We continue in our series about making disciples by sharing notes from a three-part broadcast series on the subject. The series aired more than 40 years ago and we share it with you in hopes that the information will be helpful in your service to Christ.
[These notes are from a broadcast series taught more than 40 years ago.]
For the past couple of days, we’ve been sharing with you on ‘How to Make a Disciple.’
The first step is spiritual obstetrics or evangelism. The second is spiritual pediatrics or followup.
The third step, which I’m going to share with you on today’s broadcast, is multiplication or spiritual reproduction.
Once you have led someone to Christ and trained (discipled) them, your next responsibility is to show them how to “make disciples.” Our principle comes from 2 Timothy 2:2:
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Paul was telling his son in the faith (Timothy) that now that he had finished his training, he was to commit these same things to faithful men who would then be able to teach others who would be able to teach others who would be able to teach others, etc. This is the principle of spiritual reproduction and multiplication.
Have you ever seen a demonstration of atom splitting? They usually set up a big table and place several hundred ping pong balls together. They then throw one ball at another ball which after being hit strikes another ball which strikes another ball which strikes another ball and so on. What you see is a “chain reaction.” This is God’s principle for church growth. Most of us have been taught that having an evangelistic crusade is the way to build a church. If we want our churches to grow by hundreds of people each year, we need to bring in some of the best evangelists and try to win people that way every day.
Let me demonstrate that this is a far inferior way to build the “church.”
Let’s say that there is a super-evangelist who is winning one-thousand people a day to Christ and continues to do that for 30 years. At the end of 30 years the evangelist will have won almost 11-million people to Christ.
Now let’s take one person who applies the principles of discipleship to their ministry and wins one person a year, disciples that convert and trains him/her to win one person a year and trains them to win one person to Christ and disciple them each year. This doubling process continues for 30 years. At the end of that 30 years of winning one person to Christ, discipling them and training them to win and train one person each year, will reach more than 530 million people who will become disciples and make disciples. The following year that same discipleship group will have grown to more than one billion. The following year the group would grow to more than two billion. The following year the group would grow to more than four billion people. That means that if one of us would start applying the principles of true discipling right now, we could win the world to Christ by the year 2010!
That’s exciting to me … to realize that God has given us the wherewithal to win our world to Him. But we will have to do it His way. I realize that you will probably win more than one person a year to the Lord, but the key is not how many people you win but how many you disciple. The questions to ask: are they obedient to Christ? are they winning others for Jesus Christ?
We have made soul-winning #1 in the church, but is that number one? I believe the Bible teaches that obedience to Christ is number one. If we are not making disciples, we are disobedient to Christ’s command. It’s time we started doing things God’s way.
It’s a shame we’ve neglected God’s plan for church growth. We’ve tried to do it through programs, and methods, and big meetings, when all along God has been telling us to make disciples and commit truth to faithful men who will teach others.
You may have never realized what this principle means until today, but now you know. What are you going to do? There is a world to be won and it can be done, IF we will do it God’s way. That’s my challenge to you today … win someone to Christ, disciple them, and teach them to teach others who will teach others who will teach others who will teach others who will teach others …
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]