is my understanding that I am not in that neighborhood by mistake. My neighbors on the left, on the right, and directly across the street, are there by the design of God in order that his gospel might be heralded by me to them. I want to see the gym that way; I want to see the coffee shop that way; I want to see the parents in the bleachers with me watching my son’s flag football games that way; I want to see my daughter’s dance recitals that way. I want to see the entire world through the lens of how God has wired me and where he has placed me for his glory.”  (180-181)

Pastor, professor, and author J.D. Payne talks about what we should and shouldn’t look for as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission:

We want to start with the extraordinary.  Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk.

“We want the high caliber, high capacity-type to lead this ministry.  For apart from these we can do nothing. We want Superman, not the Greatest American Hero!”

We want to use the extraordinary to reach the world.

“If only our church had some outstanding leaders, then we would be better poised to reach the 4 billion. Unfortunately, global disciple making will have to wait until we can find just one.”

We want the extraordinary because we think they are the way to accomplish the extraordinary.

“Multiplying churches is a daunting task, please send us some strong leaders to enable our church to be about such work.”

But…what if the way to reach the nations is not through the extraordinary.  What if in our Father’s Kingdom economy the primary way to accomplish the extraordinary is through the ordinary?

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 ESV).

Do you catch that?  The ordinary doing the extraordinary.

Yes, our Father uses the extraordinary to accomplish the extraordinary, but not in the way we have come to believe.  For the extraordinary is found in Jesus and not His followers’ intellect, leadership capacity, experience, degrees, or charisma.

What about your church?  Do you have any members who are common, ordinary people?  Are you a common person?  If so, then you and your church are in a good position for the Lord to do the extraordinary through you.

“But ordinary people can’t plant extraordinary churches?”

Really? What is your definition of extraordinary?

“With all that they have going on with work and family, they can’t organize, administrate, lead, preach, and conduct church ministries like I do.”

Then maybe you need to revise your understanding of what is necessary for a healthy local church to exist and be involved in our commission?

The way to accomplish the extraordinary is through the ordinary.  The ordinary confounded the religious leaders.  The ordinary was accused of turning the world upside down in the first century (Acts 17:6).  The ordinary was responsible for the word of the Lord going forth everywhere (1 Thes 1:8).  And it was through the service of the ordinary that you and I eventually came to faith in the extraordinary.

Stop looking for the extraordinary among people. Look for the ordinary who are filled with the extraordinary. . . if you want to accomplish the extraordinary.


J. D. 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