As we seek to mobilize multiplying disciplemakers to every part of Tampa Bay, here is a simple roadmap to guide us. These three books have helped our leadership team begin to chart a course that can help all churches and all Christ followers in the region (re)orient our lives around the Great Commission.
The Master Plan of Evangelism (Coleman)
With exceptional focus and clarity Coleman describes the eight practices of Jesus by which He changed the world. Of course He did this by training 12 young men, calling them His disciples. But how – in just three years – did He prepare these simple working class guys to lead a cultural revolution?
- Selection – Men were His method
“His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes but with men whom the multitudes would follow.” 27
2. Association – He stayed with them
“If Jesus, the Son of God, found it necessary to stay almost constantly with his few disciples for three years, and even one of them was lost, how can a church expect to do this job on an assembly line basis a few days out of the year?” 50
3. Consecration – He required obedience
“Jesus expected the men he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal… For the moment all they were asked to do was to follow Jesus.” 51
4. Impartation – He gave Himself away
“His was a life of giving – giving away what the Father had given him… Love is like that. It is always giving itself away. When it is self-contained, it is not love… And for the Son, in incarnating that love, it meant renouncing his own right of living and giving his life for the world.” 61-62
5. Demonstration – He showed them how to live
“Those of us who are seeking to train people must be prepared to have them follow us, even as we follow Christ. We are the exhibit. They will do those things which they hear and see in us.” 76
6. Delegation – He assigned them work
“Christian disciples are sent men and women – sent out in the same work of world evangelism to which the Lord was sent and for which he gave his life. Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. It is the commission of the church which gives meaning to all else that is undertaken in the name of Christ.” 88
7. Supervision – He kept check on them
“The goal is world conquest. We dare not let a lesser concern capture our strategy of the moment… Success is lost on the eve of victory… When will be learn the lesson of Christ not to be satisfied merely with the firstfruits of those who are sent out to witness? Disciples must be brought to maturity. There can be no substitute for total victory, and our field is the world. We have not been called to hold the fort, but to storm the heights.” 95
8. Reproduction – He expected them to reproduce
“Jesus intended for the disciples to produce his likeness in and through the church being gathered out of the world. Thus his ministry in the Spirit would be duplicated manyfold by his ministry in the lives of his disciples. Through them and others like them it would continue to expand in an ever-enlarging circumference until the multitudes might know in a similar way the opportunity which they had known with the Master. By this strategy the conquest of the world was only a matter of time and their faithfulness to his plan.” 97
God Space (Pollock)
Long time Cru missionary, Pollock helps us adapt our evangelism to the new millennium. The old confrontational methods of the ’70s and ’80s rarely work, and the attractional “come and see” invitation of the ’90s and early 2000s will not reach most people today. We must learn (again) how to connect with the unchurched and dechurched.
“God space” is an invitation to move from “my space” – my agenda, my plans, my desires – into the realm where God can work. Are we willing to adjust our schedules to connect with the people around us? Often the best conversations happen when we least expect (and least desire) them. This is God inviting us into His realm. Are we ready to go?
Pollock gently but deliberately walks us through a process of learning how to become better listeners, truly caring for the people in our lives. He helps us balance “God’s teeter totter” of listening and wondering. If we only listen, people will never hear the good news that can change their lives. But if we only preach, they will not sense that we truly care about them. Finding the proper balance is key! Using the phrase, “I wonder” is a disarming way to introduce brief “spiritual appetizers” into our conversations – little God stories that gently but clearly illustrate the love, grace, power and purpose of God.
Other helpful resources to shift an inward-focused church to a more outward focus:
- B.L.E.S.S. (Fergusons) – 5 everyday ways to love your neighbor and change the world
- The Art of Neighboring (Pathak) – learn to value, respect and care for the people living beside you
- Extraordinary Hospitality (Duerstock) – a radical approach to preparing your heart and home for gospel-centered community
- Organic Outreach (Harney) – sharing good news naturally
- Bless Every Home – a powerful, customizable app that reminds you to pray for your neighbors (and others)
- Share your Faith – an excellent website and free app that puts the bridge illustration right in your pocket
- The Externally Focused Quest (Swanson) – becoming the best church for your community
Training for Trainers (Kai)
Coleman and Pollock and others will help believers and churches become more evangelistic. T4T can turn that personal evangelism into a movement.
T4T is not just a 6 session curriculum to lead people to Jesus and train them to share the gospel. It does that better than almost any other curriculum. But it is a comprehensive resource to mobilize and train trainers.
Ying and Grace Kai suggest replacing the terms “believers” and “disciples” with the more clear term “trainer.” Followers of Jesus are not just called to believe and learn, we have been commissioned to make disciples, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19). Every Christian is not just an evangelist, but a trainer.
This is how the early church exploded through the region, following Jesus’ “master plan” – the apostles multiplied. Click here to read more about T4T and how to create a culture of obedience based discipleship and multiplication.