Making disciples through spiritual multiplication is the method demonstrated by Jesus.
There’s a guy I’ve had the pleasure of knowing named Jack. He’s involved in sports ministry with Athletes in Action and works with baseball teams around the world.
Jack has a very unique gift of evangelism. He shares the message of Christ everywhere he goes, and he does it in a winsome, non-offensive way.
But that’s not the unique part.
What’s special about Jack’s method of sharing Jesus is his understanding of making disciples through multiplication.
One time, while a group of us was on a bus, he got to talking with someone about the Good News. This guy was ready to say “yes” and become a Christian. The deal was all but done!
At that moment, Jack stops and says to the listening man, “Excuse me just a second.” Then he called over to a Christian college student who was overhearing the conversation and said, “Hey, Jimmy, come on up here for a second, will you?”
Jack introduces Jimmy to the guy and lets them chat for a few minutes. Then he turns to Jimmy and says something I’ll never forget:
“You know, Jimmy, I’ve explained to him how to become a Christian and he’s really interested. Could you talk with him a little bit? I think that he’ll be ready to pray and receive Christ here soon.”
And then he said, “I’ll be back in just a second,” and he went to the back of the bus.
A few minutes later, Jimmy was bowing his head with this guy.
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Making Disciples Through Multiplication
What Jack understands is the multiplication method of making disciples for Christ.
After years of evangelizing, he had already led many people to Jesus and knew that he was not a necessary component of this man’s salvation. It wasn’t about him — he was dependent on a sovereign God. He used this moment to teach Jimmy the ways of sharing Christ with others, thus demonstrating, modeling, and encouraging multiplication.
Imagine this: one Christian reaches one person for Jesus over the course of six months, and then that cycle continues with each believer reaching another person for Christ every six months — in about 35 years we could reach the entire population of the earth with the gospel!
But this is only possible if the church pivots from an “addition” method of evangelism and instead models Jesus’ method of spiritual multiplication for making disciples and expanding the Kingdom.Have you been taught spiritual addition or multiplication? The Church tends to add believers one by one instead of modeling Jesus’ method of expanding the Kingdom: multiplication. Click To Tweet
Jesus Models Multiplication
In Mark 6, we find the account of Jesus and His disciples feeding the 5,000.
After preaching to a large crowd for a long period, the disciples suggest Jesus send the people away to get some food for themselves. Instead, Jesus tells the disciples to “give them something to eat.”
In our culture, this sounds relatively normal. We might be able to run to the corner grocery store and grab some brats or burgers to quickly feed the masses. But the size of this crowd — and the lack of corner stores — meant the suggestion was received with exasperation by the disciples. It would take 6 months of wages to feed these people!
But Jesus proceeded and asked them to gather what they could, and then He modeled both dependency and spiritual multiplication:
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.” Mark 6:41
First, he gave thanks and acknowledged where these loaves and fish came from. Then He “gave them to his disciples to distribute” instead of handling them himself. Like Jack, he passed the baton to share a powerful moment of dependency on God.
Jesus was teaching his disciples that it wasn’t about Him — it was up to the Father to provide. He modeled dependency by asking them to gather what they could so He could offer it to God… and God would do with it what He desired.
Making Disciples in Ordinary Ways
Are you willing to bring what you have and offer it and make it available to God and let Him multiply it any way He would choose?
This applies to bread and to making disciples: it’s the work of God and we get to play a small part in His supernatural works.
Here are some supernatural moments we can use to model dependency and spiritual multiplication:
- Bring another believer along while we visit a friend in the hospital.
- Offer the floor to a disciple during a small group to share their testimony.
- Invite a follower of Christ to listen to hard questions and challenging conversations from someone outside of the faith.
- Share life with a young person, allowing them to observe your family’s life in the real moments of marriage and parenting.
Can you imagine these moments in your life? Will you ask God to open your eyes to opportunities for divine interactions with other believers?
So many Christians have been in church and grown up in the faith but have never been shown these types of multiplication methods. If we could all be aware of these daily opportunities to model our faith, imagine where we’d all be in 35 years.
Want to learn more about growing in faith? Daily Discipleship with Chip is still open, and you can join today. In the 10-day challenge called The A.R.T. of Survival, you’ll learn proven techniques for studying the Scriptures for yourself.
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Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip