Recently I posted an article arguing for the idea of multiplication. That is, as Christians we are called to make disciples (Matt 28:18–20). We hope the disciples we make will, in turn, make other disciples. In short, multiplication = disciples making more disciples.
I’m not going to rehash that argument. If you are interested, you can read what I wrote here. In this post, I simply want to offer five practical (and brief) ideas aimed at helping you multiply disciples in your own life.
Five Practical Ways to Start Making Disciples
I’ve heard it said we should talk to God about people before we talk to people about God. I like the idea. Let’s pray for specific people and ask God to begin working in their lives to make them receptive to the good news of Jesus. Pray for open doors (i.e. opportunities) that allow you to talk to unbelievers about the gospel or point those who are already believers towards Christ-like living. And pray God would give you the boldness to speak when given the chance!
Years ago I was introduced to the idea of building relationships that are “strong enough to bear the burden of truth.” I think this is brilliant. In God’s providence, door-to-door evangelism has worked. Praise God for this. However, I believe the most effective approach to making disciples is through establishing healthy relationships. Get to know people. Let them get to know you. Show them you love them and genuinely care for them. Open your home, open your life, and show people they are not simply a project. When these types of relationships are established, they are better able to bear the weight of gospel-truth.
This connects with the preceding point, but I believe it deserves a place of its own. If we are going to effectively share the gospel and help our fellow Christians grow into the image of Jesus, then I believe we need to do as much listening as we do talking. Listening helps us know who we are trying to reach. It provides us with insight into what makes them tick, what struggles they are facing, what questions they are wrestling with, and what makes them happy. All of this information helps us understand the person so that we can speak more helpfully into their life.
Speak the Truth in Love
It’s been said we preach the gospel, but only use words if necessary. Well, that’s an erroneous idea (Ed Stetzer is helpful). The good news of Jesus is a message that requires articulation. No one reasons their way to the cross from your niceness. No, we must speak the truth. We must tell the bad news of sin so that the good news shines more brightly. But we do so in love. We speak patiently, and with genuine care for the person in front of us. Our words are filled with conviction and grace!
Though we’ve already mentioned prayer, I think we should mention it again. The reason I close with praying again is simple. Once we’ve asked God for open doors, built relationships, listened to those we are investing in, and shared the truth in love, at the end of the day (and through the entire process), we rely on the Spirit of God to do his regenerating and sanctifying work. Without the Spirit, our efforts will fall flat. So, we work, but we hope in a sovereign, saving, and satisfying God to work in and through our efforts.
Those are five simple ways you can think about making disciples. Start today. Say a prayer. Make a new friend. Listen to those around you. Speak about Jesus. And leave the results of your efforts to your great God.