How serious are we about making disciples?

“Seriously?”  Have you ever had someone ask you if you were really serious about something you said?  I have.

Here’s a question we should answer – How serious are we about obeying and following Jesus’ command to make disciples?

This question came to mind recently as I was meditating and reflecting on the words of Jesus found in Matthew 28:19-20, “The Great Commission.”

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Honestly, I have struggled for a long time with the reality that we are not fulfilling Jesus’ command to make disciples of all people groups in the world.  I concluded that we are not really serious about what Jesus told us to do!

I believe Jesus’ command is as valid today as it was the day He gave it to His followers in the first century.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to hear those words directly from Jesus?  Most of them were untrained and uneducated.  They had little or no influence in social, religious or political circles, yet Jesus told them to make disciples of all nations.  And, yet, according to both biblical and extra-biblical sources, the early followers of Jesus did exactly what He told them to do.

Let’s ask ourselves, “Are we taking Jesus’ command serious?”  If not, what can we do about it?

Recently, I ran across a book that specifically addresses these questions.   T4T: A Discipleship Revolution by Steve Smith cs-t4trevolutionand Ying Kai, describes and details a practical and biblical process for fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime.  Steve Smith and Ying Kai have lived out the principles set forth in this book.  They are practitioners with a proven track record in one of the most phenomenal church-planting movements in modern history – the launching of literally millions of new churches in a relatively short period of time.

God is up to something awesome in our generation, and this book will give you a glimpse of what it looks like.  Every church planter, every pastor MUST read this book.  The principles it contains are sound, biblical and reproducible.  The T4T process is a simple and effective evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, and church-planting strategy.  It is “an all-in-one process . . . to take a person from lostness to maturing disciple who can start new groups and train others to reproduce the process.” (page 90)

T4T, “training for trainers,” focuses on obedience-based discipleship as opposed to knowledge-based discipleship.  The T4T process includes both intentionality and accountability making disciples who, in turn, make more disciples.  Each generation of disciples, or as the author prefer “trainers” are trained to immediately obey Jesus’ commands by sharing their story, sharing Jesus’ story, inviting those who listen to become a follower of Jesus, and then leading them to repeat the process with others.

The process creates exponential growth as one generation of followers immediately obeys the Great Commission and begins making disciples in the same manner in which they were discipled.  Simply put, this is a return to the way disciples were made in the New Testament, or as the writers say, a discipleship re-revolution.

The book is divided into two parts.  Chapters 1-10 unwrap the essentials of the T4T process.  Chapters 11 and following, explore various ways the process can be adapted to different contexts.  T4T is an on-going disciple-making process.  While the content is solidly biblical, it is dynamic and flexible in its application, giving it the potential to be cross-cultural and multi-generational.

If you are a pastor or church planter, you simply must read this book!  You won’t be disappointed. Seriously!

Published by Larry Doyle

Dr. Larry Doyle served as the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association from September 1, 2003, to May 31, 2016. Since retiring from the Piedmont Baptist Association in 2016, Dr. Doyle has served as interim pastor and pulpit supply for several churches in the Piedmont Triad area. He served the Pinecroft Baptist Church from August 2018 to October 2020. His ministry began in the pastorate in Kentucky, his native state. He served as pastor of three churches while completing his undergraduate, graduate and post graduate degrees. (1968–1979) He and his wife Becky, a native of Greensboro, served as missionaries with the International Mission Board in Ecuador from 1980 to 1992. They returned to North Carolina where Larry pastored the Union Cross Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville from 1992 to 2000. In January 2001 he and Becky moved Honduras where they served as the On-site Coordinator for Disaster Relief with the North Carolina Baptist Men, coordinating volunteer teams in rebuilding houses and churches after the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Upon returning from Honduras in January 2002, Larry served as the International Ministries Director for Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC, a position he held until answering the call to become the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, NC in September 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Today Larry enjoys “Strengths Coaching” and mentoring pastors and church leaders. He also enjoys finding, refinishing and repurposing old, discarded furniture. Larry and Becky have two sons, Steve and Tim, and are the proud grandparents of five.

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