Are We Making Jesus Followers (I like Jesus) or Disciples (I obey Jesus)?


How do we move a seeker from “I like Jesus, He is a great man (prophet/teacher)” to surrender and a shift of allegiance? Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet. Hindus have little trouble calling Him one of the gods. Buddhists believe He was a good man, and atheists think He was a great philosopher.

Jesus didn’t call us to make church members. Nor did He call us to start discovery groups or plant churches. He called us to make disciples. We need to remember this.

What is a Disciple?

A disciple is someone who is completely surrendered to Jesus. They have shifted their entire system of allegiances to make Him Lord of their lives. They commit to obeying His commands and following His ways, though they stumble and fall.

We need to see a shift in allegiance if we are to make disciples who multiply. Those with unclear allegiances may share stories (which is good), but they will not make more disciples.

Loving Prabhu Yeshu – Is It Enough?

In a Hindu context, this issue takes particular forms. It is different in a Muslim, Buddhist, or post-Christian context. The principles are the same. read more

Emphasize the Basic 7 Commands of Christ As You Train New Disciple Makers

7 commands of Christ

What? Did Jesus teach seven commands? I’ve never seen a list like this in the Bible!” he exclaimed. “I thought Christ came to set us free from the law of sin and death.” This brother thought we were heretical for even using the phrase “the seven commands of Christ” as we trained new believers. I see his point. We certainly don’t want to re-impose an Old Testament system of legalism.

What we do want is to obey the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Teach them to obey all I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)

The seven commands of Christ are a helpful summary of the Lord’s most basic instructions to His disciples. There are many commands Jesus gave during His time on earth. Go through the gospels and create your own list, if you prefer. It is very helpful to have a summary list to use. The one below works well for me.

Having a list helps us to emphasize the commands Jesus gave, not our own traditions and ideas.

If you love me, keep my commands.

John 14:15 NIV.

What Are the 7 Commands?

Below is a list with the reference for the command, and a story that can be used to train disciples on that command. read more

Why Individualistic Disciple Making Will Keep You Stuck in Addition Growth

start groups

Western culture is very individualistic. “Every person has a right to make their own decision,” we say. My passport culture places a high value on individual rights. Individualism is deeply embedded in the American worldview. The impact of the West on the way we do evangelism and disciple-making around the world is significant. It’s a hindrance to starting movements. If we want to launch DMMs, we must shift our mindset and actions toward always starting groups.

This will cause the movement to spread rapidly and exponentially. A focus only on individual discipleship will multiply much more slowly.

Failing to focus on groups instead of individuals is one of the most common mistakes people make in disciple-making.

How Many Cultures Make Decisions – A Story

My friend was a lawyer, an advocate. Well educated, she was single and about 35 years old. She was the breadwinner in her household and lived with her younger sister, a teacher, and her mother. We became friends through community development work my team started in her area. I visited her home often and our friendship grew. read more

Practice Disciple Making Skills? It’s What Jesus & Paul Both Said To Do

practice disciple-making

Practice. Practice. Practice. “But I don’t like to practice, I like to play.” When I was a teenager, I played on a basketball team. I hated practices. We would dribble the ball up and down the court and shoot layups for hours. It was tiring and boring. I preferred the games. They were fun! Without practice though, we didn’t win games. Practicing disciple making skills is no different.

For some reason, we think that doing things like evangelism and disciple making shouldn’t need practice. It should flow out of us without any training or effort. This is not actually what either Jesus or Paul said. They used the word practice to describe the learning and applying process.

Evangelism Isn’t Natural For Me

I’ll be vulnerable and confess. Evangelism doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m an introvert, and talking to strangers is not at all “natural.” Sharing with my friends and family can be troublesome too. Yet I want to be obedient to Jesus’ command to make disciples. What do I need to do?

I need to practice. Without practice, I’d never share the gospel story with anyone. I practice sharing out loud at home, I practice it with someone in my neighborhood. Sometimes I fail. My efforts flop. It’s only about the fifth time I share the God story with someone in a taxi or at a park that it flows out naturally. Why is it now natural? Because I have practiced it. read more

Re-aligning Our Priorities


If you had to choose between building relationships with lost people and going to church, which one would you do? Seriously.  Most would answer, “Go to church, obviously.”  Going to church is what “good” Christians do.

True. It’s a worthy thing to do, especially if being part of that church community is causing you to grow as a disciple. So often, though, there is a big difference between being a Christian and being a disciple

What do “good” disciples do? I believe that engaging with, befriending, and loving on lost people and sharing the good news with them, is what disciples do.  It’s what Jesus did. He hung out with lost people a lot more than he went to synagogue meetings and conferences right?

Are Our Priorities, His Priorities?

