September 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends:

Furlough is going great. We are getting rest, being encouraged, growing, learning, and busy about the Lord’s work.  We can say with the Psalmist, “I have set the Lord always before me: Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:8–9)

Prayer & Praise Requests: Please pray or rejoice with us over the following:

  • Our needed increase in support. We need about 30% more to reach our new target amount before we return next year, Lord willing. Praise the Lord for one new church that has already voted to partner with us and for the Lord providing our needs in a strong way.
  • As a part of the North Korean Initiative, we were able to purchase about 120 SD cards that were loaded by a friend with Korean Christian material and sent over the Chinese and North Korean bordered to be distributed among the North Koreans. Praise the Lord they made it into the country. Pray they will be used to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of the people and for souls to be saved.
  • Pray for safety and blessings as we travel to report about what God has done in China and raise up new laborers for the great harvest field of China and the world. In our travels, we have already come in contact with families and young people who are interested in getting involved in missions.
  • Pray as we reach out to the Chinese community we meet as we travel.

Upcoming Event: We will be participating and speaking at the Our Generation Summit in Mt. Sterling, Ohio this coming December 28-29, 2018. This conference is a gathering of Christians endeavoring to further the Gospel of Christ. This conference is open to individuals, couples, families, and church groups. If you are interested in missions, I hope that you will plan to attend. For more information contact us or visit: www.ogsummit.com.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known!

In His Joyful Service,

Mark

What Is A Discipleship Relationship Like?

A discipleship relationship is characterized by withness—meaning that training is accomplished as you “do life together”. This is also called life-on-life mentorship. This creates a unique bond between the “mentor” and the “mentee” as they both strive to serve the Lord all for His honor and glory. 

A Discipleship Relationship Is Characterized By “Withness”

  • Jesus ordained the twelve disciples “that they should be with Him”. Jesus knew that before they would be sent out to preach and have power to perform miracles that they needed to be with Him. This means that they needed to spend a lot of time together. This was a charge for them to constantly be in His presence so that they could learn from every aspect of His life and He could mold every aspect of their lives into representations of Himself. This was a transparent, intimate and bonding relationship that can only be established through spending good quality and a large quantity of time together. This was also more than just friends hanging out, Jesus was a man whom God was with (in fact, He was God Himself), and took every opportunity to teach them the truth.
    Mark 3:14; Luke 9:18-20; John 3:2
  • We need to realize that discipleship isn’t just sitting down and teaching our disciples lessons from the Bible for an hour each week, but it’s a relationship where we invite others into our lives so that we can train them like Jesus trained His disciples. Also, we can’t expect for people to follow us except God be with us and we desire to teach them God’s truth. Our discipleship relationships also need to be defined by withness—spending time together with our disciples training them for the kingdom of God.

A Discipleship Relationship Is Characterized By “Life-On-Life”

  • A discipleship relationship is like a spiritual “teacher and learner” relationship. A “disciple” is a person who is a learner or student that is devoted to learning from a specific teacher in an instructional relationship. But this is more than a “classroom relationship” where a professor teaches and the students listen and receives information, instead it is teacher who is imparting knowledge and practical skills to his student. The student is fully committed to learning from his teacher and organizes his life around his teacher so that he can spend the necessary time with him to accomplish this. Thus a student (disciple) ends up being like his teacher (master).
    Matthew 10:24-25; John 13:14-15
  • A discipleship relationship is like a spiritual “father and son” relationship. Paul referred to his disciples as spiritual sons or sons in the faith (“Timotheus, who is my beloved son,” “Titus, mine own son after the common faith,” “my son Onesimus”). Timothy was the greatest example of this and Paul said their relationship was like a son with his father, because He had served with Paul in the work of the gospel. Timothy did ministry like Paul did. This relationship signifies a permanent and lifelong commitment to invest in your disciples’ lives for their edification. We are to train our disciples in the same way that a father teaches and cares for his own sons.
    1 Corinthians 4:14-17; 16:10-11; Philippians 2:22; 1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4; Philemon 10
  • A discipleship relationship is like a spiritual “leader and follower” relationship. Jesus was the leader and those who wanted to be His disciples were to follow Him. On the part of the disciples, there wasn’t a full understanding of what the “pathway of following Jesus” was going to look like or what would be required (although Jesus did challenge them with many hard sayings), but they had confidence in the leader. A follower needs to have confidence that the leader is going to lead them well and they need to make the necessary sacrifices to be able to follow—not just following literally, but also to accept and follow their guidance and leadership.
    Matthew 4:19-22; 8:19-23; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21
  • A discipleship relationship is like a spiritual “master and apprentice” relationship. A “master” is someone who already has experience and skills in a certain area or trade and is teaching the less experienced and unskilled person everything they know about it. We have several examples in the Bible, but a few from the Old Testament are: (1) Elijah and Elisha; (2) Moses and Joshua; (3) Eli and Samuel.
    (1) 1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-25; (2) Exodus 24:13; Deuteronomy 31:1-8; (3) 1 Samuel 1:24-28; 3:1-23

