Going all the way to disciple the nations
When I share the gospel, especially cross-culturally, how do I know that the people have understood what I said well enough:
- to really make an informed decision regarding Christ in their lives and
- to share what they’ve decided on with others, without practising syncretism?
This question brings to mind what Donald A. McGavran said about the seven principles of what he called the People-Movement approach in discipling: New converts, whether five or a thousand, ought to say, or at least feel: We Christians are the advance guard of our people … we are showing our relatives and neighbours a better way of life … the way we are pioneering is good for us who have become Christians and will be very good for you thousands who have yet to believe … please look on us not as traitors in any sense. We are better sons and daughters, husbands and wives, better tribesmen and chaste fellows than we were before. We are showing ways in which, while remaining thoroughly of our own segment of society, we all can have a better life. Please look on us as the pioneers of our own people entering a wonderful Promised Land.
This is what we call vision and leadership, with a great potential of influencing fellow men and women. A person should be influenced by the gospel and the demonstration of it, to such an extent that he starts to influence others around him. Influence, says Johan Maxwell, is the main ingredient of leadership. We agree with him and would like to add, that making disciples is making leaders … so that they again can influence their fellow men, to become willing to make the change as well.
Maxwell further states that there are three reasons why people become willing to change:
- they hurt enough that they have to,
- they learned enough that they want to and
- they received enough that they are able to.
We conclude from this that if the new convert can get the necessary:
- healing (physically / emotionally)
- teaching and
- equipment / tools
he would be able to lead his own communities effectively into the new Way of Life. This is what it means to make disciples.
It means that we make sure we do not miss out on meeting any of the needs reflected in the abovementioned reasons for change:
- supporting the new believer in his total growth as a person and in his calling;
- building up a long term relationship with him;
- demonstrating our brotherhood and servant-hood in Christ to him, allowing God to sanctify him through and through, that his whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Thess. 5:23) or as Col. 1:28 says: that he might be perfect in Christ: whole and healed and therefore
- strong enough and able to take the lead in his own community, becoming an instrument to heal, to teach and equip others.
It is in this whole process where Good News Media is able to play a significant part. We assist the body of Christ in teaching the non-believer and then new convert, especially the non-reader the Word of God in his heart language, equipping him better to duplicate himself as a disciple of Jesus Christ.