Jesus Makes Disciples, Not You

Multiply_Full Banner_BlackOkay, you do make disciples, but no disciple of Christ is ever made apart from the Spirit of Christ.

This is what we’d like to encourage you with now… this is your official check-up. We’ve heard many amazing stories of God’s work through many of you as you have sought to be obedient to the Great Commission. At the same time though, we know that some of you are struggling right now. You might be having a difficult time finding someone around you who doesn’t know Christ, you may be finding it difficult to feel a burden for the lost, or you may be giving a discipleship relationship everything you have, following every step you know, but with no apparent spiritual fruit.

We’re here to tell you that what you are trying to do is virtually impossible. In fact, you cannot do it… on your own. Realize that as you look through the book of Acts, the main disciple-maker is a guy that you rarely ever see there in person. He is present in every chapter, every conversation, and every conversion. When you look in Acts and see different individuals and crowds being converted, you almost always see something to the effect of, “And the Lord added to their number…”. Jesus was at the center of the mission in the book of Acts, and lest we forget, Jesus is at the center of the mission in each one of our lives today!

So as you continue in the race set before you, be encouraged that God has promised to bless this mission through inadequate people like us (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

Earlier last month, we asked you to share your stories with us. Today, we do the same. Why? In our next post, we’ll be highlighting some of your stories and offer suggestions for problems you’re running into. The ultimate goal is that we will be able to encourage one another in the Lord from your experiences. So we want to give you one more chance to ask a question or share a story. Send us both successes and failures. What have you tried? What has been helpful? What funny or awkward situations have you encountered, and how have they turned out? How has God amazed you in the midst of it all? Do you have a specific doubt or question? While we want the triumphs, we also want to trials. Let us know how it’s going. We may use your story to help others in the future.  Comment below or post it on the Multiply Facebook page.

  1. Meegan said:

    My best friend Holley became a believer in December. After making three attempts to get a discipleship relationship going without response, she texted me after church last Sunday to say “Can we start this discipleship thing today?” The problem?? Holley lives 3.5 hours away! We setup Skype and are going through the multiply movement book online together. It has only been one meeting, but I was so thankful that God laid it on her heart to accept the discipleship offer and on mine to keep asking. I am counting on Him to sustain our ability to meet together and help us both to protect the time we meet, that it may be a priority in schedule planning each week.

  2. Nino Saldivar said:

    I am only around nonbelievers at work. I have fruitful communication but I don’t get that many questions. There has definitely been a increase in individuals gaining interest in the gospel but they are not seeking that life change moment. How can I cultivate an environment where questions are being asked? Its a tough one….Praise Jesus

    • Josh Bystry said:

      Just keep on planting the seeds. We all need to be our part. Love is PATIENT!! I know it is hard inour world today but Keep on living it!! Their eyes may not be wide open but the more we keep on modeling and sharing God’s love through our experiences, the Lord is working. I just want to keep on encouraging you to keep on sharing the revaltions God is showing you in your life. This is how we reach the masses, through our joys and especially our STRUGGLES!!

  3. judeathiscariot said:

    Last night I sent “the email” to some sisters I had been praying for and inviting to study the Multiply material together. We’re scheduled to start in March. I thought my invitations were pretty “far out for my reach” –unchurched/ but I’m learning (again) that God’s ways are nowhere like mine. Both the unexpected said yes to the invitation so I’m still blown away. One of them emailed me back after I sent the email saying, “Can i just check it out and see how it goes? ….no promises..” Initially I felt like responding with either a “defend Multiply or persuasion talk” or a ” Oh okay..well thanks for letting me know. ” but a part of me felt like letting her be for now and just praying. I’d type and erase type and erase and finally I just didn’t respond. 3 hours later, she wrote back saying, “Nvm..count me in. I need it.” I asked her what caused the change of heart..I found out this morning that when she received my email last night, she was having a heart to heart conversation with a close friend that asked her to please turn back to God and change her ways. After that conversation she realized she needed to get back to God.
    So thankful the Holy Spirit works the way He does…I’m so glad I didn’t respond or speak up as quickly as I wanted to..
    So now our group has 3 and I”m so amazed at how He works!

  4. TL said:

    A few stories:

    1. We are re-orienting our Friday discipleship gathering to Mulitply. Tonight, I’m going to ask what practical steps some of our experienced believers are doing, who they are starting conversations with. I expect to get some blank stares. So, I am going to introduce them to David Platt’s “Personal Disciple Making Plan” from “Follow Me” and share some nicely framed suggestions for starting those conversations from a discipleship website that I discovered. We are inching our way through the Multiply questions after we spent one full year in studying and re-learning what it means to live the “crucified life”. Multiply was introduced to us by the Lord at just the right time, and we are thankful.

