The game of chess is a very challenging game. I’ve only played chess a few times, but enough to know it’s a difficult game to master. Recently, I read an interesting article about chess and the endgame.
In the game of chess, the endgame is the stage of the game when few pieces are left on the board. It is arguably the most important stage of the game. Even if you succeed in the opening and middle stages of the game, not knowing the skills to turn the endgame into a checkmate will cost you many wins. Without a strong endgame you won’t be very good at chess.
The strategies in the endgame are different from that of other parts of the chess game. To win at chess, it’s very important to know the various strategies that can be used in the endgame. The endgame even has its on vocabulary using German words such “zugzwang” (being forced to make a bad move) and “zwischenzug” (making an intermediate move which improves the outcome of the next move).
As I read this article, I could not help but think about the church. In the game of chess, the objective of the endgame is clear. It’s called checkmate. But what is the endgame objective of the church? According to Jesus, it’s called making disciples. I think all would agree that the ultimate endgame objective of every church is to make disciples who make disciples. In chess there is no victory unless there is a checkmate. In the church there is no victory unless we are making and multiplying disciples. In chess, it’s enjoyable when you win. In the church, it’s essential that we win.
A STRONG MIDDLE GAME IS IMPORTANT
In the game of chess, it’s important to have a strong middle game. Without a good middle game, you will never have a chance to win at the endgame.
Likewise, in the church, authentic worship, strong preaching, and healthy small group Bible studies are extremely important. These fundamentals of the church are essential to help believers develop an intimate relationship with Christ, to experience genuine fellowship with other believers, and to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word. If we are not strong in these areas of the church, it’s unlikely we will be successful in the endgame. Excellence in the middle game will set us up to win at the endgame.
A STRONG ENDGAME IS IMPERATIVE
The problem is that most churches are satisfied with a strong middle game. When the church is healthy, the people are happy, and there are more additions than subtractions, most churches are satisfied with this.
However, this is not victory. The ultimate objective of the church is not merely to grow deeper Christians or to add to the church. The ultimate goal is massive multiplication of disciples. This is winning, and it’s way past time for the church to start winning. We must not be satisfied until we win our world for Christ. Therefore, we must develop a clear endgame strategy for equipping all believers to make and multiply disciples outside the walls of the church.
Living the D-Life is the endgame. Through D-Life, we have a simple and effective endgame strategy to equip all believers to live a lifestyle of discipleship anytime and anywhere. In many ways, D-Life bridges the gap between the middle game and the endgame. Growing believers who have been trained through the teaching ministry of the church go outside the walls of the church to lead D-Groups. D-Groups meet out in culture anytime and anywhere in homes, apartment complexes, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, schools, college campuses, prisons, work places, and anywhere else you can think of. The church goes out among the unchurched. Believers build relationships with unbelievers. We study, we pray, we minister, we share the gospel together. We do missions together. We reach the lost and unchurched where they are and involve them in our D-Groups. We multiply new D-Groups constantly and continue to invade the enemy’s territory until there is no more territory to occupy. This was Jesus’ vision for His church.
Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b). Jesus’ vision was to build a church that was not routinely retreating, but one that always advancing. His vision was not a church filled with “discipleship programs,” but a church filled with passionate disciple makers living a lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples in all the world.
Any church that does not have a simple and effect endgame strategy, will not be very good at being the church Jesus envisioned. Start equipping your people to live a lifestyle of discipleship. Start living the D-Life. I encourage you to schedule a D-Life Boot Camp as soon as possible, equip your people to live the D-Life, and let’s work together toward winning the endgame.