Principles For Discipleship Relationships

  • Principles in being a disciple trainer:
    • Invite: You have to invite others into your life and give them permission to “follow” you, learn from you, and be trained by you. Like Jesus, we aren’t looking for those with the best education, those from great families, those with enormous wealth or the most religious person, but we are looking for those with humble hearts willing to learn and serve God. We aren’t looking for those without problems, but normal hard-working men and women who might make a lot of mistakes—but we aren’t focused on who they currently are as much as we are focused on what they can become through Jesus.
      John 1:43; 15:16; Acts 4:13; Heart: 1 Samuel 16:7; Double Vision: Acts 9:10-19; Judges 6:13-18
    • Instruct: As you are training those who accepted your invitation to learn from you, you want to give them instructions about how to grow and serve. You are not to do all the serving and work by yourself, but you are to instruct them how to do it and give them the opportunity to actually do it themselves, even if they can’t do it as good as you can. For who could do anything better than Jesus, but He allowed His disciples to serve. Instruct each person through encouragement at a pace they are able to endure.
      Serving: John 6:10; Luke 22:8; Growing: Matthew 10:5; 14:26-33; Pace: Genesis 33:13-14; John 16:12, 33; Mark 4:33
    • Inform: We are to teach our disciples God’s word, but also spend extra time making sure they understand everything that we are teaching and how to apply it to their lives.
      Mark 4:1, 34
  • Principles in being a disciple:
    • Follow: You have to be willing to “follow” someone who invites you into their life to learn from them. This means making sacrifices so that you can establish this discipleship relationship. Those who are training for full-time service will have to make greater sacrifices as this becomes their entire livelihood.
      Mark 1:19-20; 2:14; Luke 5:11; 18:28
    • Serve: Disciples serve wherever they are needed. They learn to obey what they are told to do by those who are training them and serve alongside them. They aren’t looking to just serve in the areas of prominence, but also in the small, insignificant and seemingly less important areas. They are also willing to bring their friends and family to church and tell them about Jesus.
      Serving: John 6:11; Luke 22:9-13
    • Learn: Disciples are learners. They are to be constantly asking questions to the person who is training them so that they are learning new things and understanding everything that is being taught. They are to be interested, inquisitive, and imitative.
      Matthew 13:10, 36; Mark 4:10; Luke 11:1; 24:35

Review Questions

  • What does “withness” mean?
  • What does “life-on-life” mean?
  • A discipleship relationship is like what four types of relationships?
  • What are three principles in being a disciple trainer?
  • What are three principles in being a disciple?

Project China and North Korea

Project China is working to do what we can to reach into North Korea.

Here is a recent update:

THE NORTH KOREAN INITIATIVE “UPDATE”: Phase 1—Until the Lord gives us a man to work on the border, we have partnered with a new friend to get the KOREAN AUDIO SCRIPTURES (New Testament and Proverbs) and other resources (preaching, teaching and singing recordings and a gospel video) into the country to be distributed.

We were able to purchase about 248 SD cards that have been loaded with the Korean resources and will be taken into the country soon.

