If the Great Commission of (Matthew 28:16-20) is a command and Jesus tells us to teach those who believe to obey all that he commanded how can we escape the implication that all who are reached are supposed to multiply (reach others / make disciples)?
Here’s a simple tool that I learned years ago from the ministry of Church Dynamics. I’m not sure that all the terms I use now are what they originally taught but it works for me and it has been useful as I consult with churches. Elder boards and staffs gain a new clarity that seems to cut through all the activity of ministry and help them to focus on the primary task of making disciples.
We start in the upper left circle and talk about the primary task of the church is to herald the gospel. If a group of people call themselves collectively a “church” but they aren’t making disciples they are in reality only a social club. The first task of the disciple is to go and make other disciples. Think woman at the well.
Now, what do you do?
We move to the circle on the top right. New believers need to be grounded in both new understandings and new habits. They need to be established in the basics. Answer the question, “What do they need to know to grow?” And remember this motto, “The Material You Use is Immaterial.” Click on the blue link for a brief description of why. Remember this as well: every movement to a new circle helps you to accomplish the circle(s) behind it better. Think of the book of 1 Thessalonians and its themes.
The task of pastoral leadership is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” In process three, a believer (or a church) begins to equip another believer to multiply him or herself for the gospel ministry. Talk to me about this in the discussion.
In the fourth circle, the one on the lower left, we are working to mobilize or extend people into particular ministry within their sphere of influence and friends and in step with their gifts and personality.
Almost all problems related to wasted effort or ineffectiveness of ministry in the local church (whether attractional or organic) are caused by a breakdown or absence of process two and three or an utter failure at process one.
Evangelize, Establish, Equip, Extend
Figure out how you are going to do that in your church and as a part of your life and you will be faithful to Christ’ command in Matthew 28.