Within the last twenty centuries, disciple making like Jesus and Paul modeled has ignited and fueled many movements of Christendom—disciples becoming like Christ making disciples of the people they did life with each day. Movements aren’t made of professional men and women fulfilling their role in the Church to keep the doors open. True movements are made of men and women, who have a passion to be like Jesus where they live, work, study, shop and hang out with people who will repeat the same process. Unless you’re making disciples who make disciples of others, you’re limited in how fully you’re becoming like Jesus.
Jesus taught and lived this mission, as did His disciples. Christianity went viral throughout the then known world and continued until Christianity became the state religion. Then things began to become institutionalized, and we ended up with an irrelevant Church, much of it far from Christ and discipling. Any sort of revival took place because God used the gifts He gave to make disciples throughout the Church.
This is from Bobby Harrington and Greg Wien’s free eBook, Becoming a Disciple Maker. Download the eBook here in your favorite format at no cost.
Author and researcher Sam Metcalf has spent his life studying the movements of Christianity. In his book, Beyond the Local Church: How Apostolic Movements Can Change the World, Metcalf concludes that most of these movements were started by catalytic individuals who were passionate about their cause and used the principle of making disciples who make disciples. He writes:
“Both communism and extreme Islamic fundamentalism are evil counterfeits of the movement dynamics deeply embedded in the Christian movement from its very beginning. Jesus himself modeled these dynamics, and the book of Acts is a fascinating textbook on how his followers lived them out in the first century.” 
Too often, Metcalf explains, the local church is more concerned about propagating itself rather than reaching the world for Christ through making disciples who make disciples. He astutely argues that to create viral disciple-making movements “…there are usually three things that come together: 1) the right people, 2) the right structures; and 3) the sovereign anointing of God.” 
Carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28: 18-20) will only happen as we become disciples who make disciples that make disciples. At its core, this movement must be empowered by God’s presence through His Spirit—free of the Western Church’s prevailing structures that are designed to produce programs and professionals who run the programs and do ministry. Instead, it’s up to us to look for new ways to create structures and opportunities that equip, empower and release people to be disciples who are freed up to make disciples who make disciples.
Living On Through the Disciples You Reproduce
One last comment on why you should want to be a disciple maker: All of us will die. That’s a guarantee! Of course, we don’t dwell on this thought, but the reality is that this life we’re privileged to live will terminate. We all need an exit strategy. Though few of us think much about what will happen once we’re gone, many psychologists agree that one of our greatest needs is a desire to live on, or at least leave a mark of significance. The wisest of us will plan for our legacy.
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Scripture reveals that in eternity, what really matters is our souls and the souls of others. The soul work we do within ourselves lasts forever (being a disciple), and the soul work we do in others (making disciples) will last for eternity. As many of us seek to make a significant contribution to our world, the energy you invest in others will last forever. Jesus paints a clear picture of this in Matthew 25, as He tells what is commonly referred to as the Parable of the Talents. Immediately after this passage, we find Jesus telling the Parable of the Sheep and Goats.
Matthew’s text reveals the importance of investing what we have been given in this life to impact our eternity and the eternities of others. We’ve all been given time, talents and treasures that we can spend in a variety of ways. Taken together, these two parables point to the importance of investing our resources to become disciples and care for those less fortunate. We are called to invest our resources in others who then maximize our return for eternal purposes.
Our hope is that reading this book will inspire you to make disciples who become disciple makers themselves. In this way, you’ll multiply your life and legacy, ultimately impacting generations of disciples for eternity—well beyond your personal reach.
This blog is an excerpt from the free eBook, Becoming a Disciple Maker. Download it free here.
Written by Bobby Harrington
 Bobby Harrington and Josh Patrick, The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (Zondervan, 2017).
 Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington, with Robert Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five Shifts that Help Your Church Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Zondervan, 2013). See also, Bobby Harrington, Relational Discipleship is the Core Mission of the Church (Discipleship.org, 2013).
Bobby Harrington is the Executive Director of Discipleship.org, a national platform, conference, and ministry that advocates for Jesus’ style of disciple making. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (by the Harpeth River, just outside of Nashville, TN). He has a Doctor of Ministry degree in consulting and has spent years as a coach to church planters and senior pastors. He is the author of several books on discipleship, including DiscipleShift (with Jim Putman and Robert Coleman) and The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (with Josh Patrick).
Greg Wiens has been assessing leaders and organizations for over 35 years. He has worked with a gamut of organizations ranging in size and interest from Fortune 100 companies and public schools, to small non-profits and churches. He has pastored and planted churches as well as founded a number of organizations. He currently leads two missionally focused organizations: Healthy Growing Churches and Healthy Growing Leaders committed to engaging churches and leaders to multiply. Greg has co-authored two books: Dying to Restart and Daring to Disciple.
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