By Pastor Wilson Lim
The Great Commission is not about evangelism. It is about multiplying disciples.
Matthew 28:18 – 20 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
While the first step in making a disciple is to win them to Christ, it would be a great error to stop there. In fact, even making a disciple is to truncate the intent of Christ. It is not enough to just make a couple of disciples in itself. For such disciples may well not produce other disciples. Let alone disciple the nations. What is needed is a multiplying of disciples.
Third generation disciples
The key to reaching nations is about making disciples that will in turn make other disciples who will in turn continue to make other disciples.
Why is reaching this third generation disciples critical? Because it means that the first generation is now able to equip their disciple (the second generation) to make disciples. In other words, the first generation has learnt enough about multiplying disciples to now raise the next generation to disciple-makers. In then remains for the first generation to pass on their passion and know-how to the second generation and so forth. If this process can remain intact, true multiplication will occur.
Imagine, one disciple raising 3 other disciples (the first generation). And the first generation, each raising 3 more of the second generation of disciples. And the second generation, each raising 3 more of the second generation.
By the tenth generation, there would be 59,049 disciples. If each generation had worked harder to raise 4 disciples each, by the tenth generation there would be 1,048,576 disciples. That is the incredible exponential effect.
Only with such a multiplication effect, can we begin to impact and make disciples of nations. Indeed, we ourselves may not even step beyond our country, but the generations of disciples after us will eventually reach the nations. Such is the power of multiplication.
Let me propose 2 definitions.
The first definition is built upon the work of Gary Kuhne. Firstly, a disciple is a Christ-follower who is growing in conformity to Christ, winning souls to Christ and is conserving the fruits of evangelism through disciple-making.
Secondly, a multiplying disciple is a Christ-follower who is growing in conformity to Christ, winning souls to Christ and is multiplying the fruits of evangelism through making at least third generation disciples.
Are we a disciple? Are we a multiplying disciple? Let us aim to be one.
Maturing to teach
Hebrews 5:11 – 12 (NIV)
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
A key milestone in our growth as believers, is to aim to be able to teach others the Word of God.
Heb 5:11-12 makes it clear that Christ-followers should grow in their understanding and convictions to the point that they can teach others. To the point of being able to handle solid food, or the deeper truths and principles in God’s Word. To be a disciple, we should therefore aim to grow and mature in God so that we can teach others.
When I caught this vision to multiply disciples, it ignited a tremendous desire to be such a disciple and it helped propel me to grow in God like never before. God wants us to catch that vision and my prayer is that you will catch the fire. You can start right now and right here. Choose to grow in God and His Word and determine to get involved in disciple-making. It does not matter what your background is as long as you are humble enough to let God do His maturing work in your life and available enough to be used of God.
This article is taken from Inside Hope (1st July, 2009)