North Koreans often have handheld radios or other digital devices that have SD card slots and the goal is for them to receive these and listen to or watch these resources. (Printed material is more dangerous for a North Korean person to possess—thus digital versus print is better in this scenario.) This is a small part in trying to plant the seed of the gospel in North Korea.

Please pray as they will be faithfully distributed and listened too or watched by the North Korea people who have yet to hear a clear presentation of the gospel!

You can read more about the initiative here:

The North Korean Initiative

 

What Is The Leadership Potential Of Discipleship?

The purpose of discipleship is to be consistently producing maturing and sanctifying disciples of Jesus, but the potential of discipleship is producing the next generation of church leaders. It starts by taking the large group and funneling them into smaller groups to train disciples at differing levels. Believers take each disciple as far as they can and as far as they want to go. Then they pass them off to someone who can take them farther than they are able to, especially those who desire full-time ministry. Those who surrender to full-time ministry are then trained by those who are already in full-time ministry—thus it becomes their priority ministry to train leaders who reproduce themselves, eventually working towards training leaders of leaders.
Purpose: Colossians 1:28; Potential: 2 Timothy 2:2

Understanding Discipleship Groupings

  • Jesus’ ministry had different groups of people that He interacted with and He spent different amounts of time with each group. First, “The Crowds”—these were large groups of people He was preaching the gospel to or those who would come to hear His teachings. Second, “The Church”—this was the larger group of disciples that Jesus was working with and that were gathered together after His resurrection. Third, “The twelve”—this represents those Jesus was working with more closely and were training for full-time ministry. Fourth, “The Three”—these were three of the disciples from the group of the twelve that Jesus worked with more closely. Fifth, “The Beloved”—this was probably the disciple that was closest to Jesus. This helps us understand how different groupings are beneficial in making disciples. We learn the following two aspects:
    (1) Mark 2:1-6; 2:13; (2) Luke 10:1; Acts 1:13-15; 2:42-47; (3) Matthew 10:1-6; Luke 6:13; (4) Matthew 17:1-2; Mark 5:37; 14:33; Luke 8:51; (5) John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7
    • Discipleship Groupings: As we are training disciples, we are going to divide them into different groups and spend time with each group differently. This also allows us to offer different kinds of training to different groups. There are large evangelistic outreaches, the gathering of believers at the church, small groups of people we are working more intimately with and also one-on-one relationships. It seems with Jesus, the larger group got less time and the smaller group get more time.
    • The Leadership Funnel: As we are training disciples, those in full-time ministry (like Jesus) need to focus on developing leaders. At the wide end of the funnel there is a large group who are challenged to follow Jesus. A smaller portion of people respond to the invitation and move down the funnel. They are being trained and growing in the Lord. They are challenge to go to the next level of ministry and leadership. An even smaller amount responds to that invitation, and eventually there is a small group of leaders who are being trained for ministry. Eventually, this small group of leaders will work their own funnels as they start discipling others and training leaders themselves.
  • The principle is that we take the large group and funnel them into smaller groups to train our disciples at differing levels.

Advancing Within Discipleship Growth

  • Every disciple should be “receiving training” but also “training others”. As we learn the basics of the gospel and the basics of living the victorious Christian life, we need to be teaching someone else those truths and training them how to live it out. But the basics are just the beginning and not the end. As we train disciples, we should be willing that each person be taken to the next level in the Christian life. Thus, this means that we should be willing to pass those we are discipling on to a more spiritually mature person who can help take them further in their spiritual walk or take them to the next level of serving God. For example, you might be able to train someone to be a faithful church member, but you don’t know how to train them to be a teacher or to be a pastor, so you need to pass them on to someone who can. Timothy is an example of this discipleship advancement. He was taught the Holy Scriptures and how to have an unfeigned faith by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. But later he was trained by Paul for the work of the ministry.
    Acts 16:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:19; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:1-5; 3:15
  • The principle is that we take each disciple as far as we can and then pass them off to someone who can take them farther than we are able to.

