We want you to see the impact of a ministry that doesn’t just add—it multiplies. God has always been interested in multiplication. In fact, His first command to Adam and Eve in the garden was not to be spiritual, productive, or upstanding citizens of earth. Rather, it was to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). What God commanded the first humans to do physically is what Jesus commanded believers to do spiritually. The goal of every discipleship group is for the mentee, the one being discipled, to become a mentor; to multiply—make other disciples.
In essence, the discipleship group is designed for the player to become a coach. The heart of discipleship, as Christ modeled and instituted it, is that you are not learning only for yourself. You are learning for the person whom you will mentor in following Him.
The Great Commission is designed to be a team effort. Instead of the pastors, leaders, and Sunday school teachers performing all the duties of ministry in the church, the saints are the ones who should be equipped to carry out the work. The ministers cannot carry out the command alone, as Paul clearly stated:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry. (Eph. 4:11–12 ESV)
Greg Ogden, in his book Transforming Discipleship, illustrates this point by showing the contrast between an evangelist bringing one person to the Lord every day for a year and the disciple-maker investing only in the same two people for an entire year.1 The evangelist hits the streets every day with the goal of sharing the gospel with as many people as needed to see God save one person. In contrast, the disciple-maker walks two people through a year of intensive discipleship.
The slow-moving discipleship process creeps forward with only four people being impacted after two years, which seems to pale in comparison to the evangelist’s 730. However, this radically changes with the passing of time. After sixteen years of the same activity, the evangelist would have seen almost 6,000 people come to faith in Christ, while the disciple would have impacted 65,536 people (see chart below).
Evangelistic Addition vs Disciple-Making Multiplication
Every person on the planet would be reached multiple times over after thirty years from the work of a single disciple-maker. Multiplication—not addition—is Jesus’ plan for reaching the world with the gospel. And multiplication is the purpose of the discipleship group. If the body of Christ would accept this plan, embrace it, and faithfully obey it, then the Great Commission could be accomplished.
If you are a church leader, there are specific parts of the book that will help you implement disciple-making processes in your church or ministry. But regardless of whether you are a church leader or layperson seeking insight into discipleship, this book will provide you with the urgency and understanding you will need to make disciples.
Gallaty, Robby, Chris Swain, and Robert E. Coleman. 2020. Replicate: How to Create a Culture of Disciple-Making Right Where You Are. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.