A practical plan for engaging the entire church in revolutionary disciple-making
We all want to do something revolutionary. I know I do. After 40 years in ministry, I can say that I have been involved in a life- and world-changing revolution. Will you join me in this mandate to any and every mature disciple of Christ?
This revolution started 2,000 years ago when Jesus uttered the words, "Follow me" to 12 men He would spend His time on earth with teaching and showing them what it meant to be His disciple. Through this simple concept, Jesus reproduced Himself in His followers.
The revolution continued as these disciples led by Peter established the early church, followed by Paul, who followed Jesus' ex-ample as he discipled Timothy, Titus and Silas.
Since then, faithful believers have sporadically picked up this spiritual fathering concept.
Call it what you want—mentoring, discipling, coaching or spiritual fathering or mothering—it all boils down to the idea of caring about each other's spiritual growth.
Paul grasped this truth when he told Timothy, "You then, my son, ... the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Tim. 2:1-2, NIV). Paul exhorted his disciple, Timo-thy, to find another disciple who would disciple another.
Today, unfortunately, Jesus' style of disciple-making has been all but lost—replaced with a focus on meetings and programs. Yet we can't get away from the Great Commission of Matthew 28: We are called to make disciples. We are called to continue the revolu-tion Jesus started.
I challenge you to ask God for just one reproducing disciple (a person willing to mentor someone else down the road) to person-ally disciple, according to the pattern of Jesus and Paul. If you want to disciple more than one, go for it. But start with one and en-courage your "disciple" to disciple someone else next year. It might be a co-worker, a family member, someone from church or a friend. Pray and ask them to meet with you every few weeks to talk about their walk with Jesus. Pray daily for your disciple.
Every year, the pattern repeats as you each find another reproducing disciple to disciple. In 10 years, by discipling only one person each year who's also discipling one person, you will have indirectly or directly discipled more than 1,000 people.
After 20 years of mentoring only one reproducing disciple each year, you'll be responsible for more than 1 million disciples. If you don't believe me, do the math. After 30 years, the number jumps to more than 1 billion.
No wonder the enemy has been hiding this truth from God's people and keeping us busy in religious activity. Now, for the nay-sayers who protest, "But we don't live in a perfect world. If some disciples drop out, will it break the exponential growth chain?" my response remains positive.
If the chain breaks, I will take half a million disciples.
Granted, disciple-making is not always easy. Our natural and spiritual children have the potential to give us the greatest joy and the greatest pain. But the risk is worth it. This is my one-person challenge for you: Ask God to help you find your "Timothy." Let's continue the revolution.
Larry Kreider (holding microphone) is the founder and international director of DOVE Christian Fellowship International (DCFI), a network of churches scattered throughout six continents. DCFI has successfully used the New Testament "house to house" strategy of building the church with small groups for three decades. He emphasizes the need for believers to become spiritual fathers and mothers to train the next generation. Kreider has written more than 30 books, including Authentic Spiritual Mentoring, Starting a House Church and What Every Small-Group Leader Should Know. He is a featured speaker at conferences throughout the United States and overseas, training Christian leaders.