As a follower of Christ, did you know that disciple-making is a vital part of your spiritual DNA? You are a new creation in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit who lives in you, the new person that you are is genetically hardwired to make and multiply disciples. There is an internal call to follow our Lord’s example in living a life of intentional discipleship. It becomes something you want to do and something you never want to stop. It becomes who you are. Like Jesus, you become a disciple-maker. Though challenging at times, discipling others will bring you genuine joy.
The greatest joy in disciple-making is multiplication. It is a cause for rejoicing when someone you have discipled steps out in faith to disciple others. Those who fail to multiply rob themselves of this joy and severely limit the fruitfulness of their disciple-making efforts. Jesus literally poured His life into twelve disciples. His plan was for each of them to step out in faith to disciple others. It was a highly effective plan that proved to be exceedingly fruitful. The Holy Spirit desires to lead you to follow His plan.
YOU MUST TELL THEM THE PLAN FROM THE START
When Jesus called His first disciples, He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). He told them from the start that His plan was to make them fishers of men. This was Jesus way to connect with these fishermen and to tell them plainly that one day they would be discipling others.
Likewise, when you begin meeting with your discipleship group, you must tell them the plan from the start. Tell them plainly that your goal for each of them is that one day they will be discipling others. Let them know from the start that the plan for your discipleship group is to multiply.
YOU MUST REMIND THEM OF THE PLAN OFTEN
Jesus reminded His disciples often “that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matt. 16:21). He reminded them that they would not be together forever. He reminded them throughout the discipling process that the plan was for each of them to multiply and to one day disciple others.
You too must remind your discipleship group often that the plan is to multiply. Remind them throughout the year that your goal is for each of them to one day disciple others.
YOU MUST LEAD THEM IN THE PLAN WHEN IT’S TIME
After Jesus died and rose again, He led His disciples to execute the plan. Before He ascended back to the Father, He said to them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus said, “Go.” It was time to execute the plan. It was time to multiply. It was time for each of them to go and make disciples and He intentionally sent them out to fulfill the plan.
In your discipleship group you must know when it is time to execute the plan. Perhaps one or two in your group are ready to step out in faith to disciple others. You have discipled them and equipped them well. It is time for them to multiply. You must be intentional and your leadership will be crucial. Speak with them individually to offer encouragement and assistance. Affirm their readiness to lead a new group. Perhaps you have one who is ready to launch out and take the initiative to begin a new group. Pray with him or her and offer your assistance. Be willing to help in “fishing” for new disciples to join this new group. Have a special prayer time with your whole discipleship group and launch this new group with joy. The greatest joy in discipleship is multiplication.
Another plan is to encourage everyone in your discipleship group to begin praying for new people to disciple and to begin “fishing” for new disciples. As your group grows beyond the acceptable size, let part of your group multiply out with new leaders and you keep the other part of the group.
There are many ways to multiply, but always be prayerful and intentional as you begin the process. You must lead your group to multiply when it is time. Remember that apart from multiplication there is no real discipleship.