Multiplying Gospel-Sharing Disciples

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Picture of one church’s short-term mission trip. But it’s different.

Last night our local church started its annual Short-term Mission Trip to our city. In a park behind the school where we meet. It’s a nightly Fútbol Camp for kids and families. No long trips, no plane rides, no exotic locale. Just right here where we live with our neighbors.

26 kids registered. Their moms, siblings and a few dads came and watched. Relationships started building. I wonder how many will receive Christ?

How will God use this ordinary group of Christians to reach ordinary people in an ordinary city on a very ordinary mission ‘trip’? We’ve been praying and reaching out here for years. I can’t wait to see what God does!

My role in this outreach is prayer. I’m not the leader – Pastor or Coach Héctor leads us now. But as I sat and prayed with Daniel, our Church Planter in Residence who will start another cross-cultural church nearby, holding the registration cards in our hands like I was taught, I had flashbacks to the first person to train me. My youth pastor, Mr. Mike, trained me to share my faith and lead outreaches in my parents’ basement when I was a sophomore at Marshall High School in northern VA. And now others have been or are being trained to multiply. This is where the action is. Multiplication.

Many, including my parents, modeled to me the importance of sharing the gospel as a disciple of Jesus through years of everyday life training. For over 10 years of Jr Hi ministry in the 90’s, our group held ‘Outrages’ where we did outrageous events kids could bring their friends to and present the gospel. And yes, Jr Hi kids shared the gospel, not just the grown ups. Our Sr Hi ministry outreaches, mission trips and training brought many to Christ but more importantly, trained a generation of youth (now in their 30’s) to share the gospel. (Side note: Mr. Mike and I teamed up at the same church for years. What a joy to work with him as a colleague!)

Now what Mike, my parents and others reproduced and multiplied into me is transferring into disciples from many nations in our city through people who were not Christians a few years ago. One mom who attended last year is now helping run the outreach.

The Best News Ever. This short-term mission trip may not go far away or host big, outrageous games. Soccer draws a crowd and the beginner evangelists show up, make friends and the gospel gets shared. Bigger though, is the impact of training others to share the gospel as part of making disciples. It’s God working in His power!

As I pray, I’m grateful. Grateful to God for His salvation offered by faith alone. Grateful for those people who discipled me. Grateful for the chance to disciple others who will disciple others too.

Keep having fun, praying for sinners to repent, sharing the gospel, inviting people to receive Christ and multiplying disciples who will disciple others too.

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Jesus’ Simple Strategy for Planting The Church

I’m a curious person. Constantly synthesizing everything I learn to try to make sense of the big picture so we can find ways to reach the nations. My family and church staff have accused me of having too many great ideas for everyone, including myself. 

Underneath the driven curiosity is this burning desire that we have got to tell more people about Jesus.I’m often tempted to search for new insights, programs, training secrets, methods, books or ideas so I can be a better coach to church planters. 

So Jesus shocks me in his simplicity. In the quest to see God start a movement of church planting and disciple-making in the US and other parts of the world, Jesus’ strategy is so simple. 

As a follower of Jesus, planter, gospel coach of coaches and trainer of church planters, I need to remember to focus on Jesus’ simple strategy more than curricula and program. I’ve studied Jesus strategy off and on since 1992. I know this. But I get distracted. Many of Jesus’ principles of His Master Plan (Robert Coleman’s classic) we find extremely challenging to church planters.

Jesus didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ for planting The church. His plan was this:

  • Select average men who are loyal, teachable with big hearts.
  • Take the long view of the process.
  • Be with them in their lives. A lot.
  • Patiently hand off people ministry responsibility.
  • Quickly give tasks to disciples.
  • Expect and challenge followers to bring others along.

Church planters should ask potential disciples to follow Jesus the person, not me or you or the program. Over time, (12-18 months after starting) Jesus challenged his followers to his high-cost terms for disciple-making. We can’t change them or substitute our own. Evangelism and suffering can’t be left out. There’s no ‘Plan B’ for disciple-making.

  • Depend on the Holy Spirit as we do the work of evangelism.
  • “Show-how is better than know-how” especially while disciples watch.
  • Send out disciples in pairs to practice stating the gospel simply.
  • Always celebrate sharing the gospel and debrief for teachable moments (review and apply).
  • Expect hardship and learn to fight the spiritual battle together.

Here’s one I really don’t like. Jesus’ goal wasn’t popularity, masses of numbers (or even converts). By today’s standards of starting a new church, but the time of his death, Jesus was a failure. But it was all part of his Plan A.

Jesus said to our Father that he had ‘accomplished the work You gave me to do’ (John 17:4). His work goal to that point was preparing multiplying disciple-makers. Oh, too often I thought we needed better methods. We need better men. And more of Jesus.

If you’re interested in multiplying disciple-makers and want to join us in the learning, I’d love to chat more about what we do in Church Multiplication Ministries.