Making Disciples: The Missing Element of EvangelismFebruary 3, 2014
Making disciples is the heartbeat of the Great Commission. When God instructed us to go into the world, He had multiplication, not addition in mind. Addition occurs when we give the Gospel to someone, they in turn, trust Christ by faith, and we repeat the process. If this is the pattern we use in our soul-winning endeavors, we have short-changed the program of God to reach the world.
Multiplication and the Gospel
Don’t get me wrong, any addition to the family of God merits praise and glory in the presence of angels. But it is multiplication, not addition that rapidly and largely increases the Kingdom. Multiplication occurs when we give the Gospel to someone, they in turn trust Christ by faith, and we, in turn embrace the efforts of discipleship. The work of Addition may or may not leave someone on the doorsteps wondering what to do next; the work of Multiplication takes that person by the hand, and begins teaching them about the bliss and battles of the crucified life. It’s relational, it’s biblical.
Programs or Relationships?
In short, the Great Commission is scarcely about the infrastructure of campaigns and crusades; it is more about the development and continuation of relationships. Bill Hull said, “When we obey Christ’s commission, two good things happen: we create healthy Christians; healthy Christians reproduce, and the body grows, then multiplies, and the world becomes evangelized.” If we leave the relational aspect out of our soul-winning campaigns we have only partially obeyed Christ’s command, thus disobeying it altogether. Evangelism is not only about conversion, it is about community… a community that grows through the practices of following, teaching, learning, and reaching.
The Fallacy of Numbers
One of the reasons we miserably fail in our soul-winning efforts is because we see people only as numbers in some twisted and wicked game of Who’s Won More? We tally their conversions on our religious spreadsheets like publicans who keep count of their loot. When evangelism is unattached, robotic, and stiffly programmed, it has grossly lost its punch in the eternal fight for souls. Therefore, we make a difference simply through obedience and interest: obedience to Christ, and interest in others.
Any other practice is an incomplete, watered down impedement to reaching the world. Reach one soul, make a disciple, and through the process of multiplication, you reach the world.
An Ongoing, Eternal Adventure
This is not to say that we reach one soul for Christ and cease in our labors. On the contrary, the true labor has just begun. We teach that soul how to live and die. We show them by example, how to walk in the shadows of a cross-centered life. We, step by step, dinner by dinner, day by day, lead them to lead others to Christ. This process is repeated all throughout life. Heaven was designed with relationships in mind; therefore, getting ready for glory is about building relationships that will last throughout all eternity. These essential, ever-lasting relationships are united in the common bond of something great…The Great Commission.