Disciplemaking Movements, Then And Now

Two thousand years ago, as Jesus walked along the shores of Galilee, he started a movement which continues to grow today. His first command to his disciples “Follow me” (Mark 1: 16) was simple and compelling. Today many people identify as followers of Jesus. His next instruction, however, was harder to grapple with. What does it mean to “become fishers of men”? How many people have you ever met who would identify as “fishers of men”?

Over the next three years of his ministry the Gospel story takes us on the journey with those initial twelve disciples as Jesus teaches them and sends them out. This is not armchair discipleship. It is not a distance-learning theology course. Rather it is practical, hands on training. Healing the sick. Proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (Matt 10: 7-8). Feeding the hungry. (Matt 14: 16). His final command does nothing to let them or us off the hook. Go into all the world, make disciples of all nations, baptise them and teach them to obey everything he commanded (Matt 28: 19). Being a fan of Jesus is easy. Discipleship is a completely different ballgame.

Down the years the church has wrestled with the question of what it means to make disciples. Many Christians have been content to leave it in the hands of professional Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers. But what if Jesus never meant it to be that way? In recent years discipleship has become something of a buzzword in the West. Increasingly people are waking up to the reality of a call that is for all believers.

Meanwhile, over the last thirty years Disciple Making Movements have been growing around the globe, often in unlikely places and from small beginnings. Groups of ordinary Christians committed to prayer and making disciples who make disciples. Many of these movements use obedience-based Bible studies as their primary means of discipleship. A study of Scripture that asks: what does this tell me about God and people? What will I do to obey it? And who else will I tell?

Discovery Bible Studies are becoming more well known as a discipleship tool for churches – but that is not their original purpose. Around the world they are being used to disciple a new generation of seekers to faith. Groups that are founded in Discovery often go on to multiply because obedience, sharing the Gospel, and making disciples are all built-in from the outset.

The Discover App is a great tool for exploring Discovery Bible Studies, with believers and non Christians alike. It is currently available in ten different languages with more on the way. It is already being used ti disciple people around the world. For many of us we no longer need to travel to reach the nations. The nations are on our doorsteps as international students, immigrant families, refugees flock to the cities.

Not everyone will respond but those who do may go on to seed movements. Taking the Gospel into places and to people that we may never be able to reach ourselves. If we invite a person to our church we maybe grow the kingdom by one. If we teach a person to make disciples wherever they are and with whoever they meet, it may never stop growing.

Are you ready to be a Fisher of men? Perhaps the Discovery Bible Studies can help you make disciples who make disciples. Let’s keep the movement rolling…

The Discover App is a free Discovery Bible Study App for Apple and Android. It is currently available in English, Arabic, Somali, Dari, Pashto, Indonesian, Turkish and Uyghur. It will soon be released in Swahili, Urdu and Spanish.