From all my experience leading my church and working with other churches, I’ve seen in us a tendency to play this either/or game with discipleship of our own and evangelism of the masses. We’ll either spend all our time developing our own, shutting off outsiders, or open our doors wide to the world and keep it shallow with our training.
But what do the Scriptures say?
The Scriptures show us a glimpse of heaven in the future. What we see there is multitudes upon multitudes of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation worshiping Jesus (Rev. 7:9). That is our end. All of the world will be reached, and the evangelists’ wildest dreams will come true.
They also show us how we’ll get to that end. Just look at the history of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus comes to earth, grows to an adult, begins His earthly ministry around 30, and dies around 33. During those critical three years, He spends a disproportionate amount of time with 12 men. Investing in them, living with them, correcting them, teaching them, showing them how to advance the Kingdom.
CLICK TO TWEET: “The reality is that, yes, God has the end in mind, and yes He also gave us the means.” @_kpeck_
Of course he preached, but he didn’t only preach. Of course he healed, but he didn’t only heal. He spent the majority of his time preparing a rag-tag group of men to continue His ministry and take His message to the ends of the earth after he left.
So let me get this straight. Not only will the evangelist guys get what they want, but from what it looks like, the all-development-no-outsiders guys are also right?
The reality is that yes God has the end in mind, and yes He also gave us the means. Not only did God destin the world to bow at the feet of Jesus, He also designed how it will come to pass.
The fundamental way that we are going to see Jesus save people across the globe is through discipleship. That’s right, the good-old-fashioned, life-on-life, person-to-person, dirty, messy process of teaching people to obey all that Jesus has commanded. Showing people with our words and our lives how to follow and magnify the Risen Savior.
That’s it…it may not be sexy, it may not sell books, but it is how God designed His redemption plan.
We’ve all heard this before, I know. But think about it…to most of us it seems nuts. The Son of God comes to earth and rather than staying and preaching for forty years, he spends three years investing in 12 men and then He leaves!
CLICK TO TWEET: “To reject discipleship is to reject God’s ordained means to accomplish His mission.” @_kpeck_
Can you imagine that strategy meeting? King Jesus chatting it up with the angels in heaven?
“So, Lord, what’s the plan?”
“Well I’m going to be born a child, grow up as a blue-collar worker’s son for 30 years…spend three years ministering to less than 1% of the world’s land mass, and then entrust 12 men with world evangelization.”
What?! Surely we could come up with something new, maybe more efficient, maybe even as a back up plan? No. There isn’t a plan B and there doesn’t need to be one. Discipleship is God’s choice plan for redeeming the world.
CLICK TO TWEET: “Discipleship may not be sexy, it may not sell books, but it is how God designed His redemption plan.” @_kpeck_
This is not profound. It’s not new. It’s simply not finished. And most of us simply refuse to accept it. When it comes down to it, for most of us being as successful as Jesus was at developing leaders would feel like a wasted life.
See how that’s a problem? To think little of this model and to reject this model is to reject God’s ordained means to accomplish His mission.
The reality is if you reach only 12 in your life, it’s a win. It will probably feel like you’re spending too much time with a few and neglecting the many, but this is precisely how God will redeem every last one of His own!
CLICK TO TWEET: “Jesus spent the majority of his time preparing a rag-tag group to continue His ministry.” @_kpeck_