In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands all His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” This is the Great Commission and is the sole purpose of the Church. But it is especially important for church leaders. They are not told to go make church members or purely invite people to come to church. It goes far beyond that. It means that they will need to invest themselves in the lives of those they witness to for Christ and bring to His altar. However, they can’t possibly spend enough time with every church member or visitor they encounter. Therefore, they will need to multiply themselves. They will need to make disciples who will make other disciples, and so multiply their efforts and grow their churches and God’s Kingdom. This is exactly what Paul told Timothy in his second letter to him in chapter 2, verse 2 above. Spiritual reproduction, then, is about making disciples.
The Christian faith is not meant to be practiced in private. It is meant to be shared and given away! All Christians are called to witness their faith (Acts 1:8) and to be salt & light in their generation and culture (Matthew 5) in order to influence our world for Christ. We are the ones who are given the task to pass on the Christian faith to the generations that follow us and to make disciples who can make other disciples. This is the process of Spiritual Reproduction that God has given to us!
Spiritual reproduction does have priorities, however, especially for church leaders. The first priority is that a leader must disciple one’s own family first (“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Timothy 3:5). The second priority is that a leader disciples other church members in order to develop more leaders who will also make disciples and to grow God’s kingdom through multiplication (“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” – Galatians 6:10). The third priority is for leaders to disciple non-believers, such as friends, neighbors and co-workers.
It is important to note that Spiritual reproduction in the church starts with leaders. The primary focus of every church leader should be to make disciples, not just to lead their ministry or direct its activities. And this applies to every ministry leader (youth, worship, elder, etc.). Every leader is responsible for the faith of their followers and should incorporate Scripture into every meeting and teach what it means or how it applies to their lives. They should also model Christ to their followers.
Here, then, are 8 keys for church leaders to effectively make disciples:
1. Desire – A leader must have the desire to disciple others. They must want to see Christ formed in others and be willing to give it their time and effort. (“My dear children, for whom I am in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” – Galatians 4:19)
2. Plan – A leader must develop a plan for discipleship. They must set goals, determine measurements, and develop a process to use. (“But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.”– Isaiah 32:8)
3. Teach – A leader must teach the Word to others. They should tell and show others what God’s Word says and encourage personal Bible reading. (“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
4. Model – A leader must model Jesus to others. They must lead by example. (“Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” – 1 Peter 5:3)
5. Mentor – A leader should mentor others and identify a few people they can mentor and spend time with. (“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2)
6. Participation – A leader finds ways to get followers to participate in ministry to build their awareness of God and strengthen their faith. (“In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:17)
7. Testimonies – A leaderuses testimonies to encourage their followers and to also have them share what God is doing in their lives. (“But in your heart set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15)
8. Small Groups – A leader encourages their followers to join small groups that can build stronger relationships and accountability. (“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” – Hebrews 10:25)
Spiritual reproduction is very rewarding and an incredible blessing for us. It enables us to see how God works through us and leads others to Himself. There is no greater joy than seeing others join God’s family and experience the blessings He lavishly provides to all who call upon His name!
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