Jesus partners with each of us in His three-tier strategy to make & multiply disciples. As His people, we are caught up with Him in His epic adventure to restore His lost world of people to intimacy with the Father. Let the Kingdom of God loose.
His people have the awesome privilege to partner with Him in His unchanging plan for the ages…before we fully understand. Our little stories now have eternal meaning because they are lived out within His Big Story. His unfinished mission defines our call together both as faith-communities and as individuals.
We find Jesus’ three-tier strategy in the Gospels.
As in the first two posts, I want to illustrate Jesus’ strategy with an illustration of the incredible beauty hidden in remote accesses, only accessible to experienced backpackers. Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived. These insights provide God’s people with a broad, flexible guideline to train as agile, creative disciples in the 21st century.
- MULTIPLY DISCIPLES (“Come & Be with Me;” Becoming Guides)
(Mark 3:13-15, Luke 6:17ff + parallel passages)
In Mark 3:13-15, Jesus spent the night in prayer with His Father, then called the Twelve. Jesus had already trained and watched them for ten plus months…and they came. His initial faith-community of Twelve was probably sub-divided into three primary groups of four, modeled after the closeness of the original, divine Small Group.
“Jesus focused on the few to reach the many.”
This tier was a more deliberate, twenty-month training in a closed, same-gender group. His target was emerging leaders who reproduced what Jesus had done to them, multiply disciples. Jesus planned to develop and reproduce “guides” who could escort others to the rare beauty of the heights.
For Jesus to fulfill His marching orders from the Team-of-Three, His ministry was never simply to Drawing In Disciples the crowds or even to Make Disciples. His heart beat for the world. Jesus must build an adaptable, spiritual DNA into His disciples so they would Multiply Disciples. Jesus’ entire crusade to win this world back to intimacy with the Father rested on the faithfulness of Hid disciples multiplying.
The Guide must raise up more guides who could take others to the beauty of the heights. This ground swell of growth began slowly with Jesus’ disciples. Exponential growth begins slowly. It’s the Kingdom math of exponential multiplication to which Jesus has called us (3 become 9, 9 to 27, 27 to 81; 2 Timothy 2:2, multiply to the 4th generation).
- “Start me with ten who are stout-hearted men and I will soon give you 10,000 more”
(Oscar Hammerstein in New Moon).
It’s staggering that the same God who spoke the entire universe into existence desires to partner with us as one of His intimate allies. In the words of the character John Keating in the 1989 movie Dead Men’s Society: “Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Into whom are you investing your life?
It doesn’t matter if this is well defined in my mind, if it’s not in yours. Take time to go through the Gospels until Jesus’ three-tier strategy has gripped your heart.
Here is a free, downloadable Word document from an in-process book that expands on Jesus’ three-tiered approach to make & multiply disciples.