A Strategy to Change the World

I need to ask your forgiveness. I’m going to talk about two subjects you may want to avoid, Covid-19 and math. I’m sorry but bear with me. 

Covid-19’s ability to multiply has made it harder to contain. If one person gets it and passes it to 2 more people, then they pass it to 2 more people, etc., etc., and things are soon out of control. This is the power of multiplication, and it has changed the world.

But what if I told you Jesus has a similar strategy for his followers? You may be familiar with some of his last words, known as the Great Commission. 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

His central command is to make disciples. This is done by going into all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them. Pay special attention to the last part: “teach them … all that I have commanded you.” Since one of his commands is “make disciples,” then it follows that each new disciple should eventually make disciples.

How exactly does this change the world? 

You may have heard of the term R-naught (R0) as it relates to Covid. R-naught is simply the average number of people that an infected person passes the virus to. The higher the R0, the more contagious the virus. The concept applies to disciple-making when we consider how many disciples each disciple makes. You want to see your community change? Consider an R0 of 3.
You devote yourself to discipling 3 people over a period of time, say 2 years. The goal is for them to grow as disciples who make disciples. After 2 years, your 3 disciples start discipling 3 people, which means there are 9 additional disciples. If this continued, the pattern would look like this: 1 -> 3 -> 9 -> 27 -> 81 -> 243.

If you add all the new disciples, the total of new disciples is 363. That is the power of multiplication. And guess what, this doesn’t even count the additional disciples you would make after the first 3. 

So imagine with me a church of 500 disciple-makers. That is, 500 people committed to investing in people to help them follow Jesus. With an R-naught of just 3, in 10 years these 500 disciples would multiply into 121,500 followers of Jesus. 

So ask yourself, “What is my R-naught?” Who are you investing in so they can grow in their faith and share it with others? If an R0 of 3 is too intimidating, that’s okay. Start with 1. 

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife Stacy have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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