Prioritizing The Leadership Potential Of Discipleship

  • As we are busy making disciples, we need to keep in mind that God might use those we are training (including our children) to accomplish great things for His Name’s sake. We should dream big dreams for everyone we train. We should pray that, if God wills, He will use our disciples in full-time ministry. Obviously, not everyone will be in full-time ministry, but some will, so we need to expand the range of our vision so that we are working to train everyone to their “full individual potential”—everyone produces varying amounts of fruit (some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty) and has different talents (every man according to his several ability)—so that by the grace of God, His grace that is bestowed upon us will not be in vain.
    Matthew 13:23; 25:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:10
  • Full-time Ministry: All believers should be involved in training disciples, but pastors, missionaries, and those in full-time ministry have a priority ministry to be constantly looking for “faithful men” who will be able to teach others also. Men who desire to be in the ministry. These are men that they can entrust with the responsibility of full-time ministry. Like Jesus who trained His disciples to lead the church in carrying forth the great commission, so they are constantly looking for disciples who they can train for full-time service. They funnel the large group into small groups of men who desire to be in full-time ministry and spend the majority of their time training them—the next generation of ministry leaders. This is their priority ministry, just like it was for Jesus and the twelve disciples.
    Mark 3:14; Galatians 2:7; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 1:18-19; 6:20; 3:1-7; Titus 1:3-5
  • The principle is that we take each disciple as far as they want to go and take those who are desirous and willing onto full-time ministry.

Training Leaders Of Leaders

  • As those in ministry are training “ministry leadership” we must remember that we are to produce copies of ourselves (as we follow Christ) by investing our lives into them. Our training should set in motion a movement of leaders who train other leaders, who train other leaders, who train other leaders in a never ending cycle of discipleship that fulfills its purpose and lives up to its potential. For Example: From Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others and so on.
    1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Timothy 2:2
  • The principle is that we train leaders to train other leaders and their disciples do the same.

Review Questions

  • What is discipleship groupings? What is the principle?
  • What is advancing in discipleship growth? What is the principle?
  • How do we prioritize the leadership potential of discipleship? What is the principle?
  • What does it mean to train leaders of leaders? What is the principle?
  • What is the priority ministry of pastors and missionaries? Who are you training?

August 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends:

We want to praise the Lord for safe traveling over the past month. We have arrived safely in America. Also, we want to praise the Lord for all the wonderful things God has done over the past eight years of ministry in China. We are blessed to be a small part of all that God is doing in China.

Furlough 2018-2019: We left China on July 24th, took an intermission in South Korea for almost a week and then finally arrive back in the States on the 30th. After arriving, we were able to get set up, which went really quickly because of the help of our home church and yokefellows. The following two weeks we stayed local and visited with our home church, family and now we are starting to travel and report on all that God has done in China. Also, we are seeking to increase our support—thus we need about 30% more to reach our new target amount. We have already been in two new churches and excited to be in many more. If you are interested in having us in to present our ministry in your church, please contact me via email: mark@chinaministry.org.

Blessings:

  • The ministry in China is doing well and there has been two more souls saved since we have left. They have also had great attendances in their Sunday morning services.
  • It has been wonderful to spend time with the other Project China missionaries out of our home church that are also in the States. God is building a wonderful team of missionaries.
  • We have been reconnected with friends and family. Also, we are making new friends and meeting new family members!
  • A new ministry partnered with us to provide audio Bible devices in the Chinese language. These devices also have sermons and we can add our own content.
  • We have been able to get involved in teaching at our home church, participate in different events and receive more training through our mission board and the training center.
  • I was able to meet a Chinese man who was participating in an ESL class at our home church and started studying the Bible with him in Chinese. Please pray for his salvation.

The North Korean Initiative: This is a unique opportunity to reach North Korea with the gospel from China through utilizing “men, materials, and technology”. Please pray as we plan!

  • Men: To plant churches along the border with the intention to reach and train ethnic Korean Chinese citizens to go into North Korea as evangelists and church planters. 
  • Material: To produce and translate material (written, audio, and video) into the Korean language. 
  • Technology: Use technology in creative ways to smuggle the Gospel material into North Korea.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known! 

In His Joyful Service,

Mark

What Should Define Discipleship?

