In Tier 2, Jesus makes disciples, calling us to “climb the trail” with Him. Yes, Jesus came to die for us that we might have life to the full…and also to model a timeless ministry strategy.
The previous blog briefly looked at Tier One, Draw in Disciples, and this one moves on to the 2nd tier, Climb the Trail. Jesus called us both to make & multiply disciples (followers, learners) like He did. Jesus is our perfect model both for maturity and also for ministry. Look in the Gospels for His strategy.
I want to use backpacking in the European Alps to illustrate Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels. Incredible beauty lies hidden in the remote accesses, only accessible to experienced backpackers. Since I’m no backpacker, what steps would be necessary for me to backpack in the Alps since I live in SoCal? Since the smartest Man who ever lived modeled His three-tiered ministry strategy for us, it provides a broad, flexible guideline to train us as agile, creative disciples in the 21st century.
- MAKE Disciples (Climb the Trail, “Come & Follow Me”) Mark 1:17-3:13; Luke 6:17ff + parallel passages in Matthew
In Mark 1:17, our Guide calls us to join Him and others on this epic adventure to the heights. The repetition of the call to others in Mark 4:21-22 and 9:9 suggests a pattern as Jesus invites His followers to the next tier. Jesus gathered those who said “yes” into same-gender, time-limited, semi-closed small groups.
This group modeled after the Trinity made space for leisurely, face-to-face relationship and training to learn to gladly serve others from our heart.
None of us can do this alone. We need Jesus and we need each other. The call of the trail demands personal preparation, increasing commitment and full buy-in from all as a T-E-AM. Jesus calls us to climb the trail with Him on our journey. “Come, follow Me and I will make you….” Jesus trains up F.A.S.T disciples, (Faithful, Available, Servant, Teachable).
Although the trail may begin more gradually, it expands into the full range of experiences available on any adventure, the dangers and hardships, the heart-stopping joys and beauty. Jesus invites the crowd to choose a higher level of commitment (Mark 8:34 and like the 72 in Luke 10:1). Both the crowds and especially the small, primary groups.
In Tier Two, Jesus built solidly over a ten month period, stirring a longing in some for more (“magus”). His three-tiered approach has now led to the 100’s of millions of Christians in the world. Jesus worked with “a few very common men and women,” like us. As Elton Trueblood wrote:
- What [Jesus] did was to collect a few very common men and women, inspire them with the sense of his spirit and vision, and build their lives into an intensive fellowship of affection, worship & work.”
It doesn’t matter if this is well defined in my mind, if it’s not in yours. So jot down what you see as the characteristics of each of the three tiers.
Tier 1: DRAW IN Disciples: (John 1:35-4:54 + the “crowd” in the Gospels)
Tier 2: MAKE Disciples: (Mk 1:16-3:12; Luke 4:14-6:12 + parallel passages)
Tier 3: MULTIPLY Disciples: (Mark 3:13-15; Lk 6:12 + “disciples” afterwards)
Here is a free, downloadable Word document from an in-process book that expands on Jesus’ three-tiered approach to make & multiply disciples (you may need to click on View/Edit for it to format correctly).