To lead more people to Jesus, we need to make sure they hear the good news. And to do that, we need to make disciples of all nations. That’s why it’s so important to understand our role in sharing the message of Jesus wide!
What Many Christians Don’t Realize
Several years ago, I was traveling as part of a team in rural Kenya. We were sharing a message I affectionately refer to as the “Plan A” message. It’s based on the book You Are God’s Plan A by Dwight Robertson. The premise of the message is simple: No matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, male or female, etc., God wants to use you to make disciples of all nations—to reach the world with His good news. You are His “Plan A.”
Perhaps it is a message you have heard before, but unfortunately, many around the world have not. For many Christians, the idea that God would want to use them to make disciples is a completely foreign idea. Much of the time, the prevailing belief is that only “professional Christians” can lead people to Jesus.
Meanwhile, the role of the ordinary Christian becomes consuming information and obeying the moral commands of Jesus. Not only is it heartbreaking, but it is contrary to Jesus’ own words to his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8, where everyone is called by Jesus to make disciples of all nations—to be ambassadors for Christ.
We Don’t Need Permission to Share the Good News!
During the trip, the Plan A message had proven to be quite impactful. Everywhere we went, people were committing to share the message of Jesus with others in their lives: friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers, etc. Many were going to hear the good news! I was praising the Lord for all the work he was doing. More and more ordinary Christians were being called and equipped as laborers for God’s Kingdom.
One morning we were scheduled to speak at a rural church. It was deep enough in the bush we had to walk the last couple of miles because the road was too rough for our vehicle. Just as I had for the last several days, I shared the Plan A message and explained how God wants to use them to make disciples of all nations. At the end of the message, I gave people the opportunity to share the name of someone they planned to share the good news with.
In the second row back, an elderly man with short gray hair stood up. In the local language, he began to share how he was so excited about this message. He talked about how eager he was to share the good news of Jesus with his entire household that very day! Then he said something I will never forget, “You are the first person who has ever given me permission to share the gospel.”
My heart sank into my stomach… permission?!?! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This man wanted to share the good news of Jesus with those around him, but he had been prevented. Heartbreaking! This is truly terrible for two reasons.
- It’s terrible because it’s contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
- It’s terrible because there are so many billions of people who don’t know Jesus.
How are people going to hear about Jesus unless someone tells them? And here was this guy wanting to share but being prevented.
Why We Must Work Together to Reach the World
The number of non-Christians in the world is staggering. There are 5.68 billion people who don’t know Jesus. That’s a lot! It’s such a large number that it is hard to wrap our heads around. Let me put it this way: If I tried to preach to 10,000 per week, it would take me 10,923 years to preach to all of them—just once.
Jesus’ final words to his followers were to go and make disciples of all nations. If we are serious about seeing this happen, then we have to come to terms with the sheer massive scope of the work. The reality is that the work is just too much for a select few. If we just wait around relying on the “professional Christians” to reach the world, it will never happen.
There is just too great a need!
How We Can Make Disciples of All Nations
The only legitimate solution is teamwork—Jesus said so himself in Matthew 9:35-38. If we want to see disciples of all nations, the answer is to mobilize the disciples of the nations. It’s all about multiplication. If you want to make a real impact, you have to think beyond just adding people to the kingdom. Remember, at 10,000 per week, it would still take almost 11 thousand years to preach to every non-Christian just one time. The shift from addition to multiplication happens when you don’t just convert but equip the new follower of Jesus to go and share the good news with others. They go from a receiver to a receiver and a giver.
It makes all the difference!
This becomes especially exciting when the new believer is from an unreached people group. Not only is his life changed, but when he is mobilized to change the lives of others, the impact can be profound!
People are already doing this. I have friends all around the world seeing the gospel rapidly advance in some of the most restricted places on earth. It is all happening at the hands of ordinary Christians who have been equipped to share the good news with the people they encounter in their day-to-day lives. We have seen unreached peoples reached and entire regions transformed by the good news. Multiplication matters!
When you use multiplication, the discouraging numbers from earlier tell an entirely different story. If we were to just disciple one person per year and teach them to do the same year after year, then we would reach the entire population of the world in just 34 years. That’s the power of multiplication and mobilization.
Let’s Work Together to See Disciples of All Nations!
It can’t be overstated: If we want to see disciples of all nations, the answer is to mobilize the disciples of the nations.