Discipleship is defined as a life-on-life process where disciples of Jesus spread the gospel to unbelievers who, Lord willing, put their faith in and start following Jesus, thus become disciples themselves. Next they help those new believers to mature as disciples—meaning to help them grow in their identity, behavior and ministry. Subsequently, they start training other disciples with the goal to be consistently producing maturing disciples of Jesus in all nations, at all times, all for the glory of God.

Defining What A Genuine Disciple Is Like

  • What is a disciple? A genuine disciple is a person who responds to Jesus’ call to believe in and follow Him as Lord and Saviour. Jesus makes those who follow Him into fishers of men—meaning people that make disciples of all nations.
    Matthew 4:19-22; (28:18-20); Mark 1:14-20; Romans 1:16
    • First, you need to become a disciple—to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. This means that you know who Jesus is, you believe what He did for you (death and resurrection) and you are willing to trust and follow Him.
      Romans 10:9-10, 13
    • Second, you need to grow as a disciple—continual growth in your life as you become ambassadors for Christ and are being conformed to His image. This means you will start living for Jesus and having certain characteristics, such as: loving one another; walking in obedience; knowing truth; bringing forth fruit; and discipling others.
      John 15:12-17; (Fruits: Romans 1:13-15; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 13:15;)
  • Are you a Christian spectator or a disciple? What is the difference? Disciples consider and choose to follow Jesus; they discover and believe Jesus is the greatest treasure; they renounce their lives and submit to Jesus as Lord; they realize that even though salvation is completely free, living the Christian life may cost them everything.
    Luke 14:28-33; Matthew 10:34-37; 13:44-46; 16:24-26

Defining The Growth Stages Of Discipleship

  • Discipleship Development: After salvation, a disciple should start to mature in Christ and live out that maturity. The following is a process or method that identifies four specific stages that guide believers as they desire to follow Jesus, obey His Word and submit to His will.
    • Stage 1: Identity—who I am—(Focus: Position in Jesus; Action: Believing). “Identity” is referring to your position in Jesus. Through believing the preaching of the cross you have been gloriously placed in Christ. Thus, this level starts at salvation, but its continued growth is accomplished through learning, understanding and believing the Biblical and positional truths about who you are “in Christ” and firmly standing by faith on those truths and on the promises of God.
      John 1:12; 10:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:4-7; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Peter 2:1-10; 2 Peter 1:1-4
    • Stage 2: Behavior—what I do—(Focus: Personal Growth; Action: Obeying). “Behavior” is referring to personal growth in your attitudes and actions. Through salvation you have been given a new opportunity to live a transformed life for Jesus that is pleasing to Him. Growth in this level is accomplished through obedience to God’s Word that produces inward changes (the way we think and feel) and leads to outward changes (the way we act and behave), with the goal to completely change our character—our mental and moral qualities—to become like Jesus.
      Psalm 15:1-5; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Titus 2:7-8; 2 Peter 1:5-11; 1 John 3:18
    • Stage 3: Ministry—how I serve—(Focus: Practical Service; Action: Serving). “Ministry” is referring to your practical service within the local church and your good works to your “neighbors”. Through salvation God has ordained that you should walk in good works and He has given you spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit to edify the church. Growth in this level is accomplished by being full of good works towards others, actively edifying your local church by using your spiritual gifts and getting involved in serving.
      Mark 10:43-45; Romans 12:9-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:16; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 12:7-27; Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 1:12-15
    • Stage 4: Training—who I train—(Focus: Producing Disciples; Action: Mentoring). “Training” is referring to producing more disciples thus multiplying God’s kingdom. Through salvation you have been commissioned to make Jesus’ name to be remembered in all generations and so that the generations to come might know Jesus and make Him known. Growth in this level is accomplished by constantly being with and actively investing your life in other disciples’ lives so that they can grow in their identity, behavior, ministry and be able to teach others also.
      Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 14:21-23; 2 Timothy 2:2; Ephesians 4:11-12; Titus 1:5-6; (Psalm 45:17; 78:1-8)
  • Important Note: Each stage in the discipleship development process should be seen as individual stages but also as complimentary of each other. This means that a disciple’s growth isn’t a list of boxes to be checked off, stages to be completed or lessons to be studied, but it is more of a gradient of color where each stage fades into one another and builds upon one another. For example, the “identity” stage is foundational to all the other stages, but it is a stage that must remain strong and have continual growth to effect healthy growth in the other stages. Each stage does go in consecutive order, but you never complete a stage, you just continue to growth more in each stage. If there is a problem in one stage, then you need to go back to each previous stage to see where there is a lack of growth.
  • Measuring Growth: Growth is measured by the effectiveness of the last stage “training” because it is the healthy reproduction of “disciples who are producing disciples”. This can be seen in the illustration of human development: newborn to child to adult to parent. Spiritually, when people are new believers, they are “spiritual newborns” who don’t know much but start to grow with the help of their “spiritual parents”—those who disciple them. Then they start to understand, grow in the Word and live out their faith. Next, they became mature and independent in their faith and are serving God to the best of their ability. Finally, they start discipling others or become spiritual parents of others. Thus, spiritual parenthood, not spiritual adulthood, is the goal. Growth question: How many disciples are training or producing other disciples? Who are your spiritual children?
    Examples of this terminology: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 4:14-17; 13:11; Philippians 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12; 1 John 2:12-14