I wonder sometimes why attending church weekly has become such a highly critical component of our “following Jesus” while making disciples is not.  Jesus never once commanded us to “go to church every week.”  He repeatedly told His disciples to “go and make disciples.” read more

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship in DMMs

emotionally healthy discipleship

Is it possible to be both deeply committed to emotionally healthy discipleship and also to the rapid multiplication of disciples? It’s an important question worthy of consideration. Can natural fruit grow fast without being eaten by worms? I’m not saying it’s easy. Is it possible?

We live in a world that tends to divide into camps. It’s an either/or world. Jesus wasn’t like this. In fact, He refused to be put in one camp or the other.

Jesus was not Democrat or Republican, or Independent for that matter. Please excuse the reference to American politics, but it so clearly illustrates our tendency toward joining a camp and being loyal to it without learning from and understanding others who are in a “different camp.”

Spoiler alert. I’ll answer my question now.

Yes, it is absolutely possible to be committed to both of these things. How do I know this? Because Jesus was. He is our model on how to make and multiply disciples rapidly and in healthy, sustainable ways. read more

What Are “Borderless Nets” and How Do I Cast One?

borderless nets

A few days ago, a friend from Bangladesh used the term “borderless nets” in a chat message. It caught my attention. I’m not sure where he got the term, or if someone else used it first. I immediately asked the question that is now the title of this blog. What are ‘borderless nets’ and how do I cast one? I thought about Luke chapter five. Could casting “borderless nets” help us catch the huge number of fish not possible in other ways?

Covid-19 forced us to think and work in new, innovative ways. It pushed us out of the box (or rut) we were in. God is like that. He turns horrible things the enemy intends for evil into good for His kingdom.

Over the past year, I’ve observed the new ways people are engaging in disciple making through online formats. I agree, we need to keep evaluating this. We must make sure it goes deep enough as far as transformation and character change. It is nonetheless an exciting new development in DMMs. Like never before, DMM efforts are crossing borders. They are jumping into places impossible for them to reach before 2020. read more

What Does Worship Look Like in Disciple Making Movements?

worship in Disciple Making Movements

“How does worship work in a DMM?” she asked in the chat. My trainee is a gifted worship leader. Would a Disciple Making Movement approach make room for her gifts? The answer is yes, but it looks different than in a traditional (legacy) church.

Worship is vital to our spiritual life. Through worship, we grow close to Jesus, experience His presence, and gaze on His beauty. There, we are transformed. Every disciple must grow as an active worshipper.

Our understanding of worship, needs to grow beyond something that happens in a church building. It doesn’t need a sound system or gifted musicians leading a congregation. We need a more Biblical understanding of worship, and a more reproducible model.

Perspectives on John 4

Yesterday, I was doing a Discovery Bible Study with a relatively new believer. We happened to be studying John chapter four. It’s the story of the woman at the well.

As we processed this story, I took note of the insights my friend, reading the story for the very first time, gave. “It doesn’t matter where we worship now that Jesus has come. We don’t have to go to a particular place. What is important is that we worship Jesus from our heart, not only in a certain format. read more

Is Suffering and Pain Part of the Path to Movements? Why?


I woke early. After prayer, I glanced at my phone and found a difficult message. A dear friend and colleague lost his battle with COVID 19. My heart was broken for the many who loved him. His death is a great loss to the movement where he played a vital role. Suffering and death are part of our lives. What role do they play in pioneering movements?

I’ll be honest. Suffering is not often talked about when we cast vision for Disciple Making Movements (DMMs).

We speak of rapid growth and multiplication. The urgent need of the unreached will only be addressed through a more organic approach, we say. All true. There is a cost to movements. It must be counted and embrace by any who would seriously pursue them.

Not An Easy Price

Only His sustaining grace can enable us to identify (in suffering) with the One who paid the ultimate price.

The Bible says Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). As His followers, should we not expect to do the same?

Suffering plays a vital role in our lives as we develop into the kinds of leaders we must be to launch movements. Pain and loss develop humility and compassion within us. They transform us into His likeness. read more

Why Preachers Should Preach Far Less and Train Much More


The call to preach the gospel” was highly esteemed in my childhood home. I come from a family of preachers and am grateful for my ministerial heritage.

I enjoy preaching, and some would say I’m decent at it.

As I grew more focused on Disciple Making Movements, I had to change how I work. My calling is to multiply disciple makers and catalyze movements among the yet to be reached millions on our planet. This requires I do more than preach to people. I must train disciples to be disciple makers. I need to train them until they are equipped enough that they can train others also.

It’s not been easy to put aside my preacher role. But that is what this vision demands.

Letting Go of the Perks

There are significant perks that come with being a preacher with a title. When I stood on a stage and hundreds (or thousands) of people listened to my words, I knew people were impacted by my message.

But did they become disciples who could make more disciples? It’s a tough question.

Most often my preaching did not result in disciples who could make disciples. I’ve motivated people through preaching, but I’ve not trained them to multiply. read more