“I love the idea of making disciples of new believers and seeing those discipleship groups multiply! I’m in!” you might be saying. “But where do I start? What do I need to do first to see a disciple making movement begin?”
There are 3 “basics” that are needed as every DMM gets started.
- A Prayer Strategy
- Abundant Seed Sowing
- Finding the Person of Peace
I played basketball in college. I wasn’t amazing, but I enjoyed it. It was fun to be a part of a team. I loved the games. I hated the practices. Our coach would push us hard on the court in the early morning practice. We had to dribble, shoot layups and free throws until we were sick of it. We ran back and forth, up and down the court dribbling and passing the ball until we could do it in our sleep. It was these basics that won the games.
It is easy to try to rush through these 3 important steps in seeing discipleship begin. Don’t do it.
Develop a Prayer Strategy
John Wesley said, “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” Every church planting or disciple making movement that happens, starts with prayer.
Many disciple makers start with regular visits to the area they want to reach. Then they do prayer walks through the neighborhood. They ask God to speak to them and show them what the spiritual strongholds are in that area. They pray and raise up others to pray for those “strongholds to be broken” and for God’s blessing to come.
Others organize intercessory teams to pray on site. Some people make maps of the area taking note of important locations like the temples, mosques or key places of commerce and government. Some organize all night prayer or 24-7 prayer chains within the team. They saturate the place with prayer. In the midst of this, they begin to sense from the Holy Spirit what God wants to do there.
Even after the first discipleship groups begin, prayer must be a central part of the disciple maker’s life.
Do you have a short and long term prayer strategy? Are you consistently prioritizing prayer in your efforts to reach this new place or people group?
Abundant Seed Sowing
As you begin to know your community, boldly share the gospel with many. This is what will lead to seeing discipleship groups in the near future.
When I train rural church planters in Asia, I often do a drama about a wise and foolish farmer. The foolish farmer sows only a few seeds and then is surprised that he doesn’t get a harvest. The wise farmer knows that in order to get a great harvest you must sow thousands of seeds.
Abundant seed sowing works! There is a common “mistake” for those trying to start their first discipleship group. They share the gospel with a few people. Those people don’t seem interested or even are resistant. They then decide that they don’t want to “turn people off,” so they will just make friends first with everyone and slowly share the gospel. Friendship evangelism is a nice idea. The problem with it is that it takes a very long time before you see fruit. Often, before we are even sure the person is open to the good news, we invest a lot in getting to know them. Then, when we finally share Jesus with them, we find out they are not interested. This is deeply disappointing and the end result is we don’t start any discipleship groups.
Instead, find ways to share the gospel with hundreds (if not thousands) of people. There will be some who are open. God has already prepared people to believe. You find them through sharing the gospel abundantly with as many people as possible.
Finding the Person of Peace
Luke 10 refers to the person of peace.
If the man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.- Luke 10:6 NASB
Jesus sent His disciples out to heal the sick, cast out demons and to proclaim the good news of the kingdom. As they did that, they were to find the “Person of Peace” who would offer them hospitality, a place to stay and would also gather others to hear their message. They were not to move around, but to stay with that person.
Finding people from within the community who are open to you and your message and who call others to listen is very key to starting a new movement of disciples. Until you find this person, prayer and abundant seed sowing will be your main activities.
Have you found a person of peace? Remember, it’s not just someone who likes you and gives you hospitality, but someone who welcomes both you and the message of Jesus through you. If you’ve found them, invest in that person and train them as a disciple. They will then train others, and you will form your first discipleship group through them. You’ll be amazed at how, from their contacts, the gospel message will spread.
Which of these 3 things are you doing the most? Which do you need to be more active in?
Starting your first discipleship group?
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