Defining The Purpose Of Discipleship

  • Therefore, the purpose of the discipleship process is to be consistently producing maturing and sanctifying disciples of Jesus in all nations, at all times, all for the glory of God. This is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop until the return of Jesus.
    Ephesians 4:13-16; Colossians 1:28-29; Matthew 28:20

Review Questions

  • What is a genuine disciple like?
  • What are the four stages of discipleship growth?
  • What is the important note we need to remember?
  • How do we measure growth?
  • What is the purpose of discipleship?

What Is The Biblical Framework For Discipleship?

The Biblical framework for discipleship starts with the foundation of understanding that God wants the world evangelized and disciples made from every nation. This responsibility was given to the local church whose main task is to make disciples of all nations, who in turn, will make disciples—until the end of the age. Jesus modeled the framework of what discipleship looks like and how we are to invest our lives into training other disciples.

The Foundation Of Discipleship Is World Evangelism

  • World evangelism is the bedrock of discipleship. From the beginning, God promised to save “whosoever will” through sending Jesus as the Saviour of the World and in the end He will accomplish His mission by saving people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation. Thus, this is the single pulse of world evangelism: to actively pursue the lost world so that they are brought into a reconciled relationship with their Creator; and hereafter live to mature “in Christ” so that they can glorify God and enjoy Him forever through the gospel of Jesus. This has two main focuses:
    2 Corinthians 5:11-21; Psalm 16:11; 145:1-3; Acts 2:28
    • Reaching unbelievers with the message of Jesus—reaching is the idea of holding out, establishing communication and successfully influencing unbelievers with the gospel message of Jesus; it is the idea of stretching past boundaries and going forth with the gospel message of Jesus; it is the idea of successfully contextualizing and convincing (through the work of the Holy Spirit) unbelievers with message of Jesus (a person hears the gospel and believes).
      Matthew 28:19
    • Teaching believers with the word of God—teaching is the idea of instructing new believers in the Word of God so that they will obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to be a faithful disciple of Jesus; it is the idea of educating and training disciples for the ministry so that they fulfill the biblical requirements and are proficient to carry out their own ministerial roles; it is the idea of church planting; it is the idea of continual instruction.
      Matthew 28:20
  • The responsibility of “world evangelism” (and thus discipleship) has effectively and solely been inherited by the local church. Thus, the core purpose or focus of each local church is to evangelize the world. Members of each local church should collectively be using their time, talents and treasures to accomplish this task.
    Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53

Jesus Modeled The Framework Of What He Commanded Us To Do

  • Discipleship: From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry we see Him training disciples and at the end of His ministry He commands His disciples to “teach all nations,” which literally means to “make disciples of all nations.” Basically, He was looking at them and telling them to do the same thing that He had just done with them. This was to be a repeated process—meaning disciples train other disciples who train other disciples and so on. Thus, this is the single plan of world evangelism: to train up maturing disciples of Jesus who train up other maturing disciples of Jesus.
    Matthew 4:19; 28:16-20
  • Jesus modeled exactly how this was to work within the local church because the local church started with Jesus and His disciples (and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit). Jesus’ relationship with His disciples becomes the pattern for ministry and the plan for fulfilling the great commission.
    John 20:20-23; Ephesians 2:19-22; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 42-47

