Here’s a fact. God desires for all people to come to the saving knowledge of His son Jesus Christ. Scripture says that He does not desire that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Pet.3:9). This is the heart of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28.
Let’s follow that fact with a question. Do we actually believe God wants to fulfill this through us?
Further, do we believe He can bring about the exponential multiplication of disciples (a Disciple Making Movement)? Through people as ordinary as us?
We need a mindset shift in this area. Intellectual assent to God’s desire to save all peoples is good. It’s a far cry, however, from owning it for ourselves, from believing God wants to use us to accomplish this great purpose.
The Great Commission was given to Jesus’ disciples over 2000 years ago. Today, close to a third of the planet remain unreached. Why?
This question deserves a thorough answer. We could consider varied explanations. I don’t want to appear simplistic. One of the answers we must consider, though, is what ordinary Christians believe about their involvement. Who we believe ourselves to be has had great impact on the effective fulfillment of Jesus’ final command.
They Don’t Know About It
One reason the Great Commission is not yet complete is that many, many Christians do not believe God can use them to make and multiply disciples. They don’t know this command is for them. Barna research tells us that a shocking 51% of people have not heard about this command of our Lord.
They Don’t Know How To Do It
Another reason ordinary people haven’t engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission is that they haven’t been trained. Of the 49% of the Church who have heard of Jesus’ command, only a tiny percentage have been equipped to fulfill it! Our sermons focus on the what, not the how. We tell people to do something but rarely show them how to obey.
Remember the part of Matt. 28:18-20 where Jesus said, “teach them to obey”? We must teach them how to obey, not only teach them that they should obey. This means life-on-life discipleship and taking people with us as we make disciples. It means giving time for practice and learning of skills, not only of head knowledge.
A final reason is that scores of ordinary Christians don’t believe God could use them to do this kind of spiritual work. The separation of the clergy (pastors) and laity (ordinary believers) is not something we see in the New Testament. It came about in the 3rd Century. As church structures developed, spiritual duties became the role of bishops and priests. This separation has continued to today.
We must once again teach, preach, model, and embrace the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9). A key characteristic of Disciple Making Movements is that every Jesus follower is involved in making other disciples.
Many Scriptures affirm God’s ability to do extraordinary things through ordinary people.
- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
- “…and greater works than these will you do because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
- “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16)
If Jesus commanded us to go, would He not also empower us to do what He commanded?
Dealing With Doubts and Fears
What gets in our way? Beyond what’s been stated above?
Here’s a quick list of the reasons we give for why God couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use us.
- I’m not holy enough. My past mistakes disqualify me.
- I don’t know enough about the Bible yet.
- I have made a lot of mistakes and am still struggling with addictions.
- I’m too busy trying to take care of my family and put food on the table.
- I’m an introvert.
- I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to making disciples.
Or, if we have overcome some of the above, we can get intimidated by the awesomeness of actually believing Him for great multiplication. Maybe we’ve tried but not yet seen much fruit. Or we started a group with a potential person, but later, it fell apart.
“Making disciples, yes. Starting a movement? Nope. I can’t see God doing that through me,” we think. It’s amazing how big an impact past experience has on what we believe about the future. Predicting future outcomes based on past experience is part of human nature. It doesn’t however, lead us to have faith in the greater things God has for us.
Scripture encourages our hearts and stirs up our faith. A good way tp overcome these doubts is to spend 30 days going through the devotional Faith to Move Mountains. Another powerful way to overcome “faith” in past experience is to spend time in stories of ordinary people who have seen movements. Here are some resources to help you with that. Download our Movement Stories e-book or our recommended video list.
You don’t have to stay stuck in unbelief. God can and will use you to make and multiply disciples. Simply surrender yourself to Him again, asking Him for fresh faith to fill your heart. Then take one small step forward this week, to activate your obedience.
What step will you take? Share in the comments below or on the DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook page.