This blog is an excerpt from the free eBook, Invest in a Few: Giving Your Life to What Matters Most. Download it free here.
When you decide to make disciples, you make the choice to multiply your life. You’re deciding to think beyond our own interests to look at the bigger picture of God. It is the choice to participate in the great movement in the history of the world. Steve Addison in his book, Movements That Change the World, gives an insightful definition of movements and how they are born. He writes
Movements are characterized by discontent, vision and action. Discontent unfreezes people from their commitment to the way things are. Movements emerge when people feel something needs to change. If the vacuum created by discontent is filled with a vision of a different future and action to bring change then a movement is born. Movements change people, and changed people change the world.
This is from Craig Ethredege’s eBook, Invest in a Few. Download the eBook here in your favorite format at no cost.
Movements are hard to define. You can recognize one when you see it, but pinning down a definition is challenging. That is why I love this quote here because Addison clarifies and expresses the basic elements, the foundational principles behind any sweeping movement. Movements are born in a vacuum of discontent, he says, and brought to life through the actions of people who are committed to a common cause. This perfectly describes the movement Jesus created.
People who knew they were far from God and in desperate need of a Savior felt the vacuum of discontent. Jesus—through his death, burial, and resurrection—demonstrated that he alone could fill that vacuum—that aching hole for a relationship with God in each of us. Then, Jesus cast a compelling vision to his disciples: “Go make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-20). And those disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, did exactly what Jesus had commanded them to do. They saturated Jerusalem with the message of the gospel. They spilled out in the regions of Judea and Samaria declaring that hope of salvation is in Christ alone. They took that message to the nations and made disciples as they went. They were people of action, committed to the common cause of the Great Commission and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The movement Jesus started is still moving forward, still growing, and ever expanding. How can you join this movement?
The answer is simple: multiply your life by making disciples.
Imagine the Impact
Think about it this way. If 10,000 churches reached even 1,000 people every year for Christ, that would be amazing, right? Imagine your church leading 1,000 people to Christ every year! As great as that sounds, it would take 700 years to reach the more than seven billion people on the planet at that rate. That’s way too long, because that’s the rate of addition. There is a better way, the way of multiplication.
What if you lead one person to Christ and trained them for one year to walk with God, share the gospel, and invest in others. In the first year, there would just be the two of you. In the second year, there would be four. In the third year, you would have eight on your team. And by the fourth year, you would have sixteen. Not a whole lot? Imagine, though, if you continued that process over time, by year 33 you would have 8.5 billion reproducing disciples! That’s more than the population on planet earth. This was Jesus’ strategy. It was quite simple—every disciple makes disciples. Every Christ follower invests in a few.
This is what Paul instructed young Timothy to do with his life: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul told Timothy, “Hey, find yourself some faithful men. Teach them what I’ve taught you, and then challenge them to do the same.” In this way, Paul was challenging Timothy to multiply his life! I can hear his now, “Timothy! Hey, don’t waste your life. Multiply it for the cause of Christ to the third and fourth generation!” This is what God has called each one of us to do—multiply our lives.
Ignite a Movement
Are you multiplying your life? Paul could see a movement behind him four generation deep: from Timothy to his faithful men and the others they discipled. Jesus also saw a movement behind him four generations deep: Jesus, the twelve apostles, the seventy-two, and those they led to Christ (Luke 10:1). And when Jesus heard that the movement has reached the fourth generation, the Scriptures say he was “filled with joy” (Luke 10:21, NLT). Why was he so joyful? Because he knew that the movement was now four generations deep… it was unstoppable! You can ignite a movement to the third and fourth generation, too!
One day you could look over your shoulder and see the people into whom you have invested multiplying their lives into others and those they invested into are multiplying their lives into others, too. One day, by God’s grace, you could see a movement spread from your influence that could literally change the globe and impact the nations in a way that continues until Jesus returns—that can actually happen!
You must first decide to multiply your life. The hope of the world rests on a few people who, by the grace and power of God, are willing to multiply their lives into others. The whole kingdom of God rests on the shoulders of men and women who are willing to multiply their lives. I can’t think of anything more important. There’s nothing I would rather give my life to than being apart of this movement of God.
Will you join me and invest in a few?
Written by Craig Etheredge
 (InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, 2009) 29.
A gifted communicator, author, and Bible teacher and the Lead Pastor at First Colleyville, a thriving church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Craig Etheredge is the host of Morning Thrive, a radio program that covers central Texas. He is Founder and President of discipleFIRST ministries and a regular speaker at the FlashPoint Conference across the United States. Craig is also Adjunct Professor of Discipleship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and is actively involved in his local community serving on various boards.
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