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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Making a Plan

In today’s busy world, making disciples can fall by the wayside as things of far less importance are elevated to priority status.  It takes hard work, sacrifice, and intentionality to obey the Great Commission.  We wan to point you toward a great tool that will help you rightly orient your life to make this possible.

Pastor David Platt recently encouraged members of his church to create a “personal disciple-making plan.”  Click HERE to watch to full sermon.  If creating such a plan sounds like a good idea to you but also sounds a bit ambitious and overwhelming, Pastor David has helped by posing six questions for us to consider.  Answering these six questions will lay out a plan to help you make disciples better this year.  According to Brook Hills, “This plan uses six straightforward questions laid out in the PDF available for download below to help you flesh out what it means to follow Jesus. These questions are not exhaustive, but they are essential. Our hope and prayer is that they will serve us as we consider what it means to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples of Jesus.”

We want you to consider the same thing.  How will you follow Jesus better and bring others to do the same?  This doesn’t just happen, so one way or another, you’ll need to plan.  And if you don’t know where to start… well here’s a great place.

PERSONAL DISCIPLE-MAKING PLAN

We periodically try to highlight additional resources, other than what you might find here at Multiply, that will be helpful in making disciples. This week we wanted to direct you toward a little book by J.D. Payne called Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission.

Up until recently, J.D. was the Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism  at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For the last several months, however, he has been serving at The Church at Brook Hills as the Pastor of Church Multiplication. If you would like an overview of Strangers Next Door, it was recently reviewed by Mark Morris for the Gospel Coalition, and there he gives a very helpful, but brief, assessment of the book.

Suffice to say, though, if you are someone who wants to have world impact through disciple-making, and be a part of literally making disciples of all nations, then this book is for you. Strangers Next Door outlines how the nations are literally coming to our doorsteps through immigration, and how these people are a part of vast social networks through which the gospel can travel into some of the most dangerous and unreached areas in the world. We would highly recommend picking up a copy today, for the impact it may have tomorrow!

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Before moving to Birmingham, J.D. served for ten years with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. While at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, he directed the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.

Check out J.D.’s blog, Missiologically Thinking

Each lesson in the Multiply material is accompanied by a leader’s video.  In these videos, Francis Chan and David Platt discuss things that might be helpful for you to remember as you lead someone through the lesson.  Leader videos can be found at multiplymovement.com/#material, embedded beside each of the corresponding lessons.  These are great tools to help you in your preparation to disciple someone.

Above is a 60-second excerpt from the leader’s video for the very first lesson, “Living as a Disciple Maker.”  In this short clip, they encourage leaders to listen well.  They explain that we’ll never know how to rightly apply the truth of God’s Word in someone’s life if we don’t know where they are coming from.

discipleship10111

“Conquering evangelism” is not something most of us would feel comfortable saying for numerous theological and practical reasons. Practically speaking, if trusting God, and being fervent in prayer for the salvation of non-believers is difficult for the average Christian, evangelism seems impossible! That is why so many Christians have turned over the responsibility of evangelism solely to their local church. Now, it is not a bad thing for the local church to be engaged in evangelism in different ways. In fact, it is quite necessary. But when the local church becomes our excuse to disengage the countless people that God has placed us in personal relationships with, who do not know Jesus and will not come to a local church, then we have a problem.

Yes it feels easier to just bring our non-believing co-workers, friends, and family to a church service, expose them to great music, and a good speaker, and then hope for the best. But I wonder if that is really the most full picture of biblical evangelism and discipleship? When we look primarily to church services, programs, and pastors to do our evangelism we have to ask ourselves the question of why?

As we do things like this, we should be asking the heart penetrating questions of what aspect of the gospel are we failing to believe when we shrink back in the fear of personal evangelism? Because ultimately, a lack of belief comes out in a lack of obedience. Just follow the trail of bread crumbs of partial or complete disobedience, and you will find your way back to the house of partial or complete unbelief.

Thankfully for us, evangelism does indeed begin with God, and prayer. It begins with God’s sovereignty and us praying like the father of the boy with the unclean spirit, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Then we remind ourselves that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:2), that the Son of Man seeks and saves the lost (Lk. 19:10), and that no matter when, where, who, or how, only the Lord opens hearts for salvation (Acts 16:14-15)! These are truths about conversion that are bound up with the heart of the gospel and its benefits. If you remove truths like these, then you undercut your confidence in the success of the Great Commission, but because Jesus has all authority (Matt. 28:18-20), you can have rock solid confidence every time you share the gospel!

Thabiti Anyabwile, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman Islands, wrote in his book What is a Healthy Church Member?, “The encouraging news is that when we have a good grasp of conversion, we realize that evangelism does not depend on eloquence, using the correct mood lighting, emotionally sappy stories and songs, or high-pressure sales pitches” (58). He goes on to say that, “biblical evangelism requires of us one thing primarily: that we be faithful to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people God places in contact with us” (59).