Key Components Of The Discipleship Framework

  • Discipleship is training. Disciples are people who willingly take on the roles of “students, trainees, or followers” so that they can believe and follow the teachings of their “teacher, trainer, or leader”. Discipleship is investing your life into other disciples. The Bible is the tool we use to disciple because it is truth that is profitable for teaching doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training or instruction in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be perfect or complete, throughly furnished or equipped for every good work. Example: Jesus was the trainer and the twelve men were the trainees and He faithfully committed to them the Words of the Father.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 7:16; 8:31-32; 12:49-50; 15:3; 17:17-19
  • Discipleship is relational. It is a training, instructional and teaching relationship, but it is also an intimate relationship—like that of close friends but with the purpose of helping others become more like Jesus. Thus, this training includes learning from spending time with the trainer and learning directly from their lives. This is called life-on-life training. The trainer and the trainee live life together and use every opportunity as a training moment. Example: Jesus called the disciples to “be with Him” and He called them “friends” and not “servants or slaves”—showing the closeness of such a relationship.
    Mark 3:13-15; John 15:15; (It is a “way of life”—similar to the responsibilities of parents in Deuteronomy 6:5-9.)
  • Discipleship is multiplication. After Jesus trained His disciples, they received the Holy Spirit, they started working out the great commission, and the church experienced explosive growth. What were they doing? They were doing what they were trained to do: training disciples through reaching unbelievers with the message of Jesus and teaching believers with the word of God. These “new disciples” would reach and teach others and the number of disciples multiplied. This was accomplish by training disciples who trained other disciples and so on—through the power of the Holy Spirit. Example: Jesus investing His life into His disciples had much greater results than if He would have only witnessed to one person every day for the three years of His ministry. Here is an example scenario to help us understand how this works: If there was a new convert everyday for 12 years there would be 4,380 total converts. But if Jesus’ eleven disciples each trained eleven disciples every three years and then their disciples each trained eleven disciples every three years, etc, in a period of 12 years there would be 161,051 disciples.
    Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 13:49; 16:5; 19:20
  • Discipleship is reproduction. The secret of discipleship is the “spiritual continuum factor”—meaning that each disciple is to always reach and teach others who in return will be able to reach and teach others also. Thus, we are to train our disciples, but there is a time that we are to release them to go out and reproduce themselves—like a child who eventually becomes a parent, a training disciple becomes a trainer of disciples. Example: Timothy was to take what he learned from Paul and commit it to faithful men, who would be able to teach others also.
    2 Timothy 2:2

Review Questions

  • What is the foundation of discipleship?
  • Who has the responsibility of world evangelism?
  • What is the single plan of world evangelism?
  • How did Jesus model the framework of discipleship?
  • What are some components of discipleship?

Missions: Our Story, Our Mission

Our story and our mission are intertwined. The eternal God from whom the human race was created to have a loving relationship with Him, set out on a mission to redeem us back to Himself after we turned away from Him in sinful rebellion. He made a promise and He fulfilled that promise through the person of Jesus. As believers, our story is one of being redeem to God by God and our mission is to tell the whole world that they too can be redeemed to God by God.

