How Jesus Made Disciples

how Jesus made disciples

Many Christians and churches in North America do not reproduce themselves. Nearly four thousand churches close every year in North America. Ed Stetzer estimates that 70% to 80% of all evangelical churches in the U.S. have either stopped growing or are in decline![1] The main reason is this: North America’s church is not reproducing. In contrast, the church in the global south (Asia, Africa, and Latin America) is exploding in number simply because they are reproducing. The Disciple Making Movement (DMM) that we hear about in North America is based on the experience of the disciple-making movements in the global south. We need to learn from the global south and our Lord Jesus how existing churches in North America can become a reproducing disciple-making movement once again.

The ultimate goal of discipleship is to reproduce disciples with the gospel through developing disciple-making leaders and church planters.

Reproduction ensures that a movement will live past its founding stages. The church was never intended to be an end in itself; instead, it is called to reproduce and fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples. Reproduction is the goal of every living thing. We see this throughout the pages of the Bible. The Bible is full of reproductive language. God created humankind, animals, and plants to reproduce. Reproduction is also seen in Jesus’s agricultural language throughout the gospels.

The Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines has a vision of planting two hundred churches in the Philippines and internationally, including Canada and the U.S., by 2026. The Evangelical Free Church of Canada is part of this exciting project. To put it simply, their plan is for each local church to reproduce, at least to plant one church within four years!

Intentionally reproducing disciples’ results from selecting, training, and empowering leaders and church planters who will reproduce themselves in others. This begins locally with the church and then can take place on a larger scale through the reproduction of church plants regionally and internationally. You and I can be a part of a 21st-century disciple-making movement that can change our world for Christ. Let us reproduce and multiply!

Ike Agawin
ServeBeyond Director

[1] Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson, Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can Too (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2007), p.18