So as we seek to be faithful witnesses, and faithful disciple-makers, then lets strive to believe the truths of what the gospel is, and what it secures. Namely that God not only made the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, but he himself distributes the gift of salvation through our God-reliant proclamation! And in the process of evangelism and disciple-making, he sanctifies us in our struggles with our unbelief, and saves the lost in their unbelief. As David Platt often says, “It’s like he’s got this whole thing rigged!”

Below is an interview with Randy Cole, President of Asian Partners International (API).  Here’s a great, real life example of God multiplying His disciples in North India.

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 9.51.20 AM1. I’m sure there are countless examples, but could you share a specific story of how God has used ordinary believers in Northern India to make disciples in this difficult region?

In 2011, a young man about 18 years old accepted the Lord as his Savior, and was being discipled and mentored by one of our Community Learning Center leaders in the state of Uttar Pradesh.   He was uneducated but very trainable.  He was hungry and thirsty for the Word of God, and was open to learn the basics of disciple-making.  About three months into his training, before he could actually complete it, this man told his mentor that he had to move to another town to take a job working in a brick-making factory.  Two months later, he contacted his mentor.  He reported that there were 70 new believers from this factory who wanted to be baptized.  He asked, “What should I do?” His mentor said, “Train them to go and make disciples just like you were trained, and I’ll be there in a couple of days to assist you.”

2. On a practical level, how is API intentional about instructing new believers to think of themselves as disciple-makers?

Rather than just telling people what to do, we teach them to understand and obey verses like Matthew 28:19.  We do this by using what we call the Discovery Bible Study process.  One of the first “discoveries” of new believers using this process is Matthew 28:19-20.

We ask people to look at a biblical passage and take the following steps:

1)  Write your own paraphrase of the verse.  Do you know what it says?
2)  Write down the application that the Spirit is teaching you from this passage.  Do you understand what it says?
3)  Write down how you will obey this application by answering the following questions: “What will I change?”, “What will be the cost?”,  and “Are you willing to take action and follow-through on the teaching?”
4)  Finally, write down the person(s) in your circle of influence that needs to learn this.  Are you willing to multiply the teaching?

3. What specific challenges has API faced in making disciples in Northern India?

The people groups that we serve are the 100 million Bhojpuri, 30 million Awadhi, 30 million Magahi, 20 million Maithili, and 30 million Muslims residing in North India.  These people groups are located in over 172,000 villages and urban communities.  This is the heartland of India, and the region is characterized by political unrest, illiteracy, poverty, and disease.  North India has been called the “graveyard of missions and missionaries” as many have tried and failed over the past 200-300 years to spread the gospel in this area.  To summarize, we have language/cultural barriers, logistics issues, literacy barriers, poverty, disease, and persecution to overcome.

4. How can we pray for the efforts of API as it seeks to make the gospel known in Northern India and throughout Asia?

Our Vision is that by 2018, 30 million new believers are added to His Kingdom from North India, and that each of the 172,000 villages and urban communities has at least one house church planted. The Lord is moving in this part of the world!  Over the past 18 years, we believe the Lord has added more than 6 million North Indians to His Church.

  • Pray that God would continue to pour out His Spirit in this area of the world.
  • Pray for the vision of seeing 30 million new disciples in India by the year 2018.
  • Pray for CLC leaders and their families.
  • Pray for the female population in this area. Each year, more than 1 million female children go “missing” between the ages of 0-6.
  • Pray for God to provide his divine protection and wisdom to new believers from Hindu, Islam, and Maoist backgrounds.
  • Pray that we continue to multiply disciples, leaders, churches, and teaching.

Multiply

Up to this point, the Multiply material has been available on our website to download for free.  However, as many of you have discovered, each section must be downloaded individually.  As a result, we have gotten several requests for a downloadable version of Multiply in one big PDF.  So, for your convenience, we now present to you….

(drum roll, please)

… the Multiply material.  In just one big PDF (roughly 1MB).  Click the book to the left to access the file for free.

Should a mother focus primarily, or only, on discipling her children? Life can often be so demanding for a stay-at-home mom, for instance, that the thought of making disciples beyond her own children can seem like an insurmountable task. Maybe if there is only one child in the picture, but as soon as you have more than one, chaos sometimes does not even begin to describe the situation. Not to mention a home that takes time and attention. Is it even feasible for a mother to disciple someone outside of her own children in light of all of her other responsibilities?

These are questions that are being asked all the time, whether said, or unsaid. David and Francis give some biblical/practical principles through which to think, and a real life example to look to. Ultimately they help point us toward Jesus’ model of discipleship as the only sustainable way going forward.