    2. In my own life, there are several people and discussions ongoing. First, one of my close friends who is not a believer. I have entered a series of conversations with him over lunch in the past month or so. On one of those, I sat down and simply said that I believe the Bible, and that I believe my friendship with him is one of love and respect, and that in order to truly love him and respect him and his wife, I have to be honest and urgent about the gospel. And, I simply told him the gospel. I invite him and his wife to join my wife and me at church. That is an open invitation. And, we meet about once a week or every 10 days or so over lunch to talk about things. Last week, I wrote him an email with some more Bible verses and explanation and invitation.

    I want to say that I appreciate Penn Teller, the magician and atheist, for his online video where he essentially says that Christians who are for real have to evangelize if they really believe there is a hell and there is Savior, etc. Everyone knows who he is, basically, and using his own words to that effect have helped me bridge the gap in a friendship in a way that overcame any sense of awkwardness.

    3. Second conversation: A waitress in a local Chinese buffet restaurant here in Alabama where I live. I met her several months ago when I was eating lunch alone (as I typically do). An acquaintance of mine was at a nearby table and, while he was talking with me around this divider that was between our tables, he was being quite rude to the waitress. That’s just his way. When he left with his wife, the waitress said to me in broken English, “Do you like him?”, rolling her eyes. Of course, I shook my head and said, “I don’t know why he does that. He’s really not all that bad a guy. I’m sorry he was mean to you.” And, we have had very friendly, brief interactions over 6 months since then as I’ve returned and try to make sure I sit in her area of the place. Last week, not knowing anything about Chinese, I sat down to write her a letter (yes, I like to write) explaining the gospel to her. I made it a point to tell her that I was afraid I could not make myself clear to her if I tried to discuss this in conversation. Anyway, I found a website that translates 300 English characters at a time to “simplified Chinese”. I took about an hour to simplify the syntax of the gospel verses and entered brief paragraphs into the translator. I copied and pasted the rather choppy Chinese translations and then their English language equivalents. I took it to her last Friday afternoon after I left my office.

    On Tuesday of this week, I returned to the restaurant for lunch. She smiled and came to my table. “Are you a pweacha?” she asked. I laughed and said, “No, I’m a lawyer.” She got a strange look on her face and I said, “But I AM a Christian.” We both laughed. She held up a cross necklace she was wearing and said, “I believe.” We then had the most detailed conversation with one another we’ve ever had. I learned her name, that she has been in the US for a little more than 5 years and that she takes ESL classes that have helped her learn to speak English, but that she still has very much difficulty in reading English. I’m considering a strategy on that side to help her learn to read. But, more immediately, I wanted to get her a Bible. She does not have one. And, she wants one in English, she insists. I thought a parallel bible of Chinese and English would be perfect. I could not find one locally at the big-box Christian book store. So, I found a Chinese congregation in a nearby city and emailed an outreach pastor there. Last night, they responded with a recommendation for an online Chinese-English bible and that’s just perfect since my friend IS an iPhone user. So, I can’t wait to get back with her with that little bit of data.

    4. Third conversation: Our family also has a small business. One of the employees is my age and is just a guy who I have a lot of fondness for. Supremely nice, a widower father of three girls age 14 and under. Tragic recent past. I have been inviting him to church. Last night, he said that he and his daughters and maybe even some of their friends planned to attend this Sunday. Pray for them, please. I know some of you may say, “Well, you’re just inviting them to church.” That’s true. So far. But, I’m pretty much in love with this group of people at this church, and I’m hoping that the love in that church will be an attraction that the Holy Spirit works through. I know a more intentional conversation has to happen and that “waiting on the right opportunity” is a lame excuse for disciple-making. Whether he comes or not, I do feel that a certain permission has been granted in our relationship now to discuss these things.

    5. Fourth conversation: Another old friend who is a believer is working with a missions-oriented local church to put public domain bible resources into the hands of missionaries abroad by compiling them on flash drives in formats that can be accessed by very dated versions of Windows that are most likely still in somewhat robust use in certain places throughout the world. He has provided three of those to me and I have forwarded them to pastors/missionaries in Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati and a mission outreach organization in California. But, more to the point, he is, himself, coming from a divorce and no longer feels comfortable in the local church where he was a member along with his wife. (I won’t go into the details of the divorce). She still attends there and he does not want her to be disrupted. He is coming with me this weekend to church, as well, and plans to bring some friends of his. In talking with him, I see areas of his own description where maturity is needed. Enter Multiply as a framework for that — and I would appreciate it if you would spend a moment to pray for him and for his former wife.

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