We will learn from Jesus that genuine discipleship cannot happen by merely meeting for fellowship and Bible study. On the job training for ministry and evangelism is an essential part of living the D-Life.
In Mark 6:7-13, 30-32, Jesus sent His disciples out into the mission field to do the work of ministry and evangelism. Like Jesus, we must personally train our disciples to do ministry and evangelism “outside the walls” of the church.
Mark 6:7-13 – And He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
Mark 6:30-32 – The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
Jesus trained His disciples to minister to the lost and dying who were largely outside the walls of the church. This must be our priority in D-Life. Living the D-Life involves doing the work of ministry and evangelism outside the walls of the church.
D-GROUPS MUST OBEY THE CALL TO MINISTRY AND EVANGELISM
Mark tells us that Jesus “called” the twelve disciples and “began to send them out two by two.” Jesus sent His disciples out to do ministry and evangelism, “and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.”
Luke tells of another time after this when Jesus “appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1). Jesus constantly demonstrates the link between discipleship and evangelism.
Jesus called His disciples to do the work of ministry and evangelism that they had observed Him doing. They had watched Jesus minister to the least of these, wash other’s feet, and go everywhere proclaiming the good news.
The bulk of Jesus’ ministry took place outside the walls of synagogues and places of worship. We must train those in our D-Groups to do ministry and evangelism outside the walls of the church.
D-GROUPS MUST SHARE A COMMITMENT TO MINISTRY AND EVANGELISM
When Jesus called His disciples and sent them out to do ministry, not one of them objected. They were all committed to do the work of ministry. Likewise, every D-Group must be committed to do the work of ministry and evangelism.
When it comes to living the D-Life, we cannot disciple others through fellowship and Bible study alone. We MUST be willing to go outside the walls of the church and participate in ministry and evangelism together. This is the way Jesus did it.
THE MINIMUM GOAL OF EVERY D-GROUP is to work together on one community ministry and evangelism project every two months. This means that every D-Group will participate in a minimum of six ministry projects each year. This is a reasonable expectation and an absolute essential for making genuine disciples.
Planning for ministry projects should be a regular part of weekly D-Group meetings. We should keep notes in our D-Life notebooks about ministry ideas and upcoming projects.
Ministry Projects may include feeding the homeless, crashing someone’s yard for lawn care, doing a work project at a local school, building a wheelchair ramp, adopting a family for Christmas, prayer walk evangelism, or other creative ideas. The opportunities are endless.
D-Groups can even plan for and go on mission trips together. As you plan with your D-Group, think about advancing God’s Kingdom on earth.
The purpose of all D-Group ministry projects is servant evangelism. As we show Christ’s love in practical ways, we must also practice “lift-up-your-eyes” evangelism.
In John 4:35b, Jesus said, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest.” As we “lift up our eyes” and see those around us, we must attempt to love on them and share the Gospel with them.
D-Group leaders should lead their group to follow a simple evangelism approach that involves the following four steps:
- Love – Approach an individual and engage him or her in friendly conversation. Our main concern is to show them love. Then ask, “Is there anything we can pray for you about?”
- Listen – Listen carefully to him or her and show genuine concern.
- Discern – Spiritually discern how you should respond to each individual.
- Respond – When appropriate, pray with the individual and share the Gospel with him or her using a Gospel tract or evangelism Bible.
Whenever possible, try to immediately connect those whom you lead to Christ with a D-Group. Also get his or her contact information to give to your church or to another church near the individual for immediate follow-up.
Before each ministry project, review this simple evangelism plan with your D-Group and take time to practice sharing the Gospel using a tract or evangelism Bible.
By continually reviewing and practicing the evangelism plan with your D-Group, you are not only preparing your group for your next ministry project, but you are also equipping them for everyday lifestyle evangelism.
D-GROUPS MUST JOIN IN CELEBRATION OF MINISTRY AND EVANGELISM
After the disciples completed their ministry and evangelism project, Mark tells us they “returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done.” Then they went away with Jesus to “rest a while.” We can be certain this was a time of celebration and reflection.
Likewise, in our D-Groups we should celebrate the positive results of our ministry projects. We should also reflect on the things we did well and the things we might do differently the next time.
These times of celebration and reflection after each ministry project are valuable opportunities for personal discipleship. This is a very distinctive and fruitful aspect of living the D-Life.