One At A Time

In a 2014 interview with Lifeway Research, Dann Spader, author of “4 Chair Discipling: Growing a Movement of Disciple-Makers”, was asked this question: What will the future of the American church look like if we get disciple-making wrong? “We will continue to decline in impact and influence as “salt and light”. The command to “go and make disciples” is not an option.

This is not a great commission as much as it is an everyday commission for every believer, every moment of their everyday life. Nowhere does the Bible call this a “great” commission, even though in concept it is great. In reality, it could be translated “as you go, make disciples.” It is for everyone, every moment of their everyday life. We are not called to just “go to church,” we are called to “be the church” where we live and work.”

This aligns perfectly with what Jesus said to His disciples. Then Jesus came to them, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:18-20 

This “Great Commission” He left them with was a huge task, with a global objective. Yet it was entrusted to a small group of Jesus faithful disciples. Jesus gave them further instructions before ascending to heaven. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Clearly, this mission was to begin at home (Jerusalem) and then as far as (the end of the earth).

The lesson here is that you cannot separate the Gospel mission from the lives of the believers to whom it is entrusted. It began with the life of Jesus Christ and would continue with the life of Jesus Christ in every believer. What began in the everyday life of the 12 disciples must continue in the everyday life of each of us.

An it did start small. This global Christian movement began in a house where around 120 Christians were gathered in one place (Acts 1:15) and around 20 years later was said to have “turned the world upside down”, (Acts 17:6).That model still works today. The most natural way to spread the Gospel begins in someone’s house, at work, school or around a kitchen table with a neighbor. It takes advantage of existing relationships and established lines of communication into which the Gospel message can be introduced. A simple, but masterful approach.

Here then is our prayer. Father, teach us to trust in Jesus’ plan. Help us confidently embrace the Gospel mission of “one person at a time”. Then let the power of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit do the rest. Amen

Credit: Ron Kelley 

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