God Is The Eternal Starting Point

  • “In the beginning,” referring to the time before the world and mankind were created, God already existed. Who created God? No one created God. He has life in Himself. He is eternal. These truths are hard to grasp because they surpass our human understanding. Nothing cannot create something, so in the beginning, something or someone had to exist, and that something or someone has to be eternal. The Bible teaches that someone to be God. Everything that God has created, including you and me, is evidence to the existence of God. Even though we cannot fully understand Him, He created us for a purpose and invites us to have a relationship with Him.
    Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; John 1:1, 5:26; Romans 1:20-25
  • God did not create us because He needed someone to glorify Him or because He was lonely, but because He wanted to share the joy of His glory with us. Because God is 100% good, we can have a joyful and loving relationship with Him.
    Psalm 16:11

Man Sinned, God Made A Promise

  • After God created man, He told him not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he would die. Adam disobeyed God’s single command. The price for that was death. That day, mankind started to die physically and was spiritually separated from God (he died spiritually). Because we have sinned and are separated from God, we cannot glorify Him as before. Our relationship with God needs to be restored before we can experience true joy.
    Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-24; 5:5; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18
  • But God promises to save mankind. Thus from the beginning, God was on mission to save “whosoever will” from their sin and its penalty of death or eternal separation from Him. This mission was initiated by God and will be accomplished by God. He is promising to defeat Satan and his followers (unbelievers) through the offspring of the woman (Jesus). One day the “Promised Man” would come to defeat Satan and even though Satan will strike His heel (suffering), the Promised Man will crush Satan’s head (eternal damnation).
    Genesis 3:15; 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 16:20

God’s Witness To The Whole World

  • In Genesis 12:1-3 God makes a unilateral, unconditional, literal, and eternal covenant with Abraham. The main missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to bless all the families of the earth through him. The scriptures preached the gospel unto Abraham. The “Promised Man” of Genesis 3:15 would be of the seed of Abraham. This “singular seed” is Jesus. God was willing to justify “whosoever will” through faith. Just like Abraham, those in this time were to have faith in God’s promise, unto the fulfillment of the promise came in Jesus, and it could be accounted to them for righteousness. The second missional aspect of this covenant was that God was going to: (1) make a great nation from him, (2) bless him and (3) make his name great so that he would “be a blessing”. They would receive inward blessing for an outward cause: God would use them to be a light for the nations, so that His salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
    Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-21; 26:2-5; 28:10-17; Isaiah 9:6, 7; 19:24; 42:6; 49:6; Galatians 3:6, 8-9 16
  • The Psalms reflect God’s will to use the Jews to reach out to all nations with the truth. The peoples of the nations are called to worship God because He is the great King over all the earth. The Jews were to sing, praise, speak, not be ashamed, to make known His deeds and declare the Lord’s glory / wonder / doings among the nations.
    Psalm 2:1-12; 9:1-20; 18:49; 22:27-31; 33:1-22; 47:1-9; 57:9; 66:1-20; 67:1-7; 72:1-28; 86:9-10; 96:1-13; 98:1-9; 100:1-5; 105:1; 108:3-5; 117:1-2; 119:46; 126:2-3; 145:1-21

The Promised Man Has Come

  • The Prophecy of the promised Man was predicted in the Old Testament. It was said that He would be a son born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the government would be upon His shoulder and His name would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Governor and Immanuel—which means God with us. Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He entered our world as the God-Man—100% God and 100% Man, yet without sin. He was to be called “the Son of the Highest” who would establish an eternal kingdom.
    Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:26-38
  • Jesus came into the world to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. He is the light of the world. He came to fulfill the promise. He was the “promised Man”. Through a virgin birth God became man in Jesus. He lived a sinless life. Mankind rejected and crucified Him. He was buried, but three days later He rose from the dead. He defeated sin, death and evil. He is the way, the truth, and the life and “whosoever will” can come unto the Father by faith in Jesus alone. All the Gospels are evidence of these truths (Matthew-John).
    John 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 6:33; 8:12; 9:5; 12:32, 46; 14:6
  • Jesus started the local church with His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit. The mandate of the church was to make disciples of all nations through going and preaching the gospel, baptizing new believers and teaching them all that Jesus taught. As a result, new local churches would be established all around the world. The rest of the New Testament (Acts-Jude) records the living out of this mandate with Revelation explaining how it will all end victoriously.
    Acts 1:7-8; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53; John 20:20-23; Romans 1:1-2; 10:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9

Review Questions

  • Where does our story start?
  • In the beginning of our story, what did we do, what did God do?
  • Who should have been God’s witness to the world?
  • Who was the Promised Man?
  • What did Jesus start and what is its mandate?