The Healthy Core Group and Beckham=s Base Congregation
Jesus had a very
simple system to deal with Eddies: he asked them to AFollow
Me@ and then he left. Those whose
commitment level extended to the willingness to walk several miles to remain
with him were disciples; all the rest were simply left behind. Jesus
continually abandoned people who needed him:
And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, “Every one is searching for you.”
And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns . . .@ And he went . . .
Jesus= mission was to make and mature disciples, not to meet needs. The easiest way to separate a spiritual infant from a disciple is to request some effort or work to be made. Requiring any form of obedience (Matthew 7:21-23), self-denial or cross carrying (Matthew 16:24-25) is usually sufficient to separate the sheep from the goats. Or you can just move around and see who follows you, as Jesus did.
The Great Commission of Matthew
defines and prioritizes evangelism through a discipleship system; in Mark and
elsewhere the emphasis is upon proclamation. On the day of Pentecost, Peter
preaches one sermon and three thousand converts result (Acts 2:41); pastors have sought to
reduplicate these results with one sermon for centuries without success. The
number of converts at Pentecost and thousands more in the days that follow are
more the result of the discipleship system which Jesus modeled and taught for
three years prior to the cross than Peter=s sermon. If enough wood is stacked properly, a single match can
start a great fire. Jesus spent three years stacking the wood in preparation
for the church of Acts. While the disciples continued to practice the
discipleship system of Jesus, the first priority was to light the fires Jesus
had already prepared throughout Israel by preaching the resurrection. Jesus said, AI will build my church,@ and demonstrated the necessary
methods over three years of teaching. One sermon in a Billy Graham revival is
the very last act in a very long process of preparation for that moment.
Every community throughout Israel had a few who had experienced miracles, more who had seen them, some who had spent some time following Jesus, and many who had heard him teach. After the day of resurrection, proclamation would be enough to crystallize this proto-network of prechristians into a functioning local church. Discipleship systems work with God in prevenient grace to prepare people for a crystallizing moment of justifying grace.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.