by Todd Wilson:
Exponential is leading a track called “Church Planting and Disciple Making,” which focuses on the connections between church planting and discipleship.
Have you ever made something harder than it needed to be? We all have the tendency to focus on the complexities instead of the simple questions that get us to where we need to be. As church leaders, we can complicate the simple, especially Scripture. For example, when I read the Gospels, I see no wiggle room in the fact that our Savior commanded us to make and multiply disciples. He was crystal clear! The mission he laid out for us is not intended to be complex. And in the simplicity of his strategy, Jesus knows that if we focus on making disciples the way he did, we will see kingdom multiplication.
The question is simple: Are you producing biblical disciples who make disciples that plant churches that plant churches?
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When I wrote Spark: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication (Exponential’s first multiplication-focused book), I talked about disciple making through the lens of adding disciples (making converts) and reproducing disciples. The pathways for adding disciples—connecting with people, introducing them to Jesus, and bringing them to a point of accepting him as Lord—also serve to create the entry point for us making disciples and pursuing kingdom multiplication. The “adding” and the “making” work together, as those far from God become disciples who in the process of becoming more mature disciples, naturally make disciples of others.
In fact, if each of us made a disciple every three years, and every three years, those disciples continued to multiply—we could accomplish the Great Commission in our lifetime. It’s called Great Commission math. Jesus is brilliant!
Unfortunately, we don’t always hear and embrace the simplicity of his command. Instead of focusing on disciple making as our core purpose that drives all of our programming, we tend to align our activities around other motives rooted in accumulation.
Without disciple making that multiplies—we have little hope of moving the needle on church multiplication in the United States. Exponential calls it our “4-10” mission—to see the number of reproducing churches increase from less than 4 percent to a tipping point of greater than 10 percent. Without fruitful disciple making, we’ll fall desperately short of this mission—and, moreover, Jesus’ call. We unintentionally stunt the Great Commission math.
If you sense dire urgency in my words, you’re correct. Exponential is all in, saying and doing everything we can to drive home this message because with every 1 percent increase, millions of lives and eternities will be forever changed.
What would it look like in your church and the world at large if you make disciples who make disciples who plant churches that plant churches? I can’t help think our world would look tremendously different if the disciples we made took the Great Commission to head and heart.
Leading this track are Exponential leaders Todd Wilson and Ralph Moore. Todd is co-founder of Exponential and provides vision, strategy, and direction for the ministry. He is a kingdom-entrepreneur, who is naturally drawn to anything around the next corner. Ralph is a church planter and disciple maker. He planted Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach in California, Anchor Church in Hawaii, and Hope Chapel in Honolulu. He helped start the Hope Chapel movement, which began with just 12 people, and the ‘movement’ mushroomed to more than 2,200 churches worldwide.