discipleship21The Bible has a strategy to reach the eight billion people that will be living in the next generation. This strategy is found in two related passages in the New Testament. The first is Matthew 28:19-20. It has been called the Great Commission and contains some of Jesus’ last words. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The Great Commission tells us we are to focus our attention on making disciples.

The second passage that gives us a strategy for reaching the world is II Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Because of this we believe that the most effective way to make disciples is one on one personal follow up. Billy Graham said, “If every believer followed the pattern of II Timothy 2:2 the church could reach the world with the Gospel in one generation. Mass crusades in which I believe and to which I have committed my life will never finish the Great Commission but a one on one ministry of discipleship will.” (The Holy Spirit, Waco, Texas: Word, 1978, p. 147).

If you were to reach and disciple one person for Christ a year, at the end of that year there would be the two of you. Then if both of you reached one person each and discipled them, at the end of year two there would be four growing reproducing Christians. If that continued the following would be the result:

  • 4 years = 16 people reached and trained
  • 6 years = 64 people reached and trained
  • 8 years = 256 people reached and trained
  • 10 years = 1,024 people reached and trained
  • 12 years = 4,096 people reached and trained
  • 13 years = 8,192 people reached and trained
  • 20 years = 1,048,576 people reached and trained
  • 30 years = 1,073,741,824 people reached and trained
  • 33 years = 8,589,934,592 people reached and trained

(This is more than the current world population.)
Jesus discipled twelve men for three years. When He died His church numbered one hundred and twenty. By today’s standards it would not be a mega church or even a large church. However its impact was huge! Jesus was unimpressed with the momentary applause that comes with a large church. Instead He reproduced His life in a few chosen men who carried His work on after He was gone. Keep in mind, He was omniscient. He knew everything. If there were a more effective way He would have done it. The results speak for themselves. Today, two thousand years later, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Thirty-two percent of the world’s population claim to be followers of Christ. This is twice as big as its nearest rival.

The discipleship material we use is Operation Multiplication. Details can be found at www.IEAOM.org.