Robert Coleman’s classic, The Master Plan of Evangelism highlights the central strategy of Jesus’ disciplemaking: Jesus invested in the lives of a few to reach the many. “His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow,” Coleman writes.
The key to Jesus’ investment in his disciples was that they would be able to do the same with other people, creating a ripple effect that grows incrementally outward.
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 shows that His vision was not just for the 12 apostles, but for those who would hear through them.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 17:20 NIV)
The power of Jesus’ disciplemaking can be seen in two principles:
- Transformation. The message of the gospel is powerful and will change the life of a person from the inside out (Romans 1:17).
- Reproduction. Disciplemaking’s power is unleashed when everyday people indwelt by the Spirit of God reproduce! Spiritual generations are God’s answer to a broken world.
In one of his most famous speeches, John F. Kennedy stated, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others… he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and … those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” (June 6th, 1966)
Believers who see the sin, oppression, and brokenness of our world will grieve the desperation of people far from God. But the answer is in discipleship relationships, each one acting as a ripple in the building current of the Gospel going out across the Earth. Disciplemakers today can change the world by following Jesus’ vision of generational discipleship, training up the few to reach the many.
How can you begin to join God in raising up a new generation of Christ-followers who will eventually disciple others?